Kiersten is currently on a well-deserved break. As she puts it, “I’ve put down every ball I had up in the air.”
So here are some ideas and invitations to be part of our various programs forkids, youth and families. And first a chalice lighting for this month:
May the light of this chalice, spark our imaginations.
May it lead us back to the stories and characters
that romp and roam the corridors of our minds.
In the warmth of this chalice, may we remember again
how thankful we are to have others who love us,
and guide and accompany us, as our own stories unfold.
The Soul Matters theme for January is Imagination — so watch out! or better still, dive in!
If you’d like to receive the package for families, please let Kiersten know.
December saw a flurry of activities in the kids, youth and family programs.
The highlight might have been the Winter Solstice play. The kids tell me the hardest part was the two minutes of sitting silently.
For me, that was also the most moving part.
Kiersten did an amazing job of writing, casting and directing.
As well, though programs on zoom happened regularly coordinated by Olivia, our youth coordinator, volunteers including Mairy and Nan and the Tween ukulele group with Donna Brown.
UCV and our young people are always a fount of imagination. What could possibly happen when we actually focus our attention on that theme for the whole month?
Can you imagine yourself as part of the extensive team who plan, facilitate or support programs for our kids and families?
I’ve taken on a role to assist with communications and especially multigenerational activities and I can tell you it’s very nourishing and Kiersten is a dream to work with. It’s a sincere pleasure to support her and therefore support our families and the broader congregation.
For a list of kids, youth and family programs with contact and date/time, click here.
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!
There are some good reasons for using the DuckDuckGo search engine and even for making it the default search engine on your browser so you can just type search terms right into the location bar (address bar) at the top of your screen.
This post goes into just one reason: the bang command. If you click on that link and then scroll down, you can see why bang commands are useful.
The bang commands in this post link to their results so you don’t have to type them into your browser to try them out. Just click on them.
!ucvprinciplesforkids / for grownups too (see link in item found) !ucv small groups / where everyone has a voice and is heard !ucv vision statement / !g “… exactly what it says on the tin”
Those examples used the new bang command !ucv
/ (given nothing to search for on a website, a bang command displays the home page)
Even if you don’t make DuckDuckGo the default search engine on your browser, you can maybe still use it in the browser search box. This is usually to the right of the location bar (address bar) at the top of your screen, as it is in Firefox. Click on the dropdown symbol – if there is one in the search box – and select a miniature version of the featured image in this post after you have typed the search term.
Covid restrictions at UCV and elsewhere are lifting and more and more of us are fully vaccinated, so summertime is a great time to connect with your mystery pal (or coming of age partner). If you need help with contact information, let us know.
There’s a lot of enthusiasm for an early fall Pal meetup at UCV so SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, September 18 from 4 to 5:30 pm. All pals are invited to an autumn “Pal Party”. We’ll harvest, munch, play and walk and run or even dance on the labyrinth. Possibly this will be the first annual fall Pal Party. Unitarian traditions come easily.
With the needed covid adaptations, we went ahead with our Mystery Pal program this year to connect up people from different generations. Indeed we had the largest group ever: Fourteen pairs participated. Most were kids matched with an adult, but we had a couple of younger adults matched with older and two kids under 14 matched together!
Most chose snail mail which came to UCV and then was forwarded. Hence, the usual four-week program became eight to allow for postal forwarding. Other pairs chose to send email through a volunteer.
To offer assistance, we included artist trading card (“ATC”) materials for those who wanted to create art to share–and many did!
If you were a pal or parent of a pal and haven’t yet completed our feedback form, we’d really appreciate it: https://forms.gle/pG2aJoJ4c3yZoaf57You can RSVP for September 18th there as well.
As time went on, our hopes for a big spring reveal party were dashed by covid restrictions, so individual pairs and small groups have been meeting up in parks or at UCV. Here’s a poem and some photos.
Being a mystery pal was as fun as it was exciting,
To exchange letters had me antsy to keep writing.
I loved learning more and more about my mystery friend
I could hardly wait for my fresh letter to send.
I am grateful to have had this opportunity
To engage so intimately with someone in my UCV community.
To feel the paper, read the words sent to me by my pal
Was something so wonderful forever treasure I shall.
I hope others in the future engage in this wonderful treat
For it’s rare to get the chance to learn about others at UCV you meet.
It was exciting to think about and plan what to say and write
Oh my watch my grammar, serendipitous did I spell it right?
I learned letter by letter about my special pal and their likes
That included leaves and stickers, dolphins and hikes.
I can now certainly attest to how great it is to have a mystery pal
It was my first time and certainly a boost to my morale.
I will be back and ready to write, draw, paint and send
What a great way for a lonely day or weary heart to mend.
For this mystery pal exchange is a real treat for the young and young at heart
And made me feel special and that to UCV’s community I really am a part.
Artist to Artist Mystery Pals
We try to match up pals with something in common: Paula is an artist and loved her exchanges with her artist pal.
Here’s what she says:
Who couldn’t use an emergency packet of confetti?
My last package included a great picture of a unicorn with very long legs and a long neck and a little horn, a thin long multi-coloured banner announcing I LOVE PURPLE, a bracelet made of beads and pipe cleaners and (best of all) a custom packet of homemade confetti. On the outside it said I LOVE MAKING THINGS. IN FACT I AM AN ARTIST.
Who couldn’t use an emergency packet of confetti? They are little bundles of joy coming coming through the post and it just makes my day when I receive one 🙂
Their pair had the codename “Wolfgang Gerson” and it accidentally led Paula to exploring the theme of home/buildings and a connection with a student and friend of Wolfgang Gerson’s, the architect of our buildings.
Charlotte and Eva and Mr. and Mrs. Chickadee’s Adventures
I really enjoyed reading the story complete with an illustration of two birds named: Mr. & Mrs. Chickadee who are discussing where to build their nest to start their family made by Eva who is trying to encourage Mr. & Mrs. Chickadee to not peck holes in the house wooden siding for their nest.
It was lots of fun receiving Eva’s letters AND meeting her in person!
Panda in the Sun by Charlotte
Are you interested in learning more about this program?
UCV spent four years carefully researching redevelopment options for our property and seeking input from congregants before deciding through our democratic vote at the November 2020 AGM to not proceed with any property redevelopment at this time. The Redevelopment Committee and the Board took many steps to ensure a fair and inclusive process. Along the way there were passionate expressions and inevitable questions and concerns, along with appreciations of the efforts and care taken by those involved.
Following this AGM vote to not proceed with redevelopment, the Board asked the Ministerial Transition Team (MTT) to create a task force to gather input about this long and complex process and to prepare a report with recommendations for future decision-making. The Decision-Making Task Force (DMTF) was launched in January 2021. The DMTF will also look at how well the congregation followed our established Covenant of Healthy Relations during this lengthy process and make recommendations about how we can make this Covenant a living document.
The members of the Task Force want to hear from you if you have specific concerns or kudos about the redevelopment decision-making process (not about the result of the actual vote). By process we include the actions of the Redevelopment Committee, the Board, other committees, the congregation at large, and any others who may have had some influence. For example, what were the strengths of the process? Were there aspects that were concerning or not clear enough, and/or areas requiring more support? What lessons can we learn from this experience to apply in future high-stakes decision-making processes at UCV?
Above: Massive tree stump after a clearcut in the Caycuse watershed
Eulogy for Ancient Trees
It was truly an incredible and unique grove. I was stunned by the sheer number of monumental red cedars, one after another, on this gentle mountain slope — TJ Watt
The Caycuse watershed — located southwest of Cowichan Lake, and east of Nitinat Lake, in the traditional territory of the Ditidaht First Nation — hosts some of the grandest forests on southern Vancouver Island.
In April 2020, photographer TJ Watt documented an ancient grove in the Caycuse watershed. He returned later that year to photograph the same area after the clearcut.
“It was truly an incredible and unique grove. I was stunned by the sheer number of monumental red cedars, one after another, on this gentle mountain slope,” said Watt.
“Giant cedars like these have immense ecological value, particularly as wildlife habitat, and important tourism and First Nations cultural value,” he continued.
“Yet the BC government continues to allow irreplaceable, centuries-old trees to be high-graded for short-term gain.”
Above: Roads are being built into the old growth forest adjacent to the clearcut near Haddon Creek in the Caycuse watershed
BC government’s “new approach” to old‑growth management gets a failing grade
Activists at Fairy Creek prepare for civil disobedience
engaging the full involvement of Indigenous leaders and organizations, and
deferring old forest harvesting in nine areas throughout the province totaling 352,739 hectares as a first step
Dateline: Victoria BC, on unceded Lekwungen territories, March 11, 2020
Three environmental NGOs issue a Report Card on the progress of the new forest strategy.
According to the Report Card: To date, the government has only deferred about 3,800 hectares from harvesting — less than 1% of the most at-risk old-growth.
The BC government gets a failing grade.
Update: March 21, 2021, on the Fairy Creek blockade near Port Renfrew BC
Teal-Jones Group is seeking a court injunction to end the seven-month blockade by activists in the Fairy Creek watershed on traditional Pacheedaht territory. Fairy Creek is one of the last intact old-growth valleys on southern Vancouver Island. According to the Ancient Forest Alliance, massive ancient yellow cedars trees appear to be within a proposed cutblock.
Pacific Spirit Park, Sept 12, 2020 | The haze in this photo is not a typical West Coast mist or fog in early Fall, but rather smoke from forest fires burning in Washington State, while California is experiencing its worst forest fire season ever, reminding us of the looming climate crisis and the need for climate action.
Reconnecting To Why We Are Environmentalists
by Tamiko Suzuki
A dozen Enviro Team members met on a cool, smokey September morning and followed a path into Pacific Spirit Park …
It started with a callout by the Sierra Club to organize a Forest March to protest the loss of old growth trees. After some discussion, a trio from the UCV Environment Team decided they would organize a visit to the forest but it would not be in protest of anything. Rather it would be a meditation on Nature and our love of her.
A dozen Enviro Team members met on a cool, smokey September morning and followed a path in Pacific Spirit Park, specifically chosen for its beautiful views. As was planned, the first and last part of the walk was a socially distanced time to chat and reconnect. The middle part of the walk was done in silence and alone to awaken the senses, re-energize zoom-fatigued brains, and re-connect with our thoughts and feelings.
The ancient trees are long gone (logged in the 1940’s according to Hanno) but stumps and nurse logs remain to remind us of what was lost. Haze from forest fires in Washington obscured the sun reminding us that Climate Change is a looming threat despite our preoccupation with COVID. Still, the forest filtered out a lot of the smoke and traffic noise and brought a sense of calm and peace. It felt so good to get outside and be among friends again.
The walk was organized by Hanno Pinder, Tara Bonham and Tamiko Suzuki.
Proposed: Recreational Forest Walks
Join us for a walk thru Pacific Spirit Park
email Hanno at the Enviro Team
NOTE: At present, the Walking Group is not officially part of the Enviro Team, but we share an appreciation for trees and forests