Tag: ancestors

Pagan Group October News

by Mary Bennett

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

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

 

Multigen Documentary History Club

  • Mary Bennett

Like many in the congregation I’ve been a big fan of the Encountering Our Ancestors worship services that Rev. Steven Epperson researched, wrote and directed over many years.

It was a very rich experience for me to research Dr. Sheilah Thompson’s “life and times” and share in the 2020 service.

Ever since Steven announced his retirement I’ve wanted to get a group together to continue learning together about our Unitarian, Universalist and Unitarian-Universalist ancestors and to carry on this tradition. This offering was a unique one from Steven who was a historian, as well as a minister and was adept at writing scripts. If we happened to get a minister who wanted to be involved, well, that would be great, but imho unlikely.

There are many options for how the “performance” part would be presented in future–in collaboration with the minister and worship service.  The research, writing and learning would be put to good use whatever form is decided on for the sharing with the congregation.

Steven gifted us with his significant and substantial work and it may be that over time, we would find the resources to organize, copy-edit, publish his work, perhaps with additional materials by UCV members and youth. Perhaps even to video-record performances to share with other UUs and congregations.

I envision us meeting (whether in person, video conference or just an email exchange) monthly over the coming year. We would start out very organically by sharing our interests and being very flexible about participation and contributions. For instance, some people may be interested in the role of being cast as a performer to deliver a script written by someone else; others may be interested in doing research. Many possible roles are possible.

Even though other than the actors, Steven did all the rest himself, I think we need a team. As an educator and lifelong learner I also want to make it explicit that a key outcome is the learning along the way. While the focus of the Encountering our Ancestors service might provide a goal, I believe there will be many conversations along the way that will be rich within themselves.

Does this sound interesting to you or your family or Coming of Age pair?

For now I am “calling the circle” as a first step in creating a UU Multigen History Club.

Note the Coming of Age journal includes lists of Unitarian, Universalist and Unitarian Universalist ancestors. We could start exploring that list and seeing how many of those people already have a script created by Steven.

We might as part of a video-conference do readings to share with each other. Costumes and wigs encouraged but not required.

I’m hoping we can continue the discussion on a SLACK workspace.

Here’s a link to a questionnaire on our Breeze database to gauge interest.

(coming)

Or just send me an email telling me more about your interest: why you’re interested and, if you know already, what aspects of creation are likely t be the focus of your contributions.

Here’s a link about documentary theatre, that you may find of interest.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Documentary_theatre

Encountering our Ancestors XV

It’s the season of Samhain/Halloween/Day of the Dead. For the fifteenth time, we summon eminent ancestors from our Unitarian Universalist history to experience their stories.

Emily Howard Jennings Stowe (1831-1903) – Diane Brown,

John Haynes Holmes (1879-1964) – Stanley Tromp,

Hone Tuwhare (1922-2008) – Michael Scales,

Margot Adler (1946-2014) – Rev. Laura Imayoshi

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!

Encountering Our Ancestors – a 15-year tradition

It’s the season of Samhain/Halloween/Day of the Dead. Sunday November 3 11-12.

For the fifteenth time, we summon eminent ancestors from our Unitarian Universalist history to experience their stories.

This is a much beloved tradition where Steven writes scripts and several UCVers speak from the grave on behalf of that year’s visitors.

Join us on Sunday, November 3, to welcome these visitors from the past: an occasion to reckon our good fortune as heirs of an amazing religious tradition.

 

Podcast from 2018 service.

2017 podcast

2016 podcast

2015 order of service

2014 order of service and music choices

List of ancestors who have visited over the years:

Paul Best (1590–1657)  Early English Unitarian    Eric Wyness

Caleb Rich  (1750–1821)      Universalist Preacher    Bennett Mitten

Kate Austin Cooper  (1864–1902) Universalist/Anarchist  Leonie Armstrong

Olive Higgins Prouty  (1882–1974)   Author  Naomi Taylor

*Photo of Richard Eddy, stand in for Caleb Rich.

** Rosemary Brown claimed that the great composers transmitted or dictated their newest compositions to her. So it is appropriate  to play one of these pieces at this time of year when the veil between the living and the dead is said to be the thinnest.   Elliott

*** Modern Pagans view the world as a great Circle, majestically turning through the four Quarters of the Year, from season to season, with each Quarter representing a natural Element, a geographic Direction, and a specific Season, and each presided over by benevolent elemental forces, Guardians of each phase of our human lives, from birth to death, and beyond. 

Previous Ancestors we’ve encountered

Ancestors: Samhain 2004 (clockwise from upper right)

Dorothy Livesay – Writer & Activist

Joseph Chamberlain – Politician

Josephine Shaw Lowell – Consumer Advocate

Girolamo Busale – Theologian

Bela Bartok – Composer

Ancestors: Samhain 2005 (clockwise from upper right)

Beatrix Potter – Children’s Author  

Maria Mitchell – Astronomer

Jacob Paleologus – Theologian/ Martyr

George Boole – Mathematician

Edvard Grieg – Composer

Ancestors: Samhain 2006 (clockwise from upper right)

Adriaan Korbaugh – Theologian/Martyr

Martha and Waitstill Sharp – Refugee Relief Activists

Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell – Author

Rod Serling – Science Fiction Writer & TV Producer

Katarina Weiglowa – Martyr

Ancestors: Samhain 2008 (clockwise from upper right)

Margaret Fuller – Journalist & Feminist

Arthur Lismer – Artist

Rachel Carson – Environmentalist

Herman Melville – Author

Bernardo Ochino – Theologian /Martyr

Ancestors: Samhain 2009 (clockwise from upper right)

Ledyard Stebbins – Geneticist

Travers Herford – Unitarian Minister/Judaism Scholar

Anna Laetitia Barbauld – Poet/Feminist

Lotta Hitschmanova – Founder USC Canada

Ancestors: Samhain 2010 (clockwise from upper right)

Simon Budny – Radical Theologian/Biblical Scholar

Charlotte Garrigue Masaryk – First Lady of Czechoslovakia

Mary Wollstonecraft – Feminist/Philosopher/Author

Leonard Marsh – Public Servant

Ancestors: Samhain 2011 (clockwise from upper right)

Joseph Workman – Canadian Mental Health Pioneer

Vilhjamar Stefansson – Explorer/Ethnologist

May Sarton – Poet

Isabella Jagiellon – Unitarian Noblewoman

 (holding her son John Sigismund, 1st Unitarian king)

Ancestors: Samhain 2012 (clockwise from upper right)

Orestes Brownson – Minister/Political Radical

Margaret Laurence – Author

Mary White Ovington – Civil Rights Activist

William Hazlitt – Essayist

Ancestors: Samhain 2013 (clockwise from upper right)

Joseph Johnson – Publisher

Conrad Aiken – Poet

Celia Payne-Gaposchkin – Astronomer

Malvina Reynolds – Song Writer/Activist

Ancestors: Samhain 2014 (clock-wise from upper right)

Margaret Benedictsson – Women’s Rights Activitst

William Carlos Williams – Doctor/Poet

Maria Cook – Universalist Preacher

Lelio Sozzini – Theologian

 

UCV Library Books Related to the Sermon:

Unitarians in Canada, by Phillip Hewett, 1995;

Unitarian Universalism: A Narrative History, by David E. Bumbaugh, 2000; and

These Live Tomorrow, by Clinton Lee Scott, 1964.

Past order of service covers.

 

 

 

Encountering our Ancestors XIV

It’s the season of Samhain/Halloween/Day of the Dead. For the fourteenth time, we summon eminent ancestors from our Unitarian Universalist history to experience their stories. Join us to welcome these visitors from the past: an occasion to reckon our good fortune as heirs of an amazing religious tradition.

Ancestors:
Andrzej Wiszowaty 1608-1678
Hannah Greg 1766-1828
Fannie Farmer 1857-1915
Adlai Stevenson 1900-65

The poem that opens this podcast is an excerpt from Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman.

See previous Ancestors services at: http://vancouverunitarians.ca/topic/ancestors/