Marlo Turner Ritchie


Languages: English and French

I first heard of Unitarian Universalism when I attended a fellowship meeting in the Southern
Okanagan with a friend and her mom – a circle of people that struck me as completely refreshing and welcoming as a teenager. I grew up on an orchard in Naramata, eldest daughter to Penny and Ted Ritchie – post-hippy parents who raised me with a deep sense of spirituality and community – outside of the parameters of organized religion. My birth father Peter and his wife Karren, multiple grandparents and extended family members also contributed to my becoming involved with social justice, feminist and environmental movements at a young age.
As a French Immersion graduate, I went on to live with a Catholic family in Arica, Chile for a year when I was eighteen. Returning to B.C., I studied French and liberal arts at Simon Fraser
University, getting involved with the LGBTQ community. In 1997, all arrows lined up and pointed to Montreal, and I moved here with $300 in my bank account, a rejection letter from McGill and seven boxes on a plane. A year later, I was taking a sabbatical from McGill, working in a bilingual context for a breast-cancer research project and living in NDG. Since that fateful first winter (the same one that the ice storm hit) I have felt rooted here.  

The Unitarian Church quickly became a safe-haven and second home to me, and I was honored to be asked to join the Steering Committee, now known as the Board of Management. I served from June,  2010 to December, 2011. My partner Robert and son Zachary (2), and Montreal family love this space as well, and Zachary often asks in the middle of the week if we can go to church! 

I have worked in the community sector for twenty years, mostly in the areas of youth, mental health, immigration, LGBTQ communities and public daycare. I am currently freelancing with non-profits and the public sector, supporting a diversity of teams with organizational development, 
strategic planning, fundraising, communications, and change management projects. I look forward to applying UU principles in my practice.