Author: Mary Bennett

Join a Women’s Group

There are two UCV women’s groups ready to welcome one or two additional participants. One meets monthly on Tuesday evenings and the other 2 Fridays per month in the afternoon. We now have several women’s writing groups and are about to start another one. See this link for details: https://vancouverunitarians.ca/events/writing-group-new/

Sheila Resels and Mary Bennett can help you get connected to a group. Just send a note to ucvconnect@gmail.com

The Women’s Retreat on Saturday, October 23 was very inspiring and energizing.

Here are some of the comments:

  • A very informative and thought-provoking presentation by Jo-Anne.  I enjoyed learning about the latest waves – 4, 5, 6. It put issues into the perspective of an expanding feminism.  The small group discussions worked surprisingly well.  The questions worked well to make the thrust of the different waves hit home.
  • I enjoyed hearing about the women’s groups from past decades.  Quite amazing how many different kinds of groups there are at UCV.
  • The evening prose readings was a very moving session.  There was a general theme about death and remembrance which, of course, leads to some sadness and/or nostalgia – even anger.  However I was very impressed with the writing as well as the interesting content – all different but similar too.
  • This was my first time attending a retreat like this.  Very “Growth-ful”.

Just search our website for “women” and you’ll find other upcoming events and news.

Women’s Groups

Women’s Collage group

Collage and Art Group

A group of women meet monthly to do “intuitive collage” together – currently over zoom. (You can actually do any art you want to.)

If you’d like to join in, please fill out the form below.

https://vancouver.breezechms.com/form/collage to receive zoom link instructions.

The usual time is a half-hour check-in and setting a theme; one hour working on your own and then a half hour “show-and-tell” of the collages you’ve been working on.

Several of us have used “soul collage (r)” techniques and would be pleased to share some examples and this approach.

If you want to work in that format, you’ll need 5″ x 8″ backing paper.

For collage, many magazine or calendar images, scissors and glue are necessary. A 5 x 8 view finder is helpful (cardboard with a cutout that size).

Some of us use the cards and envelopes for sealing/”framing”. You can order here.

https://www.hanfordmead.com/catalog/soulcollage%C2%AE-products (not essential)

This is an opportunity for women to gather for creative play and self-exploration using collage. After brief introductions/check-in, we work quietly at our own pace and then before closing share a bit about what we were working on and what it means to us.

Numbers will be limited and the hope is to find women who’d like to do this on a regular basis so we form and deepen our connections with each other as we get to know each other through our art projects.

We may at some point offer a group at UCV including at an annual women’s gathering (as has ben offered in the past.)

Scissors, glue sticks, paper and images all available.

In the meantime, if you need a box full of magazine images, contact Mary.

Supported by UCV’s Arts Committee.

More about collage:

Definition: collage (n.)

form of abstract art in which photos, newspaper clippings, found objects, etc., are glued onto a surface, 1919 (Wyndham Lewis), from French collage “a pasting,” from Old French coller “to glue,” from Greek kolla “glue,” a word of uncertain origin, perhaps Pre-Greek.

Some formats and approaches

SoulCollage(R) is a method for creating images on a 5″ x 8″ surface.

Artist Trading Cards are traded among people and are 2.5 x 3.5

Art Journal Collages

(Just google any of these phrases or “collage fine art” to find interesting information. You’ll find myriad videos on youtube as well.)

If you’d like to be part of a women’s group that shares the coordination of these gatherings on a monthly basis contact Mary ucvconnect@gmail.com.

Leadership rotates: When it’s your turn, you come early and stay late to set-up and cleanup; send out a reminder to the group. Optional: If you want to propose a theme or a special project you can, or just have a “do your own thing” session.

Here’s some info you may find interesting:

SoulCollage®

If you’re interested in SoulCollage®, you can find some videos on youtube to provide an introduction.

This is a nice four-minute introductory video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QygfSxYerwg

This one is a good how-to Step by Step video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PscsoVlOihA

This shows how to use the viewfinder, marking the points of the corners for cutting.

Among the final embellishments which are often not done, there’s a suggestion to outline the edges of the pasted on images with a metallic paint sharpie.

It’s only visual. There’s (imho) annoying loud music, so just turn off the audio.

Some Options for Action

Reversing the climate crisis

Study these resources and then choose some to act on:

Project DrawdownClimate Solutions by Sector

“Project Drawdown’s mission is to help the world reach “drawdown”—the point in the future when levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop climbing and start to steadily decline, thereby stopping catastrophic climate change—as quickly, safely, and equitably as possible.”

82 Partial Solutions

All We Can Save Project  – a feminist initiative

   “Our mission: To nurture a welcoming, connected, and leaderful climate community, rooted in the work and wisdom of women, to grow a life-giving future.”

Discussion circles

Emotional and mental health support

 

Photo: Sky smoky from forest fires near Osoyoos, BC, summer 2018.

 

 

 

Dismantling racism

In British Columbia:

Donate to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society

In Canada:

  1. Ask the CUC Board and Staff to describe the work that is being planned  to advance the strategic priorities approved by delegates at the 8 May 2021 AGM in these four areas of social justice:
    – Truth, Healing and Reconciliation
    Dismantling racism

    – Climate justice
    – Refugee support
  1. Encourage the CUC to continue to implement its 2020 strategic priorities, notably
    – Advance social justice initiatives, including truth, healing, and reconciliation amongst Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples
  1. Ask the CUC to invest more resources in support of anti-racist work.

Photo: Sculpture by Virgil Smoker Marchand at the Desert Cultural Centre in Osoyoos, BC. 2018

Pagan Group October News

by Mary Bennett ucvconnect@gmail.com

Samhain (saw-wen) is a version of “summer’s end” and we’re experiencing that now. In pagan traditions, this is seen as the “new year”. It’s a time to remember our “beloved dead” and at UCV a much-loved worship service is Encountering Our Ancestors, this year on October 31st. Once again we’ll be creating an ancestors’ shrine and a “day of the dead” altar.

We will host an open ritual for the Winter Solstice on Tuesday, December 21. All welcome – Unitarians, pagans, families, and friends.

 

The UCV pagan group is approximately 40 people in total. We connect with each other through an email list by sharing information and invitations.  We encourage everyone to take initiative by sharing their knowledge and energy. We meet approximately every six weeks to celebrate the eight “sabbats” (solstices, equinoxes and cross-quarter days).

We have now started two small groups so that people can get to know each other better. Each group creates their own plan as to when and where they meet and how and where they gather. If there’s interest, we will start a third group. If interested, fill out this form and comment on what you’d like. Open of course to those who are just curious about pagan traditions.

https://vancouver.breezechms.com/form/earthspiritcircle

These small groups

  • meet approximately monthly
  • share leadership and responsibilities for the group
  • once a year do a service project for the wider community
  • determine their own topics and schedule for meetings
  • once formed with 6-13 members will usually remain a closed group for a year

See more about covenant groups here. 

If you want to plan a solitary or small group celebration for Samhain, you’ll find lots of suggestions online for decorating your home, planning activities and readings.

Samhain – Hallowe’en

This is the new year for pagans and when the veil is thinnest between the living and the dead.

UCV honours this time with a special worship service, Encountering Our Ancestors, and creating an Ancestors Shrine. 

If you want to know the exact day and time of solstices, equinoxes and moon phases, we recommend this website: timeanddate.com

 

Poetry from Latin American female poets

Do you need more poetry in your life?

For October, Latin American Heritage Month, all of the poems shared on Saturdays and Sundays will be by women with Latin American heritage. We email out the poems, so even if you can’t attend, join our email group to receive the curated poems in your inbox.

We have an email group. If you want to e-meet the other group members and receive occasional reminders or links to poetry, please join by sending an email to womens-meditative-poetry+subscribe@googlegroups.com  If you need assistance joining contact Mary at ucvconnect@gmail.com

Sign in on zoom through the shortlink ucv.im/cuuwa. We read the same poem 3 times with a minute and brief comments in between each reading.

Here’s what some of our regulars say about these short “poetry breaks”:

I’ve found our weekend meditative poetry readings a lovely way to start my day.  Hearing a poem read three times enriches my understanding of it more than I expected.  And, because we are generally finished in 15 minutes, it’s a commitment that is not at all burdensome.  I’ve rarely read poetry since I graduated from college and I’m grateful for the chance to get reacquainted with it.

  • Kathy Sayers
Our poetry group has introduced me to modern female Canadian poets most of whom, other than Margaret Atwood, I had no familiarity with.  It has been an enriching experience. 
I have expanded our weekly zoom visits with our son, two daughters and families to include poetry.   Our seven year old great granddaughter reads to us every week and so I decided it was my turn to read, yes a poem to her and her family.  So now each family hears the work of a Canadian poet each week.  I am just about to add Rupi Kaur for the four grand daughters in their mid twenties.
  • Barb Bowmar

I’ve tried various ways (often after making new year’s resolutions) to “get into” poetry – reading aloud; memorizing one a month, etc. This approach has turned me into a poetry-enthusiast. Some of what’s different is reading poems by contemporary women: accessible themes; and having a nice, small group of more contemporary women to share (not discuss or debate) with.

  • Mary Bennett

 

UPDATE 

In June we’ll read local poet Natalie Lim on Saturdays and Nicole Brossard on Sundays.

New Approach for May

Saturday group will be Margaret Atwood poems including from her recent collection Dearly.

Sunday group will be Naomi Shihab Nye, already a favorite of our group. If you haven’t already discovered her, we think you’ll enjoy. She also writes children’s books.

Background and Times

UCV women in collaboration with the Canadian U*U Women’s Association offer women’s meditative poetry gatherings on zoom.

  • Saturdays and Sundays at 9 am Pacific/12 noon Eastern
Click the following link to join the gathering:
https://ucv.im/cuuwa
Mary Bennett started this following Rev. Lara’s “Lectio Divina” series in October, 2020. Mary’s objective was to make her mornings go better and read more poetry. Both are almost lifelong goals worth revisiting regularly and it’s working.
You are invited if you identify as a woman or non-binary, gender queer or gender fluid. I/we invite suggestions how to ensure this is a welcoming space.
The facilitator will:
  • Read a poem written by a (usually) Canadian (almost always) woman three times with a one-minute pause and brief sharing between.
  • Participants listen during the first reading for words or phrases that strike them.
  • Second reading, listen for feelings or memories that are stirred.
  • Third reading, listen for a message or personal meaning.
  • We usually have about a minute of silence after each reading and then, as we’re usually a small group of 3 or 4, everyone shares briefly. We’re always finished within half an hour, usually 15 minutes.

 

See the CUUWA page here: https://cuuwa.org/meditative-poetry-circle/

 

Join the People’s EcoChallenge October 6 – 27

👫🌎 welcome

The People’s Ecochallenge is a 21-day challenge to take action for a better shared future. From October 6 – October 27, 2021, you commit to trying and doing new things. Fun actions encourage new habits. Small steps lead to big change. Together, we build a sustainable world and a healthy planet.

The People’s Ecochallenge gamifies behavior change and makes your impacts measurable! Think about and act on proven soutions through 100+ actions across nine categories.

Ecochallenge is free to join and everyone is welcome. Join an existing team, create a new one, or join the global Community team. Join us! We’re excited you’re here.

from Mary Bennett

Teresa Morton formerly of UCV and for a long time at Beacon Unitarian, created a team just at Beacon last year and this year she invites any Metro Van Unitarian to join.

I (Mary) just joined and looked around the site. It’s pretty easy to pick off some “I already do this” and make yourself feel good…  It even allows you to create your own goal.
Here’s the link if you’d like to join. I get points if you join.
Our team is MetroVan Unitarians
Password is  2021Unis! (yes include the exclamation mark!)

Hola y Bienvenido – Latin American Heritage Month

Hola y Bienvenido
In Canada, October is Latin American Heritage month and UCV’s IBPOC (Indigenous, Black and People of Colour) caucus (plus Allies) are arranging for each Sunday to include something to celebrate this.
Local events from Latincouver: https://www.latincouver.ca/lahm/
If you self identify as IBPOC including Latin American, we invite you to join our IBPOC caucus bimonthly gatherings. Contact Tamiko Suzuki bipoc@vancouverunitarians.ca to find out more and get on the email list.
If you’d prefer, we can add you to the ucv-ibpoc-plus email group (open to the whole congregation), if you’re interested in being part of future brainstorming, actions and education related to anti-racism. Mary Bennett ucvconnect@gmail.com can add you to the email group.
Nos encantaria eschucharlo.

Some resources

Children’s books – many of these are available from vpl.ca

15 Picture Books That Celebrate Hispanic & Latinx Heritage

Latin American poets – The Women’s Meditative Poetry group who meet Saturdays and Sundays at 9 am Pacific will be reading poems by female poets of Latin American heritage.

10 Classic Latina Poets to Discover and Read

Global Chalice Lighting from International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (see November 2018)
Documentary film: “Latinos Beyond Reel: Challenging a Media Stereotype”
Latin American composers/musicians
Mexican Day of the Dead
How many Latin Americans are there in Canada?
This article from Wikipedia gives the 2016 census figure as 447,325.  This article from the Canadian Hispanic Association suggests the number is between 611,000 and one million.

Please pick the herbs – we like to share them!

Free Herb Garden

There’s a garden near the parking lot that’s looked after by the Earth Spirit/Pagan group. You are welcome to snip some herbs for drying, decoration or tea!  You’ll know it because it’s the one with stakes with labels of the various herbs: sage, lavender, mint, etc.

Herbal teas

There are several different kinds of mint there. And they’re about to die down for the winter, so please harvest:

  • pineapple mint
  • chocolate mint
  • spearmint

If you haven’t tried sage tea or adding rosemary or lavender, those are nice as well.

Culinary herbs

If you’re making something savoury for Thanksgiving, pick some sage, thyme, or rosemary to add. These plants like to be regularly clipped back.

There’s also some chives and arugula for clipping.

Flowers

Please leave the echinacea to go to seed, but pick the rudbeckia (brown-eyed susans).Indeed these cheerful and hardy flowers spread and we’d like to remove most of them from the herb garden so if you have a place to plant something (or willing to help move some to our labyrinth), please contact Mary and make arrangements.

Seasonal decor

Many people like to use herbs for a seasonal wreath or swag. Or even a Hallowe’en broom!

Kale

Not exactly an herb, but there’s kale there for picking as we’re wanting to plant new things. Please take!

Labyrinth picking

There’s lavender, rosemary, thyme and sage around the labyrinth. Feel free to pick. The garden path is adjacent to the Fremlin side – ie east side of the property. Take a walk around it and pick whatever you like. It’s a scent-sation.

Mint Tea

Most people have tried mint tea, and we have a growing selection of mints – in pots! pineapple mint, chocolate mint and “ordinary” mint. Really you can just take some, crush it a bit to release the flavour and scent, and add to hot water. Or you can make a mix and try it out. To dry, just pick and hang upside down in a cool dark place.

Here are some recipes.

Recipes for teas

Ginger syrup recipe – makes 1 litre/ quart

¼ cup cane sugar

3 ¾ cups water

1/3 c. (approx.) thin sliced fresh ginger root, unpeeled

Put all ingredients into a pot and heat for 3-5 minutes or until it is steaming but not boiling. Remove from heat, stir and let cool. If possible leave overnight to cool and then remove ginger pieces.

Put one slice of lemon into the bottom of the jar or container for ginger syrup. *

Mint tea – for 6 litre / large container

Cut garden mint the day before. About 6 – 8 cups before washing, sorting and trimming. Choose stems with the largest leaves.

Cut stems to remove roots, discard any damaged or yellowed or too small leaves or stems. Cut stems short enough to fit into the salad spinner or the large glass container that will hold the tea.

Place bunches of stems into a salad spinner after all the stems have been soaked in a large container completely covered in water for 20 – 30 minutes.

When the bunches of mint have been processed lay them in the bottom of the large tea jar until the container is ¼ to 1/3 full. Boil water and pour over  leaves until the container is more than half full or double the depth of the layers of mint. Can be up to 2/3 full of water. Leave overnight to cool with the mint in place.

Remove all the stems of mint once it has completely cooled in the morning. Add ice to the container before serving if you wish to have the tea chilled.

Other teas and herbs:

Black Tea – Just add other herbs if you wish.

Cut some lemon balm stems as well. Wash and place them in a jar. *

To serve tea:

Place lemon balm leaf into bottom of the cup, pour in a tsp or so of the ginger syrup and then fill up with the mint tea.

* Refrigerate these overnight

What’s in the garden labyrinth?

Pick some fresh herbs to make or add to tea as you walk. A pinch of this; a pinch of that.

The following are available.

  • sage
  • lavender
  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • calendula
  • mints and lemon balm (in pots on west side of labyrinth)

To find suggestions and health benefits, just google “sage tea benefits” etc.

 

Pagan Group Fall News

by Mary Bennett ucvconnect@gmail.com

The days are noticeably shorter and after the heat dome in the summer, many of us are welcoming the autumn days that bring a cooler, but still warm, temperature outside. As a gardener, I am grateful for the harvest that is still coming. There are herbs for drying or crafts in the UCV Earth Spirituality herb garden.

The UCV pagan group is approximately 40 people in total. We connect with each other through an email list by sharing information and invitations.  We encourage everyone to take initiative by sharing their knowledge and energy.

Our group plans to host two “public rituals” – celebrations for the sabbats (for example winter and summer solstice) that we will invite anyone in the community to attend.

We are also now coordinating small groups using the covenant group model. If you’re interested, fill out this form:

https://vancouver.breezechms.com/form/earthspiritcircle

These groups will

  • meet approximately monthly
  • share leadership and responsibilities for the group
  • once a year do a service project for the wider community
  • determine their own topics and schedule for meetings
  • once formed with 6-10 members will usually remain a closed group for a year

See more about covenant groups here. 

 

There are two upcoming sabbats (sun celebrations). If you want to plan a solitary or small group celebration with friends you’ll find lots of suggestions online for decorating your home, planning activities and readings.

Mabon – Autumn Equinox

This celebrates the second of three harvest periods. It’s a time of balance.

Samhain – Hallowe’en

This is the new year for pagans and when the veil is thinnest between the living and the dead.

UCV honours this time with a special worship service, Encountering Our Ancestors, and creating an Ancestors Shrine. 

 

If you want to know the exact day and time of solstices, equinoxes and moon phases, we recommend this website: timeanddate.com

 

Gardening at UCV – if you like to dig, there are many opportunities

There are many opportunities to garden at UCV. Some of our members have home gardens and more than enough on their plate managing that, but others live in condos or apartments and enjoy the chance to beautify our grounds and enjoy the company of others who love dirt! This year a group that started with a mystery pal connection have collaboratively planted, harvested and learned together.

Work with a crew once a month

Once a month on the 3rd Saturday a crew arrives and Patti Turner helps them find things that work for them and help keep our extensive grounds and gardens looking good. Patti brings home-cooked snacks! There’s a role for you whatever your physical constraints or abilities and interests.

Help with the labyrinths

Bubbles on the Labyrinth October 15, 2018.

Our garden path labyrinth can always use work and a couple of us get together on a spontaneous schedule if it looks like a good day. If you’d like to join us, or know some regular tasks that need doing that you can do on your own time, just drop Mary Bennett a note. Mary’s also been planting drought-resistant plants around the concrete labyrinth to keep the weeds back. Fall is a good time to move a few things around and add some snowdrops and grape hyacinths for the spring.

Vegetable gardens on north side

You may have noticed the vegetable gardens on the north side of the property. These were first put in after digging up lawn (we have a lot of it, and are lessening it over time) in the mid-90s.  At the same time, we put heather on the SW corner and a herb garden on the south side.

Youth Garden

The farthest west gardens are for the Children’s program. Yvonne and Megumi tend to manage it, but welcome ideas and help from kids and youth.

Free Herb Garden

The farthest east has two sections. The upper part was looked after by Mairy Beam and Mary Bennett and is now a Pagan group Free Herb Garden.  We often pick and share the herbs with the earth spirit circle. We’ve been making stakes to label the herbs. You are welcome to pick any time.

More details here: https://vancouverunitarians.ca/herbs/

Mystery Pal (Plus) Garden)

The lower part started as a Mystery Pal project with Cynthia and Gaon and now has a team of 8 involved.

Veggie Plots in the Middle Area

The largest area in the middle is divided into a number of smaller plots from 3′ square to about 4′ x 6′.

The gardeners there include:

  • Megumi/Amy Anderson (Love Soup)
  • Mary Bennett
  • Sandy Riecken
  • Gerda Schulz
  • Patti Turner
  • UCV Staff

Southern 3 boxes

The southern three boxes are prioritized for our families or mystery pal pairs/groups. They’re about 3′ (one meter) square, so you could plant just a few items–low maintenance–and others would likely help you if you need it!

Karl Perrin digging in children’s garden. 2017

Would you like to have a vegetable garden area at UCV — or work with others on their plots?

Would you like to have a small plot of your own either for yourself or to support a program at UCV? You could do it as part of a pair or group or on your own.

Mary’s been working on helping new gardeners find a plot of a size that works for them and over time building up the very clay-y soil with compost and dried leaves.

There’s some space available for another plot or two, including a raised bed near the sidewalk that wouldn’t require much bending. It might work for someone in a wheel chair even. Contact Mary if you’d like to take on a plot.

Rhubarb

Coming this fall: a rhubarb patch. In the spring we’ll harvest and share with a congregational group. Maybe Messy Church if it starts up again.  Bakers will be needed to harvest rhubarb and put into something like muffins!

Adopt a little area

Once people start gardening at UCV they quickly begin to notice the expanse of the property and the need for many hands to make light work. Some years ago, there was a suggestion that individuals might “adopt an area” – perhaps even a very, very small area and take it on to weed, water and perhaps even plant.

Is there a spot you’ve noticed needs some pruning or weeding?

Talk to Patti if you are ready to adopt a section of the grounds. She’d love to hear from you.