As the 4th of July rolls around (my next favorite holiday to Christmas) I can’t help but think about the importance of having traditions. I look forward to fireworks all year round—not to mention the barbecues and water fights and the strawberry, blueberry, banana “flag” cake we have every year at my house. Actually I started really thinking about the importance of traditions after our Teacher Feedback and Visioning meeting in May because the need for more out-side-of-church, yearly traditions was voiced there. UUCB has some wonderful worship traditions in place already, like the Christmas Eve Services, Flower Communion and the Homecoming service and barbecue but I think we could easily add to these. I was just going to say that kids, in particular, are comforted by traditions, but actually, I think we all are. Positive things we can count on happening year after year give meaning and structure to our lives and stand out in the memory when looking back.
Here are some ideas I have gleaned so far. We had so much fun at our Out- of -School Barbeque and Old Fashioned Game night a month ago we decided to make that a new tradition and advertise it earlier (and louder) to the whole church community. The parents and kids did awesome but wouldn’t it be fun to get some additional muscle on that tug- o- war rope, maybe pit our Wise Elders against our young adults?
How about a Summer Movie Night? That one is still coming up on July 12th at 7:00- so you haven’t missed it. (Go ahead and mark your calendar.) One of my teachers had the great suggestion to take it up a notch by making it a Sing-a-Long Movie—Maybe one of Disney’s, with captions in case we have forgotten the words. (This is an official call to all choir members. We are going to need your voices.) This year we will show the movie in the Earth Room where we can link into the big sound system because we don’t have portable outdoor speakers. (Unless someone out there has such a thing that you could loan to us.)
In October the RE will host a Pumpkin Fest. We can all bring and carve pumpkins together then turn off all the lights and set them glow —and eat donuts and hot cider (or pumpkin goodies.) We could even come in costume if we feel so inclined. (I maintain that it’s good for the spirit to be someone else once a year.) If we put our heads, (and church organizations) together we could install in our church some great annual events that would bring people of all ages out for a good time. Maybe a cultural night with foreign food and a show-and-tell session for interesting artifacts. Maybe a music or talent night because we do have so much talent among us. Maybe something else we haven’t thought up yet.
As UUs, so often self-appointed to save the world, sometimes we overlook the fact that play is also important. To have good social times that build relationship is not just the icing on the cake but often the cake itself– and one of the best. The simple fact is that the stronger we bond as a faith community the more we have to offer those who would be one with us.
If any organization in our church wants to try out a new tradition this year count me in to be an enthusiastic helper. It fits nicely with my job description to, “develop and sustain a robust and vital Family Ministry” (not to mention the fact that I love a good party.) Like one of my prospective teachers said, “Religious education isn’t just about giving our kids knowledge, it’s more about giving them an identity; its about the experience they take with them of what it means to belong to a Unitarian Universalist church.” So talk to your people in your groups and committees. See what folks in our congregation would like to see happen and lets try out a thing or two which could become a yearly UUCB tradition!!
Janen Wright, Lifespan Faith Development Director