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Sing to the Power

UUA logo 2015Sing to the Power” by Chris Scheller, M.Div., Director of Religious Education

Many parents ask for religious education programs that teach our children the power of social action and social service work. Sing to the Power is an answer to that question. The curriculum was designed by Lynn Ungar to help our children understand and experience their own power to make positive change in the world – to confront structure of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love. It is offered through the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Tapestry of Faith. First Parish Sudbury is proud to be offering the curriculum this year for our second- through sixth-grade class.

The word “power” sometimes has a negative connotation, but here we are exploring the positive side of power. There are many kinds of power and many ways to express our power in the world. Sing to the Power uses the metaphor of the four elements—earth, air, fire, and water—to investigate different forms of power we each can express. Four four-session units explore each element. The program begins with a unit on earth and kinds of power associated with it: Connection, Roots, Growth, and Place. The second unit features kinds of power associated with air: Stillness, Presence, Silence, and Listening. The third unit centers on the powers of fire: Shine, Passion, Action, Reaching Out. The program concludes with three powers of water: Flexibility, Persistence, and Gathering. The final session honors all of the elements’ power to Transform.

Each session follows the same format. It begins with an opening ritual co-led with volunteer participants. About half of the sessions have a story that illustrates the theme of the session, primarily non-fiction examples of people exercising their power. For example, this Sunday we’ll be considering the earth power of growth through the story of Michael Covington, who created a thriving community garden in his economically depressed Detroit neighborhood. The story illustrates the link between earth power, personal growth, the growth of community, and the power of putting dreams into action – all connected under the idea of the power of Growth. Participants consider the sources of their food and acknowledge how easy it is to become disconnected from the earth as the source of our sustenance. Each week, participants explore the theme through a variety of activities that often involve movement and kinetic engagement. Many activities guide children to experience the type of power featured in the session. Participants also co-lead the closing ritual for each session, and each child adds a bead to a bracelet that is created over the course of the program as an ongoing symbol of the kinds of power the children are gathering.

In keeping with the leadership development theme, Faith in Action projects are planned, developed, and executed by participants. After each four session unit, the next four classes or so are devoted to an opportunity to enact a project that fits with the elemental power featured in that unit. Participants choose a project in the first Faith in Action session of the unit, plan the project in the second session, do the project during the third session, and reflect on the project in the last session of that unit. Faith in Action activities give children the opportunity to live their Unitarian Universalist values in the congregation and the world. They are given the opportunity to engage leaders, participants, families, and other congregants in social action and service, strengthening faith development and multigenerational bonds.

In this class, we would like to take advantage of the expertise of congregants and opportunities for service and education in the community, so please contact me if you have ideas about service projects that might make sense for this group.