Meet Our Members
Meet some of our active members here.
Following our children led us to the Unitarians
In February 2016, my husband Ralph and I retired and moved from New York to Vancouver. We left our friends, family, church, and colleagues and sold the house we had lived in for 40 years to follow our children (and first grandchild) west. Our daughter and daughter-in-law had attended UCV, and Kathryn Roback performed their wedding ceremony at the Radha yoga centre and vegan restaurant in 2009. As newcomers, we needed a community and UCV seemed like a good place to start.
Following where our children lead has always been a good policy, and joining this church is no exception. We love attending Sunday morning services, where we invariably learn something new about the natural world, history, social issues, famous Unitarians, and much more. And there’s always beautiful music – especially when the choir is singing.
As a member of the Worship Services Committee, I’ve discovered how much thought and planning goes into every service. Ralph signed up for the Welcome Committee and will be greeting folks and handing out bulletins on Sundays. If you don’t see us in our usual pew, it’s probably because we’ve gone to Southern California to visit our younger daughter’s family. (They attend a small UU church in Aliso Viejo.)
As the announcements promise, a lot goes on at UCV – and not only on Sunday mornings. I’ve missed my garden since trading our suburban house for an East Van condo; working on the grounds committee and labyrinth has let me keep on digging, planting, and weeding. I also attend the monthly potluck book and lunch where we discuss and swap books old and new.
Ralph and I enjoy getting to know other members while attending dinners, concerts, forums, and other special programs, as well as participating in civic events as church members. We recently joined the climate action march where we met up with several UCVers, although, thanks to the enormous crowd, we never did find the Environment Committee folks with the church banner.
Since moving here we’ve been blessed with two more grandchildren, one here and one in California–where another is on the way in January. We became permanent residents of Canada this March, and we’re determined to explore as much of this beautiful province as our grandparenting schedule allows. Coming to Vancouver has changed our lives in ways we never could have foreseen—all good—and this church, and the friendly people who are part of it, have helped make us feel this is where we belong.
Martha will be leading the worship service on Sunday, August 4th.
Martha joined UCV in the fall of 2018.
Martha Saunders Ph.D., taught religious studies and women’s studies for many years at Concordia University, Montreal, and at the University of Toronto, specializing in religious and environmental ethics.
Since 1995 she has been one of the long-time leaders of an independent eco-spiritual community in Toronto, called Ruah. This community lives and celebrates a spirituality inspired by the works of Thomas Berry, Brian Swimme, and others, based in love of the earth and exploring what it means to “reinvent the human” (Thomas Berry) in the evolving cosmos. We believe that an Earth-based spirituality must include a spirituality of liberation that challenges us into right relationship with all other creatures.
I’ve found my spiritual home
Huguette is a key person on our Refugee Committee and also the UCV Board. Read the full testimonial.
I sat up and knew right then that I had found my church!
Tamiko is Outreach Coordinator for our very active Environment team. Recently her laneway home was featured on the show Living Big in a Tiny Home with the title “Wabi-Sabi Modern Japanese Inspired Small Home.”
Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdEsVoqbD5s
Read more about Tamiko and her involvement with the Unitarians below.
As the daughter of two non-religious scientists, I was never interested in church. As a university student in Montreal I checked out the Unitarians but decided the Sunday services got in the way of skiing, hiking or just sleeping in. Similarly, once I had a family, Sundays were for the kids’ hockey and soccer games.It wasn’t until five years ago, my kids grown up and gone, when my husband passed away suddenly, that I found a need to find a spiritual community.
I showed up at the North Shore Unitarian church and would sit in the back then slink home after the sermon. I felt I had nothing in common with all those white-haired West Van congregants until one day I joined some church elders at lunch after the service. We were sitting quietly enjoying the soup, when one grey haired lady suddenly slammed her fist on the table and said, “Can you believe what Stephen Harper just did?” That started a rousing discussion about what was wrong with the latest bill in Ottawa. I sat up and knew right then that I had found my church!
A year later, I moved from North Van to Vancouver and purely because I didn’t want to spend time commuting, joined UCV. I enjoyed the sermons and the music and this time I was more proactive. I started looking for a group to meet people and be able to help out. I found the Environment Team!
Is on the CUC Racism Survey team and a lead teacher for religious exploration.
Melody Mason is an economist and consultant who worked for many years with the World Bank. She has an MBA, an M.Sc in Development Economics, and a BSc in Sociology.
Read the full testimonial.
been a Unitarian since the 50s
Role: Librarian on third Sundays
I enjoy meeting members, helping them make book selections and sharing reading experiences.
Read the full testimonial.
Whenever I go to a Unitarian church or event, I feel “at home”. Unitarian Universalists are diverse, and congregations are diverse, but I find some things are common in most of them. Read the full testimonial.
I’m with kindred spirits with Unitarians
As a teenager in Vancouver in the 60’s, I babysat for a Unitarian family across the street so learned a bit about UCV and thought it would probably suit me better than the United Church my family was involved with. Read the full testimonial.
John Voth’s latest project is creating garden markers for the labyrinth. Mary Bennett had found a photo of something like this and John envisioned something bigger and better! He is using cedar from his Kitsilano trees and burning the letters with a burning tool.
In succeeding years in the fall he will dry them out again sand the face and refresh the letters! At 92 and going strong we expect he’ll be doing that yearly for a long time.
John first joined UCV on November 18, 1962, 57 years ago.
John Voth’s art has had numerous exhibitions at UCV. He invites members to come by his private loft gallery by appointment only. Phone: 604-738-8983
spiritual freedom to seek and explore
-discovering new books
-camaraderie of team
Indigenous peoples are sources of inspiration and learning for me
On Jan 19, I attended ‘Raven People Rising’ at UCV. I feel honoured and truly fortunate to be able to learn more about the Heiltsuk Nation’s powerful journey to protect their territory and surrounding ocean waters. Read the full testimonial.