Category: Families

Articles of interest to current and prospective families e.g. Hogwarts summer camp, Mystery pal program, changes to Messy Church, First Sundays etc.

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!

Volunteer Call for Youth and Children’s RE!

Join our Volunteer Team for Children and Youth Groups!

Ministry to children, youth, and families is physically different in this physically distanced world for the foreseable future. The one thing that remains the same is that caring, curious, and interested adults are required to mentor, advise, and lead our various circles and groups. This could be you! We build supportive spaces for our children and youth to create friendships, explore big questions, engage in social justice, be seen and heard, grow spiritually, and be nurtured.

Fill out this form for 2020 volunteer opportunities 

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, still I would plant my apple tree.

–Martin Luther

Journey Alongside Youth

Youth Advisors guide our Youth on a co-leadership model–partnering with the youth to design and coordinate their time together. Youth group meets for 2 hours once a week, currently via zoom. Led by our Youth Coordinator, Olivia Hall, we aim to have a team of 4-6 adults advise on a rotating basis, currently we have two regular advisors. We may organize group outings in the outdoors as restrictions loosen. Youth advisors must be at least 25 years old.

Have you ever wondered what they’re thinking? 

Mairy Beam and Nan Gregory host children’s time before the Sunday service live-stream most Sunday’s. The children have a chance to see each other, share a story and a simple activity or craft that can be done at home. Explorations are built around monthly themes and next year we are exploring the Cosmos. We would love to have two new adults join our Children’s Team. 

(age group 5-9)

Awesome Tweens–Out of this World! 

Are you interested in exploring big questions? Wisdom of World Religions? What does it mean to be so small in such a big universe? Can you roll with questions that seem to come from left field, leave you scratching your head and everyone laughing? Join our tweens (ages 10-12) in the fall of 2020 or over the summer and take on leadership of this group with Kiersten. Whether in zoom rooms or in person, building friendships and exploring truth and meaning creates fun for everyone involved.

Coming of Age Mentor–Bringing Mystery Pals to the Next Level

Youth in grades 7 and 8 spend a mentorship year exploring what it means to be Unitarian. What exactly do they buy into? What do they believe? What does it mean to be spiritual, mindful, religious, atheist, agnostic, humanist or … ?  Key to this exploration is You. Mentorship by a fellow Unitarian and member of UCV builds trust and relationship between our youth and an adult outside their family group–an essential part of a teen’s life.

Mentors and youth meet once a month 1:1 with a goal each meeting built around forming connections and relationship–journeying together. The whole group of mentors and youth meet once a month together to delve deeper.

Our Whole Lives Facilitator

We need more facilitators for all levels of the Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education program, from the elementary ages, through high school, and into adulthood!  Facilitators work in teams to follow the O.W.L. curriculum which for most is 8-10 sessions long, 25 sessions for the Junior High level. It’s not hard to follow and lead–but it takes a dedication and willingness to discuss all aspects of sexuality, family life, and relationships. Potential facilitators must attend a weekend long in-person training in order to be certified.

Fill out the form if you’re willing to attend a training in the next couple years (once they’re available).

 

Create Summer FUUN Kits for Families

We have a room full of craft supplies going unused–Anyone interested in helping put together activity kits that we can mail to families for the summer? Maybe ongoing monthly through the year? I would love some help implementing this distance fun idea…

 

Fill out this form with your interest–more info will come your way: ucv.im/RE-volunteer

YoUUth Summer Virtual Adventure

This is of particular note to Unitarian/UU youth entering grades 6-12, their parents, and advisors. We want your input!

Unitarian youth in BC have historically been very connected to the UU youth in the Pacific Northwest Region of the United States. Although there is an international border, geographically we are much closer to the many congregations in Washington and Oregon than we are to the rest of Canada; there are also enough of them to create some truly wonderful programs. We go to their Cons, youth leadership schools, and family camps.

This April there were two Virtual Cons held by the Pacific Northwest district (Washington/Oregon/etc.) and the Mountain district (Montana/Colorado/etc.). The youth and adult staff worked very hard and creatively and both Cons were well received with positive feedback.  Since all in-person gatherings of UU’s have been cancelled for the summer, Pacific Western Regional staff (PWR) are working to create a week of Virtual gathering/learning/playing/celebrating online this summer.  These Cons, and leadership camps are transformative and uplifting spaces to gather in as Unitarian youth, and I encourage our BC youth to participate if you can.

All youth, parents, and youth advisors interested in PWR’s youth summer virtual adventure are invited to fill out this form to help inform planning–and to be kept informed.

Happy (Virtual) Trails!
–Kiersten

Outreach Opportunities Fund Update

Outreach Opportunity Fund Recipients (Feb-June)
 
Normally, the Outreach Opportunity Fund (OOF) donates a portion of the Sunday service collections to a registered charity over a four month period. Given the current circumstances, the OOF Committee took the decision to send a cheque for $2,000 to the current recipient, the Aboriginal Mother Centre (AMC), in mid-April rather than wait until the end of May. The funds are urgently needed to assist AMC extend its outreach services during this covid-19 crisis.
Even though OOF donations have decreased over the past few weeks due to having virtual services, we still found that there were sufficient funds in our OOF  account to offer an additional $2,000 to another recipient. Our focus was on the Downtown Eastside (DTES), given the critical situation the homeless and other vulnerable groups are facing in that community. The Committee decided to award the funds to PHS Community Services Society to help meet the demand for more meals in the DTES as so many kitchens have closed down because of covid-19 restrictions. Meanwhile, we will continue to ask congregants to send in their donations to OOF to replenish our fund. A new recipient will be selected for the four month period beginning in June. All contributions are gratefully received. Donate Here

Online Kids, Youth and Families

Children, Youth, and Parents: FUUN!

We are putting in place some online connection times for children, tweens, youth, and parents. These times will stay consistent each week—drop-in any week to see familiar faces and new, connect and support each other in Unitarian fashion.

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, still I would plant my apple tree.

–Martin Luther

Virtual Post-it Doodle Gallery: ucv.im/kids-art

This is our art-board space where doodles, drawings, artwork of any kind can be shared and displayed. If you’ve made something you would like to see here, send it to Kiersten. [mailto:dre@vancouverunitarians.ca]

Children’s RE drop-in: Sundays 10:20—10:50 am Join URL: ucv.im/kids-zoom

Mairy and Nan host children’s time before the Sunday service live-stream. See each other, share a story and a simple activity or craft that we can do together at home.

(Target age is 5-9)

Crossing Paths RE: Mondays 1:00—2:15 pm Join URL: ucv.im/tween-zoom

Crossing Paths Tweens (ages 10-12) this space and time is for you! Check-in with each other, try out the virtual whiteboard, continue our explorations of World Religions and wherever your questions and wonderings lead us. New? Away for awhile? You are welcome to drop-in any Monday!

Youth Group Online! Sundays 3:00—5:00 pm Join URL: ucv.im/youth-zoom

Youth in grades 8-12 meet to share, explore, come up with distant game time, and generally connect. Drop-in any Sunday—from near and far.

Kiersten’s Friday Zoom Coffee-Break 11:30—12:30 am Join URL: ucv.im/coffee-break

Being home deserves a coffee break–and we all deserve to see each other! Family centered drop-in time for Parents. If kids can login on a separate device from parents, we can do break-out rooms!

 

Steven’s Virtual Tea-Time Drop-in Wednesdays 3:00—4:30 pm (beginning April 1st)

Join URL: ucv.im/steven-tea

Drop-in each Wednesday between 3:00 and 4:30pm for a social gathering time hosted by Rev. Steven Epperson. It is a soul fulfilling thing to see each other’s faces in this time of physical distancing and isolation. Come check-in with each other, bring your joys, your challenges, your questions and insights, your whole selves.

 

Other online events and gatherings can be found here: ucv.im/events

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.

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!

Welcome back to a new program year from Kiersten

As you prepare to return to school year routines and schedules I want to offer you a glimpse into the rich material we are planning to cover with families this year at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver. Looking back through pictures reminds me of how much fun we have building community around here–and that certainly continues on!

What are we up to on Sundays?

We are continuing our structure around Soul Matters monthly themes and adding a focused exploration of World Religions—one of the six sources of wisdom, guidance, and spirituality that Unitarian Universalists draw upon. We are organizing into three groups this year:

  • Elementary Passport to Spirituality (ages 4-9)
  • Intermediate Crossing Paths (ages 10-12)
  • High School Youth Group (ages 13-19).

This is an OWL year for the youth

That’s shorthand for Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education and this year we are running workshops for grades 8, 9, and older youth who haven’t had an opportunity to take OWL before. Registration is open—you can read more on our website and contact Kiersten Moore, DRE for more information.

Worship Bingo Returns

Kids are given a bingo card on entering and when they’ve recorded hearing all of the words on the card, they yell out “Bingo”. Then get a reward at the end of the service.

Water Communion and In-gathering service

We start September 8th with our all-ages Water Communion and In-gathering service—Bring a bit of water from home or from travels to add to our communion bowl. If you haven’t collected water from your summer explorations, you may bring an item or memento for our altar—just be sure to pick it up again after the service.

“What does it mean to be a people of Expectation?”

September 15th we open our journey exploring the connection between expectation and the UU idea of Ongoing Revelation, the belief that we should expect our truths to change and grow. This expectation of growth leads us directly into our World Religions focus:

Passport to Spirituality (ages 4-9)

This class will imagine they are all travelling the world. At each country they visit, the children will receive a passport sticker, learn about a different religion, how it relates to the month’s theme, and engage in a spiritual practice utilized by that religion. The focus is to both learn a bit about religions around the world and see how they can be utilized to gain wisdom and develop our own spirituality.

Crossing Paths (ages 10-12)

This class follows a long tradition of Unitarian middle school field trips and explorations of neighbouring faiths. We will engage in a more in-depth exploration of five religions throughout the year, beginning with our own Unitarian faith. Crossing Paths is a direct Soul Matters curriculum that takes the approach of religious pluralism. Instead of claiming that one religion is best or that all religions are basically the same, pluralism understands religions as separate systems of belief dealing with distinct human challenges.

Parents of Tweens (ages 10-12) Please Note:

September 15th is our opening orientation for Crossing Paths and parents are included! Please plan for at least one parent to attend the Sunday RE session with your child beginning at 10:45 am. Crossing Paths group will not attend the beginning of service this week. This class offers parents an opportunity to learn alongside your child and to deepen your own spiritual understanding.

Youth Group (ages 13-19)

Our Youth plan to hit the ground running with the final zero waste results from last year’s action project and move forward on the youth group movie project. The youth choose their own curriculum or focus with their advisors in the fall and follow a small group ministry style of discussion with the aim to deepen connections to their selves, each other, and the wider community. Youth also hold social gatherings, attend conferences and regional events, participate in multi-age celebrations and pageants, and a lot more.

(Some) Apples are ready for picking – please help yourselves

Photo credit: Keith Wilkinson

We have 14 apple trees on the North West side of the property.

They were planted to celebrate our 100th anniversary.

UPDATE: Next up: The King apples are ripe mid-September to early October.

In the meantime, do pick up any fallen apples. 

 

Our apple tree varieties are (clockwise from North West)
Honey Crisp, Scarlet Sentinel, King, Florina, Yellow Transparent, Summerland Red Macintosh, Ambrosia, 
Gravenstein, Cox Orange Pippin, Liberty, Sunrise, Golden Sentinel, Shamrock and Jonafree.

In order of ripening:

Yellow Transparent  July 10–25

SUNRISE  mid-August

GRAVENSTEIN  

Cox’s Orange Pippin late picking straight from the tree recommended.

Scarlet Sentinel – mid to late September

King – September 15 – 25

Florina – late September https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florina_(apple)

McIntosh – not till September 20-30

Ambrosia – mid to late season – October

Liberty – late season

 

FROM https://www.bctfpg.ca/horticulture/varieties-and-pollination/apple-varieties/

I’m adding more details about the various trees and apples below. A work in progress.
Apples are ready between   August 15 – October 30
from: https://pickyourown.org/apples_howtotellwhenripe.php
Scarlet Sentinel

King

Sept. 15–25 Yellow with red blush

Red McIntosh

Sept. 20–30 Yellow with red blush
Popular in America since 1811

  • Best for: eating, sauce, salad, good as part of a blend for applesauce
  • Sweet, mild flavor

ambrosia apple

Ambrosia – mid to late season

  • Sweet, crisp, aromatic flavour reminiscent of pear and low acidity.
  • Mostly red colouration, with yellow patches.
  • Flesh is cream-coloured, firm meat
  • Medium to large in size
  • Developed in British Columbia in the early 1990s.
  • Believed to be a cross of a Jonagold and Golden Delicious.
  • Ripens mid to late season

Gravenstein apple

Gravenstein

  • Greenish-yellow with a lumpy appearance
  • A good, all-purpose apple,
  • Good for applesauce and pies.

Cox’s Orange Pippin – early

  • Popular in English markets.
  • Medium sized, golden yellow skin, with brownish orange
  • often russeted.
  • Flesh tender, crisp, semi-tart
  • early

Liberty apple

Liberty – late season

  • A highly disease-resistant introduction from Geneva New York.
  • Liberty has superior dessert quality, similar to one of its parents, Macoun
  • Best for: eating, sauce, salad
  • flavor improves in storage
  • late season

Sunrise – mid August

Yellow Transparent July 10–25 Creamy yellow

Jonagold Sept. 15–Oct. 7 Yellow with red stripes

Jonathan Sept. 20–25 Yellow with red blush

Golden Delicious Oct. 1–15 Yellow

Delicious—red strains Oct. 1–15 Red