This morning's experience at church was so great! It was an intergenerational Sunday morning, meaning the kids stayed in service for the whole time, not breaking out mid way to attend classes. The focus of the morning was the story of Stone Soup, of all of us giving just a little and something great coming out of it. The story was acted out in an exuberant fashion but the kids as well as adults were also part of the rest of the service. One of my favorite moments was watching my Rob help a younger boy light our flaming chalice. Rob has been a "special buddy" to this young man since his family began coming to church this fall. I taught the class that this lad is in and he is, um a handful. I am sure there are myriad issues there but am also sure I am not asking. When you have a kid that is different, you get asked enough. Parents and kids need a break from that. However the class also needs to be able to function and what the program director tried doing and which is working wonderfully, is having Rob be a special helper for this little guy. There is less classroom disruption as a result and Rob's quiet demeanor is a great match. Also, let's face it. Rob not only has a tender side that draws young kids to him. He also has day to day experience from Chet, understanding that we all process the world we live in differently.
After service, we all adjourned to Fellowship Hall where in lieu of the typical coffee and finger desserts, we had our own "stone soup." Everyone had brought a one cup portion of soup ingredients. Mine was a cup of finely chopped carrots, parsnips and a little frozen corn thrown in as well. The melange that was created was heavenly. There was barley, mushrooms, spinach or chard, every veggie you could think of in this pot! And it was well seasoned and really delish. With it was fresh bread, a nice salad and lemonade. A dessert table rounded out the meal.
The hall was packed and my one regret was that I could not really effectively circulate and be as welcoming to newer folks as I would like. However I had welcomed in a couple of new families at the start of the morning and that will have to do. When there is hot soup being carried around in close quarters, I am hesitant to do much traipsing about. I suspect this stems from a hot bowl of soup that was dumped accidently down my shoe when I was a kid in school, but I digress . . .
The other thing I am excited about is that gradually but very noticably, our congregation is becoming more colorful. One of the new families today was a young black mom with three little kids, her daughter a bit younger than my Lissa. They had almost the same 'church hair' going on and looked like an easy friendship was developing. Maria and I hit it off well and I hope she returns. Unitarian Universalism has had a challenge reaching out beyond the realm of the white educated professional, but more and more there is an awareness that we need to be relevent to all. We have I think always been welcoming but there is a difference between welcoming and relevent.
This is of course of paramount importance to me, as a parent of children of color. When families of color begin coming, we sort of find each other quickly--it is kind of funny really. But I love meeting new folks always, and my kids are good ambassadors for the top notch religious ed program that our church provides. Especially having kids in all aspects of the program at the same time, I can speak to almost any aspect of R.E. with some level of authority.