Category: Community

Community social gatherirngs; mens and womens groups; covenant groups, neighbourhood groups and news from the communications, membership and care and concern committees.

About small groups posts

Come here anytime to browse an online copy of the latest small groups directory, the one with its cover shown on the right.

Posts tagged as small groups posts form an occasional series of items of interest to people involved with – or wanting to find out more about – one or more of the groups listed in the directory.

Come here anytime to review the list of all posts tagged as small groups posts. Each entry includes a snippet view of the post.

See also the UCV website page Small Groups for its links to helpful offsite resources.

Find your way here from any page on the UCV website by entering “about small groups” in the search box on the right in the page header and clicking on the title you want when you see the search results.


 

Outreach Opportunities Fund – New Recipient

The new Outreach Opportunities Fund recipient for October to January will be Sole Food. During the past seven years, Sole Food Street Farms―now North America’s largest urban farm project―has transformed acres of vacant and contaminated urban land in Vancouver into street farms that grow artisan-quality fruits and vegetables.  It has empowered dozens of individuals with limited resources and addiction and chronic mental health problems by providing jobs, training, and community support.

 

Visit their website here https://solefoodfarms.com/

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!

“What Do We Call Ourselves?” Task Force

As a progressive religious congregation we have a history of reviewing and updating how we  identify and represent ourselves.  In 2004 a Communication Working Group, in consultation with our community, created the stylized hand logo to replace the stylized chalice as more representative of our membership.  And a few years ago, the Vision Task Force engaged in crafting a new Vision And Living Our Vision statement for UCV.

Now, there is the question of our name.  Rev. Steven Epperson acknowledged in his sermon Celebrating Our Story (September 15 2019), “A task force is deliberating on whether we change the name of our congregation from something less formally churchy to something perhaps more fit for use in 21st century Vancouver and beyond.” A query was sent to the CUC leaders’ google group asking whether this was a question that other Canadian congregations were also asking themselves.  25 leaders responded that indeed this was a topic of concern.

There will be a forum on October 20 describing in detail what would be involved in a formal name change.  This is an information forum only and on January 19th there will be a Circle of Concerns which will be an opportunity for participants and congregants to express their opinion on whether to remain known as a church or not.  A survey on-line and in the OOS will be used so that everyone has a say. From informal discussions with congregants we know that some of our members want to remain known as a ‘church’ and some favour a change to ‘congregation’ or even, ‘centre’ or ‘community.’  There will be disagreements and of course, as mature, evolved Unitarians we will be respectful with others’ differences!

After thorough consultations, a vote is planned to take place at the June EGM.

By Eva Allan

 

Genders – a new discussion group

Our Genders and Sexualities Alliance (GSA) is pleased to announce a new group forming.

Gender is an important aspect of our lives, whether we know it or not.  We often live in some relationship to gender roles that are expected of men or women; sometimes we spend our lives breaking free of the conditioning that supports these roles and expectations.

Our sense of what it means to be a man, woman or other gender is usually shaped by key people in our lives as we grow up: parents, siblings, relatives, friends, teachers, and role models in popular culture.

The gender discussion group will give each of us a place to share the influences on our gender identity and expression. We will explore whether our models were sufficient for us: both how they were and how they were not.

Participants will be invited to tell stories about their journeys involving gender identity and expression – how these were shaped and how they are continuing to evolve. What have been some of the challenges and some of the victories?

The facilitator is Glenn Deefholts, an English instructor at Langara College, who has been teaching for twenty-five years. Glenn also leads the monthly singing group. 

The GSA is also looking at possible VIFF films to attend and a play Trans Scripts at the Firehall Arts Centre in the new year.

As we have for the past year, we’ll also host a potluck dinner before the January and June Out in Harmony Concerts.

Contact gsaucv@gmail.com if you’d like to know more about our group and our gatherings.

First day of September and a lot of outdoor (and indoor) conversations and harvesting

Rev. Chris Wulff gave us a great sermon and a new twist on the Little Red Hen.

The Environment team met to plan the All Candidates’ Forum.

Circle dancing in later afternoon.

And we enjoyed another “back at it” Sunday while the sun is still shining.

Here’s Jodie and Kelly having a conversation under one of the trees.

And Sandy and Karen picking some King apples–they’re ripe and were enjoyed by many today!

 

Steven’s Welcome Message

Dear Vancouver Unitarians:

Welcome to our congregation’s 2019-20 program year of worship, learning, activism and fun!

More than ever, I am grateful to be a part of this congregation—one that first began 110 years ago and that has been at 49th and Oak Street for 55 years. We’ve been around for a long time and plan on being here for generations to come.

Here, we meet with people of all ages who share our deepest values, who seek to deepen soulful and ethical lives, and who are committed to intergenerational learning, connection and “generativity.” We honour our diverse stories and personalities. We welcome all who seek to be a part of our congregation and its commitment to “justice, equity and compassion in human relations,” as well as our promise to “respect the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.”

Thank you to each and all and the roles we play: from serving coffee and tea to walking with our children and youth, from singing in the choir and lighting a candle for a loved one, to acting up on behalf of refugees, the environment and the cause for social justice, and much, much more.

I look forward to being with you as we walk our Unitarian Universalist path together.

Sincerely, Rev. Steven Epperson

Join Our Social Media and Communications Team

Our UCV Communications Team is looking for someone to post web links to our facebook page. We’d like to post, on average, 5 links per week, preferably spread out over the week including posting the link for the Sunday morning service on Friday. Each post would only take you a couple of minutes if you regularly sign into facebook anyways.

You would be made an admin for the page and post as UCV (not as yourself). You would be welcome to get more involved than that such as adding photos, updating the cover photo more often, but that’s not required for the basic role.

Thanks to a growing team of volunteers, we have been able to increase our social media and web outreach over the past months and years.

Our Communications Team meets two or three times a year. You would be encouraged to attend to find out what else is happening and contribute your ideas. A lot goes on between meetings with individuals and sub-groups taking on tasks. Our meetings are mainly a check-in for individuals and small groups to report on what they’re doing and get feedback from others on their projects.

Video – We’d like to be able to do more

Our youtube channel has been mobilized. Here’s the link for Rev. Phillip Hewett’s Memorial Service and memories shared after the service.

 

People from across Canada and beyond have been so appreciative of being able to attend Phillip Hewett’s memorial service through youtube.

Among the notes I’ve received is one from Patricia Pavey (previously Yates) who attended UCV some time ago and is the composer of our “Carry the Flame” benediction. (And in case you’re wondering about the extra part that some congregations sing, that part was added by Louise Taylor who was music director at the Victoria congregation.)

We have podcasts of Sunday sermons

Click here to find the most recent three sermons–and check back regularly.

Our Closed Facebook Group

On advice from other congregations, we set up a Facebook Group (for community communications) that complements our Facebook page (for external/outreach communication). Our page has over 900 Likes (up from 800 in March, 2018).

You must have a facebook profile to join Members and Friends of Vancouver Unitarians. 

Note: you can see what’s on our Facebook page  even if you’re not on Facebook. If you are on Facebook – please go there regularly and like, comment and share. That’s how we increase our outreach.

Volunteers Needed

We need more help to continue to expand this work.

Some tasks, like posting links to our facebook page, take only a few minutes to do and don’t require much learning.

Most committees now have someone to post events and articles (“posts”) on the web but others need help getting their message out. Training is available and if you’ve used wordpress it will be easy to learn about our system.

We’d like more photos posted on instagram, facebook and the web, especially (with permission) of our many events and our beautiful campus (with people shown). If you like to take photos, we’d like to have you on board.

Other tasks such as editing videos (adding title pages, tweaking sound and light) take a lot of time. We need at least two more people if we’re to do video-recording, some of our events. Some ongoing tasks would only take about 15-30 minutes each week. Congregational consultant Peter Bowden says if he could suggest one thing it would be to do a very short video about the upcoming Sunday programs. Rev. Samaya Oakley of South Fraser Unitarians has been doing this.

How to attract and welcome visitors using social media

Are you interested in how Unitarian congregations can use social media well? I liked this article by Peter Bowden, emphasizing how much research visitors do before showing up in person and how important it is to respond very quickly to them.

Please pick the flowers and herbs in the labyrinth

Yes, that’s an unusual invitation, I know, but… I’d love people to take a bit of UCV abundance home with them. The rudbeckia (black-eyed Susan) makes a lovely bouquet to bring some sunshine indoors.

Here are some that I would really like to have picked. It saves me pruning and dead-heading:
Lavender (still quite nice but fading fast). It’s mainly on the outer ring on the east side.
Dandelions- of course – any time!
Mint – There are several kinds of mint – chocolate mint, pineapple mint, etc. Please do cut 6″ pieces or so to make tea or enjoy in salads etc.
Fennel – Nice for a bouquet and also nice with mint for tea, or infused water.
Any time —
Lambs ears – those lovely fuzzy leaves can be picked any time. Not edible (but not poisonous). Kids love to touch them.
Sage – on west side near a tree – pick a bit to take home – I love sage tea, or to flavour other foods.
Take up to 1/3 of…
The glorious rudbeckia/black-eyed Susan – Take the flowers that are in full bloom. I call this pre-emptive dead-heading. Cut the step right to the place where it connects with another stem, so it looks nice.
Please don’t pick without checking with me:
The echinacea was moved last year and just getting established, so I’d prefer it wasn’t picked yet. Leave it for the bees!!

 

Here are some excerpts and links about kids and flowers:

Some flowers, like the bright yellow dandelion, are very common and children should be encouraged to collect them by armfuls. Other flowers, like the yellow golden paintbrush, are endangered and should be left alone. Not all flowers are created equal but everyone (even kids!) can learn which flowers are good to pick, where to pick them and when to pick them. Learning about flowers and picking them is a wonderful opportunity for you and your child to connect with nature together.

Do you have an idea for a new group? Let’s make it happen!

We know it’s hard to get to know people on Sunday mornings. There are so many of us. And as is often said: There’s a lot that goes on around here.

UCV has lots of small groups where people get to know each other more easily. Some once formed are then closed. Others are drop-in. Several people are initiating new groups starting in September.

And perhaps YOU too have an idea of a group to get like-minded people together?

Sheila R. and Mary Bennett as the Connect and Engage team would like to support and encourage you if you do.

We can help you find the right committee to sponsor your group; learn how to book space and advertise.

We may do a forum in late August or early September if enough people want to learn all the how-to’s (and perhaps some what-not-to-dos) of running groups at UCV.

Interested? Please do say hello on Sunday morning or send us an email to ucvconnect@gmail.com

And of course, there may already be a small group that you’d be interested in – so check here.

Here are some good ideas for starting new groups:

https://www.uua.org/interconnections/192406.shtml