What's Happening August 26, 2018

This Sunday will be Poetry Sunday! with various speakers and music by Louise Halperin. Childcare will be available. 
 Friends and members of our community are invited to submit poems that have touched them, or works of their own writing. You may read them yourselves or request to have them read for you. Join us in the exploration of our 2nd source: "Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love." If you're interested in participating, please send Chloe Hart an email at hartchloe4@gmail.com.  

What's Happening Sunday, August 19, 2018

The service on August 19 at 10:30 am will be Little by Little and Lemon with speakers Daniel Hickie and Holly Fleming and music by Basil Vandervort-Charbonneau. Childcare will be available.

The motivation to change and act with integrity and renew and grow my heart usually hits Daniel in waves. While he is riding that wave, gosh, he feel so motivated. But soon enough the motivation slides away; and, mostly the change he has achieved is unrecognizable. That was until Daniel's partner and he learned that they are going to have their first child this fall (which, while growing in the uterus, they are calling Lemon). With that shift in their lives, Daniel is exploring progress little by little instead. And gosh, he just feels so motivated by it.

When Holly was in college, she read a book which talked about a community where everyone parented everyone’s children, that way parent’s didn’t project unmet needs and expectations on their children, freeing children to come at life in their own unique ways. She loved that idea and though she has never had biological children, she has “mothered” children in different ways. The way Holly will talk about alternative parenting today is in her role as hosting international students in my home over the last 10 years. To date she has shared her home with men and women from India, Spain, Colombia, Switzerland, Brazil, Zimbabwe, France, China, Mexico, Japan and Chile. It has and continues to be such a privilege to welcome and nurture young people on their academic, cultural and social journey as they leave home (often her home is their first big trip abroad) and navigate this wonderful city while staying in her home!

What's Happening Sunday, August 12, 2018

Join us for Teaching How to Fish: Moving Beyond Charity in the Non-Profit and Spiritual World with Marlo Turner Ritchie and music by Basil Vandervort-Charbonneau. Childcare will be available.
The Unitarian Church of Montreal and the Canadian Unitarian Council have a long history of working with non-profits. What does it mean to move beyond charity? When is charitable work part of the problem and not the solution? This reflection will give some examples of successful partnerships that have resulted in meaningful and mission-driven impacts in our communities, while giving some historical context to the creation of the “action communautaire autonome” movement in Quebec.

What's Happening Sunday, August 5, 2018

Join us for ComUUnity: Being U in UU with Akiko Asano and Abram Friedland and music by
Basil Vandervort-Charbonneau.
Child care will be available.

Abram's reflection, The People Movers, will be about the long - suffering members of cultures who move societies forward, not for their own greatness, but for the betterment of everyone. One of those people is an inspiration to him.

Akiko reflects on how shifting our paradigms (models or patterns) can empower us and bring out the “you” in your community. She shares her personal journey through various communities trying to find herself only to discover that she was never lost.

What's Happening Sunday, July 29, 2018

Join us for Doing the Dishes with Anastasia Dudley and musician Basil Vandervort-Charbonneau.
Childcare is not available this Sunday.
A reflection on the labour of justice work, in which Anastasia attempts to articulate what she’s working towards as a staff member at Midnight Kitchen, a community kitchen attempting to act as a working alternative to the capitalist food systems which have made sustenance a luxury. She’ll be looking at what, exactly, constitutes change. What kind of people are making it? And who feeds them?

What's Happening Sunday, July 22, 2018

Join us for Love Letter to Gaia Earth with Carole TenBrink and music by Christine ML Lee on Sunday, July 22 at 10:30 am. Our theme today takes it’s spirit from the Mohawk Thanksgiving Address utilized here with permission. The address names and honours each part of creation so people really feel their gratitude for all Earth provides us. Whether the gathering is for celebration, for commemoration or for difficult decision making, the address brings minds together as one. Within the context of our normal service, we will have a bit of a ritual to express our love and gratitude to Earth.

Please, if you can, bring any small item from nature that speaks to your affection for Gaia such as a stone, a leaf, a shell, a flower from your garden, a photo of your favorite beach, etc.  There will be some nature items on hand as well for those who come without.

Childcare will be available. 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Kendra Gray will present Stretching Beyond: Embracing Liberia’s Complexity on Sunday, July 15 at 10:30 am. The musician will be Christine Lee.
"We are all a product of our environment. Stepping out of our regular surroundings provides us with the occasion to reconsider assumptions and biases, and rethink priorities. For me, six months (2013) in a rural Liberian community was (and is) a continual reminder that what is “normal” and assumed in one place is not universal. And that growth happens when we allow ourselves to stretch in previous unseen directions."

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Join us on Sunday, July 8 at 10:30 am, for Gaining Spiritual Awareness Through Our Understanding of Mathematics with Timothy Byrnes and music by Louise Halperin.
An exploration of the concept of numeracy as a means to gaining perspective. Timothy shares thoughts on how our intuitive mathematical understanding can be broadened to reveal truths that can seem lost through needless abstraction. An understanding of numbers that seem larger than ourselves can help in our search for understanding our oneself.  Childcare will be available.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

On Sunday, July 1 at 10:30 am, Chloe Hart will present Nothing Fits at the Back of My Mind with music by Basil Vandervort-Charbonneau. Childcare will be available. 
Whether it be her cellphone, a doodle, a to-do list, or a preoccupation, Chloe has never taken kindly to being asked to put something aside. However, during her trip to Meaning Makers, a spiritual development program for young adults, she was asked to "put something down" that was keeping her from being truly present to the experience. What kind of work does it take to put down the things that are distracting us? Chloe will be discussing the comfort and the complexity she has found in the invitation to "put something down", rather than putting something aside, behind her, at the back of her mind, in her desk, in her backpack, or any other place it has been suggested to her put her things. 

Summer Service Are Starting!

Join us on Sunday, June 24, at 10:30am, for Climate Change and Collective Wisdom. Our speaker will be Cym Gomery with music by Basil Vandervort-Charbonneau. 
What if we were to leverage our collective wisdom, to make our congregation a model for green living? Cym will be framing the challenge of climate change, and then inviting participants to write down their responses to a series of questions about climate change actions we can take in our homes and in our community. We will be sharing and discussing. Be prepared to commit to at least one NEW, personal climate-change-fighting action! After this service, Cym will share the collective wisdom gleaned from this exercise through the newsletter or through handouts.

What's Happening June 11 - 17, 2018

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On Sunday, June 17 at 10:30 am, our service will be Simple Gifts with Rev. Diane Rollert and music by Sandra Hunt and the Basque group Sasi ardiak with Maider Martineau, Vianney Desplantes and Jokin Irungaray on the trikitixa, alboka, euphonium and percussion, and the Parts in Peace Choir, directed by Maider Martineau.
This Sunday will be pure celebration and full of music as we say goodbye to our beloved song leader and choir director, Maider Martineau, who is returning to the Basque country in France, and to Yvette Salinas, who is stepping down as Religious Exploration Assistant (though she’ll still be with us!). This will be a time to say thanks for the music, the people (including fathers and father figures) and the many simple gifts in our lives. The service will be followed by a special reception in honour of Maider and Yvette.

Join us after the service for the last RE Community lunch for the RE year. After lunch, there will be a special concert in the sanctuary with Maider, Vianney, Jokin, Parts in Peace, Sandra and others for a bittersweet goodbye celebration of Maider on her final day with us.

Simplify My Life, Please (Audio Available)

Reflection by Rev. Diane Rollert, 3 June 2018

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Years ago, when I was a Montessori teacher, there was nothing I loved more than the days at the end of the summer when I would prepare my classroom for the new year. I’d spend hours in silence, carefully preparing materials, and deciding exactly where each activity would be placed on the bare shelves. It was a kind of meditation. When I was done, I could imagine the children inhabiting the space with their excitement and curiosity.

We rented classroom space from a public school that was surrounded by woods and farmland. In September, as the school year began, I’d buy a sunflower from a local farmer. I’d place the big head of the flower on a tray along with a pair of tweezers. I loved watching even the most restless four- and five-year olds mastering the art of using the tweezers to pull out one seed after another from the drying flower head. Time would be suspended as the simple task became everything for that child.

Read more or listen to Simplify My LIfe, Please

What's Happening June 4 - 10, 2018

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Our worship service on Sunday, June 10 will be J’te dis oui ! I Say Yes!  with Rev. Diane Rollert and Normand Gosselin with music by Sandra Hunt and Maider Martineau and special guest Vianney Desplantes on euphonium.
We begin life by saying yes with breath. We end life by saying yes to letting go. In between, there are milestones to be celebrated. How do we say yes to life through the many commitments that we make to those we love? Join us for a Sunday that lifts up the work of our lay chaplains as well as the ministry of saying yes, even in the darkest hours.

Earlier in the week on Tuesday, June 5, Seeking the Sacred in Stories will meet at noon, and the Caring Network will meet at 3:00 pm. Following the service on Sunday, the Collage Group will meet at 1:00 pm. 

For more information, go to the This Month page.

What's Happening May 28 - June 3, 2018

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Coming up on Sunday, June 3 at 10:30 am, our worship service will be Simplify My Life, Please! Flower Communion Sunday with Rev. Diane Rollert  and music by Sandra Hunt and Maider Martineau.
“I’m a recovering overfunctioner,” our minister likes to say. She also says, “I am definitely not a poster child for simplicity!” Join her as she reflects on what it could possibly mean to stop overfunctioning and live a simpler life. Step one: join us in a simple flower communion. Bring a single flower to exchange with someone else.

What's Happening May 21 - 27, 2018

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On Sunday, May 27, 10:30 am, our worship service will be Latter Day Blessings: Spiritual Integration Through Story Telling with Rev. Helen McFayden and Rev. Diane Rollert and music by Jean Séguin and Maider Martineau
Previous life experiences can deeply influence our view and interactions in the world…and it’s not always pretty. As adults, we sometimes seemed doomed to making poor choices, rocky relationships, and repeating harmful patterns, unless we work to make sense of the past. Storytelling is one vehicle to spiritual integration, a way that broken hearts can be broken open. 
Rev. Helen McFadyen grew up in St. Lambert on the South Shore of Montreal in the 1950’s and 60’s, Her father was a lapsed protestant, anglophone seafarer, and her mom, a French Canadian Catholic orphanage survivor. Helen discovered her call to ministry at the Universalist Unitarian Congregation of Halifax and currently serves the U U Fellowship of Kamloops. She also works in the position of Administrator of the UUA Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry certification program and is doing academic research toward a Doctor of Ministry degree, studying “mutual support in the lives of elder residents of cohousing communities.” Helen, who is legally blind, shares her life with Camilla, her guide dog of the last six years.

The Blessing of the Living Goddess

Reflection by Rev. Diane Rollert, 13 May 2018

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The late John O’Donohue tells a beautiful story in his book, To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings. (I love this book. If you’re looking for an inspirational text to read each day, this is it.) 

As a young priest O’Donohue was sent to visit a community of nuns who lived in mostly silent contemplation. When he arrived, an old sister opened the door. Knowing that O’Donohue was a new priest, she asked for his very first blessing. She knelt before him and he drew upon every resource he knew “to invoke the most intimate blessing.” 

And then it dawned on him that the situation was incredibly ironic. Here he was blessing a nun who had lived for more than 60 years “contemplating the searing silence and darkness of God,” and she was asking him, a 25-year-old priest, for his blessing. When she stood up, he knelt down before her and asked for her blessing. The sister was utterly taken aback. She mumbled something and practically ran out of the room. No one, certainly not a priest, had ever asked for her blessing before. 

Continue reading the Blessing of the Living Goddess

What's Happening May 14 - 20, 2018

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Join us on Sunday, May 20 at 10:30 am, for It’s All Blessing with Rev. Carole Martignacco and music by Sandra Hunt and Maider Martineau
“Ground of our being” is how theologian Paul Tillich named the holy. Everything that touches us is blessing as it emerges out of the creative energy that gives birth to all.
Rev. Carole Martignacco is a longtime friend of this congregation, having served several times as our sabbatical minister. She is currently the consulting minister of the UU ESTRIE congregation in North Hatley, QC.

On Wednesday, May 16, the Marie-Berthe Dion Issues Action Group: Letter Writing will meet at 10:30 am followed by the Midday Meal at 12:30 pm. Music in the Afternoon starts at 1:45 pm with Basil Vandervoort, who will be playing: Alban Berg's Sonata op.1, Beethoven's Sonata op.109 and Chopin's fourth Ballade.

For more information, go to the This Month page.

What's Happening May 7 - 13

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On Sunday, May 13, 10:30 am, our worship service will be The Blessing of the Living Goddess with Rev. Diane Rollert and music by Sandra Hunt and Maider Martineau
The living goddess of Kathmandu is a pre-adolescent girl known as the Kumari. For centuries, the Kumari has played a key role in blessing kings and others to maintain a critical balance in Nepali culture. It’s a fascinating and mysterious tradition that gives us insight into the power of blessing across religious traditions, how it relates to motherhood (it’s Mother’s Day, after all), and what it might mean for us, halfway across the globe. 

After the service, the Social and Environmental Concerns Committee meets at 12:30 pm. The Cyclofemme Family Ride will depart at 12:30 pm from the front steps. The Collage Afternoon will begin at 1 pm. At 2:30 pm,  the Mother's Day Concert will start at 2:30 pm. Earlier in the week, the Council Meeting will be on Wednesday, May 9 at 6:30 pm. 

For more information, go to the This Month page.