Events under 'Sunday Services'
Sunday, July 12, 2020

Event Name

Date

Vespers Mid-week Worship Service

An evening service led by our ministerial team of readings, music, and meditation, with the sharing of joys & sorrows. Participants will be invited to light candles or a chalice at the beginning of the service, and will be invited to partake in break-out groups at the end for further reflection.

You can attend the service at FirstUnitarianToronto.org/zoomVespers.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020 7:45 pm
This event does not repeat

Time for All Ages

Join your favourite Unitarian storytellers for tales of resilience, courage, and community as well as a bit of fun!

We'll gather from 10:00 to 10:15 am, before the regular service.

Sunday, May 31, 2020 10:00 am
This event does not repeat

Worship Service

Sermon by Rev. Debra Faulk>.

This Sunday, I look forward to introducing you to the worship team from the Calgary Unitarians, who are completing the exchange between our congregations that began last Sunday when Dallas, Adam, and I trekked to Calgary, through the wonders of technology, to help lead their service. This is yet another way that we can be creative and collaborative and connected in these times. Rev. Debra Faulk will offer her sermon entitled “Those Broken Places”. Music Director Jane Perry will play piano and lead us in two hymns, and Ned Leavitt will offer Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem” as our special music.

Dallas and I will help lead worship.

In faith and love,
Shawn

Sunday, May 31, 2020 10:30 am
This event does not repeat

Scrupling Session

Connect to this online session at FirstUnitarianToronto.org/zoomScrupling.

Sunday, May 31, 2020 12:00 pm
This event does not repeat

Vespers Mid-week Worship Service

An evening service led by our ministerial team of readings, music, and meditation, with the sharing of joys & sorrows. Participants will be invited to light candles or a chalice at the beginning of the service, and will be invited to partake in break-out groups at the end for further reflection.

You can attend the service at FirstUnitarianToronto.org/zoomVespers.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020 7:45 pm
This event does not repeat

Time for All Ages

Join your favourite Unitarian storytellers for tales of resilience, courage, and community as well as a bit of fun!

We'll gather from 10:00 to 10:15 am, before the regular service at FirstUnitarianToronto.org/zoomStory.

Sunday, June 07, 2020 10:00 am
This event does not repeat

The Elephant(s) in the Zoom

Sermon by Rev. Lynn Harrison.

In recent days, our world continues to be changed in profound and dramatic ways, as millions mobilize against systemic racism while simultaneously continuing to alter our lives in response to COVID-19. This is a time of extraordinary upheaval—and it’s not getting easier. Yet, we continue to come together in the new and still-unfamiliar ways we can. To listen, to learn, and hopefully to grow.

This Sunday, my sermon title (written a few weeks ago) is “The Elephant in the Zoom.” You might rightly ask: “Which one?” In fact, there are many “elephants,” all bunching up together on our Zoom screens and beyond. Differences not named, privilege not acknowledged, borders between us that may loom larger than ever. There are challenges in our midst that seem too complex to fathom.

Inspired by powerful words and music that urge us forward toward deeper anti-racism work, on Sunday we’ll strive together for understanding, so that we may more clearly discern our role in the healing of our fractured world.

Love and blessings,
Lynn

Sunday, June 07, 2020 10:30 am
This event does not repeat

Vespers Mid-week Worship Service

An evening service led by our ministerial team of readings, music, and meditation, with the sharing of joys & sorrows. Participants will be invited to light candles or a chalice at the beginning of the service, and will be invited to partake in break-out groups at the end for further reflection.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020 7:45 pm - 8:45 pm
This event does not repeat

Time for All Ages

Join your favourite Unitarian storytellers for tales of resilience, courage, and community as well as a bit of fun!

We'll gather from 10:00 to 10:15 am, before the regular service at FirstUnitarianToronto.org/zoomStory.

Sunday, June 14, 2020 10:00 am - 11:00 am
This event does not repeat

Good Grief!

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.

As the pandemic began a few months ago, Lynn and I tossed out the worship schedule—an elaborate spreadsheet with all of the key details about upcoming services. Over these past three months as we’ve considered sermon topics, we’ve felt we needed to take it week by week rather than relying on the longer-range plans we had put in place nearly a year ago. Many of us, of course, are living this way these days, as our best-laid plans must be cancelled, postponed, or completely reimagined to fit with our present reality. There is only so much any of us can control right now. (This hard fact is easier for some of us than others to accept.)

Even so, by the end of May, Lynn and I thought we’d try. We felt for the first time in months, we could brave charting out sermon topics for the coming weeks. And then the world was rightly shaken by the horrific murder of George Floyd. The response over these past weeks has been heartening. It feels, at last, there is reason for a cautious hope that this will be the long-overdue moment of reckoning with deeply entrenched racial injustices on both sides of the border. This moment is calling us not only to a heightened awareness, but to action and advocacy that affirms that the lives of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people truly matter.

My sermon for Sunday was originally titled “Good Grief”. I had been planning to speak to how the stages of grief are playing out for so many in the pandemic. I’ve now added an exclamation mark, though one hardly seems sufficient, and opted to take the sermon in a different direction, looking at what this larger moment is asking of us all. So, please join us for “Good Grief!” on Sunday. Karen Dunk-Green will be providing an update on our approach to managing the congregation through the pandemic. Juensung Kim will offer a poignant testimony. And music will be led by Dallas, Adam, and Gabrielle Byrnes.

Part of this call to action is an invitation for the congregation to endorse a new, non-partisan effort called a Just Recovery for All, a Canada-wide initiative seeking to use this time of national and global crisis to truly build a better world. Dr. Leslie Solomonian and I invite you to join us for a Congregational Conversation about this effort this Sunday, the 14th, at 12:30pm. The links and phone access information for this meeting will appear on our homepage on Sunday prior to the meeting.

See you on Sunday.

In faith and love,
Shawn

Sunday, June 14, 2020 10:30 am
This event does not repeat

Vespers Mid-week Worship Service

An evening service led by our ministerial team of readings, music, and meditation, with the sharing of joys & sorrows. Participants will be invited to light candles or a chalice at the beginning of the service, and will be invited to partake in break-out groups at the end for further reflection.

You can attend the service at FirstUnitarianToronto.org/zoomVespers.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020 7:45 pm - 8:45 pm
This event does not repeat

Time for All Ages

Join your favourite Unitarian storytellers for tales of resilience, courage, and community as well as a bit of fun!

We'll gather from 10:00 to 10:15 am, before the regular service at FirstUnitarianToronto.org/zoomStory.

Sunday, June 21, 2020 10:00 am - 11:00 am
This event does not repeat

Our Living Tradition

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.

Stained glass flaming chalice Over time, I have become sufficiently Canadian to be routinely irritated by the way news from the U.S. so often overwhelms our media north of the border and, sadly, distracts us from similar concerns here at home. Such is life sleeping next to the proverbial elephant, I know. As a dual-citizen of both countries, I hold this tension deep within me. At times, I struggle to discern what I, as a Canadian, need to know or feel or do to respond to something unfolding in the American context—especially when the issues on the other side of the border resonate here, as well. Perhaps this, or some version of it, is something many of you have felt in this present (re)awakening around racial justice. Yes, of course, there is systemic racism in Canada, and clearly there is much work to be done to dismantle it. But, if we’re not careful, we can so easily be obsessed with the American story that we fail to sustain our attention and our action to do our work in Canada.

I find there is a similar dynamic in how we as Canadian Unitarians tend to relate to the Unitarian Universalist Association in the U.S. While we serve our wider UU faith in two different national contexts—contexts with many similarities and many meaningful differences—we are all working to live our lives from the same set of guiding principles.

Over the last few years, there has been a concerted effort in the UUA and its member congregations to dismantle racism and other oppressions alive and well in our world and in our faith movement. While there have been similar efforts within the congregations of the Canadian Unitarian Council, with particular focus on the work of Reconciliation, there is more that we could and should be doing. As I see it, a big part of our work is discerning what is uniquely ours to do, here and now in our context, while drawing on the resources, wisdom, and experiences of others who are on this path.

In the service on Sunday, we will unpack Unitarian Universalism’s complicated history around race and racism. While part of this story is set in the U.S. context, much of it overlaps with Canadian Unitarianism; indeed, we were a single denomination for several decades, including the years of the Civil Rights Movement. The story I will share on Sunday touches on Unitarian ties to Black slavery and eugenics, to boycotts and walk-outs (within our own denomination), and sometimes to our bold efforts to try to set things right. This story covers over two centuries and spans from Boston to Selma, from Calgary to Toronto. This story needs to be shared, because if we hold a common understanding of our history, we may be able to move toward a different and better future. That is my sacred hope.

In faith and love,
Shawn

Sunday, June 21, 2020 10:30 am
This event does not repeat

Vespers Mid-week Worship Service

An evening service led by our ministerial team of readings, music, and meditation, with the sharing of joys & sorrows. Participants will be invited to light candles or a chalice at the beginning of the service, and will be invited to partake in break-out groups at the end for further reflection.

You can attend the service at FirstUnitarianToronto.org/zoomVespers.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020 7:45 pm - 8:45 pm
This event does not repeat

Time for All Ages

Join your favourite Unitarian storytellers for tales of resilience, courage, and community as well as a bit of fun!

We'll gather from 10:00 to 10:15 am, before the regular service at FirstUnitarianToronto.org/zoomStory.

Sunday, June 28, 2020 10:00 am - 11:00 am
This event does not repeat

Celebrating Our ‘Dodransbicentennial’

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.

175th Anniversary On 16 July 1845, fifteen families came together to establish a new congregation for Unitarians in Toronto. Three buildings, thousands of members, and 175 years later, we are still here, nurturing the seeds of liberal religion planted in Toronto so long ago. As a “community of memory and hope,” we owe a debt of gratitude to the generations who’ve gone before us to create and sustain our congregation. And we bear a sacred obligation to pass on this tradition in meaningful and ever-innovating ways to the generations that are yet to come. On Sunday, we will reflect on our history and imagine our future, as we endeavour to understand the threads of connection and continuity we hold in our hands at this moment in time.

Sunday afternoon I will begin a summer break that will be a mix of study leave and vacation. I am grateful to the Rev. Dr. Stephen Atkinson, who will be preaching for the first three Sundays of July and providing urgent pastoral care, if needed, while Rev. Lynn and I are both away. (Lynn returns for the service on July 19th. I will return on August 10th.) If you need to reach Stephen, you can do so at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

In this strange season, as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted and we negotiate a strange new world, take good care of yourselves and the great web of life that holds us all. Savour the sunlight. (Safely) bask in the gifts of summer. And renew your spirit. That is my hope and prayer for you all.

In faith and love,
Shawn

Zoom with coffee time   -   YouTube streaming

Sunday, June 28, 2020 10:30 am
This event does not repeat

When Things Fall Apart

Sermon by Rev. Dr. Stephen Atkinson, Summer Minister.

175th Anniversary Shambhala Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron speaks and writes often on how we can deal with the hard, unavoidable realities of life. “Things falling apart” applies to a wide range of life experiences too many of which we have lived through recently. While preparing this sermon, even more things fell apart. And maybe more before next Sunday…

 

Zoom with coffee time   -   YouTube streaming

Sunday, July 05, 2020 10:30 am - 11:30 am
This event does not repeat

Is Security Gone? Did We Ever Have It?

Sermon by Rev. Dr. Stephen Atkinson, Summer Minister.

Upside Down World

 

Early in the pandemic, I’m sure I’m not alone in having experienced a distinct though not overwhelming sense of fear—partly about illness and death, but mainly about change. How is the world close by going to be different? What will the global community do with this? The answers remain uncertain. If we had ‘security’ before, will we have it again? If that old sense of security dissolves away, where might a new sense of it come from? Perhaps it lies within and among ourselves.

Zoom with coffee time   |   YouTube streaming

Sunday, July 12, 2020 10:30 am - 11:30 am
This event does not repeat

Worship Service

Sermon by Rev. Dr. Stephen Atkinson, Summer Minister.

Sunday, July 19, 2020 10:30 am - 11:30 am
This event does not repeat

Worship Service

Sermon by Rev. Lynn Harrison.

Sunday, July 26, 2020 10:30 pm - 11:30 pm
This event does not repeat

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