Author: Keith Wilkinson

Keeping Our Ethical Base Strong – UCV & the World

At the UCV Partner Church Sunday Service on 22 Nov 2020 and at the subsequent forum on Unitarian Social Involvement in African Contexts we gathered together virtually with fellow Unitarians from Burundi and some of their supporters elsewhere in Canada. The connections UCV has had in this work are interesting. We’ve been meeting and corresponding with Rev Fulgence Ndagijimana for a number of years now, beginning with emails of support when he was imprisoned in Burundi and we joined other international voices of concern that helped have him released. He eventually made his way safely with his wife and son to Saskatoon as refugees, where he finalized some of his UU Ministry Association credentials, and established Flaming Chalice International (FCI), a Canadian Registered Charity. (That means Canadians can make donations directly to FCI and obtain a charitable donation receipt for income tax purposes.)

Rev Fulgence was the founder of the Burundian Unitarian Church in 2002 and is active in the International Council of Unitarian Universalist (ICUU). He recently moved from Saskatoon to Ottawa (“mon pays…c’est l’hiver!”) where there is a larger Burundian community. He remains active with FCI as well as supporting other community initiatives including the emerging Rutana Burundi / Vancouver Canada Partner Church Relationship.

This week, Rev Fulgence told me about a UU connection that I didn’t know about, namely, the support for Burundian community economic initiatives by Spirit in Action, (their slogan is “micro grants, major change”), an inter-denominational US-based charity that began in the mid twentieth century, and whose current Executive Director is Tanya Cothran, a Unitarian. Tanya lives part time in California and part-time in Toronto where she is a member of the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto.  Tanya also served for several years as Treasurer of the Canadian Unitarian Council She travels regularly to Africa to meet with grant recipients and potential new recipients, and in 2017 she co-authored with Jennifer Lentfer the book Smart Risks: How small grants are helping to solve some of the world’s biggest problems.

The deep message, for me, in these supportive connections is the value of our Unitarian Principles and Sources, particularly Principles #1, #2 and #6 which state:

“We, the member congregations of the Canadian Unitarian Council, covenant to affirm and promote:

  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  • Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations;
  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.”

I’ve intentionally included lots of links in this story (ten, I believe) to highlight the complex and surprising interdependent social and ethical web of which we are a part. That web needs on-going attention as old links end and new engagements emerge. That’s what steady organizations like Vancouver Unitarians, Toronto Unitarians, and the Canadian Unitarian Council provide. When we give to charities like FCI and SIA that provide direct support for people in need, whether they be refugees or people working hard to build better lives for themselves in their own countries, we should also remember to give, I believe, to some of the organizations that act to coordinate and facilitate that support. So—I hope you’ll donate to one of these boots-on-the-ground enterprises, and also to Vancouver Unitarians for our members, minister, and staff to use in
keeping our ethical base strong.

 

Photos:

Left – Tanya Cothran, Executive Director, Spirit in Action (SIA).

Top – Rev Fulgence Ndagijimana, Flaming Chalice International (FCI).

Our Moral Priorities

Support COVID Relief in NE India – a Faithify Crowd Source Initiative.

This is an initiative sponsored by the International Convocation of Unitarian Universalist Women.

More details below…

The current COVID-19 pandemic and the on-going global climate crisis may leave us a bit bewildered about where and how to act in a constructive way. What should our priorities be? Like each of us, I eventually find a way forward that suits my character,  temperament, and pocketbook. Socially, spiritually, and economically, I find ways to support: a) my family, b) my friends, c) my religious community d) other creatures, e) my neighbourhood, f) my city, g) my province, h) my country, i) my planet, j) myself – not necessarily in that order! Within each of these I look for ways, large or small, in which I can contribute, ways suited to my gifts. And in this manner, it seems to me, each one of us maps out our unique ethical path.

There are times when many of us need to be headed in roughly the same direction on critical issues if we are to make a helpful contribution to our own well-being and that of our planet. One of those directions, I believe, is toward climate justice. There are many specific paths within this direction that a person can follow, but we need to head generally the same way as others and be supportive of each other in order to get there. I can’t think of anyone in our Unitarian community who isn’t doing something to move in this direction toward climate justice.

A more urgent issue is provision of global relief to help people cope successfully with COVID-19. Refugees fleeing from wars, oligarchies, and disastrous climate changes also need help. While governments and charitable organizations help, how do we, as individuals, pick from amongst the many options for helping?

Following are descriptions and links to a few programs related to the global Unitarian Universalist community that are addressing these needs. Perhaps you can find something in the short list below that appeals to your spirit and character to which you can contribute money or service immediately.

Some primary options for giving

COVID-19 Relief

  1. Donate to UCV by texting 1 778 771 1707 and adding a note to direct your donation to:

Burundi Partner Church COVID-19 Relief Fund

**Directions for giving by text are outlined at the end of this posting.

You can also give to this fund electronically, or by mailing a cheque to the UCV Office.
For directions for electronic giving as well as pledging options, go to the UCV Website and click on Give near the top right hand side of the page which will take you to our Giving Page.

  1. Donate through a crowd source initiative in support of COVID relief for Unitarians in NE India. Go to the following link and follow the instructions:

Support COVID Relief in NE India – a Faithify Crowd Source Initiative.

This is an initiative sponsored by the International Convocation of Unitarian Universalist Women.

Other UCV Crisis Support Initiatives

(Give by text, electronically, or by cheque to UCV)

Sheilah Thompson Refugee Fund
(Used by the UCV Refugee Committee as backup where needed for specific groups of refugees)

Refugee Funds for a particular family/group
(Used by the UCV Refugee Committee to support specific refugee groups or families. UCV is currently supporting 3 such groups: Al Humaid, Issa and Rosa, & Mohammed Ali Alian.)

Green Fund
(Allocated by the Board in consultation with the UCV Environment Team to support specific environmental initiatives, some related to improving UCV’s carbon footprint, and some directed to the larger community.)

Emergency Relief Fund
(Directed by the UCV Board in consultation with selected committees for global relief work.)

Support for CUC initiatives via UCV

CUC Sharing Our Faith Fund
(Money contributed each year from across Canada to help selected congregations offer special programs for which they apply. UCV has been a beneficiary of this fund in recent years.)

To give to UCV by text, enter 1 778 771 1707 on your smartphone

If it’s your first time donating by text, you’ll be given a link and asked to supply your payment method (credit card, debit card, or bank account) and details about that. This payment source will then be linked with your phone number.

Then simply text the amount you’d like to give to this number. For example:

Text       [ Give $5 ]

This will send $5.00 immediately to the UCV open collection.

Once you’ve donated, you’ll receive a text confirming that your donation has been received successfully. You’ll also be given the option to cancel the donation if you’ve made an error.

You can also direct text donations to specific UCV funds. To do this, text the amount followed by a short description of where you want the money to be directed. For example:

Text       [ Give $5 to Burundi COVID-19 Relief ]

This will direct $5 immediately to the UCV Burundi Partner Church COVID-19 Relief Fund.

All of your text donations will be combined with any other donations you have made to UCV and will be reported to you at the end of the year for income tax purposes as Charitable Donations.

 

CUC Leaders Roundtables

4th Saturdays, monthly, 9 AM Pacific time

Report on the CUC Leaders Roundtable of 26 Sep 2020:

Seven UUs from Halifax, Huronia, Niagara, Lakehead, Calgary and Vancouver participated. We discussed space rental as a revenue source, rental rates, human resource consultants, staff reductions and expansions, zoom AGM procedures, zoom dinners, zoom charades, outside Hallowe’en costume parades, and a forthcoming (date TBA) CUC Webinar on Hybrid Services (some people in the sanctuary, others at home).

 

 

 

Next roundtables:

Saturday, October 31, 9:00 a.m. PT | 10:00 a.m. MT | 11 :00 a.m. CT | 12:00 p.m. ET | 1:00 p.m. AT

Saturday, November 28, 9:00 a.m. PT | 10:00 a.m. MT | 11 :00 a.m. CT | 12:00 p.m. ET | 1:00 p.m. AT

Congregational leaders from across Canada are invited to gather monthly to share ideas and insights with each other and CUC staff. Our conversations will explore different topics with the goal of supporting our congregations and each other as we navigate the post-pandemic world with resiliency and grace.

Online via Zoom: https://bit.ly/2EUMhsD

For on-going national UU news, subscribe to the CUC News

CUC also hosts online events including regional gatherings, discussions, round tables and webinars. Find out about upcoming events and gatherings in the CUC events calendar.

3 BC, AB, and UK online Unitarian events – Aug 2020 to May 2021

UCV members and friends may be interested in exploring some of the following on-line learning events in the wider CUC and UK Unitarian communities.

1. Exploration of World Religions

8 Sep 2020 to 18 May 2021, twice a month, Tuesdays, 6:30-8:00 pm Pacific (see dates below)

In a unique partnership between South Fraser (SFUC) and Calgary Unitarians (UCC), the Revs. Debra Faulk and Samaya Oakley, and UCC member Lynn Nugent, are pleased to offer an exploration of nine of the major world religions/faith traditions this coming year – one a month from September through to May. This program is open to Unitarian Universalists in Western Canada. You’ll be able to participate several ways:

  • Attendance at the monthly Sunday service when we will have a guest speaker from the faith tradition we are exploring in the program;
  • Each of the monthly Soul Matters/Reflections packets will contain a spiritual practice, readings and resources from the traditions under consideration, and
  • Twice monthly gatherings where you’ll be able to delve deeper into the history and current practices of that tradition. We ask for a commitment to attend as many of these sessions as reasonably possible.
  • Our twice monthly gatherings will meet on Tuesdays from 6:30-8:00 pm Pacific/ 7:30-9:00 Mountain.

Together we’ll be exploring:

September – Judaism – September 8th and 22nd;

October – Wicca – October 6th and 20th;

November – Hindu – November 3rd and 17th;

December – Christianity – December 1st and 15th;

January – Bahai – January 5th and 19th;

February – Buddhism – February 2nd and 16th;

March – Sikhism – March 2nd and 16th;

April – Islam – April 6th and 20th;

May – Indigenous Spirituality – May 4th and 18th.

As there are significant expenses for the resources being used, we are asking for a free-will donation of $10.00 per session on a sliding scale basis. We suggest you use the CUC’s green bottle sliding scale model to determine your contribution.

https://cuc.ca/about-cuc/support-subsidies/sliding-fee-scale/

To register simply click on the World Religions Exploration Program link. 

Please contact anyone of the following for more information:

Rev. Debra Faulk – debra@calgaryunitarians.ca 403-702-6486

Lynn Nugent – adultprograms@calgaryunitarians.ca

Rev. Samaya Oakley – minister@surreyunitarians.ca; 604-323-4341

2. Discussion Group on White Fragility

27 September 2020 at 3 pm (plus 3 additional sessions in Oct, Nov, Dec)
Sponsored by South Fraser Unitarians

You’re invited into a group that will examine and discuss the ideas Robin DiAngelo presents in her book entitled White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism (Beacon Press, 2018). Written with white people in mind, participants are invited into the work of learning skills to disrupt racism as a Unitarian Universalist faith commitment and practice. Together we’ll explore paths to come to terms with our own and others’ fragile, defensive, and coded responses when a conversation turns to race.

Over three sessions, we’ll examine ways that conversations about race, either interracially or among white people, can—whether one is aware or not—reinforce racial hierarchy. We’ll engage in a series of questions, activities, and reflection and sharing opportunities to find, in your stories and experiences, ways in which they have upheld and reinforced the culture of white supremacy.

Join us on Sunday, September 27th at 3 pm for an organizing session where we’ll set dates and times for our three sessions (October, November, and December). In order to prepare for the discussion circles, you’ll need a copy of the book.

For more information, contact Rev. Samaya Oakley, minister@surreyunitarians.ca; 604-323-4341

 

3. Hucklow Summer School – audio recordings from 2020 and previous years

Hucklow Summer School (HSS) is a Unitarian religious education gathering held each August at the Nightingale Centre, Great Hucklow, in the Peak District of the United Kingdom. Hucklow Summer School focuses on matters of religion and spirituality and intends to draw out and develop the potential of all participants. This year’s theme is ‘Speaking the Truth in Love’: Having the Courage of our Convictions in a Post-Truth Age. The 2020 events run from 22 Aug through 28 Aug, most for 90 minutes starting at 11 AM Pacific time. The talks are free but pre-registration is required. Although you may be too late now to pre-register, if you want to try, send an email to hucklowsummerschool@gmail.com. Meetings will be via zoom with passwords required.

If you see this posting too late to enrol in the live 2020 events, you can listen to the audio recordings from this and previous years. All the 2020 talks are being recorded and made available on YouTube and via the Summer School podcast stream and website (which contains over 10 years of audio recordings of past theme talks). Check the HSS website for these audio recordings. https://www.hucklowsummerschool.co.uk/talks/

 

CUC Regional & National Gatherings – Save these November dates!

This is one of eleven articles from the August CUC eNews.
Recommended:  subscribe to the monthly CUC eNews here: CUC eNews LINK.

Save the Dates for Regional and National Virtual Gathering!

The CUC, in conjunction with our various regions, is planning an online regional and national fall gathering the weekend of November 13- 15 and we want you to attend!

On Friday, November 13, regions will gather together for Zoom events and conversations specific to each region.

On Saturday, November 14, we will come together nationally for workshops and programming focusing on topics identified as priorities in our recent congregational survey. Following the workshops, the CUC Board will host a conversation. Multigenerational events are also being planned.

And on SundayNovember 15, we will have a national Sunday Service with participation from congregations across the country. Our theme will be Sailing Ahead and we will imagine together the promise and the possibility of Unitarian Universalism in Canada.

More information about the weekend will be available soon; a youth con is being considered for a different date. Please watch for details in future editions of the eNews, on our Facebook page, and from your local congregation.

 

Featured CUC Events

More information is available on the CUC Events Calendar.

O Canada 2021 – Twelve days of honouring celebrations?

Next year, 2021, let’s celebrate a whole collection of summer holidays (holy days) for one grand summer festival honouring all people and other beings while bearing witness to the challenges that call Unitarians to keep on working for justice…

My covenant group met on Canada Day in 2020 and we shared some thoughts about what we liked and disliked about Canada Day. There were many things we appreciated about Canadian culture and political systems, and also many areas where we felt we still fell short and needed to keep on working. Following are some celebrations we could perhaps honour next year leading up to a more complete and satisfying celebration of Canada Day. (Ah…but who amongst us might take the lead!)

2021   Jun 20 Sunday World Refugee Day

This event honors the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homeland under threat of persecution, conflict and violence.

Jun 20 Sunday Fathers Day

Father’s Day is an unofficial holiday to celebrate fathers around the world—although the date for celebration varies.

Jun 21 Monday Summer Solstice from a scientific viewpoint

It’s the scientific start to summer in the Northern Hemisphere, when this half of the world tilts toward the sun.

Litha – Summer solstice from a Wiccan viewpoint

The Solstice Teaches Us   A poem from the UUA Worship Web

Jun 21 Monday National Indigenous Peoples Day

A day to celebrate and learn more about the cultural diversity of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples in Canada.

Jun 21 Monday International Day of Yoga

Yoga is practiced in various forms around the world and continues to grow as a sport and a lifestyle. Traditional yoga has a meditative and spiritual core in addition to the physical exercises. The result is a wide variety of schools, practices, and goals within the yoga community. It is because of yoga’s holistic approach to body and mind that the UN decided in 2014 to dedicate June 21 to this ancient tradition.

“Yoga is a sport that can contribute to development and peace. Yoga can even help people in emergency situations to find relief from stress.” said Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary-General.

Jun 23 Wednesday Public Service Day

The United Nations’ Public Service Day is held on June 23 each year. It recognizes that democracy and successful governance are built on the foundation of a competent civil service. The day aims to celebrate the value and virtue of service to the community.

Jun 23 Wednesday International Widows’ Day

International Widows’ Day was introduced to address poverty and injustice faced by widows and their children in many countries. It was officially recognized by the United Nations in 2010 and is observed annually on June 23.

Jun 24 Thursday Fête nationale du Québec (FR)

Fête nationale du Québec (EN)     AKA Ste-Jean-Baptiste Day  (EN)

The people of Québec celebrate their national holiday with more than 750 celebrations held across the province on 23 and 24 June. Organized by nearly 20,000 volunteers, the festivities of the Fête nationale include more than 1,050 events and 360 bonfires, in addition to some of the largest public gatherings in Québec.

Jun 25 Friday Day of the Seafarer

In 2010, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), decided to designate June 25th as the International Day of the Seafarer as a way to recognize that almost everything that we use in our daily lives has been directly or indirectly affected by sea transport.  The purpose of the day is to give thanks to seafarers for their contribution to the world economy and the civil society; and for the risks and personal costs they bear while on their jobs.

Jun 26 Saturday  International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs represent to society. This day is supported by individuals, communities and various organizations all over the world. 

Jun 26 Saturday  International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

Rehabilitation centres and human rights organizations around the world celebrate the UN’s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on June 26 each year. The day serves as a reminder to people that torture is a crime. This event gives everyone a chance to unite and voice their opinions against human torture.

Organizations, including the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims and Amnesty International, have played an active role in organizing events around the world to promote the day. Activities may include photo exhibitions, the distribution of posters and other material to boost people’s awareness of issues related to human torture, and television advertisements.

Jun 27 Sunday Canadian Multiculturalism Day

Discover the significance of multiculturalism in Canada — ensuring that all citizens keep their identities, take pride in their ancestry and have a sense of belonging.

Jun 30 Wednesday International Asteroid Day

June 30 is the anniversary of the Tunguska impact, also known as the Tunguska event. On that day a large explosion occurred in the sky over the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Siberia, Russia.

It destroyed about 2,000 square kilometers (770 square miles) of the forest in the area, flattening about 80 million trees. The area is sparsely populated, and there were no official reports of human casualties.

It is thought that an asteroid or a comet was responsible for the blast. The Tunguska event is considered to be the largest asteroid impact on Earth in recorded history.

2021 Jul 1 Thursday Canada DayUCV’s Patrick Dubois’ 2020 Musical Tribute

What do we need to do as Canadian Unitarians to help make Canada Day a time of celebration for all people and not just a settler’s celebration?

 

On-going

The Butterfly Way ProjectThe David Suzuki Foundation

Environmental Rights

Climate Solutions

Further information on 2021 holidays worldwide:

United Nations Holidays

timeanddate.com

UUA Worship Web – a poem on summer

Also:

  • Animal Rights Awareness Week – (Mid June) 13-19 June 2021?
  • Fish are Friends, Not Food Week! – (Last Week of June) 20-26 June 2021?
  • National Pollinator Week – 20-26 June 2021?

Aw, Canada! Canada Day 2020 – with UCV’s Patrick Dubois

Images – screenshots from YouTube

Canada Day 2020…

2020 Jul 1st Wednesday Click for UCV’s Patrick Dubois’ Musical Tribute for Canada Day 2020!

But alas! Canada Day still has the taint of past and current colonial injustices. What can we, as Canadian Unitarians, do to help make Canada Day a time of celebration for all people living in Canada and not just a settler’s celebration?

Here are some thoughts from one of our indigenous leaders:

“Speaking to CTV News Channel Wednesday, (1 Jul 2020) National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Perry Bellegarde admits that Canada has a long way to go in achieving equality for Indigenous peoples, but urged the community to embrace a positive message of hope. “There is a huge divide that must be closed, and we can only close that divide… by working together and have kindness and love and respect for each other as human beings,” he said.“We need more and more First Nations people around decision making tables… once you get more people around those decision-making tables we see ourselves in the system and that will lead to better legislation and better policy moving forward.”

Up next is a post about possibilities for next year, 2021, to continue the long process of addressing our colonial injustices.

 

In Memoriam – Reverend Andrew Backus

Rev Dr Andrew Backus died on 22 Jan 2020 at the age of 75. Many Vancouver Unitarians will remember Andy as UCV’s interim minister from 2000 to 2002, just before Rev Dr Steven Epperson began his ministry at UCV.

A memorial service for Rev Backus was held at 2 pm on Saturday, February 15, 2020, at the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, 1207 Ellsworth St, Bellingham, WA 98225. Notes of condolences may be sent to Chris Backus at 2746 Broadway St, Bellingham, WA 98225.

The UUA Service of the Living Tradition honours all UU ministers who have died in the preceding year, and will be live-streamed on Thursday, 25 June 2020 from 3-4 pm Pacific Time. A written memorial to Andy is included in this memorial book prepared by UUA in support of this service.

Virtual UUA General Assembly: 24-28 June 2020

When they attend in person, many Canadian Unitarians find the very large Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) General Assemblies (GAs) to be inspiring and comforting. This year, in virtual mode, UUA’s GA promises to be something quite different!

The UUA lists 11 events that will be live streamed sessions open to the public without prior registration.  Click here to go to the UUA page that gives instructions for live-streaming any of these 11 open events.

The first UUA open event is scheduled for 5:45- 6:30 pm Pacific Time, Wednesday, 24 June 2020. This is the first  of six sessions of the UUA General Business Meeting – perhaps of particular interest to UU policy nerds. Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Co-Moderators Mr. Barb Greve and Elandria Williams will preside over the general sessions in which the business of the Association is conducted.

Other live-streaming events from the GA that Canadian Unitarians may find of more interest include the following:

SERVICE OF THE LIVING TRADITION, GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2020

Thursday, June 25, 2020; 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight; 3:00 – 4:00 pm Pacific Time

The Ministries and Faith Development Staff Group invites you to join us at this service where we honor those who have died, recognize those who have completed active service, and welcome those who have received fellowship, credentialed, or certified status in the past year.

The sermon will be delivered by Rev. Danielle Di Bona. Rev. Di Bona has served Unitarian Universalism for 30 years, and is the 2018 recipient of the Award for Distinguished Service to the Cause of Unitarian Universalism. In her retirement, she serves as the Palliative Care chaplain at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, MA. She has served as a member of the UU Nominating Committee and on the UU Women’s Federation board. She is the former President of the Diverse and Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries, and continues to serve DRUUMM as Chaplain. Rev. Di Bona also serves on the Board of the Church of the Larger Fellowship. She is a Chaplain to the UUA Board of Trustees and Finding Our Way Home.

Dr. Zanaida Stewart Robles, Service of the Living Tradition Music Director, is a fierce advocate for diversity and inclusion in music education and performance. Born, raised, and educated in Southern California, she is in demand as a vocalist, conductor, clinician and adjudicator for competitions, festivals, and conferences related to choral and solo vocal music. She serves on the national board of the National Association of Negro Musicians and is co-chair of the board of directors of Tonality, a non-profit organization that promotes peace, unity, and social justice through choral music performance in Los Angeles.

The service includes a collection to benefit the Living Tradition Fund. Members of the public are welcome.

 

SYNERGY BRIDGING WORSHIP, GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2020

Friday, June 26, 2020; 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 3:00 – 4:00 pm Pacific Time,

This is a transformative multigenerational worship. Come be inspired and illuminated at a celebration of treasured worship elements, rites of passage and brilliant contemporary musical performances.

 

SUNDAY MORNING WORSHIP: “BEYOND THE WATER’S EDGE,” UUA GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2020

This event is scheduled to occur twice on Sunday, June 28, 2020:

  • 7:00 – 8:00 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time
  • 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time
  • The service will also be available for on-demand viewing at 11:00 a.m. PDT.

“Join us for the largest annual gathering of UUs joining in worship. This powerful, communal worship experience is open to the public. Rev. Joan Javier-Duval will deliver the sermon at the 2020 General Assembly Sunday Morning Worship. She serves as Minister of the Unitarian Church of Montpelier, VT. She is the daughter of immigrants from the Philippines, mother of a kindergartener, and spouse of a proud Vermonter. Beauty, gratitude, and love are at the heart of her faithful striving for collective liberation and a thriving planet.

The worship service will include a collection for the Tomaquag Museum, an indigenous museum featuring an extensive collection and archive of Southern New England tribal communities.”

If you’d like to take part in the whole UUA GA you can register here for US$150 and will then have live access to all sessions including the Opening Ceremonies, Ware Lecture, and nine Featured Speakers.

Other resources are also mentioned in the UUA documentation, including a resource of accessible liturgical music composed by the late Rev Dr Andy Backus. Many Vancouver Unitarians will remember Andy who served as UCV’s interim minister from 2000-2002. Andy died on 15 Jan 2020. An obituary for Rev Backus will be listed separately on this blog and Andy will be remembered as part of the UUA GA Service of the Living Tradition on Thursday, 25 June.

Two poems for Steven

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
interesting journeys?

G’b’y Steven!