A Glimpse of UCV’s 2021 Women’s Gathering

A fourth and even a fifth wave of feminism, you say?  Really?  Yes. I was surprised to discover this too.

I’ve recently attended UCV’s ‘Women’s Gathering’, and listened to Jo-Anne Elder Gomes present on the first, second, third, and fourth waves of feminism from 1890 and ongoing.  These waves have progressed from women’s right to vote, to earn, to dignity, and to a voice.  The fifth wave, which is a multi-dimensional movement, recognizes that feminism belongs to us all — regardless of color, religion, age, gender or nationality.

Thirty of us had attended this spectacular Gathering.  We were the fortunate ones who squeaked in, due to the Covid’s 30-person limit.  We ranged in age from 15 to our 70’s.

Rev Lara set the tone with opening words by Starhawk (an American feminist and author):

“We are all longing to go home to some place we have never been — a place half-remembered and half-envisioned we can only catch glimpses of from time to time. Community. Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in our throats. Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power… Someplace where we can be free.”

And, the poem ‘Progress’ by Rupi Kaur an Indian-born Canadian poet.

our work should equip

the next generation of women

to outdo us in every field

this is the legacy we’ll leave behind

We were then treated to three workshops on “The Four Waves of Feminism” (by Jo-Anne Elder Gomes); UCV’s Women’s Groups (presented by Mary Bennett, Shirley Brunke, Jennifer Fell, Carol Knicely Guilbaut, Sheila Resels, Juliet Shenher); and the closing Prose Writing Reading with its general theme of death and remembrance, facilitated by Maggie de Vries with writings by Jane Slemon (read by Katherine Roback), Dianne Dilts, Leta Goldwyn, Paula Vander, Eva Allan and Mary Bennett.

The dinner time break-out groups included Circle Dancing (led by Mairy Beam); and Meena Wong’s Q & A discussion on IBPOC and the 8th Principle.

This abundance of stimulation left us with immeasurable reflections, ideas, and gratitude.

Emphatic appreciation is illustrated by some of the comments of those who attended:

… I give my heartfelt THANKS to the Team for the huge splash of organizing, bringing community and creating a day to celebrate women.  

I loved seeing young women present. 

I’ve never participated in a women’s retreat like that before and it was really enjoyable, challenging, supportive, engaging…. I’m not a Unitarian but I am definitely Unitarian Friendly! What a marvellous inclusive place you all have created. 

…thanks to Jo-Anne (Elder-Gomes of Canadian UU Women’s Association) for her blessings of the 5th Wave and reminding us of progress that has been made over the decades by so many brave women.

I enjoyed hearing about the women’s groups from past decades.  Quite amazing how many different kinds of groups there are at UCV.  https://vancouverunitarians.ca/community/connecting/womens-groups/

…(Jane’s poem) was profoundly moving for me and judging by the energy in the room when Katherine read it, for all of us.  Maggie’s presence felt not only supportive but also deepened a sense of our Temenos, our sacred gathering.   

I concur with them all.

Sheila Resels


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