Kahnawake and Reconciliation (Full Audio Available)

March 17th, 2019
- Special guests Carole McGregor and Wahiakeron with Rev. Diane Rollert, with music by Sandra Hunt and Eleuthera Diconca-Lippert

How deep is the river that divides Montreal and the First Nations reserve of Kahnawake? This Sunday we share in conversation with two respected leaders of Kanien’kehá-ka. Carole McGregor is the Female Chief of the Bear Clan of Kanawake. Wahiakeron/George Gilbert is an elder, teacher, actor and consultant in the Mohawk language including for films such as Hochelaga: Lands of the Souls.

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In Memory of the Women (Text Available)

March 10th, 2019
- Special guest Marie-Josée Tremblay with Rev. Diane Rollert, with additional music by Lillias Lippert and the Phoenix Community Choir directed by Eleuthera Diconca-Lippert

On Sunday, March 10th, our recording system failed. It was a beautiful service held on a stormy day. Here are a few excerpts. We’ve also included links to two of the songs Marie-Josée Tremblay sang as part of the service.

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From Holes to Whole (Audio Not Available)

March 3rd, 2019
- Rev. Diane Rollert and Katharine Childs, with music by Sandra Hunt and Eleuthera Diconca-Lippert

To reconcile means to make things happen so that we can coexist in harmony. On this multigenerational Sunday, as we prepare to welcome many Indigenous guests in the coming weeks, we’ll consider what reconciliation means in very interpersonal terms and in broader social terms. Where are the holes in our lives that need to be make whole in order to find understanding, compromise or restoration? 

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The African-American Spiritual (Full Audio & Text Available)

February 24th, 2019
- Special guest: Floydd Ricketts, with Rev. Diane Rollert and music by Floydd Ricketts and Sandra Hunt

We are pleased to welcome Floydd Ricketts for our service on this Sunday to share his passion and extensive knowledge of the African American Spiritual. Floydd is a conductor, coach and doctoral student at McGill’s Schulich School of Music. Most recently, he was the musical director and arranger for Choir Boy at the Centaur Theatre. His research focuses on the African-American Spiritual, it’s origins from West Africa, across the Middle Passage, and into North America; the evolution of the art form from monophonic hymns to intricate modern arrangements; and how to perform Spirituals well and within an informed and conscientious purview while diminishing the risk of offence or cultural appropriation.

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Inquiry and Preconception (Audio Available)

February 17th, 2019
- Rev. Diane Rollert with music by Eleuthera Diconca-Lippert & Lillias Lippert & the Parts in Peace Choir

Let’s be honest. We often begin with preconceptions and judge before we’ve even had time to ask the questions. How do we shift our patterns and embrace new ways of thinking? This is a Sunday of true confessions from our minister as she considers her own approach to inquiry.

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The Religious Experience (Audio Available)

February 10th, 2019
- Special guest: Rev. Fred Cappuccino, with music by Sandra Hunt and Eleuthera Diconca-Lippert
 

The classic Religious Experience was that of St Paul on the road to Damascus. Paul immediately stopped persecuting Christians, and became one himself. Many religious people have devoted their lives to seeking a religious experience. One fellow named Mert inquired of (Methodist) Bishop Quayle, "Bishop, How can I have an experience of God?" The bishop said, "Well, Mert, Go into a deep forest…." The Rev. Fred Cappuccino finishes this story in his guest appearance at our Sunday Worship Service.

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Grow your Mind - Ask a Question! (Full Text Available)

February 3rd, 2019
- Chloe Hart, Camellia Jahanshahi, with music by Sandra Hunt and Eleuthera Diconca-Lippert

Our Unitarian ancestor Sophia Lyon Fahs encouraged children to ask questions and for the community around them to follow their curiosity and help them learn, tending the seeds of kindness, justice, and spirituality within them.  On this all-ages Sunday we explore the wisdom of asking questions and how we can all grow the garden of our minds.

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Before Birth and After Death (Text Available)

January 27th, 2019
- Rev. Diane Rollert

I clearly remember the moment when it hit me. I must have been 10 or 11 years old, in school, being introduced to the basics of chemistry. I was sitting at my desk, finding myself mesmerized by that most intriguing visual representation of all reality, the periodic table of elements.

What a revelation to learn that each element had its own weight and properties, and that, alone and when joined with other elements, they formed molecules that became the substance of everything we experience. It was a complete shift in my thinking as a child, from seeing the world as it appeared, to considering a deeper truth, that everything was so much more complicated than you could ever imagine.

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Voices of Mystery (Audio Available)

January 20th, 2019
- Rev. Diane Rollert with music by Brooke Dufton, soprano, Geneviève Jalbert and Eleuthera Diconca-Lippert

In every relationship there remains an element of mystery. Each of us perceives the world differently, and we can never fully know the other. Yet what beauty there can be in trying! On this interactive Sunday, we make room for many voices to be heard as we share thoughts about our understandings of the mysteries of faith.

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The Tranquil Star (Audio Available)

January 13th, 2019
The Tranquil Star: Reflection on a Story by Primo Levi

You have come with stardust in your hair, with the rush of planets in your blood, your heart beating out the seasons of eternity, with a shining in your eyes like the sunlight.”

 These are the words I’ve been using to begin a child dedication for years. I don’t know where the words come from. They were passed on to me, like a gift out of time, from someone who got them from someone else, who got them from someone else. There is something so powerful that happens as you hold a child in your arms, surrounded by their parents and family and the whole community, and you speak those words.  

“You have come with stardust in your hair, with the rush of planets in your blood, your heart beating out the seasons of eternity, with a shining in your eyes like the sunlight.”

Perhaps that’s as close as we get to a foundational story in this tradition. “We are stardust, we are golden, and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden,” as Joni Mitchell once sang.

This is the mystery of who we are. We are atoms, molecules, that were once the stuff of stars. We are this amazing something that comes to life — and we still don’t know how or why. Our existence, itself, is a mystery.

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Stories of Sanctuary (Full Audio Available)

Sunday, December 16th, 2018
Rev. Diane Rollert with special guests the Nakhla and Al Mohammad families with music by Sandra Hunt, Eleuthera Diconca-Lippert and the Yellow Door Choir

Immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers come to Quebec and Canada looking for sanctuary. In our own small way as a spiritual community, we've done what we can to help. On this celebratory Sunday, we heard from members of the two Syrian refugee families we helped to sponsor in 2017-18. You can hear the full service here.

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Our Blue Boat Home: Earth as Sanctuary (Audio Available)

Sunday, December 9th, 2018
Rev. Diane Rollert with music by Sandra Hunt, Eleuthera Diconca-Lippert Shawn and Geneviève Dohring

“Help!” someone writes after the recent release of the world’s scientists’ report on climate change. The picture is worse, so much worse than we feared. Time is running out. Voices call out, “Talk to us about the earth! Tell us what to do!”

And I am caught, standing here, wondering where to even begin.

Do I start with my own love letter to the earth? (Carole did that so brilliantly in her poem earlier.) How many precious sanctuaries have we each known; how many sanctuaries has this earth given to us without asking for anything in return?

The crook of a tree to rest in as a child. The feeling of our hands deep in the soil as we plant in the garden. The sifting of sand through our fingers, and the sound of waves against the shore. Salt marshes and barrachois. The scent of summer roses, musky and almost cinnamon. Vast expanses of forests and canyons. Quiet meadows transformed by each season. A downy woodpecker’s surprise appearance outside my window. The snow falling on Mount Royal, the revelation of nature on the urban landscape. The earth reaching out to gather in sunrises and sunsets that lift our spirits and fill us with longing.

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Las Posadas: A multigenerational celebration to begin the holiday season (Full Audio Available)

Sunday, December 2nd, 2018
Yvette Salinas, Rev. Diane Rollert and Katharine Childs with music by Sandra Hunt and Eleuthera Diconca-Lippert and the Parts in Peace Choir

At Christmas time in Mexico and other Latinx communities, groups re-enact the story of Mary and Joseph seeking shelter (las posadas) for the baby Jesus to be born.  Families go from house to house in the neighbourhood for nine nights, singing, carrying candles, and asking for the couple to be let in.  Of course, everyone has an excuse for why they can't offer refuge — until the final night! Then the real celebration begins. In these times when sanctuary is too often denied, this story has much to tell us about the meaning of opening our hearts. 

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The Hero’s Journey (Audio Available)

November 25th, 2018
Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana and Rev. Diane Rollert

Three years ago, the Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana, founder of the Unitarian Church of Burundi, faced attacks in his church and was kidnapped. He was ultimately forced to flee his country and came to Montreal to seek asylum. Today he and his family are living in Saskatoon and he is embarking on a new ministry to build a French-language online UU website and community, based on the model of the Church of the Larger Fellowship. Click here to hear Rev. Fulgence's reflection on his journey.

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Vers la fraternité ou la parenté universelle

Présentation au Congrès vers la fraternité, organisé par Religions pour la paix - Québec
17 novembre, 2018
Par La révérende Diane Rollert, Centre St-Pierre, Montréal

La semaine dernière, j'étais à Toronto au Parlement des religions du monde. C'était très beau de se réunir avec 8000 personnes du monde entier qui sont rassemblées pour partager en harmonie et travailler pour la paix, un peu comme ce rassemblement aujourd'hui.

Mais j'ai été frappé par un participant qui a partagé une idée provocatrice : dans notre travail interreligieux, nous sommes souvent coincés au niveau des platitudes. Nous ne nous laissons jamais confronter aux vrais problèmes qui nous divisent.

Je vais donc prendre un risque aujourd'hui pour dire que si l’on rêve d'atteindre la fraternité universelle, on devrait se permettre de s’engager en dialogue sur les problèmes difficiles que l’on évite souvent lorsque l’on se réunit en tant que personnes de religions différentes.

On peut dire que la fraternité universelle est au cœur de la foi unitarienne universaliste - mais peut-être nous l'exprimons différemment. Nous avons toujours été une foi qui laisse place à l'indépendance de pensée, sans dogme, et à l'acceptation de la diversité. Nous cherchons à ouvrir de portes à ceux qui ne sont pas les bienvenus dans d'autres communautés.

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