Author: Director RE

Anti-Racism Resources

In recent days, we have witnessed a surge of public response in support of Black Lives Matter as well as a call to uplift and affirm the inherent worth and dignity of lives that are continually devalued in racist systems. As Unitarians, we are committed to justice, equity, and compassion in all human relations. With this in mind, it is important for us to take accountability seriously and look deeply into the ways racism shows up in our local communities, in our congregation, and indeed within ourselves.

The Unitarian Church of Vancouver knows that antiracism is in alignment with our Seven Principles, we are committed to racial justice and equity and strive to be antiracist. On June 3rd, our Board released a statement which can be read here. As well, the UUA held a #wecantbreathe prayer vigil which can be viewed here. However, we also know that words are simply not enough and it is only through consistent effort and action as a community, that we can ensure we are diligent in our efforts to contribute to lasting change and justice.

Below is a beginning list of resources from various angles for us to use in our anti-racism efforts to learn about dismantling systems of oppression wherever they appear. If you would like to add resources to a permanent “Antiracism Learning” page please email communications@vancouverunitarians.ca

Anti-Racism Statements and Resources

Unitarian Universalist Statements

  1. Statement on Anti-Racism from the UCV Board
  2. Canadian Unitarian Council Statement on Mourning the Deaths of More People of Colour
  3. Black Lives Matter Statement by Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice
  4. A pastoral letter to Black UUs by Rev. Lauren Smith in UU World, 6/4/2020
  5. Stop Calling the Police and Start Eradicating Anti-Blackness UUA statement and call to action, with links. June 2, 2020
  6. An Awful, Magnificent Truth by Rev. Carol Thomas Cissel in UUA’s Braver/Wiser Inspiration
  7. UUA Prayer Vigil #wecantbreate YouTube Video

Vancouver-Based Mental Health and Self-Care Resources for BIPoC Congregants and Friends

  1. Black Lives Matter Vancouver has a detailed and comprehensive list of legal, community, mental health and wellness services here
  2. Healing in Colour provides a list of therapists who have agreed to a statement of values
  3. Alica Forneret provides mental health by and for PoC
  4. Vancouver Aboriginal Health Society provides inclusive, accessible, and culturally-based healthcare and social services.

Ally Learnings for White Congregants and Friends

  1. Scaffolded Anti-Racist Resources
  2. The 8th Principle project of Unitarian Universalism
  3. Black Lives UU Spiritual Subscription Box
  4. The Church of the Larger Fellowship an American UU congregation “without walls”
  5. Resources based on your current stage of racial identity development

Anti-Racist Parenting

  1. Antiracist Education Resources compiled by Fourth Universalist Society in Manhattan
  2. “How To Be An Antiracist Parent” recording from Fourth Universalist Society in Manhattan
  3. Resource roundup for parents
  4. Anti-racism resources for white people and for parents to raise anti-racist children
  5. Resources for Talking About Race, Racism and Racialized Violence with Kids from the Center for Racial Justice in Education
  6. The Brown Bookshelf: United in Story pushing awareness of the myriad Black voices writing for young readers.
  7. A fabulous list of children’s ebooks from the VPL called “Stand Up! Racial Identity, Racism, and Resistance for Grades K-7”

Canadian General Anti-Racist Resources

  1. Systemic Racism Explained in under 5 minutes
  2. The Story of Slavery in Canadian History at the Canadian Human Rights Museum
  3. The Canadian federal government page of anti-racism resources
  4. Vancouver Mutual Aid Organizations and Resource List
  5. Black Lives Matter Vancouver 
  6. Feminists Deliver: Confronting Anti-Black Racism in Canada (video: a panel of 8 Canadian Women of Colour)
  7. The University of Toronto Anti-Black Racism Reading List

Books

“We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.”
—Son of Baldwin (Robert Jones, Jr.)

 

 

 

Volunteer Call for Youth and Children’s RE!

Join our Volunteer Team for Children and Youth Groups!

Ministry to children, youth, and families is physically different in this physically distanced world for the foreseable future. The one thing that remains the same is that caring, curious, and interested adults are required to mentor, advise, and lead our various circles and groups. This could be you! We build supportive spaces for our children and youth to create friendships, explore big questions, engage in social justice, be seen and heard, grow spiritually, and be nurtured.

Fill out this form for 2020 volunteer opportunities 

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, still I would plant my apple tree.

–Martin Luther

Journey Alongside Youth

Youth Advisors guide our Youth on a co-leadership model–partnering with the youth to design and coordinate their time together. Youth group meets for 2 hours once a week, currently via zoom. Led by our Youth Coordinator, Olivia Hall, we aim to have a team of 4-6 adults advise on a rotating basis, currently we have two regular advisors. We may organize group outings in the outdoors as restrictions loosen. Youth advisors must be at least 25 years old.

Have you ever wondered what they’re thinking? 

Mairy Beam and Nan Gregory host children’s time before the Sunday service live-stream most Sunday’s. The children have a chance to see each other, share a story and a simple activity or craft that can be done at home. Explorations are built around monthly themes and next year we are exploring the Cosmos. We would love to have two new adults join our Children’s Team. 

(age group 5-9)

Awesome Tweens–Out of this World! 

Are you interested in exploring big questions? Wisdom of World Religions? What does it mean to be so small in such a big universe? Can you roll with questions that seem to come from left field, leave you scratching your head and everyone laughing? Join our tweens (ages 10-12) in the fall of 2020 or over the summer and take on leadership of this group with Kiersten. Whether in zoom rooms or in person, building friendships and exploring truth and meaning creates fun for everyone involved.

Coming of Age Mentor–Bringing Mystery Pals to the Next Level

Youth in grades 7 and 8 spend a mentorship year exploring what it means to be Unitarian. What exactly do they buy into? What do they believe? What does it mean to be spiritual, mindful, religious, atheist, agnostic, humanist or … ?  Key to this exploration is You. Mentorship by a fellow Unitarian and member of UCV builds trust and relationship between our youth and an adult outside their family group–an essential part of a teen’s life.

Mentors and youth meet once a month 1:1 with a goal each meeting built around forming connections and relationship–journeying together. The whole group of mentors and youth meet once a month together to delve deeper.

Our Whole Lives Facilitator

We need more facilitators for all levels of the Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education program, from the elementary ages, through high school, and into adulthood!  Facilitators work in teams to follow the O.W.L. curriculum which for most is 8-10 sessions long, 25 sessions for the Junior High level. It’s not hard to follow and lead–but it takes a dedication and willingness to discuss all aspects of sexuality, family life, and relationships. Potential facilitators must attend a weekend long in-person training in order to be certified.

Fill out the form if you’re willing to attend a training in the next couple years (once they’re available).

 

Create Summer FUUN Kits for Families

We have a room full of craft supplies going unused–Anyone interested in helping put together activity kits that we can mail to families for the summer? Maybe ongoing monthly through the year? I would love some help implementing this distance fun idea…

 

Fill out this form with your interest–more info will come your way: ucv.im/RE-volunteer

YoUUth Summer Virtual Adventure

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!
–Kiersten

Online Kids, Youth and Families

Children, Youth, and Parents: FUUN!

We are putting in place some online connection times for children, tweens, youth, and parents. These times will stay consistent each week—drop-in any week to see familiar faces and new, connect and support each other in Unitarian fashion.

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, still I would plant my apple tree.

–Martin Luther

Virtual Post-it Doodle Gallery: ucv.im/kids-art

This is our art-board space where doodles, drawings, artwork of any kind can be shared and displayed. If you’ve made something you would like to see here, send it to Kiersten. [mailto:dre@vancouverunitarians.ca]

Children’s RE drop-in: Sundays 10:20—10:50 am Join URL: ucv.im/kids-zoom

Mairy and Nan host children’s time before the Sunday service live-stream. See each other, share a story and a simple activity or craft that we can do together at home.

(Target age is 5-9)

Crossing Paths RE: Mondays 1:00—2:15 pm Join URL: ucv.im/tween-zoom

Crossing Paths Tweens (ages 10-12) this space and time is for you! Check-in with each other, try out the virtual whiteboard, continue our explorations of World Religions and wherever your questions and wonderings lead us. New? Away for awhile? You are welcome to drop-in any Monday!

Youth Group Online! Sundays 3:00—5:00 pm Join URL: ucv.im/youth-zoom

Youth in grades 8-12 meet to share, explore, come up with distant game time, and generally connect. Drop-in any Sunday—from near and far.

Kiersten’s Friday Zoom Coffee-Break 11:30—12:30 am Join URL: ucv.im/coffee-break

Being home deserves a coffee break–and we all deserve to see each other! Family centered drop-in time for Parents. If kids can login on a separate device from parents, we can do break-out rooms!

 

Steven’s Virtual Tea-Time Drop-in Wednesdays 3:00—4:30 pm (beginning April 1st)

Join URL: ucv.im/steven-tea

Drop-in each Wednesday between 3:00 and 4:30pm for a social gathering time hosted by Rev. Steven Epperson. It is a soul fulfilling thing to see each other’s faces in this time of physical distancing and isolation. Come check-in with each other, bring your joys, your challenges, your questions and insights, your whole selves.

 

Other online events and gatherings can be found here: ucv.im/events

Send Video Greetings for Sundays

UCV is up and running with online Sunday worship serviceThe virtual video greetings from members and friends around metro-Vancouver were a welcoming and heartening part of the service and we want to keep it going! 

For this week’s video (March 29) how about sharing “How IS everyone keeping busy?” Short and sweet—15 seconds max.  It’s a treat to see you and your families and know you’re well!  We will share these during the “turn to your neighbor” segment of the service. Send it by midnight Saturday for the following Sunday service! 

If you have a smartphone or tablet, just open up your camera, flick it over to video mode and then flip the camera to selfie mode so you’re in the frame. Then press the record button and say a few words with those around you (remember, less than 15 seconds please). 

When you’re finished, click the sharing icon (square with an arrow pointing up on Apple devices, dot to two dot triangle on Android) and then email that video to us at video@ucvrefugees.ca. 

That’s it! We’ll broadcast what we receive on Sunday morning and it would be a real treat to see familiar smiling faces. 

Here’s an example video. 

If you’re not sure about how to email a video, if you think you’ll have trouble viewing the service on Sunday morning from vancouverunitarians.caor if you’re struggling with Zoom for a church online eventplease let us know here and we’ll be in touch to help you get connected. 

Not cancelled – gardening with the grounds crew this Saturday–Mystery Pals …

I’ll attempt to add here events that are going ahead at UCV.

Grounds crew regular 3rd Saturday gardening 9am – contact Patti Turner for more information.

Depending on your situation, here are some ways to enjoy this time of relative low-contact.

Get outdoors. Dr. Bonnie Henry says the virus does not transmit outdoors. At UCV come and garden, walk the labyrinth or just sit outside in the sun.

Go for a walk. Use phone or email to connect up and plan a walk or visit with a UCV friend you’ve been wanting to get to know better.

Mystery Pals

Anonymous letter writing through email–physical distance with social connection.

Adults, children, youth, and young adults are paired up (by Kiersten–our Director of Religious Ed) and write letters to each other anonymously for four weeks.

At the end you get to find out who your Pal is! Families and Pals are encouraged to continue the relationship throughout the year.

All letter writing will be facilitated through Kiersten’s email:  dre@vancouverunitarians.ca

sign-up at ucv.im/pals

Annual Ancestor Shrine–Come and visit

Origins of Our Tradition

Mary, Catherine, Nancy, Terence, Morgan and Jen first created an Ancestor Shrine with the children’s program back in the fall of 2013. Transforming the meditation room into a place of remembrance at the end of October has become a firm tradition since then. It is something our children remember and connect with over the years.

Please come explore the Ancestor Shrine after Sunday service on October 27th.

You may bring a photo or remembrance to leave on the altar if you wish (to be returned the following Sunday), and there will be paper and twine with which to write your own remembrances and hang from the willow branches.

May we remember where we come from, and how the tree of life shows us that truly all that exists on Earth is related. Further back we find that we have evolved from the dust of exploded stars–what great mystery!

Welcome back to a new program year from Kiersten

As you prepare to return to school year routines and schedules I want to offer you a glimpse into the rich material we are planning to cover with families this year at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver. Looking back through pictures reminds me of how much fun we have building community around here–and that certainly continues on!

What are we up to on Sundays?

We are continuing our structure around Soul Matters monthly themes and adding a focused exploration of World Religions—one of the six sources of wisdom, guidance, and spirituality that Unitarian Universalists draw upon. We are organizing into three groups this year:

  • Elementary Passport to Spirituality (ages 4-9)
  • Intermediate Crossing Paths (ages 10-12)
  • High School Youth Group (ages 13-19).

This is an OWL year for the youth

That’s shorthand for Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education and this year we are running workshops for grades 8, 9, and older youth who haven’t had an opportunity to take OWL before. Registration is open—you can read more on our website and contact Kiersten Moore, DRE for more information.

Worship Bingo Returns

Kids are given a bingo card on entering and when they’ve recorded hearing all of the words on the card, they yell out “Bingo”. Then get a reward at the end of the service.

Water Communion and In-gathering service

We start September 8th with our all-ages Water Communion and In-gathering service—Bring a bit of water from home or from travels to add to our communion bowl. If you haven’t collected water from your summer explorations, you may bring an item or memento for our altar—just be sure to pick it up again after the service.

“What does it mean to be a people of Expectation?”

September 15th we open our journey exploring the connection between expectation and the UU idea of Ongoing Revelation, the belief that we should expect our truths to change and grow. This expectation of growth leads us directly into our World Religions focus:

Passport to Spirituality (ages 4-9)

This class will imagine they are all travelling the world. At each country they visit, the children will receive a passport sticker, learn about a different religion, how it relates to the month’s theme, and engage in a spiritual practice utilized by that religion. The focus is to both learn a bit about religions around the world and see how they can be utilized to gain wisdom and develop our own spirituality.

Crossing Paths (ages 10-12)

This class follows a long tradition of Unitarian middle school field trips and explorations of neighbouring faiths. We will engage in a more in-depth exploration of five religions throughout the year, beginning with our own Unitarian faith. Crossing Paths is a direct Soul Matters curriculum that takes the approach of religious pluralism. Instead of claiming that one religion is best or that all religions are basically the same, pluralism understands religions as separate systems of belief dealing with distinct human challenges.

Parents of Tweens (ages 10-12) Please Note:

September 15th is our opening orientation for Crossing Paths and parents are included! Please plan for at least one parent to attend the Sunday RE session with your child beginning at 10:45 am. Crossing Paths group will not attend the beginning of service this week. This class offers parents an opportunity to learn alongside your child and to deepen your own spiritual understanding.

Youth Group (ages 13-19)

Our Youth plan to hit the ground running with the final zero waste results from last year’s action project and move forward on the youth group movie project. The youth choose their own curriculum or focus with their advisors in the fall and follow a small group ministry style of discussion with the aim to deepen connections to their selves, each other, and the wider community. Youth also hold social gatherings, attend conferences and regional events, participate in multi-age celebrations and pageants, and a lot more.