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Newsletter for Members & Friends of the South Fraser Unitarian Congregation, Surrey BC
------------------------- January 2012 -------------------------Sunday Services (10:30 am)
Jan 8 “In Praise of our Elders and What They Can Teach Us” ~ David Rain
One Last Picture from 2011
This Homily will feature stories of David’s relationship with elders, in his personal life, as well as in his professional life with USC Canada. Throughout USC's 66 years of existence, two of it’s core values have been partnership and respect: a. Partnership offered by a caring society of Canadians to communities in need far away; and b. Respect for the wisdom, skills and knowledge built up over generations by these same communities. In this talk, David explores how "USC's elders" – in Canada and abroad – can help us answer the question, "How Shall We Live Today?". He also gives an overview of USC’s vital work and support to seedsaving farmers in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Jan 15 “What Kind of Lover are You?” ~Renie McRae
...and, I thought, a fitting one to start a new year with. Just like the birth of any child (be it Jesus or otherwise), January 1st is marks both the culmination of a process and the beginning of new ones. It is both an end goal and a starting point. During the Nativity Pagent on December 18th I found myself contemplating just how much meaning parents, and indeed a whole community, invests in each milestone in a child’s life. Every step forward, it seems, is celebrated with equal parts pride for what has ben achieved and hope for what it will lead to in the future. A first step holds the promise of traveling great distances one day. The first day of school is the last day of toddlerhood. It seems to me that we travel each year as circles within circles, each little ending opening on to new beginnings in a spiral that winds ever onwards into infinity. Maybe it’s just been a long year and I’m feeling sentimental, but this is what I got from watching our congregation’s youngest members perform, and I relish the opportunity to share those those thoughts with you. If nothing else, it was a nice way to end 2011 and I wanted to revisit it here, at the beginning of 2012.
Martin Luther King’s first sermon as a minister was Love Your Enemies. Although not a Unitarian, he lived our Unitarian Principles, particularly our Second Principle, in a humbling way. He motivated much of the world with his ability to consistently walk his talk and he inspired others to act peacefully to their opponents while risking their lives for momentous social change. Do we at SFUC want to emulate Martin Luther King’s passion for social justice and for loving all people? Jan 22 “Poetry and Schizophrenia” ~ Alex Winstany
To Be Announced... Jan 29 “A Faith To Change The World-” ~ Bruce Knotts
Bruce Knotts, Executive Director of the Unitarian Universalist-United Nations Office, speaks about how Unitarian Universalism has helped bring about change at the UN in areas such as sexual orientation/gender identity advocacy, climate change, and women’s rights, among others, catapulting the UU-UNO into a leading Human Rights advocacy role at the United Nations. Come and hear the remarkable story. Further details about Bruce and the UU-UNO can be found in the brief biography on page 2.
Calendar of Events for January ’12
Tues, Jan 17: Stories of Change Jan 20 to 22: UCV Women’s Retreat Sun, Jan 22: Budget Meeting (details page 2) (details page 2) (details page 2)
South Fraser’s Bulletin Board
January Birthday Greetings to: 4th 6th 7th Erin Knudsen Margie Pratt Juan Duran Mary Stewart ------------------------------------------------------------------ANNUAL UCV WOMEN’S RETREAT: “Music That Moves Us” - January 20 to January 22, 2012 at Camp Alexandra (2916 McBride Ave, White Rock, BC). $155 for two nights’ accommodation and five hearty meals. Music makes the heart soar. We will be singing our hearts out this weekend, and we’ll talk about and share music that has moved us. There will be time for reflection and meditation, time for singing, time for listening to music, time for crafts, time for sharing, time to nurture your spirit. This is a wonderful opportunity to get to know other Unitarian women. Applications are available on the UCV website vancouverunitarians.ca. Yo u c a n a l s o s e n d a n e m a i l r e q u e s t t o email@example.com or contact Theresa Marion at 604-687-4864. ------------------------------------------------------------------Thank you to all of the COFFE AND TEA HOSTS of 2011 and those unknown helpers that jumped in when there was a need. ------------------------------------------------------------------FYI: Come January there will no longer be coffee/tea and snacks after the service on the third Sunday of the Month. For those who want to stay, there will be a talking circle in the eating area. January's talking circle is for members to hear from others members and to share about their past year. Guests are welcome to attend. Right now we will continue to have sandwiches available the first Sunday and light refreshments on the second, fourth and fifth Sundays. We need volunteers to sign up for one of the other Sundays in the month to assist with refreshment cleanup. ------------------------------------------------------------------STORIES OF CHANGE: Meet at Mona’s place on Tuesday Jan. 17 to share personal stories about changes in your understanding or actions, or just to listen. Call Mona at 604-535-8704 for more information. -------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------------------HELP! We need the loan of a bed for the Jan 29th speaker, who will be billeting with Steve and Christy. We are willing to pick up and return it in fine shape!! We will need it from Jan 27 to 28. MUCH APPRECIATED! Contact Steve at 604-536-9774 if you can help. ------------------------------------------------------------------COMMUNITY OUTREACH PROJECT: Since 2007, each third Sunday of the month has been designated the day to contribute to local Food Banks through SFUC. Undesignated money in the collection basket, or checks identifying the food bank as recipient, have been collected over a four-month period and delivered to either North Surrey, Langley or South Surrey/White Rock on a rotating basis. ------------------------------------------------------------------A CHANGE IN DISTRIBUTION: Upon the suggestion by Ryan Usenik, the Community Outreach Project’s Committee has agreed to change the rotation system and simply collect for a full calendar year, divide by three, and deliver equal amounts in January when the shelves are empty. We hope that you will continue to participate in this worthwhile and appreciated project. Tax credit will be given through SFUC if your contribution is identifiable. ------------------------------------------------------------------BUDGET MEETING: Our annual Budget meeting is scheduled for January 22 after church. Please come and be part of the discussion of the SFUC budget priorities for the coming year.
January 29th Service - A Bit More to Go On
By Steve Faraher-Amidon
Bruce Knotts, director of the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO) will be speaking at our January 29th service. Bruce has had 23 years as a US Diplomat based in African nations, serving in 6 individual nations, as well as India and Pakistan. As well, he has served as Regional Refugee Coordinator serving 16western African nations. In 2008 he became the Executive Director of the UU-UNO, steering it to its current status in which it plays a leading role in human rights advocacy at the UN. It is now the only faith-based sexual orientation/gender identity advocacy program of its kind in the United Nations. We are extremely fortunate to have Bruce's vast experience and incisive grasp of Human Rights issues coming to South Fraser on January 29th. It will be a presentation not to be missed, as can be attested by both Royce Rourke and Steve Faraher-Amidon, who were fortunate to hear and meet Bruce at the Canadian Unitarian AGM in Toronto last Spring. Bruce and his partner Isaac were married in 2006 in Vancouver so, Bruce has a very soft spot for our fair city!
Roots and Wings: Religious Education at SFUC
By Kate Coghlan, DRE
Happy New Year! Have you had a good start to the church year? I have, and I'm really excited about our Spirit Play program this year. I recently saw a web comic go by which basically said “Resolutions: Your to-do list for January.” And that’s typically I want to tell me, a bit about I’ve been making the that ones most of my adult life! how it goes for you even though the amazing resource same is available to us. Last year, David Dalley and the Surrey Neighbouring Faiths group worked alongside the Surrey Public Library to put together a set of multi-faith kits. We did one for Unitarianism, and it was fun to think realized that resolutions box for discovery by curious young people and I decided to try something different this year. I of what should go in theare all about my failings. They’re usually to stop their this, or to doingcaregivers. change some aspect of myself, or some huge goal that I have no idea how to start.
With our new multi-faith I started a list of I thought was a great opportunity to use me. kits in our lesson plans. And so today, on a whim,series of speakers, things thatitI’ve done. Books that changed thesePlaces I’ve been. All the Each is things that have to read, in 29 to dance have made my life what it is activities to try, and even felt stories – it amazingfilled with booksoccurred musicyears that to, sacred objects to explore, today. fits right in to the Spirit Play format! It is an inspiring practice. 2012, I have decided (or resolved? ha!) is going to be a year of celebration. When I make New We had the pleasure of almost always focusing on something negative. When I celebrate, I am focusing to work with Year’s resolutions, I amchecking out the Hinduism kit for the month of October. I believe each teacher goton something it once, and I'm sure some of strongly suspect it will (I know I did). Timing effective on my life – I strongly believe it (many things!) positive. And I us learned a lot from it begin to have a positive was perfect as our friends and neighbours got have to celebrate Diwali, just this past week. will ready a snowball effect. Because in a matter of a few days I’ve remembered that I can do all sorts of things. Things that scare me, empower me, thrill me, exhaust me, and make me... me. And suddenly, scary things seem less scary, On a day when we have visitors from that I can get through, and massive hurdles kit for that faith challenge. When I exhausting things seem like something another faith, we will always try to have the seem an exciting in our classroom. I hope that this can generate some yoga for six months straight it reminded me that I liked yoga, and felt good about to took note that I once did ashtanga discussion between children and their parents, learning together. And if you'd like it, come of a to the I’m back and take a look at practice). Not because I decided materials, at midnight on January Do and alldownsuddenclassroom (though to a gentlerthe kit or read through any of the I “should” please just let me know.1st, ask – these I remembered that it was personal library but because items are on loan throughan amazing thing.cards, and we need to make sure to keep the kit together – but I'd be more than happy to arrange it for you. I’ve started by collecting “My Life” on an online pinboard. But wouldn’t it be cool if, at the end of 2012, you could look Our month of studying Hinduism has come to a close for now, though I look put a jar more of it in the future. through a sketchbook an see 5-minute drawings of things you’ve done? Orforward toon your dresser and add slips of paper with quick notes about neat things you’ve accomplished. Carry your camera and take one picture of something amazing every day. Heck, use sticky notes on your kitchen wall, if you like. By David Dalley Wouldn’t it be cool to look at all the things you do and celebrate the amazing life you have, rather than focus on the “Spirit of Life and Love, we have gathered again out of our separateness to know that we are not alone.” “shoulds?” On September 17, Patsi Chism addressed a “glads” of spiritual leaders from diverse a year, and everybody will enjoy I bet your kids would like this, too. They areroom full(and sometimes sads) which span faith traditions in our community at the annual them when 2012 comes to a at Northwood United Church. Her words were carefully chosen, and gently a look back at Interfaith Peace Conference close. delivered. “In our fears, we are not alone. In our grasping for peace, finding it in fleeting moments, and losing it again to some be a year the mind and heart, we It will turmoil of to celebrate. Enjoy. :o) are not alone.” Later in the conference, a speaker from the international interfaith organization “United Religions Book Club News for January 2012 Initiative” (www.uri.org) would elaborate on this idea that peace is not something we arrive at, but something that we By Mitsu Oishi must struggle to create and re-create in every moment of our lives. But for now, Patsi held the stage:
SFUC Evening Book Discussion, January 2012: Moving On From Church Folly Lane by Robert Latham “And so we dwell in You, Spirit of healing and wholeness, for this brief time - willing to be held here in an immense and eternal love whose origins we do not know, whose reality is irresistible.” This somewhat provocative, but thoroughly readable book is a blue print for congregational change, no matter the size. Latham insists that the warm and welcoming family congregation may be simply a liberal social club rather than the Before we can have peace, we must be able to listen to one another. Really listen. Not engine for social transformation that it should be. He says that the impactful and enduring congregation will be one be deciding whether we agree or disagree with what is being said. Not be thinking with a strong mission statement which infuses its sermons, programs and comfy social clusters. Whether you agree or about how we are going to respond when it is our turn to talk. We need to just listen; not, these ideas provoke necessary discussion for our congregation on the cusp of change as we engage in the search for listen because we want to understand, understand because we want to trust, and trust a minister. A discussion group based on this book is proposed to begin in January, 3-4 evenings. If you are interested because we want peace. in being a part of this group, email Mitsu at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible so that the books can be ordered. Approximate price $15 each. SFUC DayTime Book Club, January 2012: A Tale of Boxes by Robert Latham
Submitted by Carrie Phillips, Board Secretary This is a deep, tight and beautifully written book. This is his thesis: Everybody lives in a box which determines what we see or don’t see. Our collective boxes make up the human drama. You are either a pawn in the drama or in control of your destiny. Highlights from the to the individual or Oct 6, 2011 ideas will provoke valuable discussion. SFUC Whether applied Board Meeting held group, his Daytime Book club will be discussing the ideas of this book beginning January (once every other week) meeting during PRESENT: Lynne Rhead, Erin Knudsen, Mike Sands, group,REPORTS FROM the weekday. If you are interested in being a part of this email Mitsu at email@example.com so that a book Carrie Phillips, Sandy Chism can be ordered for you. Approximate price will be $30 each. C O M M I T T E E LIAISONS: 3
Submitted by Carrie Phillips, Board Secretary Highlights from the Board Meeting held Dec 3, 2011
PRESENT: Erin Knudsen, Mike Sands, David Grant, Carrie Phillips, Sandy Chism. ABSENT: Royce Rourke TREASURER’S REPORT: David Grant presented a comparative income statement and suggested 2012 budget. Several changes were recommended to the proposed budget by the committee liaisons. Final approval will be sought at the Congregational budget meeting in January. SELECTION OF CHAIR: Erin Knudsen accepted the role of sole Chair for the remainder of the term, in light of Lynne Rhead’s resignation as co-Chair. Because Lynne also resigned from the Board, it was strongly suggested that the Board appoint another person to fill the empty position as soon as possible.
MINISTERIAL SEARCH COMMITTEE REPORT: Two members of the Ministerial Search Committee, Kathleen Zimmerman and Rosemary Liburd (Kate Coghlan was unable to attend) presented the credentials of an applicant for our half-time ministerial position. The applicant has recommended coming as a consultant minister under contract for a five month period, from February to June, 2012, before longer term contracts are considered. It was moved that the negotiating process begin. Passed. LAY CHAPLAINCY: Sue Beacon and a lay chaplain, toward becoming a lay volunteered to join Sandy committee. Sparling, Board Chair at will assist Renie McRae chaplain. David Grant and Patsi Chism on that
The meeting adjourned at 2:00 p.m. The next meeting will be at Erin Knudsen’s on Thursday, January 12 at 6:45 p.m.
Observations from Arizona
By Mona Milne
Although I am a three days’ journey by car away from Surrey, I am still connected to South Fraser and the rest of the world. I want you to know that we had Christmas greetings and well wishes for the new year from Szeged in mid December. The letter was translated by Tunde’s sister. Tunde and Mihaly have had a busy year with many visits from family, as well as from another Hungarian congregation. They mention that a lot of their pastoral care is done through visits to the members’ homes, where they can get to know each other better and give support when needed, included driving to appointments or shopping. I have responded on our behalf, and Andy has communicated with our contact Tibor in Szeged. I have made two visits to the Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation, closest to where we are staying. Their Mission statement is: Love is Our Doctrine, Service is Our Prayer, Justice is Our Calling. They are also searching for a minister, this year they have a second interim Minister. On Dec. 18 he elaborated on the choices Joseph and Mary had to make around the birth of Jesus, and I found it very intriguing. Music has a high priority here. Pieces by Vivaldi were played by 7 musicians and sung by the choir of 30, both as the Prelude and later as an Anthem. As I am not so keen on the usual Christmas songs that I hear too much of in malls and on the media, I was glad to be introduced to one I haven’t heard before (#255 in our hymnal). After the service I stayed to hear what the action group for OCCUPY PHOENIX was all about, and I became very interested in the concept of Consensus Decisions, used by the activists. The 7 members on the panel maintained with enthusiasm that people started listening to each other and feeling empowered, although it is a slow process. The unusually cool and wet weather here has given me time to sit at the computer instead of playing pickle ball, swimming in the pool, biking along canals, and hiking in the desert.
Social Action Report for December 2011
Submitted by the South Fraser Social Action Committee
An update on the actions of your Social Action Committee includes the following. 1) A Social Action Committee Initiative on women and poverty, spearheaded by Rosemary Liburd has seen us support South Fraser Women’s Services Society in several ways. Additional funding was provided for their daily lunch program. The needs of the organization were presented to the congregation and the response was generous. This included donations of funds, providing groceries, contents for and wrapping the “goody bags” to be distributed at the annual holiday dinner. “Hands on “ assistance will also include helping with the dinner. Other volunteering activities will be available in 2012. The Executive Director of SFWS, Denise Darrell, was a speaker at the November 27th SFUC service (“Women, Poverty and Violence: Does it Have to be that way?”) 2) We continue to support Colombian children through the Canada Foster parent plan. This has been to support young women through aiding their community with funds to support cleaner health facilities and greater personal security. This has been an initiative recommended by Steven Faraher-Amidon 4) Burns Bog continues to receive our support, including activities such as Walk to the Bog in Spring. 5) Royce Rourke has taken on the initiative of the service which provided us with the thoughts of Robert Latham, UUA Minister Emeritus, on how a congregation can become more vital in the community. Royce has also advocated for Canada’s greater control of its own water, on which she will update us from time to time. 6) KIVA Loans have been a successful initiative, with financial support by the congregation as well as the Social Action Committee. Originally Renie McRae brought this to our attention, and we have increased our support, though more needs to be done. Thus far our congregation has been involved in 13 loans, totalling approximately $325 Of those loans, 5 have been fully repaid. The countries and topic of the loan are: (Dominican Republic-Retail, TanZania -Grocery Store, Cambodia-Agriculture, Ukraine-Shoe Sales, Nicaragua-Agriculture. Several others are in partial repayment: GeorgiaAgriculture-45%, Benin-Poultry-28%, Mali -Fuel/firewood-33%, Afghanistan-Music-61%, Azerbaigin-Cattle- ) Our three additional loans are: Mexico-room addition and Kenya-Farming, and Tajikistan-Animal production/sales. These are newer loans. One of them has some delinquency in repayment (Mexico). To look at these loans and others, please feel free to check them out, please contact Steven at firstname.lastname@example.org. To see the KIVA site in general and see the types of loans and how it works go to KIVALoans.com.
Words from the Worship Committee
Submitted by David Dalley
“The aim of all worship,” reads the Unitarian Universalist Association’s publication Leading Congregations in Worship, “is to help order the religious consciousness in the individual and the group.” The publication goes on to offer this description of shared worship: “It is to help us know and feel how we relate as individuals to ourselves, to the world, to the totality of being. The aim of common worship is to help us face up to our individual and collective limitations and failures, to open us to sources of creative, healing, transforming, and renewing power. It is to help us discover how that which transcends our narrow individual existence can move us, challenge us, inspire us, stimulate us to think, feel, act, and be. It is to help us declare, celebrate, rejoice in those things we have discovered to be “of worth.” The aim of common worship is to help us reorder, reopen, reshape, and reinterpret our experience and to help us find the power to reaffirm again and again in word and deed what is worthy of our ultimate commitment.” Every member of the South Fraser Unitarian Congregation plays a role in creating the experience of shared worship. Whether it is by our words, songs, actions, or simply our gentle presence, together we move each other towards a greater understanding of our individual experiences and motivations. The Worship Committee has been exploring ways of being more intentional about drawing out the unique gifts that each of us brings to shared worship, and in finding ways to support and nurture those gifts. What experiences have you had in leading or contributing to worship? Would you be willing to support others in taking on similar roles? What experiences would you like to have? How would you like to be supported? Over the next few months, the Worship Committee will be starting some conversations about this, but don’t wait for us to approach you! Whether you think you might be comfortable in taking on a small role, or whether you are interested in training to be a service leader, let us know! Please feel free to share your ideas with Mona Milne, Karin Wegner, David Dalley, Sylvia Zeelenberg, Renie McRae, Gerald Boyko or Robert Emeny.
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