Archives: Testimonials

Marie Witt — organizing weekly Stitch n’ Bitch gatherings

I am a UBC Student studying cognitive psychology and moral philosophy. Very soon, I will be doing a combined Masters/PhD in social attention and ethical decision-making using virtual reality technology.

I stumbled on UCV a couple of years ago when I went searching for a farm market near my home on Oak. At the time, UCV had a little farm market and advertised on the website.
I had never heard the word “Unitarian” and had no idea what the church stood for but I was intrigued by messages of inclusivity: from the rainbow scarf worn by the minister to the Unitarian principles about the inherent worth and dignity of all people, democratic respect for our community and protection of the planet.

I was feeling very isolated at the time, and struggling to make social media (the church of my generation) create the type of community and social sharing I needed it to be. I had a hunch that what was missing from my online social world was a feeling of responsibility and service. Facebook wasn’t asking me to do hard work. The hard conversations I was having were with those who looked and sounded like me. And most importantly, there was no showing up in real life. I wasn’t getting any feedback that I was valuable to my community. The “likes” to my perfect politically correct take-downs of injustice felt so hollow and ineffective. Most of my social interactions were missing this crucial component of “living in community” which is a messy, uncomfortable, diverse, collaborative, real process.

I have always been a deeply curious person, and also extremely distrustful of doctrine or claims of ontological certainty. I walked into Sunday service extremely “on guard” for anything remotely prescriptive-religious.

The first sermon I attended was about Helen Keller riding a bicycle. Rev. Steven Epperson incorporated some feminist history of bicycle riding and a general, hopeful message about knowing courage. I walked away feeling spiritually nourished. My academic brain was buzzing. I wanted to tell all my friends that I had found a spiritual place where values lived at the center and everything else – specific beliefs were adjacent within the value of free and open exploration – an invitation to be spiritually curious on your own terms.
It took me a while to join the church officially but I finally reached out to the environment team. I am now a member of the caretaking staff and I am a newly active member of the Zero Waste team!

I am organizing weekly Stitch n’ Bitch gatherings (think: unapologetically drinking, talking and knitting at an east van beer bar) and monthly slow fashion mending workshops where anyone can come to repair or alter their thrifted or worn clothing using hobby machines and sergers, etc.

I am feeling around for my activism through our church but I have boundless gratitude to the people gathered here, who accept me in this space and offer me guidance and belonging. I am here to reciprocate.

Tamiko Suzuki – living with less stuff

Tamiko is Outreach Coordinator for our very active Environment team. Recently her laneway home was featured on the show Living Big in a Tiny Home with the title “Wabi-Sabi Modern Japanese Inspired Small Home.”

Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdEsVoqbD5s

Read more about Tamiko and her involvement with the Unitarians below.
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Martha Saunders

Martha will be leading the worship service on Sunday, August 4th.

Martha joined UCV in the fall of 2018.

Martha Saunders Ph.D., taught religious studies and women’s studies for many years at Concordia University, Montreal, and at the University of Toronto, specializing in religious and environmental ethics.
Since 1995 she has been one of the long-time leaders of an independent eco-spiritual community in Toronto, called Ruah. This community lives and celebrates a spirituality inspired by the works of Thomas Berry, Brian Swimme, and others, based in love of the earth and exploring what it means to “reinvent the human” (Thomas Berry) in the evolving cosmos. We believe that an Earth-based spirituality must include a spirituality of liberation that challenges us into right relationship with all other creatures.

Kiersten Moore – Herbology Teacher

Kiersten is our Director of Children’s and Youth Religious Exploration. At the 2018) Hogwarts Summer Camp, Kiersten taught the herbology classes. The kids made echinacea tincture as well as exploring the various herbs and “weeds” around the congregation’s grounds that can be used for salves and “potions”.This year’s Herbology adventures will be mainly on the garden path labyrinth where a variety of herbs are there for anyone to pick: lavender, sage, echinacea, various mints, rosemary, yarrow.

Kiersten was Professor of Herbology and head of Hufflepuff House. The picture of Kiersten in the hat and square glasses was when she played the part of Professor McGonagall.
This will be Kiersten’s fourth year as director of the children’s and youth program. She strives to find the Fun with Meaning and directs our children, youth, and family programs with a focus on building community, exploring what it means to be Unitarian, questioning, and developing personal relationships with stillness and wonder.

Hanno Pinder

I became a Unitarian in 1962 in Sarnia, Ontario, then, upon arriving in Vancouver, joined UCV before the move to our present location.

UCV is my spiritual home; our principles and sources seem to fit with the conclusions I have drawn from living a long life. Especially UCVers share my concerns and fears about the present climate catastrophe.I like to think that we as a group can accomplish much more than I could do alone.

Luke, Coraline and Gabriel

Luke and Coraline have been attending UCV since Fall 2016. In 2017, they became members, welcomed their son Gabriel into the world, and were married by Steven Epperson. Luke currently sits on UCV’s Committee on Ministry.

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Mary Bennett

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. (more…)

Coral Heron

I’ve  been interested in labyrinths for a long time. I’ve visited and walked a number of labyrinths in North America including the beautiful San Francisco Grace Cathedral. (more…)

Catherine Stewart

Catherine Stewart, also a member of the Buildings and Grounds Committee and Coffee Service team, is currently having a show of her work at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum at UBC. (more…)