The Milestone Recognition Program is coming to Live Oak UU Church!

Amanda Ondrey and Christopher Carroll have been working with the R.E. Team and Patty, our DRE to develop a milestone program for Live Oak Children and Youth.

The goal of our Program is to recognize the various milestones that our children and youth attain in their Faith Development through their participation in classes, special events, leadership and elder development.  Upon demonstrating their knowledge or completing an event or activity, they will be awarded a milestone button.  The buttons are being created just for this program, with a special design to recognize that milestone.  Where will they put these, you may be thinking?  New nametags have been created for all the children and youth which have wide ribbon on which to attach the earned buttons.  So, as children wear their nametags to identify themselves to others in the congregation, they will also be displaying their achievements in Faith Development!

Attainment  of certain buttons will be through a meeting with the DRE, Minister or R.E. Team to demonstrate proficiency in that area.  Others will be awarded for participation.

We will recognize these milestones during Worship Services so that the adult members and friends can support the work of our children and youth as they endeavor to learn, support and enjoy their journey in and into Unitarian Universalism.


STARFLEET ACADEMY – A Summer Program for Peacemakers and Problemsolvers

To view the final video from our STARFLEET ACADEMY SUMMER PROGRAM – use this link:


Bridging High School Seniors

Last Sunday, May 22nd, Live Oak Seniors Alasen Hogan and Emerson Kendall were recognized for a milestone in their lives.  They are graduating High School and graduating out of the Youth Religious Ed. Program, which we call Bridging.   In a ceremony at the end of the Worship Service, Alasen and Emerson Bridged out of their youth program and Bridged into the wider U.U. Adult Community.  They were welcomed by Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford, who is a life-long U.U. along with other life-long UU’s, other long time UU’s and Our President, Alice Sessions and Vice President Sanjiv Sarwate.  Alasen and Emerson have participated in the foundational programs and events in our U.U. Faith, including:  The Coming of Age Program, Middle School and High School OWL, CongrUUity Social Action Conference, District High School Rallies, as well as participating in the life of Live Oak.  They were presented with the traditional worship box, which is a gift from the Congregation that will be a reminder of their roots in the Live Oak UU Church Community.    Oh, the places you will go!  We wish you well.


The May SASsY program had the elementary class learning about the 7th principle: We believe in caring for our planet Earth, the home we share with all living things.

We discussed the differences between orcas living in the wild and living in captivity.  We talked about SeaWorld’s recent decision to end their captive breeding program and how this change had occurred as a result of people speaking out against the treatment of orcas. The children wrote cards to SeaWorld: some thanking them for ending captive breeding and some advocating for a move to sea pen sanctuaries.

Learning about the Passover Sedar

The Elementary classes hosted a special guest, Emelia Adcock, one of our OWL youth who came to talk about the Sedar.  Sedar was a new word for our students and after a little confusion, they learned the difference between a Sedar meal and a satyr.

Emelia shared her experience partaking in the Passover Sedar with her grandparents and brought the  Sedar Plate, the Ke’ara, Miriam’s cup and Elijah’s cup.  Each of the six items arranged on the Sedar plate has special significance to the retelling of the story of the exodus from Egypt, which is the focus of this ritual meal. They had some matzah and grape juice for snack and tasted the Charoset – chopped apple and walnuts (without the wine).

Here is a link for more information on the Passover Sedar:  http://www.chabad.org/kids/article_cdo/aid/1608/jewish/The-Seder-Plate.htm

SASsY in April – SOCIAL ACTION SUNDAYs for Youth

April’s SASsY class saw the culmination of our year-long Social Action Sunday project. The children packed enough bags to feed 49 hungry students for a weekend, and dropped off an additional 80 days worth of breakfast with Blessings in a Backpack.  A few of our High School Youth loaded up a car and delivered all the food to the Blessings in a Backpack coordinator.   But wait, there’s more! We weren’t able to use all the food collected for Blessings and wound up donating 126 pounds of food to the Hill Country Ministry’s food pantry. We have always known that the LOUU congregants are extraordinarily generous but this was overwhelming and we thank you for the support you continue to show our children and the projects they choose to support.

Additionally this month, the SASsY students studied the 6th Principle and learned all about fair trade, child labor and the high price of chocolate and diamonds.  So don’t be surprised if your child convinces you not to buy Nestle or Hershey anymore!

SASsY in March – SOCIAL ACTION SUNDAYs for Youth

In March, the K-5th grade classes engaged in a Social Action project pertaining to the 5th principle – each person has a voice and a vote.  We talked about the presidential election and the class held two mock elections.  On the first ballot were each candidate’s stance on certain issues, but no names were listed.  The second election the students voted on name recognition only.  In both cases, Senator Clinton was the strong winner;  and perhaps in no surprise to any UU’s, Senator Cruz and Mr. Trump received no votes at all.  After the elections, we learned about Syrian refugees and joined the #IAmSyria campaign, a humanitarian effort to bring education and compassion to the world community about this crisis.


The Elementary classes were introduced to author Charles Dickens and his character Oliver Twist.  Dickens used his writing to, “expose tragic inequities in 19th-century British society. He showed that people at opposite ends of an economic spectrum belong to the same ‘we’ united by our common humanity and destiny—a lesson which resounds with our contemporary Unitarian Universalist Principles.” (from Windows & Mirrors Lesson 13)  The class had some fun playing Victorian parlour games—Charades, Lookabout and The Minister’s Cat.  These games can be played by anyone no matter their economic status, as they require no material or those that are often at hand.  We contrasted this to video games today, which are quite costly and possibly inaccessible to families with little economic means.  As Unitarian Universalist we are encouraged to find ways to include everyone.


Beki Siele presented a lesson to our elementary children on sharing their voice through poetry. She read Eventide by Gwendolyn Brooks and talked about how Gwendolyn used poetry to make her voice heard as a young black girl in the first half of the 20th century. After hearing the kids’ thoughts on why it’s important for everyone to have a voice, she read works by Walt Whitman, Louisa May Alcott, and Shel Silverstein while the children drew pictures inspired by the poems. Finally, the kids wrote poems themselves. Photographs of nature and people in different environments were shared and the class used poetry to express their thoughts about these pictures. Beki was thrilled with the work that some of the kids shared with the rest of the group.



SASsY students in K-5th grade will be partnering with Blessings in a Backpack and they invite Live Oak members and friends to help them in fighting hunger.  From February 28th till April 16th, there will be a food drive to help fill the stomachs of hungry students in the Austin area. Blessings in a Backpack is a program that mobilizes individuals and resources to provide food on the weekends for elementary school children across America who might otherwise go hungry.  The Congregation can help by donating non-perishable, child-friendly food (breakfast, lunch and dinner).  Look for the box in Fellowship Hall and signs around LOUU, and listen for an announcement each week in the worship service from members of the SASsY class.


CHALICE CLUB heard the Story of Ruby Bridges, the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school in Louisiana. Ruby’s gift was bravery.  Her bravery helped change segregated schools in the South.  The class discussed what they thought their true gifts were; gifts that could help their family, community, and Church.  They made charm bracelets reflecting their gifts.

EXPLORER CLUB discussed science and religion and that some people think they are not compatible, while others (like Joseph Priestly – UU Super Hero) think they complement each other. We decided that science and religion have searching for truth in common.  We then did three science experiments, attempting to discover truth for ourselves.   We pushed straws through potatoes, observed the shocking effect when putting dish soap into a saucer of water and pepper, as well as the magical effect of adding liquid dish soap to a saucer of milk with dots of food dye.

WONDER CLUB talked about how to recover from what some might call a failure.  Some very famous people had multiple failures, but kept “moving forward.”  They watched a video clip from the Disney movie “Meet The Robinsons” where they learned that curiosity leads us down new paths, even after failures. Their project was  to learn to make balloon animals, which has a steep learning curve, allowing for “failing forward.”

PRAISES FOR THE PAGEANT and our Unitarian Universalist Faith

A big shout out to Sheri Smith and Kristen Sheets for working with Rebecca and I to put on The Best Christmas Pageant Ever! Another shout out to the children who participated and the parents that supported them!

The lesson we can take away from our Pageant is that offering understanding and compassion to children who had been demonized, labeled and told to go away (sound familiar?) could actually help them become part of the community. These unruly children had lessons to teach and they were hungry to learn the stories of their community. The more we learned about them, the more the light of understanding grew. During this season of Advent, the candles are lit each Sunday – the candle of Hope; the candle of Joy, the candle of Peace and finally the Candle of Love. As Unitarian Universalists, we are the people standing on the side of Love. We are the bringers of the light. This Christmas-time story is our story. We are called to reach out to the disenfranchised and to work to bring hope, joy, peace and love to our world! Brightest Blessings of the Season! Patty

ELEMENTARY LESSONS in NOVEMBER – Being Kind and Reaching Out:

UPPER ELEMENTARY: Lee Legault led the class in learning the international power of symbols to communicate meaning by playing a recognition game using such symbols as the Olympics and the Red Cross. Then Chalice Club listened to a fictionalized story about the UUA service Committee’s work delivering emergency supplies to refugees, emphasizing the power of the UU flaming chalice symbol to communicate benevolent intent. They learned the origins of the chalice within the double circle, which was developed during World War II. We also discussed the UUA’s 2014 revision of the UU symbol to nested U’s with a flame coming out the top. Finally, we made chalice ornaments.

LOWER ELEMENTARY learned about Deafness, how Deaf people communicate and learned some sign language, including signing the 7 Principles Song! Carolyn Dower shared some of her experiences growing up with Deaf parents. The class talked about what they could do if they saw someone making fun of a deaf person. Carolyn showed them a picture of a little boy with a cochlear implant. One child said it looked weird. Yes, it does, and now they know what it is and won’t have to wonder about it! (For more info on cochlear implants: www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/coch.aspx.)

On Sunday, November 8th Carolyn will be presenting the Sign language and deaf awareness lesson to the Upper Elementary and Julia Mitschke will be filling in for Lee and presenting the lesson on the UUSC and symbols to the Lower Elementary. I don’t know about anyone else, but I am looking forward to seeing our children using American Sign Language while singing our Principles Song! Big thanks to our awesome volunteers leading our children in their development of caring values!

Fall Religious Education

In the spotlight each Sunday this Fall will be the 7 Principles of our Faith Tradition. We will learn about a principle each month through different medium and learning styles. If you have a passion and want to share it with our children, contact Patty Bissar, Director of Religious Education to see where your passion fits into the many ways we can teach our Faith to our Children.

The Pre-K Class will be using the Spirit Play stories.

Middle and High School youth will be participating in their own programs. See the classes page for more information.

Chalice Lighting with Rev. Joanna – Bring Light to our Worship Service!

Youth and Older Children who would like to light the Chalice on Sunday morning can email: dre@liveoakuu.org or sign up on the R.E. Member Volunteer page.


Patty Bissar, Director of Religious Education

For all Religious Education Matters 
Call: (512) 219-9008 – Ext. 17

Katherine Enyart, Religious Ed Team Chair

Keri Spiller, Interim Childcare Coordinator

Sheri Smith, Children’s Choir Director

Subscribe to the Live Oak Newsletter for the latest R.E. updates: Send an email with “subscribe” in the subject line to administrator@liveoakuu.org.