The Unitarian Church of Montreal, 1842 - 2017

Designed by David Rollert

Designed by David Rollert

In 2017, we celebrated 175 years of Unitarianism in Montreal. As the oldest Unitarian congregation in Canada, we have had much to cheer about and much to remember. Special thanks go to Nancy Lorimer and Elizabeth Anglin for their leadership of the 175th Anniversary Committee.

UCM: The Musical was performed through the year and at the June 9, Anniversary Gala. Some sections of the recordings below are low volume and you may need to turn up your volume to hear them:

Festivities began January 15, 2017 with the unveiling of our president’s plaque and continued for five months, concluding with a gala evening in June. A musical drama portraying our history was the centrepiece of the party (see above).

Most activities took place on Sundays when stories from the pulpit acquainted us with our forefathers and foremothers, as dids tours of many artifacts within our building. Quizzes in the Order of Service highlighted historic moments. We also welcomed former ministers to our sanctuary.

Other times, reconnection with old friends and former activities through candid photos on video - or tracing UCM development through gleanings from our archives was nurtured.

Because celebrations are not just for reminiscing and thanksgiving, we held a roundtable discussion at the church on Sunday, March 19, Is There a Future for Liberal Faith in a Secular World?  More details, recording, video and texts from the roundtable are available on the March Roundtable page.

Each month there was a dramatic portrayal of pivotal moments in our history. Also, historic notes were in the order of service. The history of the Unitarian Church of Montreal was displayed on the metal doors separating the Sanctuary and Phoenix Hall. Come springtime, we saw 175 daffodils blooming in our church garden that were planted this past fall.

Read more on our UCM history page about significant events in the history of the Unitarian Church of Montreal.

Historic Moments

January: Barbara Goode's personal recollections, The Unitarian Church of Montreal in the 50's and 60's.
February: Read Mark Abbley's historical moment about John Cordner.
March: Listen to Bob Barnes historical moment about his grandfather Rev. William Sullivan Barnes.

April: Listen to Bob Wright share the memory of UCM's historic decision to become a Welcoming Congregation

May: Read Mary-Louise Engels' historic moment about the decision to become a Green Sanctuary.


Calendar of Events

Sunday, January 15
•    Launch of Festivities
•    Unveiling of the president's plaque
•    Tour of church treasures with Shoshanna Green
•    Slideshow of UCM social event events over the years, Phoenix Hall

Sunday, January 22
•    Guest Minister — Rev. Carole Martignacco, UU minister who served as our student intern in 1996, and as our sabbatical minister in 2012 and 2014. She currently serves the congregation of UU Estrie in North Hatley.

Read Rev. Carole's reflection, Ministry is Like an Affair.

Wednesday, February 15
 Celebration Midday Meal, 12:30 pm - Blasts from the Past. 
•    11:00 a.m. - Organ music recorded at the old church on Simpson Street, played in the Sanctuary
•    Display of books authored by our community and coordinated by Janine Cobb
•    Special meal by master chef Leslie Kaneb Tabah
•    Special music after lunch arranged by Sandra Hunt


Sunday, February 19
•     Guest Minister — Rev. Peter Boullata, UU minister who grew up as a youth in the church and served as our interim minister, 2005-2006. He is currently doing doctoral studies in psychotherapy and spiritual care.

Read or listen to Rev. Boullata's reflection, What Love Looks LIke

Sunday, Feb 26th
•    Multigenerational worship service, UCM the Musical Part II
•    Display of books authored by our community (repeat from Feb. 15)

Sunday, March 19th
•    Worship service with special guests Rev. Wies Houweling of the liberal Dutch church, Vrijzinnigen Nederland, and Rev. Dr. Paul Rasor.
•    Roundtable, 2-4 pm, Is There a Future for Liberal Faith in a Secular World?
Keynote speaker, Rev. Dr. Paul Rasor, author of Faith without Certainty: Liberal Religion in the 21st Century, followed by a panel discussion on the future of religion in a secular society. Co-sponsored by the Montreal Theological College. 

Sunday, April 23rd
•     A “UCM: The Musical” multigenerational service with Katharine Childs, Rev. Diane Rollert, and many others, with music bySandra Hunt. Celebrate 175 years of care and compassion for the Earth and for each other with the next chapter of our community history musical. We honoured Earth Day and our congregation's journey of compassionate activism in song and story during this creative worship for all ages. 


Sunday, April 30th
•    Tilling Rocky Ground to Cultivate Compassion
Rev. Meg Roberts with Rev. Diane Rollert and music by the combined choirs of Toronto Neighbourhood UU Congregation, Lakeshore UU Congregation, and UCM’s Parts in Peace, led by Suzanne Maziarz, Kerry-Anne Kutz, Maider Martineau and Sandra Hunt
Fourteen years ago, Rev. Meg Roberts served as sabbatical replacement minister for six months while Rev. Ray Drennan was away. She writes, “During that time together, seeds were sown for cultivating compassion: towards those who are dear to me, those I find difficult, and towards myself. It can be the rocks we hit which show us our depths and create fertile soil for compassion.”

Wednesday, May 17
Midday Meal - Blasts from the Past
•    Organ music recorded at the old church on Simpson Street
•    Display of books authored by our community
•    Meal prepared by the Kleins
•    Special music after lunch arranged by Sandra Hunt

Sunday, May 28th
•    Worship service, Remembering the Fire, a thirty year commemoration of the fire on Simpson Street, May 24, 1987. 

Friday, June 9th
•    A Musical and Gala! Wine, dine and celebrate our past and future, organized by Susan Gyetvay. This was our final event to highlight to official birth of the church in June of 1842.

Of note…
On Monday evening, June 6, 1842, a meeting was held and a proposal was made to form the Unitarian Society of Montreal. Funds were raised and discussions continued over the the course of the next few weeks. On the evening of Monday, June 20, 1842, the Montreal Unitarians ratified their constitution and the church was officially born. To this day, our annual general meeting is held on the first Monday in June.