Meet Our Members
Meet some of our active members here. To see all of the posted testimonials, click here.
Louise has a particular interest in nature religions, wrote the Unitarian Universalist adult religious education curriculum “Paganism 101”, which is used across the denomination, and recently completed her master’s degree in “Myth, Cosmology, and the Sacred” at the University of Canterbury in the UK. She has been an active member of Unitarian Church of Vancouver since 1996. She has been a lay chaplain, on a ministerial search committee and an active member of the worship committee, among other involvements.
She and three others have recently revitalized the Earth Spirit Council (previously known as the Paganism committee) and is delighted that the group will be facilitating the Paganism 101 curriculum starting in September, 2018.
Louise works as a sculptor and painter with a busy studio on Granville Island. In her artwork, she is inspired by the processes of change and transformation, and is interested in how we, as human beings, embed ourselves in the world, and find meaning during our time here.
“The realm of the artist is the frontier between the tangible world and the intangible one.” Federico Fellini
I’ve found my spiritual home
I am from France and now in British Columbia, an Anglophone province with francophones in a minority.
How did I end up here? In 1974, love brought me here: my husband had a job in BC. Twenty-six years later, after 30 years of marriage, we divorced. Shortly after, I joined the Unitarian Church. I was following a group of my friends who were involved in the Paganism Committee. This is what brought me to UCV, but I soon discovered there was a lot more available. UCV catered to most of my interests—open spirituality, social justice, concern for the environment, refugee support, art, music, dance, literature and a dynamic children’s and youth program. And most important the pagan committee or earth spirit council.
Although my children were all away at university or working, I was already thinking of grandchildren. So I came in 2001. I truly found my spiritual home.
Now I know everyone leaves home eventually. I left the Catholic home before; then the existentialist/atheist home. Will I stay home here?
If I left for any reason, I know I would need to come back to visit and reconnect with all I’ve experienced here. For now, I have no thought of leaving.
a world view
I’ve been told that people join the Unitarian Universalist movement for one reason and stay for other reasons. That’s partly true for me, but the main reason I stay is the same reason I joined 20 years ago – UCV, (Xundaohui, 寻道会, Seekers of the Way), is a community and physical space that helps me focus on living by principles that I value in the company of others who share those values.
I first came to UCV to attend a memorial service for a friend who had led a too short and rather unorthodox life. I was deeply moved by how the lay chaplain honoured and celebrated that life without doctrinal overlay. After the service I picked up a pamphlet that stated the UU principles and sources. I liked everything about them and returned to the church on a subsequent Sunday morning where I was greeted by a personable and articulate minister and invited gently into a complex and elegant worship service—people in community honouring all lives and spirits. I was hooked.
Dine and dance with Mary!
When I jokingly made a new year's resolution to become spiritually developed and have matching towels, I had no idea where that would lead. This church was one of three religious groups I checked out back in 1989--and with all of its (and my) warts and all, this is what stuck. I joined in 1991 after "just browsing" for two years.
Grateful for the warm welcome from Vancouver Unitarians
In her search for community Mairy joined the First Unitarian Church of Toronto in the early nineties, thinking it was another liberal Christian denomination. The services were similar in format to those of her Presbyterian childhood. Slowly over the following months, she started to notice the differences but it was not until she attended the new members’ orientation a year later that she truly understood what UU was all about. There she learned about Starhawk and the Reclaiming tradition of paganism and found her spiritual home.
At Toronto First Mairy was very active in RE, the LGBTQ group, and Womynspirit. She served on the Committee on Ministry, the RE committee and as a Convenor. After moving away from Toronto, she was an active member of the Elora-Fergus Fellowship.
Mairy and her partner, Martha, moved to Vancouver in June of 2016 to be closer to grandkids. They were nervous about finding friends and communities here. They are grateful to this congregation for making the transition easier.
Mairy enjoys the many opportunities to dance with the Sacred Circle Dance groups. She appreciates the time spent with the kids in the RE program. She is delighted to join with others honouring the pagan holy days as well as maintaining and walking the labyrinths. She finds the sermons inspiring, and joins in the protests and other social justice and environmental activities as much as she can. Recently, she became a member of the Board. She appreciates getting her hands dirty in the gardens at UCV.
Another passion of Mairy`s is theatre. Several of her plays have been performed (one in Vancouver). Themes include: immigration, mental illness, forgiveness, gender. Her play, Let Me In, will have a reading as part of the Bodacious! Series on Saturday, Feb 24 at 7:30 pm at Presentation House, North Vancouver. Cast: Vivian Davidson, Killeen Delorme, Michelle Travis, Emily Beam
Admission by donation (suggested $5).
I’m with kindred spirits with Unitarians
As a teenager in Vancouver in the 60’s, I babysat for a Unitarian family across the street so learned a bit about UCV and thought it would probably suit me better than the United Church my family was involved with. In 1988, recently separated with children ages 5 and 7, I consciously sought out a Unitarian community and have identified myself as a Unitarian ever since. I will be forever grateful for the children and youth programs that benefited my son and daughter as they were growing up including their truly beautiful and unique “Bridging Ceremonies.”