What's Happening January 23 - 29, 2017

Coming up this Sunday, January 29 at 10:30 am, our worship service will be Songs and Stories of Resistance with Rev. Diane Rollert and music by Maider Martineau, the Parts in Peace Choir and Sandra Hunt. We are living in rapidly changing times, where hatred, racism, violence, and destruction of ou beautiful planet seem destined to overwhelm the future. Songs of resistance and the stories of those who have had the courage to resist injustice can lift our spirits and inspire us to take meaningful action in the world.


What's Happening January 16 - 22

carole martignacco

Join us on Sunday, January 22 at 10:30 am, for Ministry is an Affair with Rev. Carole Martignacco and music by Maider Martineau and Louise Halperin. The first in a series of return visits by ministers who have served our congregation, Rev. Carole Martignacco joins us to share her reflections on the Unitarian Church of Montreal. Rev. Martignacco's relationship to the church goes back to 1996 when she did her student internship under the supervision of Rev. Charles Eddis. Over the years, she has also served as our summer minister and as our sabbatical minister. She currently serves the congregation of UU Estrie in North Hatley.

After the service, the Ruth di Giovanni Documentary Film Series will present Defying the Nazis - The Sharps War at 12:15 pm. The first part of the two-part Double Doodle Workshop (BidSunday offering) is scheduled from 12:30-4:00 pm

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

Ring Out, Wild Bells (Audio Available)

Reflection by Rev. Diane Rollert, 8 January 2017

After the US election, I was looking for something to read — some sort of distraction from my obsessive watching and reading of the daily news. I’ve always enjoyed the work of science fiction writer Robert Sawyer. After all, he’s a Canadian author who tends to promote a hopeful, positive view of the future of humanity. So I picked up his latest book, Quantum Night, just published this past year, thinking this would be exactly the escape I needed from reality.

If you know Robert Sawyer, you know he does a lot of scientific research and likes to grapple with big, existential questions. He’s not the most poetic writer, but what he lacks in style he makes up in imagination. In Quantum Night, he explores a creative relationship between psychology and quantum physics as he considers the existence of evil and the nature of consciousness.

Continue reading or listen to Ring Out, Wild Bells!

What's Happening January 9 - 15, 2017

175th banner

Join us Sunday, January 15 at 10:30 am, for Bring, O Past, Your Honour: 175 Years of Liberal Religion in Montreal with Rev. Diane Rollert and Team 175, and music by Sandra Hunt and Maider Martineau. The Unitarian Church of Montreal was founded in 1842, braving the extreme conditions of 19th century life in Montreal, surviving a cholera epidemic, the Rebellion of 1837, and rising above social criticism and attack. We became the first liberal church in Canada, standing in a long tradition of resistance to orthodoxy and intolerance. Today we launch our celebration of our 175th anniversary. The service will be followed by an RE Fundraising lunch.

Sunday afternoon, from 12:15-1:30 pm, Sunday Explorations is scheduled along with the Collage Afternoon from 1-4:30 pm. Earlier in the week, the Midday Meal with Music will be held on Wednesday, Jan 11 at 12:30. The Council Meeting will be later that day at 6:30 pm. On Friday, January 13, the Pathway to Membership meeting will be held from 5-8:30 pm.

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

What's Happening January 3 - 8, 2017

2017 fire

Join us Sunday, January 8 at 10:30 am, for Ring Out Wild Bells: A Fire Communion Service with Rev. Diane Rollert and music by Sandra Hunt. If you don't have resistance in an electrical circuit, the current travels too fast and the wire catches fire. As we celebrate our annual fire communion and let the burdens of 2016 go up in smoke, we'll consider the resistances we need in the circuit of life to make sure we don't overreact or burnout.

On Tuesday, January 3, Seeking the Sacred in Stories facilitated by Rev. Diane Rollert, will meet at 12:30 pm. Chant to Greet the Day will meet on Friday, January 6, 7:30 am. 

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

What's Happening December 21 - January 1, 2017


Wednesday, December 21, 7:00 pm
Solstice d’hiver - Winter Solstice Celebration

Rev. Diane Rollert with music by Louise Halperin and Margo Ellis. On the longest night of the year, come celebrate a service in the round with songs, readings, and the lighting of candles to welcome the returning of the sun. 

Earlier on Wednesday, the Midday Meal with music will begin at 12:30 pm with music by Matthew Hunt Russell, trombone and Sandra Hunt, piano. 


Saturday, December 24, 5:30 pm
Veille de Noël - Christmas Eve Candlelight Service - 
Une célébration bilingue. A bilingual celebration. Rev. Diane Rollert with musicians Sandra Hunt, Maider Martineau, Gary Russell, Margo Ellis.
A classic UU Christmas service to rejoice in the beauty of holiday light and fellowship. This is also the first night of Chanukah when we’ll light our menorah. Everyone is invited for cookies and cider immediately following the service. 

ch candles.jpg

Sunday, December 25, 4:00 pm
Christmas and Chanukah Chez Nous

Rev. Diane Rollert with music by Maider Martineau, Sandra Hunt and Louise Halperin. We’ve shifted our regular service time to the afternoon to celebrate Christmas and the second night of Chanukah together. We’ll sing songs of the season and share a time of reflection together. After the service, all are invited to our annual Christmas dinner.


Sunday, January 1, 2017, 4:00 pm
Resistance in the New Year: Music and Reflection

Rev. Diane Rollert with music by Sandra Hunt
A reflective News Year’s Day afternoon service. What were you resisting in 2016 that you’d like to welcome into the new year? Where do you need to stand in resistance during 2017?


What's Happening December 12 - 18, 2016


Join us this Sunday, December 18, at 10:30 am for Christmas on Simpson Street.
Katharine Childs, Rev. Diane Rollert and many others
Music by Sandra Hunt, Maider Martineau and the Parts in Peace Choir
Bask in the spirit of Christmas with a joyful celebration of Christmases past!  Drawing on many of the Christmas traditions of our congregation’s time spent worshiping in the church on Simpson Street, our multigenerational service will be a delight for children, elders, and everyone in between! Come and enjoy traditional Christmas music and carol singing, and the first part of our 175th Anniversary celebration as we remember these festive times! Our traditional tourtière and potluck lunch will follow the service.

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