Holidays and Traditions
Holiday celebrations in Unitarian and Universalist congregations reflect the six Sources of our faith.
Our holiday services use the stories and traditions creatively, calling us to our deeper humanity and our commitment to the common good.
In addition to religious holidays, we often also honour secular or cultural holidays such as Earth Day, Labour Day, Pride and Thanksgiving.
Check out our Upcoming Services for more information about services in the month ahead.
Our calendar of worship service traditions
For each section, we’ve featured one service on that topic. From there you can find other services of a similar topic.
Our ingathering service includes a water communion. We each bring water from a special place we have been over the summer and share it into a large communal bowl.
This is usually the first Sunday back for our parish minister after leave for vacation and professional development.
- Oct 9 2011 – Thanksgiving, Our Elders (9.5 MiB)
United Nations Sunday
- Nov 3 2013 – UN Sunday And The Gibbard Award (11.4 MiB)
- 24 Oct 2010 – When Canada Says No To The UN (31.4 KiB)
Samhain / Hallowe’en
Encountering our ancestors
The Sunday closest to Samhain/Hallowe’en, Rev. Epperson writes a series of five monologues for notable Unitarians or Universalists (or UU’s) from the past. Members of the congregation are cast in the roles.
- Oct 30 2016 – Encountering Our Ancestors XII (17.6 MiB)
- Oct 27 2013 – Encountering Our Ancestors IX (16.6 MiB)
On the Sunday closest to Remembrance (November 11), we engage in looking at peace and war and memory.
Rev. Epperson has preached a sermon on science and its insights that challenge and nourish our religion for the first Sunday in Advent.
- 1 Dec 2013 – The Advent Of Us – How We Became Human (116.3 KiB)
Advent Choir Concert
The Chalice Choir offers a concert, often on the evening of the first Sunday in advent.
An evening service of candles, readings and songs.
- Dec 18, 2016 Members of the Congregation, Dr. Steven Epperson Candlelight Service – 7:30 pm
- 15 Dec 2013 – Lighting A Candle In The Darkness (105.2 KiB)
Yule, Winter Solstice
Members often invite visiting family to join us and the wider community for an evening of carol-singing and readings.
- Dec 24, 2016 Elliot Dainow, Dr. Steven Epperson Christmas Eve Celebration – 7 pm
- 24 Dec 2013 – Christmas Eve (161.4 KiB)
A pageant with a Unitarian twist. Many years our annual pageant has been written to members of the congregation or our minister.
Christmas Day potluck and sing along
On Christmas Day, we host a dinner and a carol sing-along. Usually starts around 1 pm.
In late December or early January we fire up the cauldron and invite people to symbolically add to the burning cauldron what they are letting go of from the past year.
- 28 Dec 2008 – Let It Go! – Mary Bennett (22.2 KiB)
- 6 Jan 2008 – A Secular Epiphany (31.0 KiB)
Tu b’shevat – Tree Celebration
- 5 Feb 2012 – The Wisdom And Beauty Of Trees (146.5 KiB)
International Women’s Day
Ostara/ Spring Equinox
- April 07 2013 – Nurturing Creative Instinct (13.1 MiB)
During April we often celebrate the poets among us and the poets who have inspired us.
Often the Sunday service for Easter involves our children in presenting a story of transformation or redemption. The children’s program creates activities for our children to participate in some of the secular traditions including an Easter egg hunt.
Our Environment committee shares an Earth Day service often with an invited guest speaker.
May Day / Beltane
Mothers’ Day and Flower communion
On Mothers’ Day, we all bring a flower to add to a shared bouquet and go home with a different flower. The children enjoy sorting and delivering the flowers.
- May 14 – Mothers Day 2017 (361.0 KiB)
Link to this sermon by Diane Rollert: http://www.ucmtl.ca/sermons/2017/6/11/the-flower-communion-95-years-later
Looking at the role of fathers in our families and the world.
- June 18 – Fathers Day 2017 (380.7 KiB)
In June we acknowledge all those who support the work of the congregation in the many volunteer roles in the congregation. Our Director of Religious Education acknowledges the teachers and advisors in our religious education program.
July – August
Our parish minister is on vacation and professional development leave for July and August. Our worship services committee coordinates an interesting array of services by congregational members, visiting ministers and invited guests.
- 15 Jul 2012 – Proud To Be An Ally (8.3 MiB)
A selection of past services by our members:
- Aug 11 2013 – Gratitude – What, Why, And How (9.1 MiB)
- 14 August 2016 – Looking Again At End Of Life – Jane Slemon (134.2 KiB)
- 21 August 2016 – The Curve Of Time – Geoff Gomery (147.1 KiB)Oc
Summer services by visiting ministers and seminary students
- Jul 10 2016 – Rosemary Morrison – Reverence And Revelry (9.8 MiB)
- Jul 3 2016 – Meg Roberts – How Can I Not Feel Like That Again (5.3 MiB)
Services by our Children and Youth Program
As well as children’s pageants, our youth group often offers a worship service.