Tag: poetry

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!

Canadian Unitarian Universalist Women’s Association – CUUWA

The Canadian Unitarian Universalist Women’s Association (CUUWA) cuuwa.org

Among the programs is a Meditative Poetry group that meets Saturdays and Sundays between 9 and 9:15 am Pacific time online.

We read a poem 3 times with some silence and sharing in between.

Sign in here: https://meet.google.com/jka-jkoh-cpi or through this shortlink: https://tinyurl.com/uu-poetry



Here is the 29-page package of writings and images to help women’s groups celebrate International Women’s Day. Of course the readings might be used at any other time as well.

The focus is on Journey and includes some “before and after” images and writing of the members of the CUUWA. You might like to write your own or share your stories in your women’s group.

Announcing the 2019 International Women’s Day Service Packet

In Memoriam: Remembrance Day

This is the one hundredth anniversary of the ending of World War I. We commemorate this Remembrance Day in a service of poetry, music and meditation. We gather to feel and think on the tragedy of war and the gifts of peace. We honour those who have served us in death and life.


Find A Stillness, Chalice Choir
The Drum, John Scott, 1730 – 1783
Old Man Travelling, William Wordsworth, 1770 – 1850
Hashivenu, Chalice Choir
The Due of the Dead, William Makepeace Thackeray, 1811 – 1863
Anthem for Doomed Youth, Wilfred Owen, 1893 – 1918
In Flanders Fields, Chalice Choir
From Walking Wounded, Vernon Scannell, 1922 – 2007
In Celebration of Spring, John Balaban, 1943-
Intermezo op. 117 no. 1 (excerpt), Brahms, Pat Armstrong and Elliot Dainow
Unmentioned in Dispatches, Peter Wyton, 1944-
Reconciliation, Walt Whitman, 1819 – 1892

Keith Wilkinson

Keith joined our congregation in 1998 after a period of limited religious affiliations that never quite fit. He had an introverted spiritual inclination, a prairie farm background that made him feel close to the earth, and an interdisciplinary academic background in educational psychology, anthropology and linguistics and lots of international travel that brought him into contact with various world religions. He adhered to Judaism for a while, but it didn’t resonate with his own childhood experience of the transcendent. UU was a much more comfortable fit.

Much of Keith’s working life was committed to administration in post-secondary education, health care, justice and public safety. At UCV he joined the Worship Services Committee, and then the Board – first as Treasurer and eventually as President. Subsequently he provided volunteer support and leadership in human resources, communications, covenant groups, and most recently the UCV Membership Committee.

Keith was elected to the board of the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) in 2015 and served as President of the CUC in 2016 and 2017. The CUC provides another level of UU community working nationally and globally, linked to the Vancouver community through our Bylaws, and linked philosophically through a shared vision of a world in which our interdependence calls us to love and justice.

Keith has been trying to focus his attention in recent days and years on being a better partner, appreciating the good fortunes of his life, contributing as best he can to reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous people living in Canada, trying to become more skillful in mindfulness and compassionate communications, supporting sustainable energy initiatives, staying physically active (skiing, walking, cycling, gym, walking the dog), pondering mortality, and, in the background, continuing his oldest passion and spiritual practice, writing poetry.