Last Sunday, we enjoyed a “surprise” Call to Worship. If you weren’t at church – or if you were, and would like to re-live the laughter and reflect again on the important message we heard – you’re in luck!
Here’s what happened Sunday…
As the service is about to begin, Kathy Coskran, long-time member and lay leader at First Universalist, and Ben Jaeger, 8th grader, bump into each other in the aisle of our sanctuary. They make apologies, and Ben explains he’s in a hurry to get to his Religious Education class. We all get to listen in as Kathy and Ben make their way to the pulpit and their conversation deepens…
Kathy: You really like RE, even love it. I’ve got to hear this.
Ben: That’s right – I’m a kid that likes going to church. I actually hear it all the time, many of us 8th graders look forward to coming to a safe, respectful environment where social pressure is gone and you can have conversations about spirituality or sexuality that wouldn’t happen anywhere else.
Kathy: I came looking for just what you describe, a respectful environment where I could raise my children and explore my own spirituality – a place where I felt at home.
Ben: Some of my closest friendships have been made in RE. I’ve formed very tight bonds with my classmates through the deep personal stories many of us have shared and the times we’ve had together, like when Liz fell through the ice at our cabin, or trying to fit as many people as possible on one couch at the OWL overnight.*
Kathy: Well, my experience is a little different. I haven’t tried to fit as many people as possible on one couch – or fallen through the ice, but the connections I’ve made here are the most important in my life
Ben: I believe that because I’m in RE I can express my faith in a way most other kids my age can’t, and I haven’t even been through Coming of Age yet, which is a program devoted to an individual child’s spirituality.
Kathy: Ah, those words – faith and spirituality. We all struggle with those words but I’ve learned here that it’s not about what we believe, but what we do, what we practice, a leaning into love and life. That’s why Sunday morning is so important to me; like you, I can lean into the words, the music, the silence, the connection with others like me.
Ben: But the funny thing is…
Kathy: We charge a fee for your Sunday morning experience…
Ben: …and not for yours!
Kathy: So, in the Universalist spirit of love and hope – and meetings – we both were part of a committee charged to make a recommendation regarding fees for RE.
Ben: And it was our unanimous recommendation that we don’t have them.
Kathy: Totally eliminate them.
Ben: I’m a bit worried, though. What about the effect on the budget? You know, my dad is chairing the pledge team.
Kathy: Well, that’s easy. We always have to increase our pledges to keep up with inflation, but this year we have to increase them more than usual. I believe in the work of the church, in the spiritual journey that begins in childhood, that forms us – it’s our collective responsibility.
Ben: Wow! You must have a lot of kids in RE.
Kathy: No, I don’t have any children in RE, but I do know where my future and the future of the church …and the world…is – it’s with you!
Ben: With me?
Kathy: Yes, and all your friends, and the high school kids older than you and all those younger ones coming up behind you. We’re going to increase our pledge $180 more than we planned – Huh, that’s only $15 more a month! Maybe we should do more than that.
Ben: Wow, what if everybody did that?
Kathy: Or more if they could…or less if that was best. You know, when we dedicate children we promise – promise – to help children listen deeply to where Love is moving in their lives, to support them as they – you – grow here among us, through the Rainbow Path, Coming of Age and so much more.
Ben: Really? The adults promise that?
Kathy: Yes. We promise to help you grow your souls.
Ben: Wow – I think my soul is already growing!
Kathy: Yes, I can see it!
Ben, reflective: I’ve heard my dad say to give until it feels good.
Kathy: I’ve heard that too. Increasing my pledge is going to feel really good.
Ben: So, let’s keep the good feelings going! COME, LET US WORSHIP TOGETHER.
*To learn more about Ben’s 8th grade OWL (Our Whole Lives) Religious Education class and the curricula for children and youth of all ages, visit First Universalist’s Children, Youth & Family Ministries webpage here.
To pledge online, click here.