Tag: women

A Glimpse of UCV’s 2021 Women’s Gathering

A fourth and even a fifth wave of feminism, you say?  Really?  Yes. I was surprised to discover this too.

I’ve recently attended UCV’s ‘Women’s Gathering’, and listened to Jo-Anne Elder Gomes present on the first, second, third, and fourth waves of feminism from 1890 and ongoing.  These waves have progressed from women’s right to vote, to earn, to dignity, and to a voice.  The fifth wave, which is a multi-dimensional movement, recognizes that feminism belongs to us all — regardless of color, religion, age, gender or nationality.

Thirty of us had attended this spectacular Gathering.  We were the fortunate ones who squeaked in, due to the Covid’s 30-person limit.  We ranged in age from 15 to our 70’s.

Rev Lara set the tone with opening words by Starhawk (an American feminist and author):

“We are all longing to go home to some place we have never been — a place half-remembered and half-envisioned we can only catch glimpses of from time to time. Community. Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in our throats. Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power… Someplace where we can be free.”

And, the poem ‘Progress’ by Rupi Kaur an Indian-born Canadian poet.

our work should equip

the next generation of women

to outdo us in every field

this is the legacy we’ll leave behind

We were then treated to three workshops on “The Four Waves of Feminism” (by Jo-Anne Elder Gomes); UCV’s Women’s Groups (presented by Mary Bennett, Shirley Brunke, Jennifer Fell, Carol Knicely Guilbaut, Sheila Resels, Juliet Shenher); and the closing Prose Writing Reading with its general theme of death and remembrance, facilitated by Maggie de Vries with writings by Jane Slemon (read by Katherine Roback), Dianne Dilts, Leta Goldwyn, Paula Vander, Eva Allan and Mary Bennett.

The dinner time break-out groups included Circle Dancing (led by Mairy Beam); and Meena Wong’s Q & A discussion on IBPOC and the 8th Principle.

This abundance of stimulation left us with immeasurable reflections, ideas, and gratitude.

Emphatic appreciation is illustrated by some of the comments of those who attended:

… I give my heartfelt THANKS to the Team for the huge splash of organizing, bringing community and creating a day to celebrate women.  

I loved seeing young women present. 

I’ve never participated in a women’s retreat like that before and it was really enjoyable, challenging, supportive, engaging…. I’m not a Unitarian but I am definitely Unitarian Friendly! What a marvellous inclusive place you all have created. 

…thanks to Jo-Anne (Elder-Gomes of Canadian UU Women’s Association) for her blessings of the 5th Wave and reminding us of progress that has been made over the decades by so many brave women.

I enjoyed hearing about the women’s groups from past decades.  Quite amazing how many different kinds of groups there are at UCV.  https://vancouverunitarians.ca/community/connecting/womens-groups/

…(Jane’s poem) was profoundly moving for me and judging by the energy in the room when Katherine read it, for all of us.  Maggie’s presence felt not only supportive but also deepened a sense of our Temenos, our sacred gathering.   

I concur with them all.

Sheila Resels

Join a Women’s Group

There are two UCV women’s groups ready to welcome one or two additional participants. One meets monthly on Tuesday evenings and the other 2 Fridays per month in the afternoon. We now have several women’s writing groups and are about to start another one.

The Women’s Retreat on Saturday, October 23 was very inspiring and energizing.

Here are some of the comments:

  • A very informative and thought-provoking presentation by Jo-Anne.  I enjoyed learning about the latest waves – 4, 5, 6. It put issues into the perspective of an expanding feminism.  The small group discussions worked surprisingly well.  The questions worked well to make the thrust of the different waves hit home.
  • I enjoyed hearing about the women’s groups from past decades.  Quite amazing how many different kinds of groups there are at UCV.
  • The evening prose readings was a very moving session.  There was a general theme about death and remembrance which, of course, leads to some sadness and/or nostalgia – even anger.  However I was very impressed with the writing as well as the interesting content – all different but similar too.
  • This was my first time attending a retreat like this.  Very “Growth-ful”.

Just search our website for “women” and you’ll find other upcoming events and news.

Women’s Groups

Women’s Memoir Writing Series

24 Women attended this series and several smaller groups have been formed as a result.

Our Lives as Stories

Maybe you would like to commit to paper (or your laptop) a few of the stories knocking around inside you. Maybe you’re seeking a new way to deepen your understanding of yourself and your connection with others. Or maybe you’ve been longing to write your memoir. Whichever is the case, this series of workshops could get you started.

Session 1: Finding Stories. (Gathering the Sensory and Emotive Details)

Session 2: The Craft and Building Blocks of Stories.  (Writing the Scene(s))

Session 3: From Draft to Polished. (Giving and Receiving Feedback)

⦁ The three two-hour workshops will be spaced a month apart providing lots of time in between for other activities.
⦁ For the first two sessions, the whole group (up to twenty participants) will meet for instruction and guided exercises. Sharing time will involve breakout rooms of five or six, and everyone will be invited to share a portion of their work with Maggie by email if they wish.
⦁ The third workshop will happen in 3 sessions, with up to six gathering each time, to share their work and give and receive guided feedback.

FREE to UCV members
$100 registration fee for non-members

Bio

Maggie de Vries is the author of eleven books including the Governor General Literary Award nominated Missing Sarah: A Memoir of Loss and teen novel, Rabbit Ears, winner of the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize. Maggie’s TEDxSFU talk The Red Umbrella: Sex Work, Stigma and the Law has been viewed more than forty-thousand times. Hooker Monologues, a collaborative production Maggie co-produced, co-wrote and performed in, staged six sold-out shows at Vancouver’s Firehall Arts Centre in 2016.

Maggie was children’s book editor at Orca Book Publishers for seven years and a substitute teacher in Surrey for five. In 2005 and 2012, she was the inaugural writer in residence at VPL and UNBC respectively. For some years now, she has been a Lecturer in UBC’s Creative Writing Program, and a Martha-Beck-certified Life Coach who mentors writers, runs workshops, leads writing retreats and offers creative writing courses in her Ladysmith, Vancouver Island community and beyond.

She is in the process of reconnecting with UCV, where she was married in 1995 and attended more and more regularly from 1999 until she moved away from the city in 2017.

www.maggiedevries.com

Dates: May 8, May 29 (2 – 4 pm)
and

June 19/20 The last class is meant to be divided into three groups for workshopping, with Maggie present for each one. People will sign up for one of these slots: Saturday: 9:30 to 11:30, 12:30 to 2:30 or 3 to 5 or Sunday: 12:30 to 2:30 or 3 to 5.

Supported by the Vancouver Unitarian Women’s Retreat Fund.

Registration fees and donations will be used to replenish the fund for future events.

Testimonials

Insightful, hardworking, thoughtful and encouraging, Maggie provided the literary expertise to solve the structural and editorial issues that plagued early drafts of my memoir.  Coincidently, she identified areas where I struggled to probe and encouraged me to explore, improve and flourish.  She helped me to dig deeper and write better. Maggie is terrific!

Renée Hetherington, MBA, PhD
Writer, Scientist and Businesswoman
British Columbia, Canada
February, 2021

Maggie de Vries runs a humdinger of a writing retreat. In an island setting, I was so deeply comforted by the schedule she set for us—one I could decide not to partake of at any moment should the writing bug o’er take me or should I simply need a walk in the woods—that I was inspired to fully involve myself in the opportunities. I was encouraged to share my writing, something I’m truly not used to doing, and I found it thrilling; that shell remains open, well after the retreat, and I’m delighted to feel the change.
Maggie took care of each of us by combining inviting reflection and prompt-driven writing sessions, literary focus, and guided workshops with lots of individually spent time too: free writing in our separate (stunningly beautiful) spots and one-to-one sessions with Maggie.  These check-ins allowed us to look wide to see the larger project and then to perceive the minute detail of scene writing and character perspective.
All that Maggie engaged us in over the 3-day retreat stays with me, weeks later, because I heard myself articulate a deep desire to do this. I said it in a safe and supportive environment; that baby step feels giant to me now. And Maggie helped us envision each of our books in the mess of journals and papers, in the engagement and the intention of the writer. I see these things now. I am showing up for this part of myself.
Thanks, Maggie, for knowing the world of writing so thoroughly and letting us in on its mysteries and delights.

Jane Slemon
Retreat Participant
UCV Member
November, 2019

 

Maggie’s experience as an author and writing coach has given me the courage to finally write my memoir. Her guidance has helped me see more clearly how to structure my book, stay true to my purpose, and tell a story that will engage the reader.  I know I couldn’t do this without her expertise and dedicated commitment to my project. Thank you, Maggie

Jeri Ross, MPH
Licensed Health Educator & Entrepreneur
Author of See You in the Sky: A Memoir of Prison, Possibility and Peace
Santa Cruz, California
June, 2018

 

 

 

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.

 

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 https://vancouverunitarians.ca/labyrinth to learn more.

Contact Mary through [email protected] if you wish to arrange to borrow the indoor labyrinth.

 

New Outreach Opportunities Fund Recipient, Aboriginal Mother Centre

The Outreach Opportunities Fund Committee has selected a new recipient, the Aboriginal Mother Centre (AMC). It is dedicated to taking at risk mothers and children off the streets by providing housing  in 16 suites for mothers and up to three children under nine years old. The Centre is able to offer all the support, tools and resources a mother needs to regain and retain her child. These resources include counselling, advocacy, education, training, and spiritual and social support. AMC also carries out homelessness outreach, a family wellness program, licensed daycare and a community kitchen. Nominated by a congregant, AMC will receive funding from the Sunday Collections starting 1 February.

Cakes for the Queen of Heaven – Feminist “Thealogy” curriculum starts Feb 6

Laurie Anderson and Paula Stromberg will co-facilitate In Ancient Times (Volume I of the Cakes for the Queen of Heaven program) starting on February 6, 2020, for five weeks on Thursday evenings 7 – 9 pm in the Fireside Room at the Vancouver Unitarian Centre

The course is limited to a maximum of 12 women. Pre-registration is required. http://tiny.cc/ucv-cakes

More information about the program can be found here:

https://www.cakesforthequeenofheaven.org/

If these dates don’t work for you, but you’d like to be on a wait list for any future offerings, please sign up here: https://vancouver.breezechms.com/form/cakesforthequeenofheaven

CUUWA (Canadian U*U Women’s Association) * may also offer this popular curriculum by Zoom. Stay tuned!

Here’s some information from the UUWF (Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation)

Cakes resources can now be downloaded

The UU Women and Religion Store has had many requests to make the digital resources for the classic curriculum, Cakes for the Queen of Heaven, available as downloadable files instead of on a CD shipped with the books. We’re happy to announce they’ve made that happen! Now the spiral-bound curriculum books will be shipped with a link and password to access the files. If you have already purchased the curriculum and would like access, please email [email protected].

Cost of the curriculum is $75 US. UCV has the curriculum for any member to borrow. Thank you to North Shore Unitarians for lending two copies to us as well

From the Cakes website:

IN ANCIENT TIMES

This five-session Volume I of the popular adult religious education curriculum includes an introductory section featuring author Shirley’s Ranck’s “Statement of Feminist Thealogy,” Elinor Artman’s “Brief Herstory of Cakes,” and Nancy Vedder-Shults, “Baking Cakes for the Queen of Heaven.”

The themes of the Session Plans are: The Sacred Female, In the Name of the Mother and the Daughter, Womanpower, The First Turning-From Goddess to God, and Reclaiming Women’s Heritage of Peace. The resource section includes supplementary essays by a number of important authors, a listing of highly recommended materials, and the sheet music of songs by Carole Eagleheart and Ann Forfreedom for use with the curriculum. The curriculum also includes a CD-ROM with five Visual Programs to accompany the sessions, plus resource material for easy distribution to participants.

ON THE THRESHOLD

In the six-session continuation of the course, Volume II, we will continue our journey into the past to reclaim the stories of powerful women to be found in ancient Judaism and in early Christianity. We will also look at the global silencing and brutalization of women that accompanied the rise of patriarchal religion and society. Finally we will celebrate the exciting new world-view and thealogy that has emerged in our time, and explore the personal and social changes that may be suggested by that new world-view and thealogy. We will continue the complex process of telling a new story.
In addition, you may order Carole Etzler Eagleheart’s CD “She Calls to Us,” which contains many of the songs in the curriculum. Sound samples are available on her MUSIC page.

* To join CUUWA email group, please contact: [email protected]

Visit the CUUWA Facebook page. It is public so there is no need to be a Facebook user. Feel free to post articles of interest to all.

Exploring Women’s Groups while Discussing Authenticity / Becoming Who You Truly Are

Exploring Women’s Groups while Discussing Authenticity / Becoming Who You Truly Are will be one of three afternoon workshops at the January 4th Women’s Gathering. Facilitator: Sheila Resels

We will meet other women who are part of Unitarian Women’s Groups while discussing what we look for in Women’s Groups?  What we hope to find, to discover in Women’s Groups?

We will also examine authenticity. “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day.  It’s about the choice to show up and be real.  The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” Brene Brown, research professor at the University of Houston.

We will respond to and share:

  • What does being authentic (“inner authenticity”) and living authentically (“outer authenticity”) mean to you?
  • What experiences, either intentional or unintentional, have developed your authenticity? Does authenticity come naturally with age, or does it have to be consciously achieved?
  • How do you nurture authentic experiences in your day to day life?
  • Much of modern North American life and of our personal experience of life is defined by mass culture and electronic media. In what ways do these outlets contribute to or take away from authentic experience?
Space is limited. You must pre-register.
By donation to the Refugee fund.

The Mystery Workshop

The Mystery Workshop facilitated by Laurie Anderson will be one of three afternoon workshops at the January 4th Women’s Gathering.
We’ll explore:
  • What does it mean to embrace mystery?
  • What do I do when I don’t know what to do?
  • How do I learn to go with the flow (when I’d much rather feel in control)?
  • Trust in organic unfoldings?  What?  How?  Huh?
Join with some curious women in conversation, creativity, and connection as we dive into exploring the Mystery…and maybe even hearing its voice.
Space is limited. You must pre-register.
By donation to the Refugee fund.

A new women’s group

It all started at a discussion group while at the 4th Annual Women’s Gathering (https://vancouverunitarians.ca/events/annual-womens- gathering/). Two groups have since been created.  Because we want to enrich and empower the lives of women, we are forming a third one.

What will be discussed?  Topics will be selected and facilitated on a rotating basis by participants.

Those participating in the current Women’s Groups have said:

“I am delighted that we are a diverse group in terms of age and experiences. Should broaden my horizons.” – Bev

“I’m somewhat new to Vancouver and want to join a Women’s Group to get support from women. I think it’s important to foster that for myself and for other women.”  – Cayla

“I thought forming a women’s group would present me with an opportunity to meet with others to construct a safe space to address concerns, challenges and tools for empowerment.

Truly, it is through shared experiences and stories that we grow, reflect and expand who we are. In life and in the context of this group we all shift through life through our interactions with others and thus we assume many roles that include: teachers, mentors, students and leaders.” – Naomi

The new group will meet the third Tuesday of the month from 7:00-9:00 pm in the Fireside Room. First session is September 17th.  Spaces are limited to 12 participants so REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED.  Contact Sheila Resels at [email protected] if you are interested in participating.