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Join First families with young children for our annual fun Family Winter Retreat at Cedar Glen, Schomberg.

(Deadline to sign up is December 3rd.)

Seek, Connect, Serve

Committed to love and justice,
we seek to understand the meaning of our lives,
connect with others in common purpose,
and serve life to build a better world.

About links below display calendar events for the services; Read links display the text of the sermons; Listen links play the audio; Watch links play the video. (The last three links are added if and when those media become available.)

Sermons are also available from other years: 2017, Archive

Date Sermon Title and Description Preacher/Participant
December 9 Still: Hold a Stillness - About Rev. Shawn Newton & Tracey Erin Smith
December 2 Still: Find a Stillness - About, Read Rev. Lynn Harrison
November 25 The Examined Life: How then shall I live? - About, Read Rev. Lynn Harrison
November 18 The Examined Life: What have I done? - About Rev. Shawn Newton
November 11 The Examined Life: If Not Now, When? - About, Read Rev. Shawn Newton
November 4 The Examined Life: Why me? - About, Read, Watch Rev. Lynn Harrison
October 28 The Examined Life: Where did I come from? - About, Read, Watch Rev. Shawn Newton
October 21 The Examined Life: Where am I going? - About, Read, Watch Rev. Lynn Harrison
October 14 The Examined Life: Who am I? - About, Read, Read, Watch Rev. Shawn Newton
October 7 Surprised by Joy - About, Read, Watch Rev. Shawn Newton
September 30 Joyful is the Dark - About, Read, Listen, Watch Rev. Lynn Harrison
September 23 Joyful, Joyful - About, Read, Listen, Watch Rev. Lynn Harrison
September 16 More Joy Somewhere - About, Read, Listen Rev. Shawn Newton
September 9 Joy like a Fountain - About, Read, Watch Rev. Shawn Newton &
Rev. Lynn Harrison
September 2 "Returning again to where we began" - About, Listen, Watch Chris Moore
August 26 Recalculating - About, Watch Rev. Shawn Newton
August 19 Enoughness - About, Read, Watch Rev. Shawn Newton
August 12 Summertime Blues - About, Read Rev. Lynn Harrison
August 5 Birth and New Beginnings - About Curtis Murphy
July 29 To Seek the Spirit of a Child - About, Read, Listen, Watch Curtis Murphy
July 22 In Between: Rites of Passage - About, Listen, Watch Curtis Murphy
July 15 "Wabi-Sabi" - About, Listen, Watch Nicole McKay
July 8 The Pains of Growing - About, Listen, Watch Danielle Webber
July 1 What Does it Mean to Be an Adult? - About, Read, Listen, Watch Curtis Murphy
June 24 Creating a Culture of Elderhood - About, Listen Curtis Murphy
June 17 Break Not the Circle: Death, Ancestry, and the Wholeness of Life - About, Listen, Watch Curtis Murphy
June 10 The Rhythms of our Lives - About, Listen, Watch Rev. Carly Gaylor
June 3 Here Together - About, Read, Listen, Watch Rev. Lynn Harrison
May 27 Let Me Flower, Help Me Flower - About, Listen, Watch Rev. Shawn Newton
May 20 Moving To(o) Fast - About, Listen, Watch Christopher Wulff
May 13 Body of Knowledge - About, Read, Listen, Watch Rev. Lynn Harrison
May 6 "Take Me Out" - About, Listen, Watch Rev. Shawn Newton
April 29 What Does It Mean to Be White? - About, Read, Listen, Watch Rev. Shawn Newton
April 22 Things Have Changed - About, Read, Listen, Watch Rev. Lynn Harrison
April 15 Come Sleet, Snow or Hail - About, Read, Listen, Watch Rev. Shawn Newton
April 8 Question Box - About, Watch Rev. Shawn Newton &
Rev. Lynn Harrison
April 1 "I Feel So Much Spring" - About, Read, Listen, Watch Rev. Shawn Newton
March 25 Risking it All - About, Read, Listen, Watch Rev. Lynn Harrison
March 18 Risk Tolerance - About, Read, Listen, Watch Rev. Shawn Newton
March 11 Love and the World​'​s Religions - About, Listen, Watch Brian Carwana
March 4 At Risk - International Women's Day - About, Read, Listen, Watch Rev. Lynn Harrison
February 25 My Universalist Career - About, Listen, Watch Rev. Peter Hughes
February 18 Inter/Depend - About, Listen, Watch Rev. Dr. Stephen Atkinson
February 11 All Kinds of Love - About, Listen, Watch Rev. Lynn Harrison
February 4 The Complicated Webs that We Weave - About,
Read, Listen, Watch
Rev. Shawn Newton
January 28 The Burdens of Freedom - About, Listen, Read, Watch Rev. Shawn Newton
January 21 Making a Prophet - About, Read, Listen, Watch Rev. Lynn Harrison
January 14 New Horizons for Newcomers - About, Listen, Watch Rev. Lori Kyle
January 7 Lives Lived - About, Read Rev. Shawn Newton &
Rev. Lynn Harrison

The Benefits of Membership

  1. Spiritual Home - Belonging to a religious community will give you and your family a spiritual home, a place to celebrate life’s joys and to mourn life’s sorrows.
  2. Rites of Passage - You will have a familiar community in which to mark your own, or share in others’ rites of passage, i.e., Child dedications, Ceremonies for: Coming of Age, Coming Out, Marriage, Divorce, Retirement and/or Death.
  3. Challenge - Worshipping with this community will regularly remind and challenge you to be the most ethical and caring person you can be. Here you are expected to be your deeper self and to strive to live according to the UU principles.
  4. Growth - Living in community teaches us about more about ourselves and others.
  5. Acceptance - Here you will be known and accepted as a “soul in progress” rather than just a co-worker, a client, a boss or a neighbour.
  6. Work for Change - You’ll become part of a dynamic community of faith and action, bringing positive change to the world. Your voice will join hundreds of others who speak for social justice, freedom of thought, the worth and dignity of every human being, and environmental respect.
  7. Voting Privileges - Vote at the Annual Congregational Meeting (ACM) each spring to make decisions about the budget and other important issues. Voting members must be at least. 18 years of age and have, during the preceding 12 months made a recorded financial contribution to the congregation.
  8. CUC Membership - Receive a quarterly newsletter from the CUC (Canadian Unitarian Council)

Participate,
Build community,
Create the belonging that you seek

Responsibilities of Membership

Carefully consider the responsibilities of membership before you make a commitment to join this vital tradition. Members readily and generously give of their time, talents, and financial resources to support this community - because they want to and because this is their chosen religious home. This spirit of generosity and commitment develops over time and is the result of regular attendance in worship and active participation in our programs. The responsibilities of membership include: some form of participation, respect for self and others, and making a financial commitment.

  1. Responsibility to Participate

    Participation is the key to a satisfying and meaningful experience as a member of Toronto First.

    Those who are most involved get the most out of this community. Below are some suggestions for getting involved and creating the belonging you seek:

    Attend Worship Services - Sundays are the busiest day of the week at First. They are the best opportunity to see other members find out how they’re doing and share your own news. If you don’t come you lose touch. The longer you stay away, the harder it becomes to reconnect.

    Adult Programs - offer a relaxed way to meet other members who have common interests.

    Consider taking (or offering) a course. UU Courses and the Small Groups are especially good for encouraging discussion and connections. Special Events - The Family Retreat, the “Dinner at Seven” series or Congregational Potlucks are activities that give you a chance to mingle with people from all over the congregation.

    Volunteering - help at special events, facilitate a course, usher at Sunday services, serve coffee, work on the property committee, the caring committee or the hospitality committee. Offer to help with the children or youth in the Religious Education program. Working alongside others makes conversation easier. The “Volunteer Directory” in the office has position descriptions that outline the skills and time requirements for dozens of roles at First.

    Social Action Programs - Amnesty International, Out of the Cold or one of the expeditions to Central America, are great ways to help others, and get to know other UUs.

  2. Responsibility to be Respectful of Oneself and Others

    This Congregation values healthy honest relationships, to that end we have measures in place to guide and protect Members in their dealings with each other. Check the office for policies reo police checks, Sexual Harassment and the Covenant of Right Relations.

  3. Financial Responsibility

    One of the great truths of all the world’s major religions is that generosity is-central to-a healthy spiritual life. Members (whether as individuals, partners, or as families) are expected to participate in our annual pledge drive and to make a pledge of financial support. Pledging is the primary means for raising the funds necessary for sustaining the mission of our congregation.

    Toronto First is completely supported by those who consider themselves to be a part of this community; we receive no outside financial support.

    You will be given an opportunity to make a pledge to our operating budget upon joining the congregation. Thereafter, each Fall, there is a canvass during which time members and supporters of First Unitarian are asked to complete a pledge form making a financial commitment for the coming year. Pledging in advance and following through on your commitment is key to enabling the Leadership to develop and implement a realistic operating budget.

    How much should I plan to give each year?

    The amount you pledge is a personal decision, but we ask that you consider 5% of your pre-tax income. Many religious communities ask their members to pledge 10% (this is called tithing). Many of our members pledge 5% or more, and some tithe. Learn more about how we manage our finances.


    Get more information about Becoming a Member.

This religious community has no creed, so becoming a member does not involve a declaration of faith or an allegiance to any code. It is important however, for members to support the principles and Purposes of Unitarian Universalism; as they are the foundation for how we relate to one and other. The absence of a creed does not diminish the importance of this decision, if anything even greater care should be taken in making this commitment.

Since its founding in 1845, generations of highly committed members have worked diligently to create what you now experience as Toronto First. Out of respect for what our predecessors have built here, please take the following steps before choosing to join this community:

  1. Attend a Newcomer Information Meeting
  2. Put the completed forms in an envelope and leave it in the “Membership” mailbox outside the office at least one week prior to joining, or submit to Member Services This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  3. Do your homework, ask lots of questions and get to know us. Enroll in fall or spring At First sessions.
  4. Carefully consider the responsibilities of membership:
    • Are you ready to choose a religious home and make a commitment to it?
    • Do you hope to give, as well as receive?
    • Will you readily share your time, talents, and financial resources?
    • Do you intend to nurture the belonging that you seek?

If your answers to these questions are yes, then:

  1. Contact the Member Services This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out the date of the next Joining Ceremony and get forms to fill in.
  2. Complete the forms at home:
    • New Member Autobiography (under 50 words)
    • Member Record
    • Pledge form
    • Skills and Interests Record
  3. Put the completed forms in an envelope and leave it in the “Membership” mailbox outside the office at least one week prior to joining, or submit This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  4. Determine when you would like to participate in a Joining Ceremony. (Ceremonies are conducted twice a year during worship services. The ceremony can also be held in private, if you prefer.)
  5. Mark your calendar and invite your family and friends to attend the ceremony.

New Member Joining Ceremony

Before the service, New Members are treated coffee and snacks so they can meet their fellow new members, and hear our Minister, Rev. Shawn Newton, explain the logistics of the ceremony.


Get more information about the Benefits of Membership and Responsibilities of Membership.

On April 27, 2018, 8 - 10 pm, this musical fundraiser featured Dallas Bergen conducting the First Unitarian Choir, and performances by pianist Lisa Iwasaki and our Resident Musicians:

 

  • We Will Stand With You - Juleth Dawson & friends
  • Janacek piano excerpt - Lisa Iwasaski
  • Do Matki Boskiej Katynskiej - Resident Musicians
  • Even When He is Silent - Choir
  • You Asked Me to Speak - Choir
  • Let My Love Be Heard - Resident Musicians
  • Comfort Me - all

 

           -- INTERMISSION --

 

  • Bernstein Reading – Dallas Bergen
  • Farewell to Stromness  - Lisa Iwasaski
  • Poetry & Voice - Jewels Kraus & Tahirih Vejdani
  • Prayer of the Children - Choir
  • There is More Love Somewhere - all
  • Tshotsholoza - Choir
  • Take Down These Walls - Choir

 

The front office on the 1st floor is normally staffed Sunday to Thursday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm excluding statutory holidays.

About links below display calendar events for the services; Read links display the text of the sermons; Listen links play the audio; Watch links play the video. (The last three links are added if and when those media become available.)

Sermons are also available from other years: 2016, Archive

Date Sermon Title and Description Preacher/Participant
December 31 Becoming Beacons - About, Read, Watch Rev. Shawn Newton
December 24 Twas the Night before Christmas - About, Read, Watch Rev. Lynn Harrison
December 24 Twas the Morning before Christmas - About, Watch Rev. Shawn Newton
December 21 "Twinkle, Twinkle" - About Rev. Shawn Newton
December 17 Presence in the Mystery - About, Watch Rev. Wayne Walder
December 10 "To Be Here" - About, Read Rev. Lynn Harrison
December 3 Showing Up in the Hard, Hard Times - About, Watch Chris Wulff
November 26 What’s in a Name? - About, Read Rev. Shawn Newton
November 19 Where Are We Going? - About, Read Rev. Shawn Newton
November 12 Who Are We? - About, Read Rev. Shawn Newton
November 5 Who Am I? - About, Read Rev. Lynn Harrison
October 29 All Shall Be Well? - About, Read Rev. Shawn Newton
October 22 "How to Heal" - About, Listen Rev. Dr. Mark Belletini
October 15 Healing and Wholeness - About, Read, Watch Rev. Lynn Harrison
October 8 The Healing Grace of Gratitude - About, Read Rev. Shawn Newton
October 1 Making It Right - About, Read, Listen Rev. Shawn Newton
September 24 "Keeping Covenant" - About, Read, Listen Rev. Shawn Newton
September 17 "Promises, Promises" - About, Read, No Audio Rev. Lynn Harrison
September 10 "Water Is Life" - About, Read, Listen Rev. Shawn Newton
September 3 "Unexpected Gratitude" - About, Read, Listen Rev. Lori Kyle
August 27 "Ideologies of Change" - About, Listen Danielle Webber
August 20 "Unitarian Universalist Individualism" - About, Read, No Audio Rev. Lynn Harrison
August 13 "S.O.S. (Source of Strength)" - About, Read, Listen Rev. Lynn Harrison
August 6 "What is Evil?" - About, Read, No Audio Danielle Webber
July 30 "Spiritual Practice in our Digital World" - About, Read, Listen Nicole McKay
July 23 "Horton's Motto" - About, Read, Listen Chris Moore
July 16 "Aboriginal Spirituality" - About, Read, Listen Danielle Webber
July 9 "What Makes an Elder" - About, Listen Danielle Webber
July 2 Canada150? - About, Read, Listen Danielle Webber
June 25 Kairos Blanket Exercise - About Danielle Webber
June 18 "The Longest Days" - About, Listen Rev. Lynn Harrison
June 11 "Leap Before You Look" - About, Read, Listen Rev. Shawn Newton
June 4 "Looking to the Future" - About, Read, Listen Danielle Webber
May 28 "Sweet, Impossible Blossom" - About, Listen Rev. Shawn Newton
May 21 Saving one another; the power of compassionate living - About, Listen Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana
May 14 The Door of Compassion - About, Read, Listen Rev. Lynn Harrison
May 7 Coming of Age - About Coming of Age Youth
April 30 Conscious Capitalism - About, Read, Listen Terri Marks
April 23 For all that is our life - About, Read, Listen Rev. Shawn Newton
April 16 Turning toward the Morning - About, Read, Listen Rev. Shawn Newton
April 9 Putting Up Resistance - About, Read, Listen Rev. Lynn Harrison
April 2 Satyagraha - About Rev. Shawn Newton
March 26 Not so Simple - About, Read, Listen Rev. Shawn Newton
March 19 Simplicity, Simplicity, Simplicity - About, Listen Danielle Webber
March 12 Simple Church - About, Listen Rev. Shawn Newton
March 5 A Celebration of International Women's Day - About, Read, Listen Catherine Lake
February 26 Why Black Lives Matter - About, Listen Ashah Philar, Rev. Shawn Newton
February 19 Gilgamesh: A Drama of Life and Death - About Rev. Peter Hughes
February 12 All Kinds of Love - About, Listen Rev. Shawn Newton
February 5 The History of a Nation, the Future of a Congregation - About, Read, Listen, Watch Danielle Webber
January 29 Ministers at The Improv - About, Watch Rev. Shawn Newton,
Rev. Lynn Harrison, Danielle Webber
January 22 On Origins - About, No Audio Rev. Shawn Newton
January 15 Pathways to Creation - About, Read, Listen Danielle Webber
January 8 The Gift of Creativity - About, Read, Listen Rev. Lynn Harrison
January 1 Fired Up - About, Listen Rev. Shawn Newton
media/sermons/2011/