Sunday, September 28, 2008

Making Homemade Chalices

We recently started doing church at home. It’s a lot like doing school at home, but instead of doing school, we are doing church. Well, actually, we recently became members of the Church of the Larger Fellowship (CLF). CLF is a virtual Unitarian Universalist church that serves UUs all over the world. Members may be too far from a brick and mortar church to attend services or may want access to UU resources from their wonderful lending library. There are many reasons why someone might join CLF.

We ourselves joined for several reasons. Our main reason was to find a spiritual home that met our needs. The closest UU church is over 20 miles away, and with rising gas prices, it was just taking a big chunk out of our monthly budget to drive there and back on Sunday, let alone any other day we wanted to attend a church event. The traditional church also wasn’t meeting our social and spiritual needs. We came from a large and very welcoming church in Norfolk. We know that not all churches are created equal, but we miss it dearly and our new local church just wasn’t making the grade. With such a small congregation, their Religious Education (RE) program was quite small. I think there were going to be about five children in each of the three classes they were planning to offer this fall, whereas in Norfolk we had to have two church services because there were so many children in the program. I am fairly certain that the smallness of the congregation here is due in part to our location in the country. The Bible Belt is not usually where you find a large grouping of liberal-minded religious folks. We will find another large UU church (hopefully at our next duty station), but for now, we are embracing church at home.

We have been very happy with CLF thus far, especially with their RE program. We receive a monthly email with directions for performing each week’s RE service, geared specifically towards the kids. The services embrace the seven principles, different religious holidays, and how to be a kind, loving, and accepting person. Today we learned about the history and symbolism of the flaming chalice, the symbol of the UU church. We then got to create our own chalices.

To make our homemade chalices, we used three-inch clay pots and saucers. We sat on the back porch with made-for-clay markers and paint and decorated our chalices. Justin and I took the pots, turned them upside down and glued the saucer to the top of the up turned pot. We now have individual chalices to light each Sunday morning when we do our services. I bought small tea lights to go in the top of each chalice.

Eventually, I would like to get a nice chalice to put on display somewhere, maybe in our dining room. I really like some of the ones offered at UniUniques, but wonder if I could make one myself. Maybe I’ll have to convince one of my Norfolk homeschooling friend’s clay-wielding daughters to make me one, if she has time between her “real” classes now :)

Either way, we now have chalices to light on Sunday morning to make our Sunday ritual complete.


Carol said...

Jaynelle, I love the chalices! I don't now if you are aware, but the UUA has many different list servs you can get on to get RE classes, info, etc. They may even have a "home schooling" list serv. You can find a complete listing at the UUA webpage. :-) Good luck!

That lady with 6 daughters said...

wow- I just started going to the UU church here in Yakima. It was nice to see people I know, now I need to convince my husband they're not "religious in a bad way" because he's totally not on board yet.
I'm so glad I found this!

Kathy Klink-Zeitz said...

It was good to read your post on CLF. I have just left my UU church as it is not fitting my needs - too political and a small group controlling it. I have been thinking about joining CLF so it was good to read what you posted.
someone i know made a chalice like the one at this website:
She used a cake stand as the dish and it is beautiful.

Ryewoman said...

These are great! I teach a Spirit Play class for the youngest RE students at a UU church in Seattle, usually 4-6 year olds. We usually don't do "craft" type things as the curriculum is montessori based, but during our camping weekend, I like to have the kids make something that relates to the "tools" of spiritual practice. Last year we made bags of meditation stones (also used for sharing Joys and Concerns)--this looks very do-able for the age group especially if the gluing is done in advance. What kind of glue?