Events under 'Sunday Services'
Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Event Name

Date

Go Deep or Go Home

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.

We are much involved, all of us, with questions about things that matter a good deal today but will be forgotten by this time tomorrow-the immediate wheres and whens and hows that face us daily at home and at work-but at the same time we tend to lose track of the questions about things that matter always, life-and-death questions about meaning, purpose, and value. To lose track of such deep questions as these is to risk losing track of who we really are in our own depths and where we are really going.

- Frederick Buechner

I don't believe anyone sets out to live a superficial life, though many of us, at times, succeed in spectacular ways, myself included! Even for those committed to living an "examined life," the challenges of going deep—of listening and grappling with the depths of life—are often too much to overcome.

This Sunday, we'll take up the first of the themes we'll be exploring this year through theme-based ministry: deep listening. My hope is that together we will embrace the challenge to live at a deeper and more engaged level. Just imagine the possibilities if our entire congregation were to come alive in this way!

Following the service on Sunday, please join Lynn Harrison and me out at the Peace Pole at noon to commemorate this coming week's International Day of Peace. The brief ceremony will conclude in sufficient time to allow everyone to attend events beginning at 12:15 pm.

In faith and love,
Shawn

Sunday, September 15, 2013 10:30 am - 11:30 am
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Pews, Comfortable and Otherwise

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.

When you quiet down to listen to your life, what is it that you hear? Do you regularly receive a clarion call from the heavens that makes the meaning of your life clear? Or do you, instead, end up with only static---or, worse, that eerie, empty sound a friend of mine simply calls "crickets"?

The call of life---the call to life---isn't always as clear as we might hope. This week, as we delve deeper into this month's theme of deep listening, we'll explore what it means to listen to our life, to listen for our call, both as individuals and as a congregation. I'm looking forward to what we might hear.

Sunday, September 22, 2013 10:30 am - 11:30 am
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The Sound of Listening

Sermon by Lynn Harrison, Intern Minister.

Sunday, September 29, 2013 10:30 am - 11:30 am
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On Purpose

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.

Frederick Buechner says that our purpose is found at that place where our "deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." This month, as we explore what it means to live a life of purpose, we'll look for that sweet, sacred spot---that intersection---where our own greatest joy meets the world's most profound need. On Sunday, I'll be asking us to consider where that place exists for us as a congregation.

As you hopefully know, the members of First Unitarian will be making momentous decisions in the coming months regarding our long-term future. Those who attended the Congregational Meeting last Sunday learned that there are no easy answers available to us regarding our future home---regardless of whether we choose to remain and rebuild at 175 or move elsewhere and construct a new home for First. We face options that will be challenging by any measure.

More than ever, then, we need greater clarity about our purpose. As Nietzsche put it, one who "has a why to live for can bear almost any how." That will surely be true for us, so I look forward to delving more deeply into our "why" on Sunday and in the months to come.

In faith and love,
Shawn

Sunday, October 06, 2013 10:30 am - 11:30 am
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Thanksliving

Sermon by Lynn Harrison, Intern Minister.


Our annual Bread Communion service.

Sunday, October 13, 2013 10:30 am - 11:30 am
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To Lead Where No One Has Led Before

Sermon by Bruce Knotts.

This Sunday, it will be my honour to welcome to our pulpit Bruce Knotts, the Executive Director of the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office. With his infectious and indomitable spirit, Bruce will share his reflections on how our faith motivates the vital work of Unitarian Universalists at the UN.

While breaking new ground on LGBTQ and indigenous rights issues in recent years, the UU-UNO, under Bruce's guidance, continues to bring its increasingly powerful voice to those places where we, as UUs, can make a meaningful difference: helping to mitigate climate change; heading up NGOs on disarmament, peace, and security; championing all areas of human rights; and leading the faith and ethical NGOs group that supports the work of the International Criminal Court. Our UNO, building on a remarkable 50 years of service, is emerging as a leader in many of the most vital areas of the United Nation. I hope you'll join us to hear Bruce's inspirational call to action based on our shared values. During the service, a special offering for the work of the UU-UNO will be taken. Please make cheques payable to the Canadian Unitarian Council.

In faith and love,
Shawn

Sunday, October 20, 2013 10:30 am - 11:30 am
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The Love We Leave Behind

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.

"Then, when life is done for me, let love be my legacy."

This month we've sung these words each week to give expression to October's theme of Purpose. This coming Sunday, as we mark Samhain, Day of the Dead, and All Souls-the time of year when many religions and cultures recall and honour those who have died-it is fitting that we look to the connection between our own life's purpose and the legacy we will leave in the world when we are gone.

As always, in this solemn and powerful service, we will lift up the names of those people in our lives who have died. During the prelude on Sunday morning, you are invited to bring forward to our altar of remembrance photographs (ideally in frames, if possible) or mementos of the people you are holding in loving memory.

By remembering those whom we've loved and lost, may we strengthen the legacy of love each of us will leave behind.

In faith and love,
Shawn

Sunday, October 27, 2013 10:30 am - 11:30 am
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The Courage to Be

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.

This month, we take up the theme of courage. It’s a word that conjures images of valiant heroes, of people who've shown remarkable bravery. Less often do we associate the word with the struggles most of us encounter in our day-to-day lives. Yet, for many of us, it takes tremendous courage just to get out of bed in the morning. On Sunday, I’ll be talking about the courage we summon simply to be alive.

In celebration of Diwali, Lisa will be playing an excerpt from Phillip Glass’s mesmerizing Satyagraha and the choir will be singing Eleanor Daley’s setting of Kalidasa's “Salutation to the Dawn.”

Finally, remember to set your clocks back before bedtime and enjoy the added hour of sleep!

In faith,
Shawn

Sunday, November 03, 2013 10:30 am - 11:30 am
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Who Would True Valour See?

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.

This month, as we explore what it means to live a life of courage, I'm struck by the many different forms courage takes — and the endless aspects of daily life that take courage.

Frequently, courage is thought of as something people summon in great, defining moments. Yet, more often than not, courage is something we call on in the day-to-day decisions that go unnoticed by others, or even ourselves.

On Sunday, we'll look at the ways courage connect us to the heart of who we are, as well as to others.

In faith,
Shawn

Sunday, November 10, 2013 10:30 am - 11:30 am
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The Courage of Our Convictions

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.

At home this week, Bob and I are gearing up to make a leap of faith. On Sunday, like many of you, we will be bringing our pledge form to the service to renew our financial commitment to First Unitarian for the coming year.

We have decided to give 6% of my gross salary to the congregation in 2014. While this will mean a decrease in our overall amount, it is a bit of a leap for us because mine is the only salary in our household for the time being; Bob is unemployed and reaching the end of the mid-life sabbatical his severance has provided him. When Bob returns to work, we hope in the months ahead, our plan is, of course, to increase our pledge (any leads in IT/QA will make this happen even sooner...!) because we believe in First, are deeply committed to its well-being, and are excited about what we, as a congregation, are becoming.

On this Celebration Sunday, I invite us all to be as generous as we can, while recognizing that each of us is in different and sometimes changing circumstances. If we all give at a level that is personally significant and meaningful, I have every confidence our shared commitment will enable First Unitarian to thrive in the year ahead.

Not unrelated to this, my sermon on Sunday will grapple with the question of what it means for us to be courageous, not merely as individuals, but together as a congregation. What, I'm wondering, might a more courageous community look like?

In faith and love,
Shawn

Sunday, November 17, 2013 10:30 am - 11:30 am
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The Costs of Courage

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.

As we wrap up this month's focus on the theme of courage, we turn to consider the costs that courage demands. Amelia Earhart, who herself certainly knew something of courage and its costs, said that, "Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace."

My sermon this week will invite us to consider the commitments we're willing to make and the risks we're willing to take to achieve that kind of peace in our lives. Between now and then, you might give thought to what kind of peace you are seeking in your life — and the potential costs that might be required to achieve it.

In faith and love,
Shawn

Sunday, November 24, 2013 10:30 am - 11:30 am
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Overcoming the Big Disconnect

Hanukkah Sunday; 1st Sunday of Advent

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.

Sunday, December 01, 2013 10:30 am - 11:30 am
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Light my Fire

Amnesty Sunday; National Day of Remembrance/Action

Sermon by Lynn Harrison, Intern Minister.

At this service we will recognize the work of Amnesty International, which lights a way for us to defy the darkness of injustice in Canada and around the world.

As well, we'll mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, honour Nelson Mandela, and mark significant days in both the Buddhist and Christian calendars.

Blessings,
Lynn

Sunday, December 08, 2013 10:30 am - 11:30 am
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Risking Life With an Enlarged Heart

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.

"Tis the season!"

All around us in this holiday season are images of deep connection; on television and in the subway are heartwarming advertisements featuring cozy winter scenes that hold up the promise of peace on earth and the hope of comfort and joy at home. Why do these ads so tug at our hearts?

We'll ponder this question on Sunday, and consider what we have in common with those immortal, archetypal icons of holiday cynicism, Grinch and Scrooge.

In faith and love,
Shawn
Sunday, December 15, 2013 10:30 am - 11:30 am
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Constellations

Solstice Vespers Service

A contemplative celebration of winter's arrival, led by Rev. Shawn Newton, with Lisa Iwasaki playing piano, and Mark Battenberg guitar.
Saturday, December 21, 2013 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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String of Lights

Sermon by Lynn Harrison, Intern Minister.

All over the city, holiday lights are twinkling in connected strands, as we celebrate our connections and reach out to those in need.

As Unitarian Universalists, we affirm the interconnected web of love that binds us to each other. We also weave together illumination from many sources, knowing that each of us brings light essential to the whole.

For some, Christmas time is tinged with blue light, as we struggle with difficult emotions. As we join together for worship this Sunday, may our time together light our way.

Blessings,
Lynn

Sunday, December 22, 2013 10:30 am - 11:30 am
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Behold!

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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The Spiritual Value of Spark Plugs (Our Annual Fire Communion Service)

Fire Communion; Band Sunday.

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton

We mark the end of 2013 and open the way for 2014 through our annual Fire Communion service. In this ritual, we will relinquish to the past whatever it is we are ready to leave behind in the year that is ending, and open ourselves to the promise that is available to us with the dawning of a new year.

Sunday, December 29, 2013 10:30 am - 11:30 am
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It Takes Practice

Sermon by Lynn Harrison, Intern Minister.

The old joke, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" might be rewritten as "How do you get to a life of peace and joy?" Answer: "practice."

Throughout the centuries, many teachers have shown us that spiritual practice can be the cornerstone of a meaningful life.

At First Unitarian in the month of January, we're exploring the theme of "discipline." On Sunday we look at the value of meditation and prayer, as well as other forms of spiritual practice.

Some say that "practice makes perfect" ... but perhaps practice makes possible. In an imperfect world, spiritual practice may make it possible for us to live with strength and grace.

Hope to see you on Sunday,
Lynn

Sunday, January 05, 2014 10:30 am - 11:30 am
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The Power of Song

Sermon by Wendy Luella Perkins.

Attending Sunday services is a spiritual practice, a discipline for many of us. In this spirit, today's service on "The Power of Song" invites us to live by heart--to go with the flow and to be more fully in the present moment.

Sunday, January 12, 2014 10:30 am - 11:30 am
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