Category: Our Space

Buildings and Grounds Committee information; renting space at UCV.

Note from the Board Chair – Jan 1, 2021

Dear Unitarian friends,

I hope you had a rejuvenating winter break. It is a new year, a fresh start, and a lot of exciting work lies ahead. I have two invitations for you to consider in the coming weeks which both further the mission and the vision of our church.

Because we as Unitarians are committed to creating a more inclusive, compassionate and equitable world, I am organizing a Decolonizing Practices Workshop for staff, board, and members that will be run by professional Indigenous consultants.

I would like us all to have the opportunity to get better informed on decolonizing our practices and how to diversify our organization’s membership and board to include more Indigenous people and persons of colour. We need to identify the barriers to our organization and to develop the solutions. This one-day workshop will also include a half-day on the history and ongoing colonization in Canada.

The Decolonizing Practices Workshop will be in early spring and hopefully live and in person. If Covid prevails, we will pursue an online format. If you are interested in this, please let me know so I have an idea of interest and numbers. If the numbers are high, I may have to organize two workshops. president@vancouverunitarians.ca.

Secondly, I would like to invite you all to an Ideas Forum for the Upgraded Sanctuary to generate ideas together for how the new space could be used and be more productive.

This Ideas Forum will be on Sunday Jan. 17th at 12:30 on zoom. Galen Elfert and Dianne Crosbie will be on hand to answer any questions about the lighting/sound upgrades and the new chairs.

The seed behind the Sanctuary Upgrades was planted by Steven, and furthered by a generous donor. Then we asked ourselves, could our beautiful Sanctuary become a cultural and spiritual destination, a hub for various performance and spiritual groups to meet, worship, rehearse, perform, share ideas?  In this way, could we attract a younger and more diverse demographic to our Church, boosting accessibility by allowing for more varied and inclusive styles of music/art/worship?

We as a congregation are welcoming and wish to diversify our membership. So let us be pro-active and create a space that is inviting to various creative interests, ages and spiritual practices. Let us not only create that space, let us intentionally seek out and invite communities into our space. Our new Membership and Outreach staff person will definitely help with the marketing and outreach end of things, but what else can we envision for this space and how can we fill it?

Come with your ideas and let’s imagine together! I look forward to seeing many of you there and sharing our thoughts.

Best wishes for the New Year,

Diane Brown, UCV Board President.

Picnic, Chat and Labyrinth Walk

We sat outside, ate the lunches we’d brought (or purchased from across the street) and walked one or more labyrinths.

Mary brought her plarn (yarn made from plastic bag strips) and a spiral was laid out under the tree nearby. (See photo for how plarn is made with strips of plastic bags. Yes, more bags are appreciated, especially purple, blue, orange, red in that order.)
Several of us enjoyed being on UCV grounds on Sunday afternoon.

Earlier Donna brought Mary and 50 or so bricks for enhancing the labyrinth pathways and we’ll do more of that. (Help for unloading, transporting, placing bricks very welcome). Thanks Way and Vivian for your help.

Catherine played her concertina for us. It was a lovely sunny afternoon with old friends and new.

Discovered “free dirt” near compost bins and moved some to cover dried leaves. Help with more of that would be appreciated as well. And of course weeding. If you’re there and you see grass amongst the plants, please pull it out!

 

Red Tulips in full bloom on the labyrinth

On January 8th, Patti planted the bulbs given to Mary Bennett as a Green Streets gardener that celebrate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands at the end of WWII.

These are Liberation 75’ (website Liberation75.ca.)  As intended they were in bloom for May 5th.

Ours are some of 110,000 tulips planted around Vancouver including at Mountainview Cemetery.

Here’s an article about the project:

https://vancouversun.com/homes/gardening/brian-minter-commemorative-tulips

And another one: https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/more-than-110000-tulip-bulbs-commemorate-1945-canadian-liberation-of-the-netherlands/

And from the City’s Green Streets coordinator: Enjoy a virtual tour or go check out some of the gardens for yourself! 
 

 

 

Victory Garden opportunities and labyrinth help needed

Victory Gardens at UCV?

Some of us who have gardened at UCV in the past are taking a year off. If you live close to UCV or drive and would like to have regular visits to our beautiful grounds, here are some opportunities:
Mairy Beam & Mary Bennett hope to get back to gardening next year, but if you’d like to plant and harvest this year, we’d love you to take advantage of the veggie and herb garden we’ve been building up. It’s a bit shady but great for greens. There are some herbs (sage, lavender, thyme) and lots of kale and garlic and undoubtedly a few other things there too. Contact Mary to discuss.

Labyrinth – oh my!

From spring to summer, Mary has often spent 2 or more visits or an hour or more joyfully weeding and planting and tending the garden path labyrinth. We have a soaker hose once it’s needed and many plants are established, but it needs regular trimming and weeding. I’ve wished for some time that we had a labyrinth team–so now it’s really needed.

Family veggie plots

There are three 38″ square plots that have been used by families. If you are able to plant and harvest one or more of these, contact Mary Bennett at ucvconnect@gmail.com (or any other way of contact you happen to have).

Health and Safety measures:

If you are using UCV tools (including the combination lock) please disinfect before and after use. Patti is putting disinfectant into the shed for you.
If you’re there during the day, office staff and caretakers know the combination or ask Mary or Patti in advance.
Use gloves. Keep at least 6′ away from others.

Patti says: garden but stay safe.

Hope someone volunteers to care for the labyrinth. Outdoors is a safe place to be if you need to get out of the house especially that big empty space at the church. Perhaps there are those that will welcome this opportunity.
Warmest and bestest from Patti

Indoor Labyrinth Walking in Meditation Room

We now have custody of an indoor labyrinth that fits perfectly in our meditation room. The plan is to have it out in the meditation room every 1st Tuesday for walking before circle dance and at the break.

Seven women who were part of the Women’s Spirituality Celebration and, along with a dozen or more others, met and walked it together in January. A discussion ensued that people would like the chance to walk it more often and share it with others as well..

The 10′ x 12′ canvas labyrinth was created by Barbara Bickel while on an artist residency on Toronto Island.

Barbara was, with Mary Bennett, and others part of a planning team for an annual Women’s Spirituality Celebration held at UBC Vancouver School of Theology.While the group hasn’t hosted an event in recent years, there are “circles of circles” of women who continue to connect in various ways, often around a labyrinth walk, shared food and conversation.

Barbara created it for the WSC and has wanted it to be available for borrowing by women who wish to use it for an event.

If you have a connection to Women’s Spirituality Celebration or a Unitarian congregation, you can arrange to borrow it from Mary Bennett.

We plan to have an open labyrinth walk every 1st Tuesday from 6 to 7 pm prior to circle dancing in the hall. Mary will book space and ensure the meditation room is open by ten to 6. Women involved with WSC will take turns laying out the labyrinth, welcoming new people and putting the labyrinth back after the walk.

We have a labyrinth facebook group. 

There are also two outdoor labyrinths on the Unitarian Centre site.

Go to http://vancouverunitarians.ca/labyrinth to learn more.

Contact Mary through unitarianlabyrinth@gmail.com if you wish to arrange to borrow the indoor labyrinth.

 

Courtyard Labyrinth – Come walk in rain with us

As part of the Ostara celebration, we plan to walk the courtyard labyrinth – weather permitting – or wear your rain gear

Photo: Keith Wilkinson

 

The Courtyard Labyrinth is made in this pattern. A 3-circuit Cretan square style. The entrance is by the central doors in Hewett Centre.

 

We plan to put clues (possibly runes or oracle cards) along the pathway. At some point one might attract your attention and you’ll see if the message is one that has meaning for you.

If it’s absolutely pelting down rain, we’ll find a way to put out our new indoor labyrinth and do a similar process in the meditation room.

When the courtyard paving needed replacing a team designed a labyrinth pattern. Walk on the grey pavers.

Eventually we hope to have a bench in the centre and an inviting planted area.

What’s in a Name?

On January 19th the What Do We Call Ourselves? (WDWCO?) Task Force led a Discussion Circle Forum in the Fireside Room. 44 congregants attended.

They were invited to address the questions:  Do you want to change the name – The Unitarian Church of Vancouver? If yes, to what?  If no, reasons for not wanting to change the name.

Rev. Steven Epperson, who attended, later commented that participants were respectful and thoughtful.  Which is just the way we Unitarians are as we contemplate our past identity and consider our future one.

Join some Unitarians walking the labyrinth at St. Paul’s Anglican

Several Unitarians traditionally go to St. Paul’s Anglican church on New Year’s Eve to walk the labyrinth with live music. They offer a very welcoming atmosphere including snacks around 10:30pm.

Here’s the information from their facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/855819938167446/

Come and walk the labyrinth in meditation on New Year’s Eve or Day with live music! There will also be food and a place to chat in the lower hall (we keep silence in the labyirnth walking spaces except for the music). Free or suggested donation $5-20 to help cover performer costs. See discussion for links to performer bios.

PERFORMERS FOR NEW YEAR’S EVE AND NEW YEAR’S DAY
NEW YEAR’S EVE:

Music Schedule
• 6-8 pm Harpist Rebecca Blair
• 8-10 pm Harpist Clarity
• 10:15-12:15 Quiet Hearts Ensemble – Peaceful Piano and other instruments

WHERE ARE WE?
In the large ‘hall’ building attached to St Paul’s Anglican Church on 1130 Jervis Street (parking is available on Davie).

More about the labyrinth and other times to walk it here:
https://www.stpaulsanglican.bc.ca/programs/labyrinth-at-st-pauls

What’s in a Name? Next forum January 19

The What Do We Call Ourselves task force (WDWCO) was created by the Board in 2018 to examine whether we should change our name from the Unitarian Church of Vancouver to a name without “church.” To carry out its mission, WDWCO would like to provide ways for all members and friends (adherents) of UCV to hear, understand, and contribute to the discussions around what name best suits our congregation. Although as UCV members, we might differ on the name question, we believe we share similar values and goals for our beloved community. We are confident that we can come to shared understanding and a path forward.

We offer the following viewpoints (heard during informal discussions among some UCV members) as a starting point for discussion. If your viewpoint isn’t represented here, we’d like to know what it is. We want input and will be seeking it at the Forum on January 19th.

I want to retain our current name because:
Our name Unitarian Church of Vancouverhonours our 500-year history as a Church. For me, the UnitarianChurchof today has an expanded meaning that is inclusive of all ethical beliefs. It demonstrates how a Church can be a progressive religious community.

The name “Church” speaks to our spiritual roots and provides a sense of continuity and comfort. Some of us may have left the church of our upbringing, but we have not severed our connection with spirituality.

The name Unitarian Churchhas gravitas and promotes respect. Having originated as a branch of Christianity, we are identified as a religious community and we belong at the table of multi-faith gatherings. As well, our identity as a Church invites media inquiries seeking “religious perspectives” on pressing moral issues.

The Unitarian Church has led and continues to lead progressive religious change. Such progress can be inspiring to other religious communities.

I want to change our name because:
I am uncomfortable with the word Church, finding it restrictive as a name for our spiritual home and community. A church is by definition a Christianentity, which is not a spiritual fit with those members and friends who do not identify as Christian. “Church” discourages many potential attendees who have negative associations with Christian denominations, along with those whose heritage is in non-Christian cultures, those who identify as Pagans or secular Humanists, and those who resist any labelling of their views. And a more welcoming name could appeal to those who describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious” , individuals who may be seeking an inclusive spiritual community free of dogma.

I believe that with an alternative name we will remain an influential member of multifaith communities. For example, one of the largest Unitarian communities in Canada, The First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa, (no “Church” in their name), is well-respected in the National Capital Region, and has good relations with near and far-flung Christian and non-Christian faith communities alike.

34 of the 47 Unitarian congregations in Canada call themselves something other than a Church.

I am undecided because:
I haven’t thought much about this and I don’t have enough information. I look forward to participating in our community’s thoughtful consideration and discussion of all the input. I want to understand the beliefs and opinions of others. I hope I’ll then be better able to make a decision.

I will support whatever decision is made:
I trust our community will thoughtfully consider all input and make the best decision for the greater good.

I am reluctant to get involved…
To the reluctant, we encourage you to consider that in our community, all views count. We invite your careful listening and input as the discussions proceed. We want an environment where you feel comfortable to contribute your voice.

We strive to make ourdecision process inclusive, caring, informed, and democratic. What we choose to call ourselves is our identity.It matters.

Please share your views, come to the Forum on January 19th. Questions in the meantime?
Email us at: sresels@gmail.com