UCV has made a donation of $12,000 to the Broadway Youth Resource Centre (BYRC) towards a food security program with grants received from Vancouver Foundation’s Robert and Anna Koerner Foundation Community Fund. BYRC is a one-stop youth space that provides a wide range of social, health, education, employment, and life skills services to youth. The food security program focuses on food justice and food security for youth, in particular in the East Vancouver area. It will offer Fresh Food Kits that include produce, dairy, and proteins to youth and families, weekly Food Kits that include non-perishable food items and pantry goods, as well as hot meals for youth available on a drop-in basis during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also gives youth the opportunity to develop cooking skills, to learn about how to grocery shop on a budget and how to access more sustainable sources of food including community gardens, food co-ops and food hubs.
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Our Youth are very busy this year, many of you will have heard directly from them this past Sunday. This amazing, resilient, group of young people continue to meet for two hours each Sunday and run a Dungeons and Dragons campaign on Wednesday nights.
Children and Youth RE Fall Update
by Kiersten E. Moore
What are UCV kids doing with Social and Environmental Justice?
Justice work is integral to Unitarian Universalism; for many of us justice work—whether social or environmental—is spiritual work. When we take a good look at living the seven principles, we find that they call us to act for justice, equity, compassion, and democracy and we are called to take interdependence seriously.
We bring these values of justice, equity, compassion, and democracy into our children and youth programs through stories, games, activities, discussion, and outdoor explorations. Our upper elementary students worked with the CUC’s Truth, Healing, and Reconciliation Reflection Guide last year. We are looking for more opportunities to build relationship and learn about our indigenous neighbors. The Harry and UU Summer Theatre camp group chose to focus on “Waste” as the Horcrux (societal ill) they would fight, and we brought the Zero Waste Challenge to class in October under the theme of “Abundance.” We are continuing the challenge this month with “Courage.”
The UCV Youth Group is currently exploring a focus for an Environmental Justice action project. Zero Waste and fighting the pipeline expansion are top of their list. Stay tuned for more information from our Youth!
Justice Work Philosophy
My philosophy regarding doing social justice with children and youth is evolving. Sometimes we adults have a passion to bring knowledge and awareness of big issues to our kids; we want to make sure they are culturally, socially, and environmentally aware. I certainly have had this tendency with my own kids. However, I have recently noticed a sense of overwhelm in some of our middle elementary students. There’s a tendency to joke about wrecking the world which seems to be defensive humour in the face of very real problems. Adults are failing to protect the world, how are kids supposed to help? Why should they take on that burden? Where is the hope?
Erin Leckie, from Be the Change, sent me a 1998 article from Yes! Magazine by David Soebel after I talked to her about kids and hope. I was inspired by Mr. Soebel’s perspective. He has important points to keep in mind as we feel excitement around bringing justice work into our programming with children and youth.
What Shapes an Activist?
“If we prematurely ask children to deal with problems beyond their understanding and control, then I think we cut them off from the possible sources of their strength.”
“… there are healthy ways to foster environmentally aware, empowered students. One way to find the answer is to figure out what contributes to the development of environmental values in adults. What happened in the childhoods of environmentalists to make them grow up with strong ecological values? A handful of studies like this have been conducted, and when Louise Chawla of Kentucky State University reviewed them for her article, “Children’s Concern for the Natural Environment” in Children’s Environment Quarterly, she found a striking pattern. Most environmentalists attributed their commitment to a combination of two sources: “many hours spent outdoors in a keenly remembered wild or semi-wild place in childhood or adolescence, and an adult who taught respect for nature.” Not one of the conservationists surveyed explained his or her dedication as a reaction against exposure to an ugly environment.
What a simple solution. No rainforest curriculum, no environmental action, just opportunities to be in the natural world with modeling by a responsible adult.” –David Soebel, 1998 YES! Magazine
My takeaway goals for social and environmental justice with children and youth are:
- Early Childhood: foster awe, wonder, and connection with the natural world/real people
- Middle Childhood: Explore wider–neighborhood, city, learn about the world/people
- Early Adolescence and up: Take initiative for Social Action–saving the world
Within this outline, any idea for action that a child brings up independently is worth exploring and supporting. We believe in our ideas and act on them, that is our 5th principle after all!
Director of Religious Exploration with Children and Youth
Vancouver Unitarians have donated $12,000 to the Broadway Youth Resource Center towards a Food Security program for youth and their families. The funds donated come from grants received from Vancouver Foundation’s Robert and Anna Koerner Foundation Community Fund. Here is a little more about BYRC and their work:
- Mary Bennett
Like many in the congregation I’ve been a big fan of the Encountering Our Ancestors worship services that Rev. Steven Epperson researched, wrote and directed over many years.
It was a very rich experience for me to research Dr. Sheilah Thompson’s “life and times” and share in the 2020 service.
Ever since Steven announced his retirement I’ve wanted to get a group together to continue learning together about our Unitarian, Universalist and Unitarian-Universalist ancestors and to carry on this tradition. This offering was a unique one from Steven who was a historian, as well as a minister and was adept at writing scripts. If we happened to get a minister who wanted to be involved, well, that would be great, but imho unlikely.
There are many options for how the “performance” part would be presented in future–in collaboration with the minister and worship service. The research, writing and learning would be put to good use whatever form is decided on for the sharing with the congregation.
Steven gifted us with his significant and substantial work and it may be that over time, we would find the resources to organize, copy-edit, publish his work, perhaps with additional materials by UCV members and youth. Perhaps even to video-record performances to share with other UUs and congregations.
I envision us meeting (whether in person, video conference or just an email exchange) monthly over the coming year. We would start out very organically by sharing our interests and being very flexible about participation and contributions. For instance, some people may be interested in the role of being cast as a performer to deliver a script written by someone else; others may be interested in doing research. Many possible roles are possible.
Even though other than the actors, Steven did all the rest himself, I think we need a team. As an educator and lifelong learner I also want to make it explicit that a key outcome is the learning along the way. While the focus of the Encountering our Ancestors service might provide a goal, I believe there will be many conversations along the way that will be rich within themselves.
Does this sound interesting to you or your family or Coming of Age pair?
For now I am “calling the circle” as a first step in creating a UU Multigen History Club.
Note the Coming of Age journal includes lists of Unitarian, Universalist and Unitarian Universalist ancestors. We could start exploring that list and seeing how many of those people already have a script created by Steven.
We might as part of a video-conference do readings to share with each other. Costumes and wigs encouraged but not required.
I’m hoping we can continue the discussion on a SLACK workspace.
Here’s a link to a questionnaire on our Breeze database to gauge interest.
Or just send me an email telling me more about your interest: why you’re interested and, if you know already, what aspects of creation are likely t be the focus of your contributions.
Here’s a link about documentary theatre, that you may find of interest.
To This I Give My Heart: Coming of Age Orientation
One mentor’s perspective
by Mary Bennett
Seven mentors and seven youth (mentees) gathered in Hewett Centre on Sunday, September 20th, most in person and another 4 via zoom, to begin a year-long journey of getting to know each other. Olivia Hall, youth coordinator, and Kiersten Moore, DRE, facilitated an evening of games and conversations, some one-on-one and some in the whole group. The photo shows us playing “All my friends and neighbours…”
We had a couple of introductory exercises, the first included: what pet would you have if you could have any pet at all (including imaginary ones). Responses included elephants, monkeys, octopuses as well as dogs and cats and one person said, “No thanks. I don’t want a pet.”
Then we paired off with our partner and were asked to come up with the one thing we would choose if we got to name something to help save humanity. I expect other pairs had the same kind of free-ranging conversation that my partner and I had. The final results were intriguing: phytoplankton; the internet, Steven Spielberg’s computer, fresh air… What would you choose? Get ready for the zombie apocalypse now in case you’re asked..
Each pair will meet on their own once a month. As well as having a bit of fun together, our mission is to work through the Coming of Age journals* we were given.
When asked to share what we hoped to get from the program, there were responses of friendship and learning. After the broad concepts, one mentor said, I just want to get to know my mentee better. The mentee beamed.
While leaving the hall, a friend said to me: “Who’s the mentor and who’s the mentee? These young folx are so interesting and interested, the hardest part for us adults may be to keep up.”
For myself, I see my role as being a bridge between our religion and this one young person. I’m looking forward to exploring our history especially as my mentee is interested in history.
Often the young people write their own Credo (statement of belief) and may present to the congregation. If my mentee chooses to do this, I can be a coach and/or cheerleader. Speaking to the congregation, I believe, is an honour and a challenge, an opportunity I have personally appreciated very much and grown from.
Next month, there might be a post by another participant, or a pair, from this program so you can have a glimpse about how it evolves.
- If you’re interested in the journal we’re using, you can find it here: https://www.uuabookstore.org/To-This-I-Give-My-Heart-P18121.aspx
The Hogwarts Camp was a great success this year. We asked participants to let us know what their favorite parts were and how they enjoyed it so it could be shared with the whole congregation! Below is a detailed account of the fun from one of the members. If you are interested in helping volunteer with Youth programming, please check out the CYRE volunteer information page.
I think that this was my favourite Harry Potter camp yet. My favourite parts were the Quidditch matches. I was the commentator for Quidditch, which was fun. My brother enjoyed it too, especially how the leaders let the kids choose some of their own activities. We had two groups, Dumbledore’s Army Creators, and Dumbledore’s Army Explorers. We created a newspaper called the Daily Prophet (I was a reporter!) and also a movie, which is being edited right now. There were lots of familiar kids and also a few new ones. The leaders were kind and funny and energetic. I had a great time 🙂
– Benjamin Malcolm, daily prophet chief reporter, age 9
Some of you have asked about the poems I read for Steven’s final service, so here they are in print.
As some have remarked, it’s ironic that the poem of welcome from 2002 seems more complete now in 2020 when Steven has departed. Only now do we feel how fully welcome he was and is.
In my poem of farewell, I was reflecting on the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part, and the transience of all that we know, including Steven’s time with us, and I wanted to pay tribute to Steven’s annual sermons on science, which ranged from microscopic to galactic in their perspective. So Unitarian in their outlook! I had recently been reading about gamma ray bursts, one received reportedly from a source 12.8 billion light years away from earth, and so the oldest phenomenon humans have detected so far.
A long and interesting journey indeed! The great miracle, the great mystery of which we are a living part, and to which Steven helped us bear witness.
I wrote a second poem of farewell for Steven, too, which may be part of the printed package that was given to him. It’s a bit more complicated so I didn’t read it for the farewell service, but I may post it here sometime in the future. It’s a discussion of farewell, so long, and goodbye and has a particular slant on why “g’b’y” might be the right thing for us to say to Steven, which is what I said at the end of this farewell poem– “G’b’y Steven!”
(The featured image is a detail from a 1989 artwork by long-time UCV member, the late Daphne Naegele, titled “Many suns do not penetrate the darkness”.)
A poem of welcome
on the occasion of Reverend Doctor Steven Epperson’s installation as Parish Minister at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver, 13 October 2002.
The welcome we give today is not the welcome we will give tomorrow
for the Guest tomorrow will be known more deeply
and our welcome will be more complete.
Each day our welcome will be larger
and deeper than the day before
and never finished in its giving.
A poem of farewell
on the occasion of Reverend Doctor Steven Epperson’s departure as Parish Minister from the Unitarian Church of Vancouver, 21 June 2020.
Our time together
has reached its end.
Cosmos has shifted
and still does just what it wants
and still incorporates us.
And if comets or gamma-ray bursts
had eyes and poetic sensibilities,
what would they tell us
about their long and
This is of particular note to Unitarian/UU youth entering grades 6-12, their parents, and advisors. We want your input!
Unitarian youth in BC have historically been very connected to the UU youth in the Pacific Northwest Region of the United States. Although there is an international border, geographically we are much closer to the many congregations in Washington and Oregon than we are to the rest of Canada; there are also enough of them to create some truly wonderful programs. We go to their Cons, youth leadership schools, and family camps.
This April there were two Virtual Cons held by the Pacific Northwest district (Washington/Oregon/etc.) and the Mountain district (Montana/Colorado/etc.). The youth and adult staff worked very hard and creatively and both Cons were well received with positive feedback. Since all in-person gatherings of UU’s have been cancelled for the summer, Pacific Western Regional staff (PWR) are working to create a week of Virtual gathering/learning/playing/celebrating online this summer. These Cons, and leadership camps are transformative and uplifting spaces to gather in as Unitarian youth, and I encourage our BC youth to participate if you can.
All youth, parents, and youth advisors interested in PWR’s youth summer virtual adventure are invited to fill out this form to help inform planning–and to be kept informed.
Happy (Virtual) Trails!
Are you interested in connecting with other young adult (18-35 year old) Unitarian Universalists? Gathered Here is a monthly 75-minute online check-in and gathering that will give you a chance to meet other UU young adults and experience the warmth of our national community.
2nd Monday @ 5pm on Zoom
Join other UU 18-35 year olds on Zoom (a video-conferencing platform) for the sharing of joys and concerns, deeper check-ins, prayerful reflections, and an opportunity to process current events with a spiritually grounded community. Gathered Here generally takes place on the second Monday evening of each month at 5pm Pacific/ 6pm Mountain/ 7pm Central/ 8pm Eastern/ 9pm Atlantic. It’s a free drop-in gathering, so no advance registration is necessary. Search “Gathered Here” on the CUC website or on Facebook to find upcoming dates and login instructions.
Our congregation supported this year-long project
Canadian Unitarian Council Youth and Young Adult Ministry page
UU Young Adults in Vancouver
Closed Group (You can ask to join)
UU Young Adult Connections
Closed Group (You can ask to join)
A continental group only for those between 18 and 35
There are a lot of UU young adults* wandering the continent but it’s easy for us to feel isolated. This group is here to combat that feeling and connect us to each other. Feel free to share events and information, ask questions, and invite other young adults you know. THIS GROUP IS INDEPENDENT OF THE UUA. *The UUA defines young adults as people between the ages of 18-35. If you are younger than 18 or older than 35, this is not the group for you. Note: We also welcome anyone who identifies as a U/U (Unitarian or Universalist) rather than as a UU.
1) By text:
Just text @cucya to (502) 694-1142 and you will be signed up for reminders. You should receive a confirmation from Remind right away.
Visit rmd.at/cucya to sign up for text, smartphone notifications and/or email reminders. By creating an account, you can change your settings or unsubscribe at any time.
* Remind was designed for classrooms, so you’ll get a prompt asking whether you’re a teacher, student, parent, etc. Just choose “student” to move to the next page.
3) By email:
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and request to be added to the reminder group. Please include your cell phone number in the message.
Additionally, you can always check in on what events are coming up for young adults atwww.cuc.ca/community/