Themes of Our Lives

Exploring the Themes of Our Lives - Exploration des thématiques

Welcome back to theme-based ministry at the Unitarian Church of Montreal. This will be our third year exploring monthly themes as we consider what it means to live our Unitarian Universalist values. We hope this year’s themes will prove to be both inspiring and challenging:

September — Purpose
October — Grace
November — Listening
December — Rootedness
January — Resistance
February — Love & Justice
March — Honesty
April — Compassion
May — Play
June — Tradition

septembre — Les intentions
octobre — La grâce
novembre — L'écoute
décembre — L'enracinement
janvier — La résistance
février — L'amour et la justice
mars — L'honnêteté
avril — La compassion
mai — Le jeu
juin — La tradition

May: Play/Le jeu

“Compassion” by Mary Brack, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0,

“Compassion” by Mary Brack, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0,

Minister’s Message: A Month of Play (Well. Almost)

When was the last time you really played? I mean, played with the carefree abandon of a happy, secure child? It seems as though there are always adult responsibilities and worries that keep us from relaxing and having fun.

We really thought that the month of May would be a good time to enjoy a little lighthearted play. But worries, responsibilities and concerns from the present and past have arisen to shorten our month’s plans. On May 7, we’ll begin the month by joining nearly 500 congregations across North America in a teach-in that is a response to tensions that have developed around issues of race, diversity and inclusion among our Unitarian Universalist siblings in the US. This is an important opportunity for us to consider our own history around these issues in Canada, Quebec and our congregation. We’ll end the month, on May 28, with a commemoration of the fire that destroyed our former building thirty years ago (May 24, 1987) on Sherbrooke and Simpson Street.

In between this serious and much needed business, I invite you to play. On May 14, we’ll do a Spirit Jam—a very creative and playful way to share in worship, with lots of choices for activities for all ages (movement, art, meditation and more). On May 21, the exceptional musician Matt Meyer will engage us in song and playful percussion. This is the third year that Matt has led a service for us, and he always gets rave reviews.

The last place I lived in the US was home to the original Puritans who founded many of our New England churches in the 17th century. They were Anglo-Saxons who had come from England to escape religious persecution and church hierarchy. They were also a very pious lot who thought that fun was the work of the devil. They took scripture to heart: When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 1 Cor 13:11.

Over time, those congregations shook off the theology of damnation and became the Unitarian Universalist congregations we know today. Even so, I can tell you from experience, that they still hold onto some of their Puritan DNA. I wonder if we UUs in Canada and Quebec have inherited just a bit of the same. Adults laughing and playing at church? Given the state of the world these days, aren’t we called to focus on doing good in a very serious way? I’d say yes, but I also think that’s the best reason to give ourselves permission to play—even if only for some of the month. How else can we fill up our flagging emotional and spiritual reserves?

In the true yin and yang of life,

Playfully and seriously yours,

Rev. Diane Rollert

Download the May packet: Play/Le jeu