Sermons from 2018
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.)
|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
Jan 18-20: Family Winter Retreat
Join First families with young children for our annual fun Family Winter Retreat at Cedar Glen, Schomberg.
(Deadline to sign up is December 3rd.)
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:
- Attend a Newcomer Information Meeting
- Do your homework, ask lots of questions and get to know us. Enroll in fall or spring At First sessions.
- 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:
- Complete the forms at home:
- New Member Autobiography (under 50 words)
- Member Record
- Pledge form
- Skills and Interests Record
- 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.)
- 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.
The Benefits and Responsibilities of Membership
The Benefits of Membership
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Growth - Living in community teaches us about more about ourselves and others.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- CUC Membership - Receive a quarterly newsletter from the CUC (Canadian Unitarian Council)
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Let Love Be Heard: Musical responses to events of the 20th Century
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