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Qi Gong on Sundays is back

Our inaugural course of six Qi Gong classes ended last November. See some of the members in graduating class photo below!.Now a new Spring term of 10 classes, beginning Jan. 28th, is open for registration. Priority is given for returning members. Please register by emailing Mei Jia Lam (meijialam[at]gmail[dot]com).

Qi Gong: Sundays 9:15- 10:15 am. Instructor: Hing Tse.

Mindfulness: Sundays 10:15-10:30 am. Instructor: Florence Chan.

Cost: voluntary donation, $5 per class. $45 for all 10 classes.

We’re happy to receive feedback! Looking forward to seeing you for the spring term! – Mei Jia Lam (More info)

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Vancouver Unitarians Holiday Office Closure

Please note that the office will be closed as of 2:30 pm on Thursday, December 21, reopening at 9:30 am on Wednesday, January 3, to give our staff a well-deserved break for the holidays.

In the meantime, if you need to speak with someone urgently about matters of pastoral care, please call the main number (604) 261-7204 and then option 3.

Thank you, and we look forward to serving you in the New Year!

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2023 Seasonal Events and Services with the Vancouver Unitarians

This page will continue to be updated on an ongoing basis as more details are made available. Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 3, 11:00 am – How the Unitarians Created Christmas”

In this service, Rev. Shawn will highlight the many ways that Unitarians and Unitarian Universalists have given shape to what we know as Christmas. 

Sunday, December 3, 2:30 pm – Singing the Season with the Chalice Choir

Please join the Chalice Choir for a lovely afternoon of music! Reception to follow. Tickets are $20 and are available at the door  (please note: no one will be turned away for lack of funds!)

Sunday, December 10, 11:00 am – Light One Candle”

This service, led by Rev. Shawn, will seek to honour Chanukah, while also lifting up International Human Rights Day. 

Saturday, December 16, 5 to 8 pm – Winter Community Potluck

Join us for a Winter Potluck and celebrate the season with the Vancouver Unitarians! All are welcome. Please bring something yummy to share if you are able.

Sunday, December 17, 10 am to 2 pm; 6:30 – 9 pm – Holiday Craft Fair

Come find quality hand-made gifts and help support our Green Fund. Look for artisans selling cards, pottery, jewellery, knitted sweaters and scarves, hand-painted silk scarves, photos, honey, candles, and some surprises.

Sunday, December 17, 11:00 am – “Winter Pageant: “Hearts Full of Love”

In this intergenerational service, Kiersten, Rev. Shawn, and a cast of budding thespians from our Religious Education program and beyond, will revisit the nativity story and its lessons of love, care, and belonging that still hold meaning for us today.

Sunday, December 17, 7:30 pm – Candlelight Ceremony

A contemplative, candlelight service to celebrate the season of lights, with readings and music honouring many different traditions. 

Wednesday, December 20, 6:30 pm – Winter Solstice Yule Ritual and Celebration

You are invited to attend a celebration of Yule, or Winter Solstice, in the Hewett Centre.

 Sunday, December 24, 11:00 am – Christmas Eve Morning

This morning, the Sanctuary will be open for quiet contemplation and meditation. Our hope is to offer a still point at this busy time of year. At the same time, in the Hall, there will be carols, conversation, and seasonal treats for all. 

Sunday, December 24, 7:00 pm – Christmas Eve Candlelight Service

An evening of candlelight and carols, along with seasonal readings and reflections on the meaning of Christmas in our lives. Rev. Shawn’s sermon is titled: “Magnum Mysterium.”

Sunday, December 31, 11:00 am – Fire Communion Service

Our annual fire ritual to mark the turning of the year. As we bid farewell to 2023 and turn to the year ahead, we contemplate what we wish to relinquish to the past and what we wish to carry with us into the future. Rev. Shawn’s sermon is titled: “Spending Our Fire”.

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2024 Multifaith Calendars On Sale Now

Get your 2024 calendar with beautiful, community sourced original artwork beginning this Sunday!  Published by the Multifaith Action Society, these calendars make great gifts for the holidays, brighten up any room, and give you information on each month’s holidays from 14 religious traditions. Visit www.multifaithcalendar.org for more information.
 
Calendars available for sale at the UCV office, and in the Sanctuary foyer before and after Sunday services.

$20 or 2 for $35 (exact cash only on Nov 26, card payment options to come)
Proceeds benefit the Children and Youth Programs

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Art for Refugees: Silent Auction on now until Dec. 10th

Art for Refugees, a silent auction of art work by Karen Brumelle, is happening now in the Fireside Room through until December 10 at 12:15p.m. All money collected at this sale will be donated to the Refugee Team of the Vancouver Unitarians. Bids can be made on items in Fireside on Sundays after service. Please support the Refugee Team’s important work.

These are up in the Fireside Room in Hewett Centre at 49th and Oak. Bids starting from $75, $100, 150. Silent auction ends Dec 10th at 12:15 p.m. All money goes to the Refugee Team.

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Vancouver Unitarians vote to move their money for Climate Justice 

Members vote to divest from Canada’s Big 5 Banks over fossil fuel financing

As a co-operative and democratic community, Vancouver Unitarian members voted by a large majority at our Annual General Meeting last weekend to encourage our members, who bank at the five major Canadian banks, to move their financial business elsewhere because Canadian banks are among the largest financiers of fossil fuel corporations operating in the Canadian Tar Sands and elsewhere.

Vancouver Unitarians are an inclusive and welcoming community, dedicated to spiritual growth, social justice, and reverence for nature and all life. We embody these values through worship, ethical action, artistic expression, and religious education for all ages that aim to connect hearts, heads, and hands.

Vancouver Unitarians have a long history of multifaith environmental and climate justice initiatives, and we encourage all members of faith communities and organizations to divest from fossil fuel corporations and the financial institutions backing them.

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Celebrating Our Story: History plaque dedicated in our courtyard

“Let these buildings be the realization of our dreams and ever remain a present charge upon our minds and hearts and hands. The result will be a joyful song of continuation.”

So these words remind us, from the dedication of the UCV campus on September 25, 1964. They, and other seminal texts are now inscribed on a lovely aluminum-burnished plaque overlooking the campus courtyard. A well-attended dedication event was held on Sunday, November 5 led by Buildings and Grounds committee chair Dianne Crosbie and President Mairy Beam. Reverends Shawn Gauthier and Steven Epperson were in attendance, as was the family of our late architect Wolfgang Gerson. Also present was Winn Peters, who was at the original dedication in 1964.

(Photos, left to right, top to bottom, Nov. 5, 2023: Musical prelude; Board President Mairy Beam with Catherine Stewart; the Gerson family; Rev. Shawn Gauthier; Minister Emeritus Rev. Steven Epperson)

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Outreach Opportunities Fund supports the Food Stash Foundation

From November, 2023 to February, 2024, our Outreach Opportunities Fund recipient will be the Food Stash FoundationFood Stash Foundation has a twofold mission: to prevent good food from going to waste and provide dignified food access to promote a thriving planet and a healthy community. We collect over 100,000 pounds of food per month that would have gone to waste, deliver to 35 charity partners, deliver Rescued Food Boxes to 100 plus households and serve 140 rescued food market members. 

Click HERE for more information on our Outreach Opportunities Fund.

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All of Rev. Phillip Hewett’s sermons are now online

UCV is happy to announce its online publication this week of the complete sermons of the Reverend Dr. Phillip Hewett, one of the most admired and pioneering leaders of the world Unitarian movement over the past century.

In addition to about 1,200 sermons from 1956-2018, there are twenty files of his other papers, speeches, and reports. The webpage also includes nine audio and two video sermons. 

Click on “Sermons PDFs” to view the Phillip Hewett Sermons on Google Drive, or click on the List icon to see an Excel list of all the records.

After Rev. Hewett died in 2018 at age 93, his children donated seven boxes of his papers to the UCV archives, totaling some 7,000 pages.

Rev. Hewett’s friend, the journalist and longtime Unitarian member Stanley Tromp, catalogued all the papers (a two-year process). He then had these digitally scanned to PDF files, so that they could be shared with the world online.

These records span a vast range of subjects, some topical and local, but most timeless and universal. They are of profound importance to Unitarian history and theology around the world, and perhaps a source of some guidance for today.

Born in England, Rev. Hewett served in the Royal Air Force during World War II. He studied at Exeter and Manchester Colleges, Oxford (B.A., 1949, M.A., 1951) and the Harvard Divinity School (S.T.M., 1953), and received the S.T.D. from the Starr King School for Ministry in 1969. He served as minister for Unitarian churches in Quebec, Ontario, England, Australia, New Zealand, and for 35 years in Vancouver.

A staunch friend to the Unitarian movements in Poland and Romania, Rev. Hewett was also a strong advocate for the environment, family planning, disarmament, and peace. In 1972 he first preached for acceptance of gays and lesbians, then officiated at several same-sex unions (the issue of same-sex marriages emerging after his retirement).

In 1992 he was given the Unitarian Universalist Association annual award for distinguished service. His books included the landmark An Unfettered Faith (1955), On Being a Unitarian (1968), Unitarians in Canada (1995), Racovia (2004), and The Unitarian Way (2015).

More biographical information can be found on UCV’s main Rev. Hewett webpage – Rev. Phillip Hewett (1925 – 2018) – Vancouver Unitarians (ucv.im)

If you would instead prefer these sermons in a CD format this is also available from UCV for $10. For any questions, contact UCV at info@ucv.im, or Stanley Tromp at stromp@telus.net

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Children, Youth, and OWL – Register for the Year!

Happy Autumn! I hope the return to school rhythms is treating you well.
It is that time of year again when Vancouver Unitarians need to update our records and info for children and youth involved in our programs or events.  Please take a moment to fill out the registration form for any children or youth who may attend any program or event at UCV between now and next summer (online or in person).

Registration is for the safety and accountability of our staff and volunteers to your children. It helps us provide proper ratios of adults to kids, support, and age appropriate programming. Children’s information is kept private within our database and only staff and cleared volunteers have access to it; we never share your information. Thank you!

Our Whole Lives – sexuality education

We are launching this year’s offering of Our Whole Lives sexuality education (OWL) for ages 13-14 (entering grade 8/9 and/or turning 13-14 this year). If you have a child of this age (not already signed up) I hope you will take a look at the details on the Our Whole Lives page under Spiritual Growth.
If you do not have a child of this age–please share this info with parents you know who might be interested!

All that goes on around here

I hope you are enjoying exploring our new website; we have been working hard to keep it full of up-to-date information. You are now able to subscribe to our calendar and add events to your own digital calendar!
Check out all the pages under Spiritual Growth to see what is happening for children, youth, families, and adults of all ages.

This Sunday, Sept 17th, is the launch of our Fall programming. We will be creating our covenant with the kids for this year, reconnecting and getting to know each other with games during the service (11:15-12:15 after the story). Youth Group reconvenes at 1:30 this Sunday.

I look forward to seeing you around UCV this year!
–Kiersten E. Moore
Lifespan Faith Director (LFD)

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Dorothy Goresky: A long and well-live church life

Dorothy Goresky died August 12, 2023, at the age of 97.  For 65 of those years she was a member of the Unitarian Church of Vancouver. That’s a long time!  Until the last decade when she was in care, Dorothy was a stellar example of someone who knew how to “do church”. 

Starting in the late 1950s with assisting Margaret Murdoch in teaching Sunday School in the old church on West 10th she moved forward to take on a range of leadership roles at UCV as well as being involved in her work as a physician and mother of four children. 

Poking through the archives I found Dorothy’s name listed over and over again. She was twice a member of the Board and twice the Chair of Church Planning/Coordination council for multi-year periods. She was also a member of Finance Committee, co-chair of Canvas, co-chair of Personnel, head of Nuclear Disarmament Committee, and sat on Nomination, Sabbatical and Social Justice Committees. She was active in Daytimers, and taught Stress Management at the Unitarian Family Life Centre.

She was especially proud of being involved, with other church members, in animating (within the congregation and denomination) the findings of the 1986 UN report “Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future,” chaired by Norwegian Prime Minister Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland. 

For years she commandeered a crew of people for the monthly job of folding and stuffing the Bulletin into envelopes for mailing to hundreds of members. She also instigated the project to get the “Random Recollections and Reflections” book by and about Harold Douglas Brown done (2003) and played a role in obtaining the portrait of Harold that now hangs in the Fireside Room. 

At a personal level, Dorothy consistently explored her own journey of spirituality. After taking the Rev. Hewett-led CREDO course in the 1970s, she said “UCV has left me open to examine” a wide range of different beliefs. In an interview for the 2009 Centenary Oral History Project, she described engaging in daily spiritual exercises inspired by Deepak Chopra, and said “the strongest spiritual aspect of my life is a deep feeling of being connected to everyone and everything.” She was more comfortable with the word “divine” rather than “God” to express this sense of inter-connectedness and also said “there some things that one cannot put into words.” 

However, we who remember her can put some words together. Dorothy was a warm, firm, committed, principled and gracious person who took on church leadership roles as well as providing her “self” to the ongoing social and governance life of this beloved community. The archival record shows that for decades, along with a cohort of other strong same-aged women within UCV, Dorothy held up more than half the UCV sky. We are grateful for her long, consistent, and kind service to this congregation.

– Diana Ellis, with files from the UCV archives.
(For information on Dorothy’s family, life, and work outside of UCV, go to www.dorothygoresky.org)

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Board report for summer 2023

Thanks to all those who attended the EGM and the forums leading up to it.  It was great to get the support for the budget and the bylaw changes.  Thanks to the Finance committee, our Treasurer, Casey and Gordon Lowe for their work putting it together.  We are very excited about the new UCV website that the staff has developed. I hope that you will check it out.
 
The Board sends a huge note of thanks to the Ministerial Transition Team. They’ve been working hard for 3 years! The task forces they initiated have recommended changes to the organizational structure and staffing which the board has used as the foundation for our initiatives.Their work on the history wall has been exemplary. Please give it a final look before it disappears. Now they are done their work, we hope they will have a relaxing summer!
 
I hope that we all come back re-energized. Now that we are done with the long and complex transition activities, it is time to re-imagine what our community should prioritize and focus on, with guidance from Shawn. Shawn has a wealth of experience that we can draw on, and he is a kind person with lots of integrity as well as a good listener. In addition there is a wealth of experience and wisdom, and many skills in our congregation. Together we can make progress towards fulfilling our Vision “Because we envision a more compassionate world, we seek to deepen our spiritual and religious lives, grow and enrich our congregation, and advocate for love and justice. “
 
If you would like the experience of working with Shawn more closely, please consider joining the Board.  We are a fine group of people, who are dedicated to this community.  We are in need of a secretary for next year. Lynn Armstrong, our outgoing secretary, is willing to mentor. There also are openings for two members at large – who will be assigned a mentor, if they wish. Please talk with any Board member if you have questions, as well as the Nominating Committee (Frank Tester, David Valentine, Michael Clague).
 
I’m sure that everyone joins me in wishing Rev. Lara the very best in her new position. I’m sure she will be a gift to that congregation and the U*U community there.
 
Wishing everyone a safe, healthy, relaxing and fun summer!
 
Mairy

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