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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Divestment Meeting, Sunday, October 2

After the service,

there will be a congregational information session with representatives of Jarislowsky Fraser, our investment company, on the topic of divesting UCM investments from oil. The representatives will give a presentation on the possibilities and answer questions from interested members of the community.

Guidelines for the meeting:

  • The meeing will start promptly at 12:15 PM and end no later than 1:45 PM.
  • Pleasel listen to the presentations in their entirety before asking questions or making comment. Notepaper and pencils / pens will be provided for your convenience.
  • Attendees who wish to ask questions or make comments will come forward to the microphone, identify themselves and ask one question and one follow-up question.
  • Comments are to be held to a maximum of 2 minutes.
  • You may ask a second round of questions and / or make additional comments once everyone has had their initial time to speak.

What's Happening September 26 - October 2, 2016

Join us Sunday, October 2 at 10:30 am for Charles and Nancy: Fortitude, Grace and a Bit of Mischief with Rev. Diane Rollert, with music by Sandra Hunt.
This summer, our minister emeritus, Rev. Charles Eddis, celebrated his 90th birthday. Since 1977, he and his wife Nancy have seen our community through times of joy and sorrow with grace,
fortitude and humour. This Sunday we celebrate their ministry as a preview of our six months of celebration of our 175th anniversary (January - June, 2017). We will be joined by several special guests.

On Friday, September 30, and Saturday, October 1, Rev. Dr. LoraKim Joyner of One Earth Conservation, will be doing a Nurture Nature retreat and workshop at UCM from 7:00 pm on Friday Sept. 30th and 9:00 am to 3:30 pm on Oct. 1. 

After the service, there will be a Divestment Meeting,a congregational information session with representatives of Jarislowsky Fraser, our investment company, on the topic of divesting UCM investments from oil. The Daffodil Sale for the UCM's 175th anniversary will take place from 12-1 pm.

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

Five Aspirations (Audio Available)

Reflection by Rev. Diane Rollert, 18 September 2016


I don't know if you ever encountered the Rev. J. McRee Elrod. Everyone knew him as Mac. He was one of those legendary Unitarian ministers — I might even say a legendary character — here in Canada. Mac died this past June at the age of 84. 

Mac was born in Georgia, a briar patch kid, he would say. He thanked his mother for not letting his father, a member of the KKK, indoctrinate him as a white southern man. Mac came of age fighting for civil rights, marrying a black woman and being ordained as a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. In the 1960s he found his way to Unitarianism and was ordained as a Unitarian Universalist minister in 1970. Soon after, he began serving churches in Canada. 

Mac and his wife Norma were anti-war activists. They were pioneers in the environmental movement. In the 70s, Mac came out as a gay man and, with time, became an increasingly vocal activist for LGBT rights. He personally paid to finance the Canadian Unitarian Council to act as an intervenor in the 2004 Canadian Supreme Court hearings concerning same-sex marriage. Late in life, Mac was actively working with his son on drug policy reform. 

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What's Happening September 19 - 25, 2016

Join us Sunday, Sept 25 at 10:30 am, for A Purpose-Driven Life UU Style with Rev. Diane Rollert and music by Sandra Hunt and Maider Martineau with the Parts in Peace Choir. Tara Bissett will be singing two Broadway songs during the service. Christian evangelist Rick Warren’s book, A Purpose Driven Life, published in 2007, began with the statement: “It’s not about you.” He invited readers to consider what they had been placed on Earth to do, based on his theology. Can we ask the same question but from a Unitarian Universalist perspective?

Other events this week include the Marie-Berthe Dion Issues Action Group meeting at 10:30 on Wednesday, September 21, followed by the Midday Meal with Music at 12:30 pm.

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

Reflections from Our Water Ceremony

Reflection by Rev. Diane Rollert, 12 September 2016

This year we interspersed several stories, readings and reflections during the pouring out of water for our water communion to express our many experiences from the summer. Here is one piece from the reflection on Rest and Renewal.

Yesterday morning, I received an email from the father of one of the two Syrian refugee families we are in the process of sponsoring. He began by saying he hoped I had enjoyed my vacation. He then went on to share his anxiety. It has been three months since they had their medical examinations and still no word about when they might be coming to Canada. Conditions, he said, were getting very difficult. He hoped he’d hear from me soon.

Continue reading Reflections from Our Water Ceremony

What's Happening Sept 12 - 18, 2016


Our service on Sunday, September 18 at 10:30 will be Five Aspirations with Rev. Diane Rollert, and music by Maider Martineau and Louise Halperin
This Sunday we consider the Canadian Unitarian Council’s new mission statement and our own congregational mission. Why are we here as an institution? What do we really serve? You may not be a fan of institutional discussions, but we promise to take you to a deeper place that will challenge and inspire you!

The service will be followed by an RE fundraising lunch and open house. Your free will donations that support youth and young adult spiritual and professional development will be welcomed.

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

What's Happening September 5 - 11, 2016

Water communion.jpg

Join us Sunday, Sept 11 at 10:30 am for The Vessel that Holds the Water, our annual homecoming and water communion, with Rev. Diane Rollert and music by Sandra Hunt and Maider Martineau.
This is a Sunday when we share all that we have experienced over the summer as we head into the intensity of the fall. It’s a great day to consider the theme of the month: Purpose. If you can, bring a very small container of water to represent a summer experience. 

There will also be a Collage Afternoon from 1-4:30 pm on Sunday, September 11.  

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

What Happening, Summer Services - August, 2016

Sunday, August 7, 10:30 am
Where do UUs draw the line? Self-censorship and Freedom of Speech with Jim Connelly and music by Basil Vandervort-Charbonneau. Censorship, the limitation of freedom of ideas, takes many forms and is imposed by various forms of authority, both legitimate and illegitimate, but there is also self-censorship, whether coerced or voluntary. What are the justifiable bounds of free speech? We Unitarians “inspire and challenge”, but do we challenge enough?

Sunday, August 14, 10:30 am
The Art of Meaningful Worship with Chloe Hart and music by Christine Lee
We pride ourselves in the openness and liberty of our faith. However, the gift of choice can also pose the biggest challenge to UUs. How, in a faith where you can be anyone and believe anything, can you define who you are, what you believe and how you practice your beliefs? 

Pride Parade gathering after the service on Sunday, August 14
We'll be gathering to watch the Pride Parade at the statue of Norman Bethune on the corner of Guy and de Maissonneuve at 12:30 pm. If you have questions, please email Katharine Childs at dre@ucmtl.ca.

Sunday, August 21, 10:30 am
Feminism and Intersectionality with Marie-Pier Proulx and music by Christine Lee
From her experiences working in a Montreal women's shelter and other social justice pursuits, Marie-Pier will speak to us this week about what it means to be a feminist in the 21st century. As Unitarian Universalists, we are called to promote the "inherent worth and dignity of all people". How can we support gender equality in our congregation, in our city and in the community at large? This will be an interactive and discussion-based service.

Sunday, August 28, 10:30 am
Sharing in Home and Culture with Holly Flemming and Music by Christine Lee
"Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends."
- Maya Angelou
I have been hosting international language students for the last 3 years, partially as a way to have income and partially to learn about people and their cultures.  When I was younger the idea of a bed and breakfast appealed to me, welcoming and nurturing travelers along the way, sharing cultures, making their trip a little easier. I have lived in 5 different cities, towns and the people I have met along the way helped me connect to the places I called home.  The recent decision of the Unitarian church to sponsor Syrian families has made me even more aware of  home being a refuge! 

Sunday, September 4, 10:30 am
The Void That Unites with Harvey Shepherd and music by Christine Lee
The headlines these days make it hard not to agree that religion is a source of conflict and bloodshed. John Dourley, a Roman Catholic priest in Ottawa, agrees that it often is. Summarizing what he sees as the views of the late Swiss psychologist on the subject, Dourley, who is also a Jungian analyst, agrees that religion kills. However, Dourley states that religion cannot be eradicated. He also thinks religion could enhance life by contributing to a consciousness that supports human survival, compassion for all humanity and manifestation of the depths of the spirit. We’ll touch on how Dourley thinks consciousness of a mystical void could help reconcile religions with one another and with the radically secular as they too encounter a void.

Reflection on Orlando (Audio Available)

Reflection by Rev. Diane Rollert, 19 June 2016

Last Sunday, as I was preparing to come to church, I heard the first news reports of a fatal shooting in a nightclub in Orlando FL. At that particular moment, I didn’t know any details. The numbers were still vague.  I made a call, a decision, that I wouldn’t say anything during our service. I hesitated because I still didn’t know enough about what was happening. I also hesitated because, over the years, when I have responded to shootings in the United States, I have been reminded that we are in Canada and these are US problems and concerns. I have been reminded that there are people dying from violence every day in many other places in the world.

I didn’t know early last Sunday morning that this would be a tragedy that would shock the whole world. We’ve gotten numbed by the mass shootings that happen all too frequently in the US. It’s become expected, as something simply accepted as part of daily life there. But by the time I got home Sunday afternoon, the world was reeling with the brutal reality of what had happened at the Pulse nightclub.

Continue reading or listen to Reflection on Orlando

What's Happening June 20 - 26, 2016


Our worship service on Sunday, June 26, at 10:30 am will be I Can See Clearly Now with Roger Haughey and Shoshanna Green. Roger Haughey is a well-loved singer and guitarist in NDG and in our congregation. He and Shoshanna will lead the congregation in a morning of reflection and song as they consider the meaning of perception in song, spoken word and silence.

Following the service, there will be the the Ruth di Giovanni Documentary Fill Series at 12:15 pm. The Unitarian Drum Circle will meet at 4 pm. There will also be Cello, Trombone and Piano Music En Concert at 7:30 pm with Gary Russell, cello, Matthew Hunt Russell, trombone, and Sandra Hunt, piano Boccherini Sonata, jazz pieces by a Russian composer Nicolai Kapustin, Canadian trombone music. Glass of wine included in admission. -  $20 or whatever you can afford!

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

What's Happening June 13 - 19, 2016

Join us Sunday, June 19, 10:30 am for Bonnie and Her 21 Children: A Long-Suffering Father’s View with Rev. Fred Cappuccino with Rev. Diane Rollert and music by Jean Séguin, Denis Barsalo, Stuart Edding and Jane Crtichlow
Interspersed with jazz perceptions of fatherhood, the Rev. Fred Cappuccino will read excerpts from his long-awaited and universally acclaimed book, BONNIE AND HER 21 CHILDREN by her long-suffering husband, Fred Cappuccino, JBS* (*Just Barely Surviving). Fred and his wife Bonnie are directors of Child Haven International, which has operated nine homes for 1300 formerly destitute children in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Tibet. There will be an opportunity to purchase Fred's book after the service. 

This is our last Sunday for our Religious Exploration program.

Potluck picnic lunch: Bring food to share for our picnic, and pray for sunny skies so that we
may eat outside.