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.

OWL is Back!

We are excited to announce a new offering of the Our Whole Lives sexuality education for grades 8 &9 (ages 12-14). Because this class can only be held in person and students come from many different areas of metro Vancouver, we are requiring that all students be age 12 or older and fully vaccinated by the start of class (October 3rd). We will require masks indoors until they are no longer recommended by BC public health.

This is a comprehensive, school-year long program led by trained volunteers and staff. You can read more about this award winning curriculum on our website, check out the dates for this year’s class, and REGISTER HERE.

Kid Art Wanted

Hey there! Creative kids and families,

from Mary Bennett ucvconnect@gmail.com

by Maddie Lomas

This is the story for August 22, 2021 for the worship service which will reflect on our experience of the pandemic.

I got the book from the library and as usual, it has ONE illustrator only and I thought about some of you and the stories I know about what you did during the past 18 months (and what you didn’t do) and I thought: I’d like us to share this poem/story with YOUR artwork.

Please send me art (drawing, painting, photograph) in horizontal format in jpeg or png by August 15th and I’ll include it when Way Kent is reading the story on August 22nd.

Here’s a youtube video of the poem:

 

Here’s the text:

And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.

Here’s the sung version.

I hope you’ll sign your piece so we can credit you.

You could also drop off or mail to UCV marked with “Pandemic art for Mary Bennett.”

 

 

Mystery Pals 2021 Save the date: Saturday, September 18

These kids are moving away, but Paula is enthusiastic about keeping in contact with her pal.

Covid restrictions at UCV and elsewhere are lifting and more and more of us are fully vaccinated, so summertime is a great time to connect with your mystery pal (or coming of age partner). If you need help with contact information, let us know.

There’s a lot of enthusiasm for an early fall Pal meetup at UCV so SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, September 18 from 4 to 5:30 pm.  All pals are invited to an autumn “Pal Party”. We’ll harvest, munch, play and walk and run or even dance on the labyrinth. Possibly this will be the first annual fall Pal Party. Unitarian traditions come easily.

With the needed covid adaptations, we went ahead with our Mystery Pal program this year to connect up people from different generations. Indeed we had the largest group ever: Fourteen pairs participated. Most were kids matched with an adult, but we had a couple of younger adults matched with older and two kids under 14 matched together!

Most chose snail mail which came to UCV and then was forwarded. Hence, the usual four-week program became eight to allow for postal forwarding. Other pairs chose to send email through a volunteer.

To offer assistance, we included artist trading card (“ATC”) materials for those who wanted to create art to share–and many did!

If you were a pal or parent of a pal and haven’t yet completed our feedback form, we’d really appreciate it: https://forms.gle/pG2aJoJ4c3yZoaf57 You can RSVP for September 18th there as well.

As time went on, our hopes for a big spring reveal party were dashed by covid restrictions, so individual pairs and small groups have been meeting up in parks or at UCV. Here’s a poem and some photos.

This pair have started a vegetable garden and are meeting weekly to garden together. Cynthia applauded us for making a “perfect match” with her new pal. On July 25, they read the “story for all ages” together, adding in their own stories as well.

 

Mystery Pal Revealed so much

by Vivian Davidson

Being a mystery pal was as fun as it was exciting,

To exchange letters had me antsy to keep writing.

I loved learning more and more about my mystery friend

I could hardly wait for my fresh letter to send.

I am grateful to have had this opportunity

To engage so intimately with someone in my UCV community.

To feel the paper, read the words sent to me by my pal

Mairy Beam got to visit the Imagine: Van Gogh exhibit with her mystery pal, Maddie, and sister Emma and mom, Sheri.

Was something so wonderful forever treasure I shall.

I hope others in the future engage in this wonderful treat

For it’s rare to get the chance to learn about others at UCV you meet.

It was exciting to think about and plan what to say and write

Oh my watch my grammar, serendipitous did I spell it right?

I learned letter by letter about my special pal and their likes

That included leaves and stickers, dolphins and hikes.

I can now certainly attest to how great it is to have a mystery pal

It was my first time and certainly a boost to my morale.

I will be back and ready to write, draw, paint and send

What a great way for a lonely day or weary heart to mend.

For this mystery pal exchange is a real treat for the young and young at heart

And made me feel special and that to UCV’s community I really am a part.

Artist to Artist Mystery Pals

We try to match up pals with something in common: Paula is an artist and loved her exchanges with her artist pal.

Here’s what she says:

Who couldn’t use an emergency packet of confetti?

My last package included a great picture of a unicorn with very long legs and a long neck and a little horn, a thin long multi-coloured banner announcing I LOVE PURPLE,  a bracelet made of beads and pipe cleaners and (best of all) a custom packet of homemade confetti. On the outside it said  I LOVE MAKING THINGS.  IN FACT I AM AN ARTIST.
Who couldn’t use an emergency packet of confetti? They are little bundles of  joy coming coming through the post and  it just makes my day when I receive one  🙂
-Paula

Their pair had the codename “Wolfgang Gerson” and it accidentally led Paula to exploring the theme of home/buildings and a connection with a student and friend of Wolfgang Gerson’s, the architect of our buildings.

 

Charlotte and Eva and Mr. and Mrs. Chickadee’s Adventures

I really enjoyed reading the story complete with an illustration of two birds named: Mr. & Mrs. Chickadee who are discussing where to build their nest to start their family made by Eva who is trying to encourage Mr. & Mrs. Chickadee to not peck holes in the house wooden siding for their nest.
It was lots of fun receiving Eva’s letters AND meeting her in person!
Charlotte

Panda in the Sun by Charlotte

 

Are you interested in learning more about this program?

Contact Kiersten or ucvconnect@gmail.com

Kid Art Wanted

Hey there! Creative kids and families,

from Mary Bennett ucvconnect@gmail.com

This is the story for August 22, 2021 for the worship service which will reflect on our experience of the pandemic.

I got the book from the library and as usual, it has ONE illustrator only and I thought about some of you and the stories I know about what you did during the past 18 months (and what you didn’t do) and I thought: I’d like us to share this poem/story with YOUR artwork.

Please send me art (drawing, painting, photograph) in horizontal format in jpeg or png by August 15th and I’ll include it when Way Kent is reading the story on August 22nd.

Here’s a youtube video of the poem:

 

Here’s the text:

And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.

Here’s the sung version.

I hope you’ll sign your piece so we can credit you.

You could also drop off or mail to UCV marked with “Pandemic art for Mary Bennett.”

 

 

Remember the Children – June 5 Event

Thirty people helped to create an orange installation on our corner and magically (with hard work) transform a labyrinth full of buttercup weeds into a bright orange spectacle.

Throughout June, Indigenous Peoples Month, we expect to host more gatherings to make sure both sites remain beautiful and invite our neighbours and our own community to come and participate.

49th and Oak Corner

With the terrible news about the  abused and murdered children buried in a mass grave at the Kamloops residential school, I wanted to do something at UCV to  acknowledge the pain and reflect our growing awareness and demands for change. The UCV community  had already agreed to donate money to the IRSSS (Indigenous Residential School Survivors Society), but I wanted to also put on a public face to  remind others not in our community that we ALL need to care and remember.

What started  out as an idea to put a few children’s toys by the trees, grew into an act of community solidarity and art.
On Saturday June 5, while volunteers planted 215 marigolds into the labyrinth, about a dozen adults and children braved the traffic noise at the corner of Oak and 49th to cover the UCV sign and nearby trees with  orange ribbons, flowers, tshirt cutouts and signs. A project to attach 215 strands of wool to a clothes line was started as a visceral example of how large a number 215 is!
The rains came at night and the ribbons and signs are soggy.  We will need to refresh the signs, add more wool strands (because 215 is only the start) and straighten the ribbons next week.
Perhaps this is the first time we’ve decorated our corner?! Let it not be the last.
-Tamiko Suzuki

Labyrinth

215 orange flowers on the labyrinth

This vision just popped into my head as I, like many, started thinking: but what can *I* do? There’s so much that can be done and I’m very proud to be part of UCV as we’ve made a statement and donated money.
I so appreciate the number of people who brought flowers, worked long and hard to prep the labyrinth (it was badly in need of weeding) and then planted the orange blooms. Plus there are 48 nasturtiums not yet in bloom. It will “orange-up” over the next while.
What moved me most was the number of side conversations I witnessed as we worked – and connected with each other over the time.
Thank you to our minister, Rev. Lara Cowtan, for beautiful and moving words and an ongoing pastoral presence.
(There are still a few buttercups and lots of grass where it shouldn’t be, so if you’re ever inclined to spend a couple of hours there, do please contact me and we can set something up.)
– Mary Bennett

Want to be involved?

If you want to receive information on how to help with these two projects, contact Mary through ucvconnect@gmail.com

UCV Actions

UCV President has made a statement and our Outreach Opportunities Fund have donated $3000 with more to come to Indigenous Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS).

Message from the Outreach Opportunities Fund Committee.

A $3000 donation from the balance of the OOF account has been made by UCV, effective immediately, to support the work of the Indigenous Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS).

In order to support the increased demand for their services, the IRSSS will also be the recipient of the OOF effective July 1.
As we all know, the impact of residential schools on the Indigenous population has been profound. The IRSSS was established with the mission to provide physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual growth, development, and healing through culturally-based values and guiding principles to residential school survivors, their families, and those dealing with Intergenerational traumas.
– OOF Committee, June 2021

 

 

Esmé’s Credo Comic

Hi everyone!

As part of the Coming of Age program at UCV, our bridging youth have crafted credos to share with the congregation. Their credo is a statement about their beliefs about the world right now.

Esmé decided to share her credo in the form of a comic. She’ll talk about it in the service tomorrow, and we’re posting it here for you to peruse in full. There’s a link at the bottom of this post that will allow you to download the pdf if you wish.

This is my credo comic that I was talking about at Sunday’s service! I’m really, really excited for you to read it!

The 1st Principle inspired it, but now I see all of the principles all over it.
Enjoy! And hug a snail!

— Esmé

 

 

Esmé credo final

Time to Spill the Beans

It’s time for the Mystery Pals to reveal their true identity.

We had hoped to be able to have an event at UCV and considered zoom, but…  have decided to just invite you all to do one last letter or email “spilling the beans” – sharing your true identity and expressing (we hope) an intention to meet on zoom or in person at some point in future.

Indeed some congregations consider the mystery pal program a year-long event. We know that some of you have found some things in common and we’d love to think it’s just the start of something rather than the end.

We’d like to share some of the stories. From “eavesdropping” on emails or hearing things, we know there’s some fun connections that have been made. Could you send us 150-200 words – or pictures even better – about how the program went for you?

ucvconnect@gmail.com

Mystery Pal Update May 2021

We’re all a little tired of hearing “This year will be different…”

It certainly applies to our Mystery Pal program.

This  program matches up two individuals from different “generations”–which could mean a 40-year old with an 80-year-old or a 5-year-old with a 22-year old (or 13-year-old since “generations” are a bit different for the very young!)

In previous years, each  Sunday for a month, both partners brought mail and left in their “mail slot” (paper bag) in Hewett Centre.

This year, most of the 14 pairs are sending mail by Canada Post. To keep identity secret, they mail to UCV and Kiersten mails out anonymously just using the “codename” for the pair. Now we realize of course, that the postal service lag means that the exchanges will likely be every two weeks, so a partner can receive mail and then respond.

This necessarily slows down the process, but the good news is we believe everyone has received at least one letter in the mail by now (and the email pals are already emailing up a storm–they go to Mary Bennett and then are forwarded).

More good news (we hope) is that the current public health regulations will be changed after the May long weekend. We (Kiersten and Mary) are hoping that on the last weekend in May or early June, we might be able to have a modified in-person “Reveal Party” such as arranging people in smaller groups of 10-15 to meet or even staggering pairs to meet. Masked and outdoors, we hope will be possible for at least 10 at a time.

Mary will be setting up an ATC (Artist Trading Card) sharing/trading station and we’ll do some other outdoor games and activities.

As one family put it, we’re *really* hoping for “anything but zoom!!”  But we’ll have to see!

 

You can send suggestions and questions to ucvconnect@gmail.com

Mystery Pals Deluxe 2021

Tangible Connection and a Break from Monotony

I feel a great desire for spring, for unplugging, for tangible connections to people. Zoom and video calls help me connect with people far away, but boy am I missing people’s prescence! How about some old-fashioned letter writing? It’s the time of year when we roll out Mystery Pals letter exchange for children, youth, and adults of all ages.  Some wonderful friendships and connections across generations have been made through this annual event–and if you haven’t tried it out yet, I encourage you to sign up!

This year we are forming a small organizing team to spice up our exchanges. Each Pal mails their letters to UCV and we send it on with Artist Trading Cards, art or activity prompts, or poetry slipped in.

Who?

Anyone age 4-104 can participate if you have regularly attended the Unitarian Church of Vancouver for six months or more, are known by someone in our church leadership (RE Director, Minister, Board, or committee member, small group leader), and can commit to exchanging weekly letters throughout April by Canada post (envelopes and stamps supplied.) 

When?

April is the month of mail exchange and early May is our Reveal Party where you find out who exactly your Pal is. The reveal party will be facilitated in whatever way is deemed safe at the time–either a zoom party or outdoors if public health allows.

How?

Sign-up with our Breeze form at https://ucv.im/pals by March 15th.

Kiersten and our Pals team will match folks up and assign each Pal pair a famous Unitarian to identify with. You will receive a Letter Writing Kit with addressed envelopes, stamps, and paper at the end of March to get you started. Write an introductory letter to your Pal, mail it to the church and it will be sent on. Watch your mailbox for a response and keep exchanging letters throughout April.

Imagination Month for Kids and Families

Kiersten is currently on a well-deserved break. As she puts it, “I’ve put down every ball I had up in the air.”

So here are some ideas and invitations to be part of our various programs for kids, youth and families. And first a chalice lighting for this month:

May the light of this chalice, spark our imaginations.

May it lead us back to the stories and characters

that romp and roam the corridors of our minds.

In the warmth of this chalice, may we remember again

how thankful we are to have others who love us,

and guide and accompany us, as our own stories unfold.

The Soul Matters theme for January is Imagination — so watch out! or better still, dive in!

If you’d like to receive the package for families, please let Kiersten know.

December saw a flurry of activities in the kids, youth and family programs.

The highlight might have been the Winter Solstice play. The kids tell me the hardest part was the two minutes of sitting silently.

For me, that was also the most moving part.

Kiersten did an amazing job of writing, casting and directing.

As well, though programs on zoom happened regularly coordinated by Olivia, our youth coordinator, volunteers including Mairy and Nan and the Tween ukulele group with Donna Brown.

UCV and our young people are always a fount of imagination. What could possibly happen when we actually focus our attention on that theme for the whole month?

 

Can you imagine yourself as part of the extensive team who plan, facilitate or support programs for our kids and families?

I’ve taken on a role to assist with communications and especially multigenerational activities and I can tell you it’s very nourishing and Kiersten is a dream to work with. It’s a sincere pleasure to support her and therefore support our families and the broader congregation.

For a list of kids, youth and family programs with contact and date/time, click here.

by Mary Bennett