Category: Books Theatre Writing

library and book club posts, writing workshops, theatre events and information

Unitarian Plurals Book Study Group FULL

Mary and Sheila are hosting a once-a-month, one-hour zoom meeting to work through the book Don’t Label Me by Irshad Manji.

This group is now full.

Leadership will be shared, with all participants taking turns facilitating, zoom hosting and or notetaking/admin support.

As well as the one hour session, you will be asked to do some homework, including practice, and get together with one or more other people in between our sessions. Each week, the facilitators will come up with discussion questions and the assignment.  The group will also meet and share their reflections on a googlegroup.

Irshad Manji spoke at UCV in 2019. Her website is https://irshadmanji.com/

Date and time: 3rd Mondays 7-8pm on zoom https://tinyurl.com/unitarian-plurals 

Questions? sresels@gmail.com or Unitarianmary@gmail.com

The book is divided into 10 sections. Each month, September to June, we’ll focus on one of the sections.

Vancouver Public Library have seven copies plus an e-book and downloaded audiobook. I’ve ordered in some from Banyen. (It was listed on their website but was  out of stock.) If you want one, let me know. Approximately $30.

Why the name Unitarian Plurals?

Manji proposes that we all adopt the one label “Plural” to emphasize that we are each more complex than the list of our labels.

She’s an engaging, articulate, funny speaker. Search youtube.com if you want to see some interviews. There are lots.

Maximum group size: 10

Schedule:

Date 3rd Mon. 7-8 on zoom Focus
September 19 Can We Talk? Chapters 1-9
October “Straight White Male” 10-18
November “Muslim Refugee” 19-25
December What Change Means 26-31
January A New Identity 32-40
February Why (and How) to not be Offended 41-46
March Rethinking Power and Privilege 47-51
April Rethinking Multiculturalism 52-57
May Rethinking Courage 58-65
June The Lessons of Lily 66-72

 

For a detailed description, click here:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1glGJ0TrZzkts30A8hFwocN5Bca7OlmBYsLnmbo0Whtk/edit?usp=sharing

For a list of UCV book groups, click here:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1qBPA6uC4VBRqtTDU4sL3lIdWyXtk5z7xHvVFns2DOUw/edit?usp=sharing

 

Spontaneous Book Group NEW!

Do you sometimes hear about a book and wish you could talk to a friend who’d already read it before you make the investment of time and possibly money?

Or you’re half way through a book and really want to talk with some like-minded person/s about the ideas before continuing.

To complement other book groups at UCV (2nd Sunday where they choose a book and Potluck Books where people show up and share what they’ve been reading–and sometimes the actual books too!) a new group is starting.

Along the lines of Christina’s Baldwin’s “Calling the Circle”, anyone in the group can “call the circle” – by putting out an email suggesting when and where you’re inviting people to get together and the intention. i.e. it might be to discuss a particular book, or it might be potluck-style: come and tell us what you’re reading.

Another approach would be to have one or two people who have read a particular book, present it and reading is optional for the others. (This format borrowed from Toronto First’s Issues and Ideas group.) We’ll use this approach for the Zero Waste Book Club.

Mary Bennett has set up an email group for any who want to participate. If you join, you’ll get some invitations and you’ll be expected to now and again “call the circle”.  #SharedLeadership


Interested in book clubs? Here are some of the other book groups going at UCV.

2nd Sunday Book Club. Contact Rob Dainow

Potluck Book and Lunch Club. Contact Nan Gregory

Zero Waste Book Group.  https://vancouverunitarians.ca/zero-waste-book-group/

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For contact information, schedules and other small group opportunities, contact Membership Outreach Coordinator, Derrick at moc@vancouverunitarians.ca

 

 

Zero Waste Book Group

The Metro Vancouver Zero Waste Team is starting a monthly one-hour zoom book club focused on books that relate to sustainability, zero waste etc.

Register with zerowasteucv@gmail.com and you’ll be added to the google group. Or join yourself: https://groups.google.com/g/uu-zero-waste-books

Open group. Registration appreciated.

It is open to any Unitarians in Metro Vancouver or even beyond.

Zoom link is tinyurl.com/uu-zero-waste-books . A reminder and link details will be sent to members of the googlegroup.

Introducing UCV Common Reads for Spring and Summer

Introducing Common Reads! 

We are launching a Common Reads initiative to engage new and existing small groups in a unifying exploration. Your current small group or book group may choose to read these titles, or you can sign-up to form a new group at ucv.im/reads. We will connect people to groups based on your time of day availability. 

To start we have picked two books to explore between April and September: 

  • Standoff: Why Reconciliation Fails Indigenous People and How to Fix It” by author and UCV Board Member Bruce McIvor
  • The Skin We’re In” by Desmond Cole.

The titles are timely, urgent, and compelling reads consistent with our congregation’s commitment to intellectual engagement and work to dismantle racism. 

Lifespan director Kiersten Moore has several copies of both books available to be checked out, and we also encourage members who grow their own library to purchase the books from local independent booksellers.

Fill out this form to be connected to a new Common Reads circle, or to receive Common Reads updates for your existing small group.

https://ucv.im/reads

 

About the Books 

 “Standoff: Why Reconciliation Fails Indigenous People and How to Fix It

Faced with a constant stream of news reports of standoffs and confrontations, Canada’s “reconciliation project” has obviously gone off the rails. In this series of concise and thoughtful essays, lawyer and historian Bruce McIvor explains why reconciliation with Indigenous peoples is failing and what needs to be done to fix it.

Widely known as a passionate advocate for Indigenous rights, McIvor reports from the front lines of legal and political disputes that have gripped the nation. From Wet’suwet’en opposition to a pipeline in northern British Columbia, to Mi’kmaw exercising their fishing rights in Nova Scotia, McIvor has been actively involved in advising First Nation clients, fielding industry and non-Indigenous opposition to true reconciliation, and explaining to government officials why their policies are failing.

The Skin We’re In

A bracing, provocative, and perspective-shifting book from one of Canada’s most celebrated and uncompromising writers, Desmond Cole. The Skin We’re In will spark a national conversation, influence policy, and inspire activists.

In his 2015 cover story for Toronto Life magazine, Desmond Cole exposed the racist actions of the Toronto police force, detailing the dozens of times he had been stopped and interrogated under the controversial practice of carding. The story quickly came to national prominence, shaking the country to its core and catapulting its author into the public sphere. Cole used his newfound profile to draw insistent, unyielding attention to the injustices faced by Black Canadians on a daily basis.

 

About the Authors 

Dr. Bruce McIvor is recognized nationally and internationally as one of Canada’s leading lawyers in Aboriginal law. Bruce represents First Nations across Canada and teaches at the University of British Columbia’s Allard School of Law. His great-grandparents took Métis scrip at Red River in Manitoba. He is a member of the Manitoba Métis Federation.

Desmond Cole is an award-winning journalist, radio host, and activist in Toronto. His writing has appeared in the Toronto Star, Toronto Life, The Walrus, NOW Magazine, Ethnic Aisle, Torontoist, BuzzFeed, and the Ottawa Citizen. His first book, The Skin We’re In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power, was published in 2020. (from Penguin Random House publisher and Canadian Museum of History)

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

 

 

 

Gender and Theatre – Join an Interactive Panel Discussion

Watch Mairy Beam’s provocative and enlightening play What Difference Does it Make?  available now on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQU6WT6Igs8  and join us for a Play Discussion moderated by our own Rev Lara Cowtan on Saturday June 12 at 7:00 pm. ucv.im/gsa

What Difference Does It Make?  Minutes before Carmelle’s best friend arrives for a visit from Toronto, Lucy comes out as non-binary. A day later they’re all trapped together isolating from Covid 19. In this hotbed of needs and limitations the characters play out their destinies against the backdrop of a city in virtual lockdown. A sensitive and illuminating portrayal of a person in transition, a partner struggling to adjust and a broken-hearted houseguest inadvertently making things worse.

From the audience: 

  • “Up until I saw this play I didn’t get how significant and important and fundamental the journey to non-binary is.”
  • “captivating, touching, challenging, humorous, sad and informative”
  • “this play is a gem”
  • “true and raw”
  • “I have some thinking to do  . . . “

What Difference Does It Make? was originally produced by Toronto’s Haven Theatre, in February 2021.

This event is coordinated by UCV’s Genders and Sexualities Alliance as part of UCV’s recertification as a Welcoming Congregation.

Registration appreciated but not required:

https://ucv-gender-theatre.eventbrite.ca

Search the website for “gsa” for other information and events.

Our GSA meets on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 7:30pm.

All genders and sexualities welcome, even cis-straight.  Email gsa@vancouverunitarians.ca for the zoom link and agenda.

 

Live from many places…it’s the CUC!!

The Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) is an organization of Unitarian and Unitarian Universalist member congregations and individual Unitarian Universalists acting to enhance, nurture and promote the Unitarian and Unitarian Universalist religion in Canada.

Learn more this way:

  • Subscribe to the CUC Monthly eNews.
  • Read the January 2021 CUC eNews
  • Read previous issues of the CUC Monthly eNews
  • Pad your resume! Join in local discussions with UCV’s Unitarian Universalist Connections Committee (UUCC) about CUC’s mission, vision, goals, and strategic priorities, and, if you’re a congregational member or an associate member, become eligible to be a voting delegate. Contact UUCC Chair Keith Wilkinson, or members Lynn Armstrong, Kiersten Moore, Olivia Hall, or Emilie Adin.

Mark your calendar
for the 2021 Canadian Unitarian Council Conference and take part from the comfort of your home!
CUC National Conference 2021: Sustaining Our Light – Online via Zoom

  • Saturday, 8 May 2021 – CUC AGM
  • Friday, May 14 – Sunday, 16, 2021
  • Details to follow at the CUC Conference website. (Registration opens 15 Mar 2021)

Participate in the AGM Motions Roundtable 2021
Saturday, 20 February 2021 at 9 am PT |10 am MT | 11 am CT |12  pm  ET |1 pm AT

Online via Zoom: http://bit.ly/CUCMotions   Join us for a discussion session on the motions…

(The big stone photos were taken at E’eyalmo in winter 2021 and spring 2020.)

And while you’re waitinghere are a few book and podcast suggestions from me (Keith Wilkinson) that I thought were consistent with Unitarian principles and sources. My 8 favourites are marked with asterisks*.

On democracy and autocracy

  • Sarah Kendzior, 2020. Hiding in plain sight *
  • Sarah Kendzior, 2018. The view from flyover country
  • Steven Livitsky & Daniel Ziblatt, 2018. How democracies die *
  • Kishore Mahbubani, 2018. Has the West lost it?
  • Timothy Snyder, 2017. On tyranny *
  • Hannah Arendt, 1973, The origins of totalitarianism
  • Left right and centre (a PRX podcast) *
    “PRX is a non-profit media company specializing in audio journalism and storytelling. We believe strong public media is anchored in journalism, strengthened with diverse voices, and amplified by innovative technology”)
  • IQ2US Debates – Intelligence Squared US Debates (a Panoply podcast) *

On equity and racial justice

  • Layla F. Saad, 2020. Me and white supremacy
  • Isabel Wilkerson, 2020. Caste: The origins of our discontents *
  • Isabel Wilkerson, 2010. The warmth of other suns

On persistence and gender equity

  • Victoria James, 2020. Wine girl
  • Sara Seager, 2020. The smallest lights in the universe *
  • Chris Hadfield, 2013. An astronaut’s guide to life

Poetry

  • Margaret Atwood, 2020. Dearly *

 

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

Theatre Friends – share your reviews and recommendations

Paula and Mary invite you to a weekly theatre discussion on zoom – Mondays @ 4pm.

Sign in at https://ucv.im/theatre  You’ll need the regular connect and engage password.

Mary also has set up a private facebook group called “Theatre Friends” – theatrefriendsmary If you have a connection with UCV and/or Mary, you’ll be approved for membership after you answer the member questions and agree to rules.

Hoping to help us all take advantage of the amazing theatre available online at this time, and post-pandemic share theatre reviews and information and perhaps even a theatre project together.

This weekly discussion grew out of a book and video discussion, so we may throw in a bit about what we’re reading and films we’re watching as well. Hope to see you there!

Sponsored by Connect & Engage team

All Ages Book and Video Sharing Online Group

by Paula Vander

Did your heart do a little gasp when you heard the libraries were closed? Did the locked door of your own library, with all those lonely books behind it, convince you that we were really and truly locked down?

If you are someone who loves to read, you will enjoy the book sharing zoom meetings. You will find your peeps.

Everyone shares a bit about the books they are reading and sometimes films they have seen on Netflix too. This way you can start to assemble a good dream list of books to take out when we finally, finally can get back into our libraries!


from Mary: Bruce and Phaedra are regulars, as are Paula and myself. We welcome others of all ages.

Bruce helped Phaedra put her book review on a video.

If you love kids and young adult books, please have one ready to share according to who’s on the call.

You can also ask some questions or for recommendations.

This past week I asked for some discussion related to Jane Eyre so I’m ready to watch the National Theatre broadcast. I got a great context-setting and additional reading (or re-reading) of various 19th century novels. I’ve now posted a request for Middlemarch on my Buy Nothing Group. Confession: Although I owned a copy and it was required reading, I no longer have it and (oops) never did finish reading it.