Category Archives: Religious Education Updates

Elementary Earth Day Overnight

Friday, April 20- Saturday, April 21 

We are having an Elementary Overnight in the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Midland on April 20 for children in 2nd grade or older!   Youth will be assisting in making this extra fun!  See Paula Bauer or Heather Cleland-Host (Director of Religious Education) if you are interested. More details to come!

Note: April 21 is the Earth Day festivities at Midland Center for the Arts and the Chippewa Nature Center.  So we will be finishing early enough for everyone to go and enjoy the fun!

Jedi Academy & Youth Group

March 4 Kalama Sutta
March 18 Humanist Manifesto
April 1 Food Art Gallery

Jedi Academy and the Youth Group meet every other Sunday.  Jedi Academy is a religious education program run during the service, and the youth group meets after the service for lunch and fun from 12-1PM.  At the next meeting, on March 4, they will be having an Anime Film Festival (bring your favorite Anime) and planning for their Food Art Gallery.

Soup & Sources – March

Soup and Sources: What is truth? Science & Religion
March 16 at 5:30pm
Joint Activities
7PM Break-Outs: Children’s Movie & Source Discussion
Soup & Sources is a fun multi-generational program where we gather together for a social dinner and then learn together about the Sources.  We will be eating together and sharing some multi-generational activities together, followed by breakouts based on those who would prefer to play and those who would prefer to have a discussion of this month’s Source.
Soup and Pizza will be provided (If you like making soup, let me know.) We will have soup, pizza, and salad (please email if you have special food needs.) We will have activities as you arrive to help meet each other, during the meal (small groups to eat together,) and following the meal. The program is for all ages – kid and adult friendly!
THIS MONTH: We are exploring the Fifth Source.  The fifth source calls us to draw on Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.  For this reason, this month’s theme is Truth.
What to bring: Yourselves! If you feel inspired, you can bring a sweet dessert to share, but this is intended as a free event.
Please RSVP to by Sunday March 11, so we can know how much soup or pizza to order.

Reason and Truth – A RE-flection

Awareness is like the sun.  When it shines on things, they are transformed. 
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Our Fourth Principle calls on us each to seek truth and meaning in our lives and in the world.  A central human desire is for our lives to be meaningful, impactful.  We want to matter.  This is intuitive.  It is not enough to simply find meaning though.  It is important for the meaning that we find in life to be true.  Religion provides many tools to help us find that truth.  Buddhism calms the mind and helps us achieve clarity of thought.  The Golden Rule of many traditions urges us toward choices that are good and harm none while loving ourselves and our neighbors.  This month we are exploring the Fifth Source – which encourages us to draw on another resource to help us find what is true and meaningful: the resource of Science and Reason.

As a physicist, the Fifth Source is one that is near and dear to my heart. In the past, before I joined Unitarian Universalism, I had a long-standing ambivalence about drawing on science for religious purposes. Part of my ambivalence was because I had been taught to rigidly separate Science and Religion.  Often, people I loved and cared about would argue that faith could not be informed by logic and reason, because then it would not be faith.  Faith was important to them; it was often vital to their endurance through harsh experiences, including losses. They believed the only way prevent science from affecting their faith was to never mix the two.

Over the years, I came to realize that this understanding limited both faith and science.  Specifically, it denied that science was of any value to a person of faith, and it limited faith to a particular belief in a doctrine, instead of embracing its potential to be a source of clarity.  This was an important realization because the other part of my ambivalence was because religion has sometimes been used in biased ways.  As a scientist, it is very important to me to avoid bias. This means keeping political scheming out of science, and it means keeping religious doctrine out as well. Religious doctrine requires an adherence to a particular doctrinal truth or a creed, which is an obstacle to objective research.  Scientists are always seeking both the results that confirm our theories, but also those that might disprove them.  A “failed” test can be as important, if not more so, than a test that simply confirms our expectations.  It is by being wrong that our understanding grows.  Unitarian Universalism has a powerful draw to me as a scientist, because it also does not bind us to a single doctrine (or religious bias). It also finds growth in being wrong and does not fear the unknown.  It, too, questions.

Children’s Circle – March 2018

March 4 “The Kalama Sutta” (Buddhist) This story is based on the Kalama Sutta: “Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

March 11 “The Wise Teacher’s Test” This story is from the Spirit Play CD.  It explores the question of what – rightfully or wrongfully – is the right path of wisdom.

March 18 “Origin of the Moon”  This is a lesson from the Spirit Play CD that explores the scientific origin of the moon.

March 25 “My name is Stardust” (Harris) – This story was written by a child with help from her parents. It explores the history of the universe and the amazing, wondrous fact of how we are connected to the very stars themselves.