Roots Hold Me Close (Audio Available)

Reflection by Rev. Diane Rollert, 4 December 2016

“Roots hold me close, wings set me free.”

                —from the hymn Spirit of Life by Carolyn McDade

It’s been quite a week. On Monday morning we went to the airport to welcome Omar, Salwa, and their seven children. What an amazing journey it has been for them and for us. They arrived saying, “We’re ready. Help us to get started in our new life.” And that’s what we’ve been doing: 

Finding an apartment, painting and furnishing it, gathering winter clothes — and then suddenly rain gear at the last moment— we were so busy looking for snow boots, we didn’t even think about rain gear! Then there was shopping for the first groceries, putting together maps of the neighbourhood, waiting forever for the wifi installation that still hasn’t happened, setting up and going to appointments with the school board, going to Service Canada for Social Insurance Numbers, setting up appointments for health cards and medical exams, making arrangements for French immersion courses, trying to figure out college equivalencies, trying to figure out the financial benefits that Canada and Quebec offer, scheduling translators, and the list goes on. 

Continue reading or listen to Roots Hold Me Close

What's Happening December 5 - 11, 2016


The 10:30 am service on Sunday, December 11 will be Rooted in Language with Mark Abley, John Paxman, Philippe Chevalier and Kirstin McKeown with music by Sandra Hunt and Maider Martineau.
No matter where we come from, no matter where we choose to live, our lives are shaped by words. This week we will explore some of the ways in which language inspires us, guides us, and holds us in place. A friendly warning: poems may be spoken.

Other activities this week include Seeking the Sacred in Stories facilitated by Rev. Diane Rollert on Tuesday, December 6 at 12:15 pm and the Book Club on Wednesday, December 7 at 5 pm. On Sunday, December 11, Sunday Explorations will meet at 12:15 after the service and the Collage Afternoon will take place at 1 pm. 

Saturday, December 10 at 7 pm, join us for a BidSunday concert with UCM choir director Maider Martineau's duo Toka TaNoka. Tickets will be available at the door. 

For more information about these events, go to the This Month page. 

What's Happening November 28 - December 4, 2016

Click to enlarge.

On Friday, December 2, join us for Soulful Spin, an evening service from 7-8 pm with Rev. Diane Rollert accompanied by music from Maider Martineau. We'll spin our "speed-faithing" wheel to share thoughts about faith, life and values, and we’ll light candles and sing. The doors open at 6 pm. Bring a brown-bag dinner and share a meal. 


On Sunday, December 4 at 10:30 am, join us for Roots Hold Me Close, led by Rev. Diane Rollert with music by Cobb's Cats. As we reflect on the meaning of “rootedness” this month, we explore what it means to be rooted in the dark of winter and in the seasons. Cobb’s Cats will bring us winter music for reflection and to lift our spirits. RE will have a fundraising lunch right after the service. There also be Human Rights Letter Writing (Amnesty International) starting at 11:30 that Sunday. 

At noon, there will be a Congregational Meeting to approve the 2017 UCM budget. A quorum is needed. Please plan to be there!

For more information about these and other events, go to the This Month page.

Treasured Moments (Audio Available)

Reflection by Rev. Diane Rollert, 20 November 2016


Listen more often to things than to beings,
‘tis the ancestor’s breath when the fire’s voice is heard,
‘tis the ancestor’s breath in the voice of the waters…

              Words adapted from a poem by Birago Diop
               from the song “Breaths” by Ysaye Barnwell

Birago Diop was a poet and storyteller from Senegal. His poem, Souffles, or Breaths, draws from something beautiful that is found in many of the spiritual traditions of Africa: Things have power because they have been touched and experienced by the ancestors. 

Listen to or read more here.

What's Happening November 21 - 27, 2016


Join us Sunday, November 27 at 10:30 for Listening to the Past with Curtis Murphy with music by Sandra Hunt and Maider Martineau.
Being free of regret is usually seen as a virtue, proof that we are not dwelling in the past. But is that the only way to understand regret? Poet Robert Frost once said "I have hope for the future, and even for the past." This Sunday we'll explore the practice of listening to the past in a hopeful, healing, and reverent way.

The Ruth di Giovanni film series will also take place on Sunday at 12:00 pm, as well as the Unitarian Drum Circle from 4-6 pm. The Being Mortal group will meet from 1:30-3 pm, Tuesday, November 22. 

For more information about these events, go to the This Month page.

Hearing the Cries of War and Peace (Audio Available)

Rev. Diane Rollert,  13 November 2016

I recently went through all the sermons that I’d written over the past ten years for Remembrance Day. Sometimes you look back and you realize that you’ve already said what needs to be said. You keep dreaming the same dreams of peace, but the world hasn’t changed. 

They say that if we step back and just look at the statistics, we are living in the most peaceful time ever in recorded history. Yet why is it that the cries of war seem to only get louder, while the cries for peace are continually drowned out? Why are so many of us feeling on high alert, fearing the next violent conflagration? How can we close our eyes to the refugees fleeing war torn countries? How can we close our eyes to a humanitarian crisis that has become the rallying cry for bigotry and the rising spectre of fascism?

Listen to or read more here.

What's Up November 14 - November 20, 2016

Join us Sunday, November 20 at 10:30 am, for Treasured Moments with Rev. Diane Rollert and music by the Parts in Peace Choir, directed by Maider Martineau, and special guests, Wavesong. It’s BidSunday! For the first time this year, we will enjoy our annual goods and services auction immediately following worship. Our service this morning will focus on the treasures of the Unitarian Church of Montreal as we listen for our own place in their history. Jane Critchlow’s trio, Wavesong, will grace us with the treasure of their music.

Wednesday, November 16, will feature the Marie-Berthe Dion Issues Action Group: Letter-Writing at 10:30 am and the Midday Meal with Music at 12:30 pm. Pianist Olivia Musat will be playing at 1:30 pm. 

For more information about these events, go to the
This Month page.

What's Up November 7 - 13, 2016


Join us on Sunday, November 13, at 10:30 am for Hearing the Cries of War and Peace: A Remembrance Day Service with Rev. Diane Rollert, and music by Sandra Hunt and Maider Martineau. Each year on a Sunday close to Remembrance Day, we take this time to reflect on the meaning of war and peace in our lives, as we recognize the veterans in our community. We also take this time to remember the many civilians who lose their lives needlessly in wars waged around the world. Those who have served or who have family members who have served are invited to join in the presentation of the Remembrance Day wreath.

There will be a budget preview meeting at noon following the Sunday service. The UCM Council will meet on Wednesday, November 9, 6:30-8:30 pm.

For more information about these events, go to the This Month page.

Soulful Spin - Friday, November 4, 7 pm

Soulful Spin Evening Worship

Join us for our first ever Soulful Spin evening worship service. We'll spin our "speed-faithing" wheel to share thoughts about faith, life and values, as we hear great music from The Greater Goods and Louise Halperin. Doors will open at 6 p.m. You are welcome to bring a brown-bag dinner, if you'd like share a meal and socialize before the service. Childcare provided.

Venez nous joindre, vendredi 4 novembre, de 19 h à 20 h, pour notre première Soulful Spin, qui sera célébrée le soir. On fera tourner la super Roue de la foi (“speed-faithing”) afin de partager nos conceptions de la foi, de la vie et de nos valeurs. Il y aura de la musique du groupe Greater Goods et de Louise Halperin. Vous êtes invités à apporter votre repas et à partager ce moment agréable avec les autres avant la célébration à partir de 18 h. Garde d’enfants disponible.

What's Happening October 31 - November 6, 2016

Sunday, November 6 at 10:30 am the service will be Finding Home/Trouver chez nous, a bilingual service led by Rev. Diane Rollert with guests from L’Itinéraire: Josée Panet-Raymond, Guy Hibault and Allan Harrington. Music will be by Sandra Hunt with special guests, The Yellow Door choir, directed by Roxanne Martel.
Come listen to the stories of our guests who have transformed their lives from living on the street to helping themselves and others through the work of L’Itinéraire. This nonprofit organization provides services to the marginalized Indigenous community in Cabot Square, a café and services for the homeless at its headquarters, job training and more. Cette présentation pourrait changer votre perspective sur les gens qui vendent le magazine L’Itinéraire.

Following the service the Social and Environmental Concerns Committee will sponsor a soup and dessert fundraiser at 11:45 am. Sunday Explorations will be held at 12:15 pm in the Thomas Room. 

Sunday, November 6th is the deadline for submitting your 2017 online pledge

For more information about these events, go to the This Month page.

Amazing Grace (Audio Available)

Reflection by Rev. Diane Rollert, 23 October 2016

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
’twas blind but now I see.

La Grâce du Ciel est descendue
Me sauver de l’enfer. 
J’étais perdue, je suis retrouvée, 
Aveugle, et je vois clair. 

Amazing Grace has to be about the most beloved hymn ever written. It is sung by church choirs and congregations, by opera singers, shape singers, country, folk and rock stars, and gospel choirs. It’s been recorded by famous vocalists many of us are sure to recognize: Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Mahalia Jackson, Johnny Cash, Ani DiFranco, Marion Williams, Sam Cooke, the Canadian Tenors … and the list goes on forever.

Continue reading or listening

What's Happening October 24 - October 30, 2016

Join us Sunday, October 30 at 10:30 am for Five Wishes as I Cross This Threshold: All Souls Sunday with Rev. Diane Rollert and Josée Blanchet, accompanied by music by Sandra Hunt, the Parts in Peace Choir directed by Maider Martineau, and VOISA, ensemble vocal géorgien, led by Josée Blanchet. On this day we reflect on the meaning of harvest and loss as we celebrate our All Souls bread communion and light candles of memory for those who have died. Our children will delight us once again with their Halloween costume parade. We’ll also take time to consider whether it is possible to gracefully face the reality of death in our lives.

Other events this week include the Being Mortal group starting on Tuesday, October 25th, 1:30- 3 pm. Space is still available in this group. The Second Annual Halloween Social will be Friday, October 29th, starting at 5:30 pm. Daffodil planting for the 175th anniversary is scheduled after the Sunday service on October 30. 

For more information about these events, visit the This Month page.

What's Happening October 17 -23, 2016

Join us on Sunday, October 23 at 10:30 am for Amazing Grace with Rev. Diane Rollert and music by Maider Martineau and Jean Séguin. The hymn “Amazing Grace” was written by John Newton in 1772 when he regretted his past life as a slave trader. For hundreds of years since, the words and the music have come to resonate for many in times of personal and social turmoil. What does it mean for us to sing this hymn today as we consider tensions around racism and inequality in North America?

The Ruth di Giovanni documentary film series will start at 12:15 pm after the service. A concert with TokaTaNoka and La Forcelle is scheduled for 2-4 pm. The Unitarian Drum Circle will meet between 4-6 pm. Other activities this week include the Midday Meal at 12:30, followed by music, on Wednesday, October 19. The Eastern Regional Gathering takes place from Friday evening starting Friday, October 21.

 For more information about these events, visit the This Month page.

"Chesed", Forgiveness, Grace and Gratitude (Audio Available)

Reflection by Rev. Diane Rollert, 9 October 2016

Grace is one of those beautiful words that’s also theologically loaded. I could gloss over the theology and simply skip to the beauty. But then I would be dodging my ministerial responsibilities on this Thanksgiving Sunday that comes just days before Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the final day of the Jewish High Holy Days. 

I always find this time of year to be challenging and inspiring in a way that I really do appreciate. I think it’s good for us to count our blessings and to also consider where we have missed the mark this year, and where we need to seek and offer forgiveness. In fact, both blessing and forgiveness are an integral part of the theology of grace.

Read and/or listen to more here.

What's Happening October 10 - 16, 2016

stones for grace

Join us on Sunday, October 16, 10:30 am for Accessible Grace with  Rev. Carly Gaylor, and music by Sandra Hunt and Maider Martineau. What does it mean to be a community of grace? Is grace elusive or the water we swim in? We will explore what makes grace accessible to us and through us in our relationships with one another, and how living into grace can enrich our lives. The service will be followed by a RE fundraising lunch. Also, daffodils will be on sale from 12-1 pm for the 175th UCM anniversary coming up in 2017.

Monday, October 10, the UCM church office will be closed for Thanksgiving. Collage Afternoon will meet from 1-4:30 pm on Sunday, October 16, The Council will meet Wednesday, October 12 from 6:30-8:30 pm. The Board and Council Retreat will be be Friday and Saturday, October 15 and 16. 

 For more information about these events, visit the This Month page.

Charles and Nancy: Fortitude, Grace and a Bit of Mischief (Audio available)

Tributes from Rev. Diane Rollert, Rev. Ray Drennan, Rev. Peter Boullata, Rev. Fred Cappuccino, and Last Words from Charles Eddis, 2 October 2016

Introduction from Rev. Diane Rollert

First of all, happy birthday, Charles and Nancy. Nancy celebrated her 85th birthday in June, and Charles celebrated his 90th birthday in July.

If you simply define grace as the deep joy that comes from encountering a gift or an act of kindness you didn’t expect, earn, create or even deserve, then that’s been my experience of coming to Montreal as a new minister and finding Charles and Nancy here. It was truly grace to be embraced by the two of you.

It can be hard for new ministers, especially new women stepping into the role, to establish themselves when the former minister is still present. But that has never been my experience. Charles has been my most steadfast supporter, cheerleader and friend. Nancy, well, she’s the person I seek out when I really need to lay my burdens down. I know she’ll hear me out, keep confidence and make me laugh.

Read and listen to more here

What's Happening October 3- 9, 2016

Join us Sunday, October 9, 10:30 am for “Chesed”, Forgiveness, Grace and Gratitude with Rev. Diane Rollert and  music by Sandra Hunt, Gary Russell and Maider Martineau. There’s a common assumption that grace is a Christian concept, while Jews and Unitarian Universalists share a common focus on works and justice. Yet the Hebrew word chesed, which is often translated as “mercy” or “loving-kindness”, can also be translated as “grace”. In this period of Thanksgiving and the Jewish High Holy Days, as Yom Kippur approaches, we take this time to consider the many interpretations of grace and whether grace can have meaning for us, whether we are atheists, agnostics, theists, or simply consider ourselves “spiritual but not religious.”

Sacred Stories will meet Tuesday, October 4 at 12 pm. Chant to Meet the Day will gather on Friday, October 7 at 7:30 am. The Social and Environmental Concerns Committee will meet at 12:15 pm on Sunday, October 9  as well as the Sunday Explorations theme group at the same time.

 For more information about these events, visit the This Month page.

The Purpose-Driven Life, UU Style

Reflection by Rev. Diane Rollert, 25 September 2016 (Audio Available)


So, what on earth are we here for? I’m going to guess that this is a question that isn’t easily answered by most of us. Certainly not on the spot, not without a lot of time to really reflect on it. The other day someone said to me, “When I think of my own purpose, I think: ‘I don’t know!’”, as they let the words drift upwards into a question, and drew their shoulders into a giant shrug. 

Maybe you’ve been asking yourself this question a lot lately. Maybe it’s a question you left behind long ago. Or maybe you are just busy living life and simply don’t have the time or inclination to ask yourself why you are here on this earth. Why? For what discernible purpose?

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