On Jan 19, I attended ‘Raven People Rising’ at UCV. I feel honoured and truly fortunate to be able to learn more about the Heiltsuk Nation’s powerful journey to protect their territory and surrounding ocean waters. (more…)
Category: Member Profile
Mary Bennett, ever the careful listener, heard me say, more than once, how I love the Fire Communion. Of course, I was immediately recruited to help with the service. What fires me up ? no apologies for the pun. . . this service gives us strength to honour and embrace letting go, putting aside, clearing out, saying goodbye with gratitude, no easy task. In community together, the power of shared ritual enhances and strengthens our intentions. It’s palpable. Together we are left with space we have created. And space invites joyous promises to take root, It can be as pivotal in our personal lives, as it is intended to be. Self-care together. Works for me. I’m grateful.
Wendy will be coordinating the ritual around burning our symbolic sprig of rosemary to let the past year go.
As a “night school junkie”, this fall Wendy signed up for: Paganism 101 and Wicca 101 as well as a six-week astrology course. She says she’s not sure how much paganism will form part of her spiritual practice in the future, but she’s interested so (as usual) she’s diving in.
Wendy’s been attending UCV since 2002 when she took a course on “Building Your Own Theology” with Rev. Andy Backus. She is always a positive and enthusiastic presence. Currently she serves on the lay chaplaincy committee and welcoming table where she enjoys making visitors feel at home.
Wendy lives on a boat in False Creek. You might enjoy reading this article about her:
Here’s an excerpt:
“My visit to Inside Passage at Spruce Harbour Marina was sparked by meeting the current owner, Wendy Bryan, briefly at Granville Island. The vibrant owner epitomizes why people enjoy yachting; she is full of energy, enthusiasm, and adventure, three attributes the help one make the most of the boating lifestyle. When I heard that Inside Passage was the boat she had recently purchased, it came as no surprise. Both the boat and the new owner seem to defy age, showing that a history founded on classic taste and a future set toward adventure can make for a stunning combination.”
Short films are challenging to make and period films add an extra level of difficulty, but we’re up for the challenge! Any and all financial contributions would go towards paying cast and crew for their time and dedication, for essential gear, costumes and crafty.
If you know people who might be interested in (and maybe supporting) this project, please share this link with your friends and family!
We’re so excited to make this film the best it can be and do justice to the Roedde’s legacy.
How I came to be a Unitarian
I was first introduced to the UU church and faith by a dear World Federalist colleague and long-time Unitarian who thought, given my love for being curious, asking questions, meeting interesting people and being open to new ideas, that I would find a home here.
The first service by Rev. Epperson he talked about climate change and politics. Having been raised all over the world and having been exposed to many religions and faiths I had not found any of them to be nearly as insightful, compassionate, all-encompassing as the Unitarian one seemed to be.
Soon thereafter I became involved with the lunch service, gardening and Messy Church groups and loved every moment I spent with the friendly, warm and ever so embracing Unitarians I had the pleasure of meeting.
Two years after I had been formally involved with the UU Church I was asked what it felt like to be a formal UU member to which I asked, “There is a formal membership?” I thought I was already a member given how fondly and fully I had been welcomed. I then realized I had not ‘signed the book’ to become a member. Luckily the very next week there was a member welcoming ceremony. I reached out to Rev. Epperson and joined him at his office to have the most wonderful 2+hour chat with him about what UU is, how it got started and what it means. I was even more hooked and sold on the UU message and vision! I then signed ‘the book’ and of course took a selfie doing so as it was a momentous occasion that I was very proud of: I was officially a UU member.
Since then I have kept helping out in the kitchen with Love Soup and Refugee Committee Lunch services, in the garden when needed and with Messy Church. I have also had the pleasure of becoming a youth mentor and part of the religious education Sunday workshop facilitating committee. So, that is my UU background.
In terms of my personal background that is a story in and of itself. I’ll keep it brief and if you ever want me to elaborate I will do so gladly so come find me and we can chat! But for now, here goes: I am a graduate of Political Science and International Relations from the University of British Columbia, focusing on international sustainability and development. My eclectic background is echoed in my love of cultures and languages. I speak English, Japanese, Spanish and moderate French. I’m an avid volunteer since young and am currently involved with six organizations other than the UU church including as a volunteer coast guard, wildlife rehabilitator for the Wildlife Rescue Association, volunteer and event organizer for Leadnow, a docent at Roedde House Museum and the Vancouver branch President of the World Federalist Movement Canada, among others.
In addition to my activism I am a working actress and a triathlete and lover of all thing outdoors and can often be found hiking, trail running, doing yoga or running along the seawalls of beautiful Vancouver which I have proudly called my home for over 15 years. In whatever spare time I can muster I love practicing guitar, sketching and tap dancing, singing and meditating. That’s all for now folks. Thanks for reading and I look forward to seeing and/or meeting you at our UU home.
Mairy invites you to watch her latest play, What Difference Does it Make? on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQU6WT6Igs8
This play is set in Vancouver in March 2020 as COVID becomes our new reality.
Here’s more information about Mairy from the enewsletter from Playwrights Theatre Centre.
Mairy Beam is a non-binary playwright and director who recently moved to Vancouver, giving her the opportunity to join the land and water protectors who are fighting the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline. Inspired by the drama in the BC Supreme Court, she has written a documentary theatre piece, Irreparable Harm? A tale of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Arrests. After attending PTC’s Block P workshop, she is producing Irreparable Harm? along with the Sinister Sisters Ensemble. Her recent plays include Body Parts, produced in the New Ideas Festival in Toronto in March 2019; Out and About, produced in 2017 in Vancouver at the 4 x 3 Fest and in Toronto at Gelato Fest; The Next Mary, which was included in PinkFest 2018 in Toronto; and Let Me In, which was read as part of the 2018 Bodacious Series in North Vancouver. She has also directed several plays for Theatre Out of the Box in Toronto.
At UCV, Mairy is chair of the HR committee, chair of the Earth Spirit Council and very involved in GSA and circle dance.
Life Member Award 2017
On rare occasions, it is an honour in this congregation to recognize an individual for their outsized and enduring contributions over time to this church and the wider Unitarian community. In accordance with the By-Laws of the Unitarian Church of Vancouver, the Board of Trustees can extend a Life Membership in this congregation—that means, no matter where life may take this person, they hold an honoured place in our hearts and minds and all the privileges of membership in the Unitarian Church of Vancouver.
Today it is my privilege to call Mary Bennett to the stage to receive an Award of Life Membership in this congregation.
Mary has been an active member of UCV for more than a quarter century. She served with distinction as Executive Director of the Canadian Unitarian Council in those extraordinary first years when the UUA and the CUC separated institutionally, and was tasked with helping to create a new and distinct national religious denomination. She has served in a range of capacities in this congregation that I can’t keep track of—and that’s a good thing: from Nominating Committee to Forum Coordinator, from creator of labyrinths, to stick handling the publication of UCV Events. Mary has been an effective celebrant of worship services, Circle Dancing Organizer, and instigator and organizer of Hygge dinners. And I’ve so appreciated finding out how, behind the scenes, she has encouraged and supported volunteer service at 49th and Oak, and for tending to myriad details on our website and our communications.
For all this and much more, Mary Bennett, please accept this award of Life Membership with our sincere thanks.
- Rev. Steven Epperson
When I jokingly made a new year’s resolution to become spiritually developed and have matching towels, I had no idea where that would lead.
This church was one of three religious groups I checked out back in 1989–and with all of its (and my) warts and all, this is what stuck. I joined in 1991 after “just browsing” for two years.
Mary joined the congregation in 1991 after “just browsing” for two years and has been an active member ever since. She was the Executive Director of the Canadian Unitarian Council from 2000-2008. In 2017, she was given the award of lifetime member.
Mary usually offers at least one worship service each year, sometimes including the annual Fire Communion in late December.
She enjoys sacred circle dancing at the church and elsewhere. She’s a graduate of Paganism 101 course and is dreaming up a circle dance cum pagan ritual for the coming year.
As chair of the Connect and Engage Membership subcommittee, she loves helping new members get connected with the community.
As well as the Unitarian church, she’s an active volunteer in her Kitsilano neighbourhood and at arts and culture events in Vancouver including the Fringe Festival, DOXA Documentary Film Festival and the Firehall Arts Centre Theatre.
A friend once commented that Mary was more likely to attend events where food was involved. That’s very true.
Mary’s a visual artist and often shows her work at the church. You can view her art on her website.
Whenever I go to a Unitarian church or event, I feel “at home”. Unitarian Universalists are diverse, and congregations are diverse, but I find some things are common in most of them.
They are one of the few places where different generations enjoy each other: from babies to centenarians. We are a rainbow of ages. Since I am a life-long Unitarian (I am also a Universalist, but too many syllables), I have experienced our religion from all the ages up to 72, so far.
A Vancouver Courier article featuring Karl from 2012.
I was born in 1945 in Detroit, Michigan. My mother was a devoted Unitarian. As a self-educated farm girl, she loved the honesty and intellectual stimulation she found in our church. As a child, Sunday School was sometimes boring, sometimes fascinating. I remember curricula like “Jesus, the Carpenter’s Son” and “The Church Across the Street”, but my favourite was a class led by an engineer, where we each made an “electric whirli-gig”, which spun like crazy when you plugged it in. It was thrilling to learn science from people who loved science.
When I moved from Detroit to Vancouver. Vancouver seemed like a whole city of Unitarians, compared to Detroit. I came to church once annually for the Thrift Sale.
My 40’s were marred by major depression. I found that worship services were the one place where I could break down and cry, and that felt so good. Our minister’s passionate and courageous sermons give me the courage to persevere. Church saved my life: feeling worthless, I found the worth in worship. Through psychiatry, I recovered from major depression. In 1993, I read Al Gore’s Earth in the Balance and realized the enormous challenge of Climate Change. I vowed to my son and his generation that I would do everything in my power to prevent his premature death in 2050 from civilization’s collapse due to climate change. I decided that the best place to put my volunteer energy was our church’s environment committee.
In 1999 I decided to spread my spiritual wings and became a lay chaplain for a six-year term.
I contribute what I can. I have a lot of confidence that when a need arises, our congregation will respond. We are a force for good. I’m so proud of our denomination, down through the centuries, and our present expression. We are blossoming, once again.