Author: Mary Bennett

You can do it – making salsa with Raul and Isabeau

You Can do it–We Can Help

You can do it - Members share their enthusiasm and expertise
You can do it – Members share their enthusiasm and expertise

Our members share their expertise and enthusiasm

First in (possibly) a series. Let Mary Bennett know if you have something you’re willing to share over zoom.

Raúl is originally from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. He has been living in Vancouver for over 30 years and continues to share his love of Mexican food with family and friends.

Isabeau is Raúl’s spouse and the happy beneficiary of Raúl’s love of cooking.
Raúl and Isabeau live in Vancouver with their two teenagers and their always-relaxed cat.

Friday from 4-5 pm on Zoom
Join Raúl and Isabeau to learn how to make easy Mexican salsa.  No cooking experience necessary!

Raúl will prepare the salsa live so you can follow along (and then enjoy your masterpiece for lunch!).

To make enough salsa for 2 people, please have the following ingredients at the session:

2 tomatoes

1/2 cucumber (peel it ahead of time)

1/4 small onion (white or purple)

1 bunch cilantro (you will only need 1/4)

1 lime

1/2 Jalapeno pepper OR Serrano pepper

pinch salt

pinch black pepper

You will need a cutting board, sharp knife, and little bowl in which to put your salsa.

Circle Dance – Together apart

Are you missing our circle dance gatherings? Our good friends Darlene and Frances put together a playlist of dances that are familiar to many in their Ladner Circle Dance Group. I danced “with” them on Friday night (as I do usually on the last Friday of each month).

My contribution was putting together a youtube playlist. Dance instruction is (when available) put before the music. If you’re not familiar with the dance, maybe just improvise some of the steps. We always say, “There are no wrong steps, only variations” so this is a good time to do your own variations.

Here’s what Darlene and Frances sent out.

Hello Ladner Dancers,

Frances and Darlene have prepared a “Blossom!” Spring dance program for those who wish to listen or move to dances and music familiar to the Ladner Dance Circle.  Some of the music videos have beautiful images to enjoy too.

The world situation is challenging and affecting us in many ways.  Dance is our connection to each other, to community, to other places/other people, to our precious earth and beyond.  Dance is grounding and healing.  Please join the Ladner Dance Circle in your own home with your heart, intentions and prayers whenever you have the time and energy to connect with these suggested dances/songs (or your own favourites!).

Grab a scarf or two (for Winds on the Tor) and a candle (for My Prayer and Sending You Light) before you begin to dance…

Blessings in the dance of life,

Frances and Darlene

PS It would be lovely to know if you dance or listen along with us.

Breathe deeply!   enJOY

Here Now Lyrics (excerpts):

This spiral dance of joy and grief

Here now, the body breathes

Here now, the laughing, crying

Here now, the birds and dying

Here now, this tale unfolding

Here now, the circle holding

Here now, blessed be

These hands that form a sacred ring

Here now, blessed be

These feet that dance, these hearts that sing

Here now, blessed be

The flowering of the living tree

Here now, blessed be

This light that flows through you and me

Here now, be here now,

We’re here now

Here Now

Choreographer:  Paul Boizot, UK

Album:  Invocation

Artist: Jaiya, BC, Canada



Heartbeat Drum Song

Choreographer: Ciann and Manitoulin Island Sacred Circle Dance Group

Music Origin:  Native American. The song is in a compilation of Tutelo and Saponi languages, now extinct dialects of the Sioux nation

Music Title:  Mahk Jchi

Artist:  Ulali


Steps:  Dance can travel to the right or left.  If traveling to the right:

R side, L together (to the right) X3, L side (going left), R touch.  Repeat.


Lyrics translation:

Our hearts are full and our minds are good
Our ancestors come and give us strength
Stand tall, sing, dance and never forget who you are
Or where you come from

Healing Waters

Choreographer:  S. Raschke

Music Title:  Song to the Mother

Album:  Fire Prayer

Artist:  Denean



Suvetar (Goddess of Spring)

Choreographer:  Kevin Meyers – USA

Album:  Sjofn

Artist:  Gjallarhorn – Sweden



Irish Dance (Honouring St Patrick’s Day)

Music:  your choice of Irish music

Steps:  skip and have fun like the children in this video

Or if you want more of a challenge, then enjoy dancing this dance…

Music:  Irish Tipple

Choreographer:  Barbara Driscoll


Winds on the Tor (Fresh Spring winds)

Choreographer:  Glastonbury Wed. eve dance group

Music Title:  Young Brown Cow (traditional)

Artist: unknown



Suggestion:  dance Winds on the Tor with a scarf or two and be playful

Pachelbel In the Garden (sounds of Spring)

Choreographer:  Sun Meditation steps by Bernard Wosien matched to this music by Frances Rose, BC, Canada

Album:  Dan Gibson’s Solitudes, Exploring Nature With Music, Pachelbel in the Garden

Artist:  Dan Gibson


Dance:  (Sun Meditation steps)

Sun Meditation (Equinox ~ balance of light and dark and connection to Findhorn)

Choreographer:  Bernard Wosien, Findhorn

Music Title:   Arioso from Cantata BWV 156 J.S.Bach



Bells of Norwich (A dance of hope ~ all will be well again)

Choreographer:  Collin Harrison, UK

Artist:  Sydney Carter


Dance:  (See step notes at bottom of this email)

Offering Govand (Traditional dance steps to celebrate love and life)

Choreographer:  Traditional steps matched to this music by Shakeh Major Tchilingirian

Origin:  Western Armenia

Music Title: Offering

Album:  Treasures

Artist:  Night Ark

From World Circle Dance Day 2019

Dance video:


My Prayer (candle dance)

Music: Greek

Music title: Prosefhi

Album:  Odos Nefelis’88

Artist: Haris Alexiou, Greece


Dance steps:  3 forward steps, 1 sway back, candle in left hand toward centre, right hand on left back heart space of person in front or when dancing alone put right hand on your heart.


Translation of the lyrics to My Prayer (Prosefhi)


Give me a line so that I can walk
Give me a name so I won’t get lost
Give me a dream, a dream to hold on to
Give me a vision to help me resist.

Give me a child to make my confessions to
Give me a kiss to wash away the evil
Wake me in the morning with a song
which would bless my life.

Hold your own prayer in your heart as you dance ”My Prayer”…

When you have finished dancing, face centre

Sending You Light (candle meditation)

Artist: Ana Hernández & Fran McKendree

Album:  Sending You Light


Movement:  stand still or move your candle or move your body….

As the music plays, meditate with your candle


I am sending you light to heal you, to hold you. I am sending you light to hold you in love.



  • V-hold, Facing to the right, moving to the right:  Step Right, Left, Right slip step (Right, slip together Left, Right), Left slip step (Left, slip together Right, Left)
  • Facing centre:  step side Right, Left close to the right
  • Repeat, mirroring steps to the left
  • “Bells”…rock in on the Right foot, rock out on the Left foot(repeat 3 more times).  Arms rock in and out too.
  • Turn slowly in place:  with right hand on heart and left hand up, take 4 steps over the right shoulder Right, Left, Right, Left
  • Bow slowly:  hands on heart or in prayer position
  • Repeat
  • Last cycle ends by repeating “Bells” rocking, turning and sealing the hope filled dance with hands folded over the heart.

Music Circle with Tony Turner

Join Tony Turner for a UU Music Circle: a way to connect and spend some time together on Sunday, Mar 29 at 3 p.m. (Pacific); we’ll gather for about an hour to an hour and a half via Zoom (details below).

Listeners and musicians are welcome. To contribute your musical skills, please fill in this short survey so that the co-hosts (CUC staff and Tony Turner) have an idea of who’s appearing. There will be about 8-10 performances/songs/numbers. Those who don’t get a slot this time to appear for the next Music Circle.
Join Zoom Meeting
If you can’t be part of our circle, but know someone else who’d like to contribute please forward this link,, so they can sign up. 
Spread the word, and we’ll see you on Sunday with your instrument, or favourite beverage and snack!
Facilitated by CUC Staff.
View other CUC events here:

Connect and Engage – Zoom Gatherings through UCVancouver

The safest way for us to connect and engage at this time

Send an email to to receive a summary of these events with links.

This is where online UCV gatherings initiated by the Connect & Engage team (sub-committee of Membership Development) via zoom will be listed with who is invited and a link to the event.

Scroll down to see links to upcoming scheduled Connect & Engage Zoom Gatherings

Some gatherings are for specific groups such as our current covenant groups and men’s and women’s groups; others for all Unitarians–including our friends across the country.

Virtual coffee hour

Every Sunday 12 – 1 pm

Open to all UCV members and friends (if you’ve ever visited us at 49th & Oak, you’re invited). If you’ve watched the sermon that Sunday via live streaming, you’re invited to join us for “coffee”. We will break into small groups of 5.

Book, poem and video sharing

Every Wednesday 10 – 11:30 am – All Unitarians welcome

Zoom check-in and practice session

Every Thursday – 2 – 3 pm

Please RSVP Mary

Tuesday evening Neighbourhood group connections

Every Tuesday 7 – 9 pm Unitarians from other BC congregations welcome to join us in their own breakout room – Please contact me in advance if you want to

Check in with your Unitarian neighbours. All UCVers welcome. The video conference host will sort you into breakout rooms based on your neighbourhood. Someone from each neighbourhood needs to contact Mary at ucvconnect to facilitate your neighbourhood breakout session. Each group will decide on their own format: e.g. just a general chat/check-in or a program such as a topic presentation and then discussion.

If these neighbourhood groups will be online, I’ll post the facilitator here in case you want to connect with them in advance. They will likely post something to your neighbourhood email google group to invite you.

WEST: Westside (Kitsilano, West Point Grey, Arbutus Ridge, Kerrisdale, Dunbar, UBC) – TBA, facilitator

East Van (Mount Pleasant, Olympic Village, Grandview-Woodland, Hastings-Sunrise, Kensington-Cedar Cottage, Riley Park) – Mairy Beam, facilitator

Fairview/False Creek (plus South Cambie) – Karen Bartlett, facilitator

EAST: Burnaby/New West (and beyond to east) – Mary Lage, facilitator

SOUTH: Richmond, Langley, Ladner (and points south) and South Vancouver: (Sunset, Victoria-Fraserview, Renfrew-Collingwood, Oakridge, Marpole, Killarney) – Kiersten Moore, facilitator

NORTH: City Centre (West End, Yaletown, Downtown, Strathcona) and North and West Vancouver (and beyond to north) – Cathy Sevcik, facilitator (7-8pm)

(If your neighbourhood does not yet have a googlegroup, you may want to set one up for easy email communication.)

Not sure what neighbourhood you’re in? Check here:


More Connect & Engage zoom connections

If you are part of a UCV covenant group, book group, neighbourhood group, men’s and women’s group and want assistance setting up a zoom call just contact me. You decide when and who’s invited. I help you set it up. You share the information with your people.

UCV has one pro zoom link. We expect to have to prioritize connections for larger groups especially ones that want to use the ‘breakout” room function.

Zoom for Free

If your small group wishes to meet via zoom, the free account allows up to 40 minutes at a time.

Events on Zoom

Tue, Mar 31, 2020
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
UCV Neighbourhood Groups Tuesday night zoom chat
Wed, Apr 1, 2020
10:00 am - 11:30 am
Book (and Poem and Video) Sharing via Zoom
Wed, Apr 1, 2020
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Genders and Sexualities Alliance Monthly Check-in
Thu, Apr 2, 2020
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Check in and Zoom Practice
Sun, Apr 5, 2020
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Virtual Coffee Hour - Every Sunday Following Service
Tue, Apr 7, 2020
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
UCV Neighbourhood Groups Tuesday Night Zoom Chat

Mary Bennett, Connect & Engage team, Vancouver Unitarians


Sunday Service to be webcast followed by virtual coffee hour

Thanks to Christian Malcolm and Galen Elfert (with cheering from the communications committee) the Sunday service March 15 will be web cast. All going well, all you have to do is go to the UCV website at 11 am and there will be a link there to click.

The service will be followed by a “virtual coffee hour”. We will likely be doing more connection and discussion online so this will be our first experiment using Zoom video conferencing to connect with each other. If you are a small group leader or committee chair who would like help learning to use Zoom for your meetings, let Mary know. The plan is to set up an online training session covering both the technology and people facilitation part of hosting a zoom meeting.


Indoor Labyrinth Walking in Meditation Room

We now have custody of an indoor labyrinth that fits perfectly in our meditation room. The plan is to have it out in the meditation room every 1st Tuesday for walking before circle dance and at the break.

Seven women who were part of the Women’s Spirituality Celebration and, along with a dozen or more others, met and walked it together in January. A discussion ensued that people would like the chance to walk it more often and share it with others as well..

The 10′ x 12′ canvas labyrinth was created by Barbara Bickel while on an artist residency on Toronto Island.

Barbara was, with Mary Bennett, and others part of a planning team for an annual Women’s Spirituality Celebration held at UBC Vancouver School of Theology.While the group hasn’t hosted an event in recent years, there are “circles of circles” of women who continue to connect in various ways, often around a labyrinth walk, shared food and conversation.

Barbara created it for the WSC and has wanted it to be available for borrowing by women who wish to use it for an event.

If you have a connection to Women’s Spirituality Celebration or a Unitarian congregation, you can arrange to borrow it from Mary Bennett.

We plan to have an open labyrinth walk every 1st Tuesday from 6 to 7 pm prior to circle dancing in the hall. Mary will book space and ensure the meditation room is open by ten to 6. Women involved with WSC will take turns laying out the labyrinth, welcoming new people and putting the labyrinth back after the walk.

We have a labyrinth facebook group. 

There are also two outdoor labyrinths on the Unitarian Centre site.

Go to to learn more.

Contact Mary through if you wish to arrange to borrow the indoor labyrinth.


Buy Nothing Groups are now all over Vancouver

Buy Nothing Groups are now in every neighbourhood in Vancouver.

Cayla introduced Mary to Buy Nothing Project just over a year ago.
Both are now administrators on their neighbourhood Buy Nothing Groups – Marpole and Kitsilano respectively.
These are facebook groups where people give stuff away and ask for what they need. And, importantly, express their gratitude. The third kind of post is what keeps the community building part in the forefront.

Recently CityTV visited a Buy Nothing “free store” that Mary coordinated. Watch the video here:

Kitsilano is the largest group in Vancouver and has recently helped to mentor volunteers and promote new groups in West Point Grey and Dunbar/Kerrisdale.

Do you want to declutter without contributing to the landfill?

Want to meet some nice people who also want to live a simpler lifestyle and care about the environment?

We had our first Bunz mini-meetup last May. Cayla Naumann brought some of her items and Mary had plants to share. Both shared their perspectives on the Bunz app and how it contributes to waste reduction. Cayla went home with some herbs; Mary got a mini tarot deck and book, We all had fun! Some reusable name tags donated for UCV events.

If you’d like to receive more info about Zero Waste activities, just complete this form:

Here’s what Cayla posted on our zero waste email group:

  • Another Unitarian shared this with me and I’ve recently been using the Bunz app (and there’s a Facebook group too) and really enjoying it. The whole idea is to ‘trade’, no cash exchanges. You can also offer services or less conventional trades. Pretty cool idea and way to reduce waste, consumerism and build community. They do have a BTZ currency as another option. Have you tried Bunz? My username is @catatonic489

If you’ve every frequented (or have ever fantasized about) a “free store” – here’s a way to try it out.

We plan to set up some other meeting times to make pre-arranged trades and possibly bring extra stuff to browse at. Let know if you’d like to participate.

Mary will be potting up some mint for bunz trades. Surprisingly mint plants got a lot of likes on bunz!

Any leftovers will be passed along to our Refugee Committee’s table for sale by donation.

Courtyard Labyrinth – Come walk in rain with us

As part of the Ostara celebration, we plan to walk the courtyard labyrinth – weather permitting – or wear your rain gear

Photo: Keith Wilkinson


The Courtyard Labyrinth is made in this pattern. A 3-circuit Cretan square style. The entrance is by the central doors in Hewett Centre.


We plan to put clues (possibly runes or oracle cards) along the pathway. At some point one might attract your attention and you’ll see if the message is one that has meaning for you.

If it’s absolutely pelting down rain, we’ll find a way to put out our new indoor labyrinth and do a similar process in the meditation room.

When the courtyard paving needed replacing a team designed a labyrinth pattern. Walk on the grey pavers.

Eventually we hope to have a bench in the centre and an inviting planted area.

Paganism 101 Wait list – Sign up for next year

For the second time after a decade lapse, we are offering Louise Bunn’s Paganism 101 course as a once-a-month session for 10 months with a team of facilitators. Both years we had an extensive wait list.

We have a new database for ensuring people can join the wait list and we can easily send updates when a new course is starting, likely in September 2020 to June 2021.

More information here.


Ponder the Change of Season – We wandered from table to table and considered the return of the light

As part of our Imbolc celebration, participants pondered questions related to the four directions/elements. Volunteers set up altars with objects – including food – that correspond to their direction/element.


Marie set up North including plant, rock, salt and salted dark chocolate bar.

The North brings solid land.

  • How is your body changing from winter to spring?
  • How are you connecting to the Earth now?
  • Are you preparing to plant?


Cindy set up the West/Water table.

The West brings flowing and raining

  • Are you dancing in the rain?
  • Or feel it’s raining on your parade?
  • Where would you like more flow?

Mairy did the South Altar.

The South brings light and warmth

  • What is heating up for you?
  • Is anything in your life “going south”?
  • Do you want to turn up the heat?



Gabby had popcorn for us in the East/Air.

The East brings Fresh Spring Breezes

  • Can you feel them yet?
  • What are they stirring up?
  • What is the scent and feeling on your skin?


Mary set up the central altar with snowdrops that will now be planted in the garden path labyrinth.


We also danced three circle dances (some danced; some drummed)

Vigil: keep warm through the cold night, as the spring will come again

Birghitta: welcoming the Goddess Brigid

Bells of Norwich – All shall be well again, I know. Love like the yellow daffodil…


Everyone got a snowdrop to take home and plant.