Lifespan RE News - March, 2012

From our Director of Religious Education:

This month’s ministry theme, “Brokenness,” is one that resonates with me pretty deeply these days, as I continue to recover following the Christmas Eve fall that left me with a broken ankle. Isn’t it amazing that our bones will just heal themselves, given time and rest? I take comfort in knowing that, as living beings, our broken bones will not stay that way forever. We aren’t like toys or teacups — our broken places, sometimes, are really the places where we have the greatest opportunity to grow and develop strengths that we didn’t know were lying dormant within us. My body was ready to mend itself all along, and was just waiting for the need to arise. Astounding. I also have been thinking about the imagery of being “broken open.” Rather than thinking of brokenness only in terms of being damaged, what parallels do you see in your own life if instead you envision being broken open like a seed that has given way to let something new and full of life emerge?

I am mindful though, that there are also times in our lives when we feel just plain broken, when no easy or inevitable fix is on the horizon for us. And in those times, our UUCCSM community can serve as a safe place to bring those broken parts of ourselves to be held in love and compassion. As Unitarian Universalists, part of our covenant with one another is that we will “walk together” as we carry out our individual lives. Certainly I have been buoyed by the care and help that many of you have shown me in the last couple of months as I’ve been on the mend. I am lucky; this time, my brokenness is temporary. But the gifts I have received because of it will stay. If given the choice, I certainly would not have chosen to injure myself in this way, but I am grateful for the good that I can pull out of the experience, even so. What a blessing it is to be in community with one another.

—Catherine Farmer Loya

March in the Classrooms

This month in the children’s RE program, preschoolers will celebrate the beginning of spring, and will explore many different kinds of families. Early elementary participants will explore the fourth Source of Unitarian Universalism with stories from the Jewish and Christian traditions, and will engage this month’s theme of “Brokenness.” A highlight of the month for upper elementary children in the UUniverse Story program will be a field trip to the Natural History Museum on March 11. Middle schoolers in Neighboring Faiths will learn about Sikhism, and will visit the Guru Ram Das ashram on the 11th. And on March 25th, while older children and youth are attending the YRUU service in the sanctuary, younger children will make doggy treats for shelter puppies for this month’s RE Faith in Action project. Children’s Programs subcommittee members welcome your comments and questions

— Nicole Henderson-MacLennan, Susan Hendricks Richman, Sabina Mayo-Smith, and Kim Santiago-Kalmanson.


Youth Score a Home Run with Laser Tag and Ball Park Outings

Grab your lasers and get, set, go to Ultrazone in Sherman Oaks, the ultimate laser adventure, on Saturday, March 3. A futuristic version of Capture the Flag, this game is an adrenaline rush like never before. Watch your in box for details and don’t miss this fun-filled night out organized by parents Erika and Steven Valore with Alicia and Steven Van Ooyen.

Go Dodger Blue! Saturday, April 14, youth head out to Chavez Ravine to cheer on the home team as they take on the San Diego Padres. Advance ticket purchase is required. Please RSVP to parent volunteers, Laura and Larry Weiner, with the number of tickets you need by March 31. Admission is approximately $12 each for seats located in the top deck behind home plate.

Thanks to parent volunteers Liza Cranis, Erika and Steven Valore, a spirited group of kids enjoyed pizza, games, movies and some midnight madness of baking cookies and making sundaes, while deepening friendships during the legendary overnight lock in at the church in February.

To find out the scoop on all upcoming activities, contact Lifespan RE Youth Sub-Committee Head Teri Bond. Fun is our mission! 


Upcoming Adult Programs

Faith Like a River — Themes from Unitarian Universalist History

Faith Like a River explores the dynamic course of Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist (UU) history — the people, ideas, and movements that have shaped our faith heritage. It invites participants to place themselves into our history and consider its legacies. What lessons do the stories of our history teach that can help us live more faithfully in the present? What lessons do they offer to be lived into the future? Join facilitator Catherine Farmer Loya in the mural room (of course!) for four consecutive Wednesday evenings, March 14 to April 4, for an introductory exploration of our UU religious tradition’s roots. To sign up, contact or visit the Lifespan RE table during coffee hour on Sundays.


Unitarian Universalist Association Common Read

The Common Read is coming — have you started reading yet? All UUCCSM members and friends are invited to join UUs from congregations all over the country this spring in reading “Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation,” by Dr. Eboo Patel. Why take the time to read a book that someone else has chosen, though? This is one more aspect of our congregation’s new experiment with Lifespan Religious Exploration. Just as all members of our community have opportunities to engage in some way in our monthly ministry themes this year, this is another way in which members of UUCCSM can come together to “go deeper” in our faith as Unitarian Universalists and in our connections to one another.

Why, then, this book in particular? Dr. Eboo Patel’s memoir, “Acts of Faith,” has been selected as the 2011-2012 Unitarian Universalist Association Common Read. Patel is founder and executive director of the Interfaith Youth Core, an international, nonprofit, youth service leadership organization. “‘Acts of Faith,” a beautifully written story of discovery and hope, chronicles Dr. Eboo Patel’s struggle to forge his identity as a Muslim, an Indian, and an American. In the process, he developed a deep reverence for what all faiths have in common, and founded an interfaith movement to help young people to embrace their common humanity through their faith. This young social entrepreneur offers us a powerful way to deal with one of the most important issues of our time.” —President Bill Clinton

We hope that all of you will consider taking part in this special project. Check the book out from the library, buy it for your e-reader, or purchase it from the book cart or the Lifespan RE table right here at UUCCSM during coffee hours this month. Then, once we’ve all had some time to read, we’ll offer a number of opportunities in April to take part in a one-session book discussion. Sign up for one of the two sessions offered at the church, on Sunday April 15 from 4 to 6 p.m. (potluck dinner to follow), or Wednesday, April 25, from 7 to 9 p.m. Or join one of the neighborhood gatherings being hosted by UUCCSM members in their homes — details of those gatherings will be announced soon, though there will certainly be meetings in Culver City, West LA and Santa Monica, and possibly additional neighborhoods. Don’t miss out on it!


Multi-Generational Section


Record Breaking Attendance

The February Second Sunday Supper sponsored by Lifespan RE was a blockbuster! Lots of serious young (and not so young) artists created gorgeous valentines and ate oodles of fabulous food. Fifty people between the ages of about 2 and 90 found plenty to talk about and even sing about, too. Don’t miss the fun on March 11 — no valentines, but still plenty of food and fun.


Share UUr Story

Plans continue to move forward for UUSM’s oral history project. Stop by the Lifespan Table any Sunday to share your thoughts and catch up on what’s new. In addition to interviewing our members, we would like to capture some video chats on the history of committees in the church. If you were one of the founding (or early) members of any of our committees, we would like to hear from you. On a more technological note, we are looking for a microphone that can be connected to a video camera and someone who can show us how to do it. We anticipate that many of our interviews will take place outside the church.



 Patio Chat — Sunday, March 11

Monthly UUCCSM Theme Discussion


with Leon Henderson-MacLennan

at 10:10 a.m. on the Patio


Home Hospitality Needed For Visiting RE Professionals

On March 22, 23, and 24 UUSM will host religious education professionals and volunteers for a workshop on UU Identity. A few of these folks will need a place to stay in the area. If you are able to offer hospitality to one or two attendees for two nights (Thursday and Friday), please contact Emmy Cresciman for more information. You will not be responsible for meals.