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Religious Exploration Monthly Newsletter January 1st

Welcome to 2024!

It seems like the older I get, the faster the years go.  Wasn’t it August just last week?  We’ve had a great fall with some fun-filled multigenerational services--making the Ances-tree, celebrating Cornbread and Cider communion, and of course participating in our spontaneously no-rehearsal Solstice Pageant in December.  There are plans afoot to continue the joy and fun in the new year.

As you can see at left, RE will start back up on January 14th, with the children in their separate classrooms.  On January 7th we’ll have a multigenerational service celebrating Kwanzaa and one of its principles, cooperative economics.  On January 28th, we’ll have an all ages classroom (after participating in the processional for Jazz Funeral) learning about Imbolc (a Wiccan/Pagan holiday) and Tu B’Shvat (a Jewish holiday) that celebrate the end of January/beginning of February as a time when new lives begin to grow beneath the earth or in their mother’s wombs.

Our congregational theme for January will be Fractals in nature.  Frost flowers and snowflakes are what always come to mind for me when I think about fractals, so expect to see plenty of those around the RE space.  (Artificial, not natural--I don’t want it to get so cold we have real ones down there.)

By the time this newsletter goes out, I hope to have seen you all at our Hike into the New Year on January 1st.  I am looking forward to sharing this tradition with your family.

Join Us for ‘A Walk Through the Neighborhood’!

On January 7th, we will be celebrating Kwanzaa and talking about Ujamaa (cooperative economics) in a multi- generational service.  In a way, cooperative economics is somewhat of a throwback to ‘the good old days’--small businesses serving their neighborhood with an eye not so much toward the profit motive as toward making sure that everyone in the community benefits; bartering of goods and services among households; keeping the wealth of the community within the community rather than sending it outside to live in some billionaire’s investment account.  Join us to learn more about it.

New Year, New You, New UUSGU??

January is the most common time of the year for people to make (and break) resolutions.  What do you want to change in 2024?  Rather than diet, exercise, or spending less money, why not try one of these?

One of the resolutions that my family carries over from year to year is reducing our carbon footprint.  We’ve switched out light bulbs to LEDs, turned our thermostat down and bundled up in sweaters and afghans, and combined errands as much as possible to cut down on miles driven.  You may not have noticed, but the Board and staff have been reducing UUSGU’s carbon footprint as well.  Many of the light bulbs in the building have been replaced with LEDs, we have newer, more efficient thermostats, our microphones now use rechargeable batteries, and we are looking into adding insulation wherever possible to cut down on our heating bill.

Over the last year, I’ve been monitoring what gets put into the trash at home.  Our two biggest categories week to week were food waste and plastic film packaging, like shrink wrap and produce bags.  I resolved to cut down on those two waste items.  To cut down on the food waste, I’ve signed up for composting through Black Earth Compost .  If you live in Grafton, you might consider doing so as well.  They also collect in surrounding towns; you can put your address into their website to find out if yours is one of them.  It’s not a free service, but it is not expensive.  The compost bin in the UUSGU kitchen comes home with me on Thursday nights to get put in my own pick up bin.  Between composting and doing better at eating up leftovers, my family has reduced our weekly trash by approximately half a kitchen trash bag.  This year we will focus on reducing the amount of plastic packaging we throw away.  I suspect that may prove harder.

Would You Like to Volunteer in 2024?

We have an ongoing need for the following types of volunteers in our RE department

  • substitute teachers

  • adult childcare workers

  • Time for All Ages guest speakers

  • leaders for all-ages social justice lessons

To qualify for these positions (except guest speaker) you must first complete a CORI background check.  See Cherilyn before or after service to fill out a CORI form.

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