Category: Families

Articles of interest to current and prospective families e.g. Hogwarts summer camp, Mystery pal program, changes to Messy Church, First Sundays etc.

Welcome to Wilderness

Welcome to Wilderness

“Leave it wild” was the motto in 1966 when members of the Unitarian Church purchased land on a river delta on the eastern shores of Kootenay Lake, BC, for family camping.

Wilderness Camp March 2019 Newsletter

Wilderness is open from July 1st to August 31st.  There are no permanent structures, but lots of driftwood for creating temporary shelters for your campsite.  There are both pit and composting toilets (built by volunteers!). There are communication devices for emergency.

The Northwest Wilderness Society of the Unitarian Church is a non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to preserving the property we have as wilderness, and a retreat for its members.  We welcome Unitarians and others who seek a wilderness camp, embrace diversity and hold the earth in high regard.

Phone: (604) 612-2643 or (604) 873-0770 (Canada) 425-867-1781 (USA)

Email: info@kootenaywildernesscamping.org

Web: kootenaywildernesscamping.org

 

For other Unitarian Camps

A new women’s group

 

It all started at a discussion group while at the 4th Annual Women’s Gathering (http://vancouverunitarians.ca/events/annual-womens- gathering/). Two groups have since been created.  Because we want to enrich and empower the lives of women, we are forming a third one.

What will be discussed?  Topics will be selected and facilitated on a rotating basis by participants.

Those participating in the current Women’s Groups have said:

“I am delighted that we are a diverse group in terms of age and experiences. Should broaden my horizons.” – Bev

“I’m somewhat new to Vancouver and want to join a Women’s Group to get support from women. I think it’s important to foster that for myself and for other women.”  – Cayla

“I thought forming a women’s group would present me with an opportunity to meet with others to construct a safe space to address concerns, challenges and tools for empowerment.

Truly, it is through shared experiences and stories that we grow, reflect and expand who we are. In life and in the context of this group we all shift through life through our interactions with others and thus we assume many roles that include: teachers, mentors, students and leaders.” – Naomi

The new group will meet the third Tuesday of the month from 7:00-9:00 pm in the Fireside Room.  First session is September 17th.  Spaces are limited to 12 participants so REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED.  Contact Sheila Resels at sresels@gmail.com if you are interested in participating.

 

 

 

 

Join Climate Action Day at U-Hill Elementary School – May 24th, 2019

From Hanno Pinder, Unitarian Church of Vancouver member

Dear friends,

As you know, I live fairly close to U-Hill Elementary School (located on Chancellor Boulevard), and was invited a couple of weeks ago to walk with the Children of their Nature Club in Pacific Spirit Park.

The club was very well organized, the children were very knowledgeable (ranging from grade 1 to grade 5), and the leader Jen Capell McCutcheon was delightful. I am invited to attend all their future Nature walks, which I will do whenever possible.

Now Jen, who is the president of the parent association of the school, has asked me for support with their plans for May 24th which is Climate Action Day world wide, inspired by Greta Thunberg. All the children from U-Hill Elementary School will walk with posters, noisemakers or instruments in a protest demonstration. They will walk from the school up to the Village on University Boulevard then on past the Book Store to Main Mall and walk down Main Mall. Jen has asked me to help her find as many adults as possible to join and walk with the children to show their support. 

The children will stop their classes at noon and are expected to start marching at 12.15.

I am now asking you to come and support U-Hill Elementary School and their children.

We all know the catastrophic situation we are in by now, and I personally am happy that with this event I can demonstrate my willingness to accept the drastic changes that are required if we want to prevent the worst. As always: The people have to convince their governments, so they will finally do the right thing.

I hope to see many of you on the 24th at noon at the School on Chancellor Boulevard.

Also, if you can, spread the word and bring more friends or neighbours, and let me know that you are coming (hannopinder@gmail.com).

Jen is suggesting that if possible we should wear black, to symbolize the pollution which is ubiquitous.

Until then, Hanno (UCV member)

P.S. Jen is working to involve Norma Rose Point School and U-HillSecondary School as well.

 

Sharing Our Faith grant received for our Hogwarts Summer Camp

Thank you to the Canadian Unitarian Council

I am pleased to announce that our Harry and UU Summer Theatre Camp has received a generous grant in the amount of $3,000 from the Canadian Unitarian Council’s Sharing Our Faith Fund. This grant will help us hire camp staff at a fair compensation rate, provide an excellent student-counsellor ratio, and insure affordability for Vancouver families. Check out our summer camp web page for more details.

Sharing Our Faith

The Sharing Our Faith program provides funds for congregational initiatives which enhance ministry, aid congregational projects and outreach, and enhance the Unitarian Universalist movement in Canada. Once a year, congregations are encouraged to hold a “Sharing Our Faith” worship service focused on the UU faith in Canada, with a special collection for the Sharing Our Faith fund. The fund consists of these monies, often supplemented by a Foundation Fund administered by the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto. The funds are allocated in the form of grants to congregations for growth projects and initiatives.

Your Support

Part of the grant asks for a show of faith from us in supporting our own initiative. You can help families with limited financial resources attend our engaging and unique program by donating to our Campership Fund.

A campership may include before and after care, public transportation, and lunch if requested. Applications will be processed on an ongoing, first-come, first-served basis as long as funds are available. A deposit in good faith of an affordable amount is requested to hold a spot.

Donate to Campership Fund

Donations to our Campership Fund are tax deductible and ensure that all children are able to attend camp with us, regardless of their family’s financial situation. Click the link above to send a secure donation by credit or debit card. Cheque donations to the Unitarian Church of Vancouver with “HP Summer Camp Donation” in the memo can be submitted using the Sunday morning donation envelopes or mailed to:

Unitarian Church of Vancouver
Attn: HP Summer Camp
949 West 49th Ave
Vancouver, BC V5Z 2T1

 

Registration open for Harry and UU Summer Camp!

Another year at Hogwarts

Plans are rolling for a second year at Hogwarts. August 12-16 will see Hewett Centre once again transformed into the Great Hall and Hogwarts classrooms.

Harry and UU summer camp is theatre in action for kids ages 7-12. There are volunteer leadership opportunities for youth ages 13+ with a Red Cross first aid certificate. Visit our Summer Camp page to register now to hold your spot in the 2019 Hogwarts West experience.

This year our social justice focus will centre around water inspired by the national Canadian Unitarian Ripple Effect project. We will identify two local water issues to explore and learn about Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed techniques. The DA Creators will create a theatre as social action piece to fight our Horcrux. It becomes a week of living theatre, social justice, and a unique summer camp experience for Vancouver children and youth. (more…)

What are My Values Anyways?

A group of 14 women, who are members of *UCV’s Women’s Groups, met on Saturday, April 13th, at Hewett Centre to participate in a “Life Values” Workshop. **Sandi Goldie led us through a 3 hour session which defined what values are; how to find our own; what to do with our values; and how to make choices that honour them?

We worked in dyads and looked inward. Discovering one’s values can be somewhat illusive. What do our peak experiences really reveal? What do they tell us about what’s important to us? It was hard work but it paid off.

At the end of the three hours, Ingrid Luters, felt she had discovered “a tool or process to continuously examine, articulate and prioritize [her] value set.”
Jodie Miller, was left with “an opportunity to reflect on what is important to me and others.”
And, Cathy Sevcik, felt the session had helped her “clarify what is important” in her life. This insight allowed her to see that she “needs to focus on those things.”*

It was an inspiring, enlightening session. One which brought us each a step or two closer to making choices that honour our values. A path forward.

Written by Sheila Resels – Contact Person for UCV Women’s Groups.

*A (new) Third Women’s Group will be starting in September, meeting the 3rd Tues of the month, 7:00-9:00 pm. Please contact Sheila Resels at sresels@gmail.com for further information. Registration is required.

**Sandi Goldie, has a Master’s in Education, and a 40 year career as an elementary teacher.  She is certified with the Coach Training Institute and is a certified facilitator of Brené Brown. She is writing a book on women and men’s groups.

May Days – Take a staycation this weekend at UCV

Celebrate May Days – Keep this list!

UCV has many celebrations lined up to celebrate the coming of the May! You can plan a staycation and hang out at our campus for most of the weekend! And the weather report has changed from 60% chance of rain to “sunny”. (May the 4th be with us indeed!)

  • Fri. May 3 – 6:30 pm – Potluck and Film Screening “She’s a Boy I Knew” – all welcome. (sponsor: UCV Genders & Sexualities Alliance)
  • Sat. May 4 – 1-5 pm World Labyrinth Day & Jane’s Walk VancouverWalk as One at One – painting/colouring the plants on the labyrinth (pastels, crayons and paper provided).
    • Tara Bonham plays her harp on the labyrinth at 2:30 pm
    • Wish Tree and Flower Crowns 4 – 5:30 pm
  • Sat. May 4 – 5 – 8 pm Messy Church potluck dinner
  • Sun. May 5 – 10:30-11 and 12-12:30 pm Maypole dancing before and after the service in the courtyard
  • Sun. May 5 – 12 – 1:30 pm Mexican Taco lunch by Environment and Refugee committees
  • Sun. May 5 – 2 – 3:30 pm Maypole dancing with instruction
  • Sun. May 5 7:30 pm – Donna’s Favorites Choir Concert $20 or pwyc
  • Tues. May 7 – 6 pm Beltane/May Day Earth Spirit Circle – Make flower garlands with Mairy Beam
  • Tues. May 7 – 7-9 pm Maypole Dancing with the Circle Dance group, coordinated by Mary Bennett

All events are on the web with additional details. http://vancouverunitarians.ca/eventlist

Family Plots Available for Veggie Gardening

There are three and could be six small plots available for UCV familes to plant a small vegetable garden. Each plot is about 38″ square–a manageable size!

Mary Bennett is available to encourage and mentor on an ad hoc basis including at Messy Church nights or immediately after Sunday service.

Contact Mary if your family would like to have a plot for vegetable gardening.

Now is the time to plant peas and lettuce!

The vegetable garden is on the north side of Hewett Centre.

New plots will need a bit of time to get going. The three that were assigned last year are ready for planting.

 

Mystery Pals – They’re Back!

Make a Friend at Church

Back after an amazing 2018 launch: create connections across generations!

The mystery only lasts a little while, but the friendship can be much longer.

Sign-up to be a Pal to someone older or younger than yourself—we would love to have everyone involved and will match any pair from different generations (roughly 20 years apart). To facilitate anonymity, each pair will be identified by a Canadian Civil Rights Activist  with a corresponding “mailbox” envelope in the Hewett Centre Hall.

Celebrate May 5th after the service with a Mystery Reveal Party.

(more…)

Kiersten’s Blog: Smiles Build Community

How do we welcome children and youth?

by Kiersten Moore

We have vibrant children’s programs going on at that are engaging for families and should be continued in one form or another. Truth, Healing, and Reconciliation; Coming of Age; Our Whole Lives; Cosmology explorations; Spirit Play, garden time, etc., as well as peer community building among our children and youth. But what draws the most families in attendance are our special events: the ancestor shrine, pageants, wassail, everybody’s birthday, the services with children directly involved, and ritual celebrations.

The number of children who come to the children’s program on Sunday regularly has increased this year and involves 11 to 12 families, 21 children. However, we serve 50 to 60 children over the course of a year, including visitors; those who attend off and on; and members whose children do not connect with “Sunday School”. For every child who engages with our Sunday morning program, there are two for whom it doesn’t work either for them or their family as a whole. How do we serve these families?

It’s been hard to retain young people into the high school years and beyond in the absence of direct peer friendships. This is partly due to intense scheduling and many demands on teens and parents. I maintain that the absence of teens in our pews demonstrates youth do not feel connected to our services, that they haven’t found a place within adult worship or the larger congregation. Even when youth group is strong, few youths have come to worship at 11 am, even though that time was set specifically with teens in mind back in 2005, and youth group meets after lunch. How do we engage more fully with our youth and young adults?

We engage our young people best by establishing whole congregation worship from an early age. Connie Goodbread, congregational life staff of the Unitarian Universalist Association Southern Region, says, “Unitarian Universalism is all we teach. The congregation is the curriculum.”

Children learn by doing and by observing from a very young age.
If we do not include children fully within our worship services we implicitly teach them that worship in the sanctuary is not for them, at least not past the first 10 or 15 minutes. If their only place of belonging is the Religious Exploration gatherings, how can we expect them to come back after they graduate? What do they have to come back for?”

The biggest challenge to engaging children and adults in faith topics at the same time is the culture shift required to make it happen successfully. It takes work and commitment. There are many examples of UU congregations and other denominations worshipping all together that we can draw from.

Enjoying some aspects of worship more than others is tied to the person, not the age.
There are adults for whom the sermon topic makes their decision on which Sundays to attend, but it is important to acknowledge that we have adult members in our congregation who do not come for the sermon, but are fulfilled each Sunday by other aspects of worship. The sermon is not the be-all and end-all to worship.

Some children love music and singing; others the story or the chalice lighting.

Some children like silent meditation, others are bored by it—this is the same for adults. We teach how to be in the sanctuary together by modeling, by quietly answering children’s questions, and by quietly drawing their attention to the rituals and interpreting what people are saying. We teach them they are valued by accepting their child noises as they learn to be in community.

I see three areas to concentrate on improving:

There are worship design considerations.

Designing worship for multiple intelligences (language, aesthetic, interpersonal, kinesthetic, etc.) helps many people of all ages connect with the aspects of worship that speak to them the most.
We should always strive to make our sermons and whole worship accessible. When we design good worship aimed at engaging a diversity of people—even if they aren’t currently in our pews—we end up with worship for a diversity of ages, abilities, backgrounds, and personalities. We move closer to the beloved community we want to be.

There are physical space issues to address when welcoming whole families to be together in worship.

We want to make it easy and welcoming for both parents and children. This means addressing seating, pews, floor seating, and safe, inviting space for young children to wiggle.
Children will be most engaged when at the front of the sanctuary, right in with the action, where they can see more than the back of our pews and heads; where their need for some movement is accommodated.

There are expectation issues.

Many of us have a personal expectation of comfort free from distraction. This expectation comes from a place of privilege. Why is a child talking more disturbing than an adult’s cough or sneeze? They’re close to the same volume.We must develop an expectation to welcome and support children and parents.

Rabbi Menachem Creditor stated to his synagogue when concerns about child noise were raised: “A sanctuary is not a sanctuary from children. It is a sanctuary we’ve built for our children, and their children after them.” As a parent I personally find managing my toddler’s behavior in worship involves distinct levels of stress depending on whether people around us are frowning or smiling. Imagine which facial expressions put a parent at ease and which encourage them to leave. Smiles build community.

I encourage you to read more on this subject from Kim Sweeney, the author of The Death of Sunday School and the Future of Faith Formation, who has a very thorough list of resources on Whole Congregation Worship at her website: www.courageousfaithconsulting.org

Worshipping together does take work and intention, I hope we are up for the challenge!

If Sunday School isn’t for everyone … What is?