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My Day In Sunday School

On most Sundays, we gather for worship as one common family, but somewhere around the 15 minute mark something changes. Our children and their teachers leave the sanctuary to begin their religious education classes, as the rest of the congregation sings, ‘Go now in peace…’ As your minister, I have a call to serve that whole group that’s worshipping together in those first 15 minutes. But I rarely get to see the wonderful and important things going on in our RE classes, because I haven’t yet figured out how to be in two places at once.

But a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to spend the morning with our children and teachers in the Sunday School. (I am indebted to our Director of Religious Education, Deb Sweet, who made this possible by taking responsibility for the pulpit that week and preaching a great sermon.) Here’s a little bit of what I experienced in the other half of our beloved community:

In our youngest class, we got to say one of my favorite chalice lightings: We are Unitarian Universalists. We are the church of the loving hearts, the open minds, and the helping hands. In the next, we took turns imagining giving and receiving gifts, and we got to make shadow puppets! The third class was talking about the story of David and Goliath that day, and what challenges we each face in our lives that seem as tough as the fight against Goliath did. And in the last class, the topic of the day was the Ten Commandments, and I joined them while they were turning those ancient moral dictums into traffic-style signs.

That morning pointed a truth out to me that I already knew, but that I need to be reminded of again and again and again (which, incidentally, is one of the best reasons to come to church in the first place). The experience showed me that there is more to our congregation than any one person could ever grab a hold of. You could show up to worship every Sunday, serve on every committee, be a Sunday School teacher, join a Small Group Ministry and volunteer with one of our Monday or Tuesday night suppers. And even then, you could not occupy every corner into which our congregation reaches. It is bigger than each of us and all of us, and that is what is so wonderful and precious about it.

As March gives way to April, we are coming to the close of our canvass season. On April 1st, we’ll celebrate the gifts that sustain our community with a special service to collect and bless our financial pledges for the coming year. The returns from this process aren’t the sole determining factor of what we can accomplish together as people of faith, but they do tell us what key resources we can plan on as we do the work of building community, cultivating compassion and reaching out to help each other and those beyond our walls. As you consider the amount that you and your household will contribute, I would encourage you to remember that our collective ‘we’ is already an amazingly big thing, creating deep and meaningful connections between many different hearts, and minds and hands. Something this great deserves all the support we can give it, and that is exactly what is required to fulfill the promise of who we are.

In Faith,

Rev. Kelly Weisman Asprooth-Jackson

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First Parish Church

225 Cabot St

Beverly, MA 01915

978-922-3968

Office Hours: T-F, 9-1

office@firstparishbeverly.org

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