Events under 'Sunday Services'

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Events under 'Sunday Services'
Saturday, July 11, 2020

Event Name

Date

Enough Stuff

Sermon by Rev. Lynn Harrison

 

The word “stuff” says a lot, all on its own. It’s a short and simple word, referring to the objects in our lives, but it makes us think of crowdedness: of “too-much-ness.” Many of us have a lot of stuff in our lives. Consumer goods, activities, maybe even worries.

 

The 16th century monastic Teresa of Avila said that “God alone is enough” in words that have been set to music in our Singing the Journey hymnbook. Today, many modern teachers lift up the sufficiency of the present moment. Yet we live in a world that often sends us a different message, making it hard for us to know what “enough” really is and how to live accordingly.

 

As our series on the theme of "Enough" continues this Sunday, we’ll reflect (in words and music) on what in our lives is enough, exactly as it is. How we can cultivate a sense of “deep sufficiency” that could change us and our world?

 

Love,
Lynn

 

View the Order of Service.

Sunday, November 03, 2019 10:30 am - 11:30 am
This event does not repeat

Enough Is Enough

Sermon by Rev. Lynn Harrison

 

Last week in our Enough series, we reflected on how the “stuff” of our lives can overwhelm us, making it difficult to identify our true priorities and live by them.

 

This Sunday, we’ll think more about the challenge of saying “Enough is enough!” to what we no longer need or want. This can include actions, attitudes and patterns of behavior, as much as material goods.

 

As we look toward Remembrance Day on November 11th, we may want to say “Enough!” to acts of injustice and aggression, or to difficult emotions within our own hearts. Our Unitarian principles can be helpful to us at times like these—as can poetry, story and music, all of which will be abundant on Sunday.

 

In the lifelong journey of spiritual growth, we’re always renewing our understanding of what is truly needed—what is enough. I welcome your presence on Sunday, as we explore this crucial question.

 

See you on Sunday,
Rev. Lynn 

 

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Sunday, November 10, 2019 10:30 am - 11:30 am
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Enough, Already

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton

 

We find ourselves living in a time of tremendous tumult around the world and close to home. These are not easy days for the world. It feels, and I think rightly so, that we are living in a time of great consequence. There are alarms sounding on so many fronts that speak to the perils that we face on this planet. It can all be, at times, too much to bear. It’s understandable that we might feel overwhelmed by it all and ready to cry out, “Enough, already!”

 

On Sunday, as we conclude our sermon series on the many meanings of Enough, we’ll consider what it means to live through these times with our integrity and faith intact, especially as we move through the ages and stages of life. During the service, we will also gladly welcome ten wonderful new members to the congregation and celebrate the dedication of our youngest member, Alexander Fionn Gulston-Dodds, who was born this summer.

 

Following Coffee Hour on Sunday, I encourage you to take part in our Social Justice Town Hall, which has been designed to help facilitate conversation across the generations of our congregation to better understand the justice commitments that are important to us as individuals and as a community. Lunch will begin shortly after noon in Sunderland Hall; the meeting itself will begin at 12:30 and end by 2:30pm. Please see the notice below for more information.

 

In faith and love,
Shawn

 

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Sunday, November 17, 2019 10:30 am - 11:30 am
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Life Beyond Binaries

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton

 

This Sunday, my sermon will explore what it means to live beyond binaries. With gratitude for our Trans siblings, who offer such powerful lessons about living life beyond set categories, we will consider what this way of being can teach us all about living in a time of increasing polarization. What might it mean to take in the depth of nuance that is so often a part of our living? To shift from “either/or” thinking—thinking that is overly concerned with categorizing people/places/things as “this” or “that”—to embrace a “both/and” way of understanding the world? The choir will sing Jane Perry’s setting of “How Could Anyone?” and our Resident Musicians will offer a beautiful version of “True Colours.”

 

As a religious community that seeks to honour and celebrate the gift of human sexuality and the wonder of human diversity, we seek to grow in our understanding and acceptance of one another. During the service, Leslie Solomonian and Art Brewer will kick off our efforts to renew and deepen our commitments as a Welcoming Congregation. Below, you will find more information about this initiative, as well as the link to an anonymous survey that will help us understand how the members of our congregation identity in terms of gender, sexual orientation, and family and relationship structures. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey.

 

Finally, I ask you to consider adding your voice to this petition asking Mayor John Tory to declare homelessness an emergency in our city. While City Council took meaningful steps to add significantly to the number of available shelter beds in this year’s budget, it simply hasn’t been enough to address the crisis we are facing in Toronto. In the last month alone, eight (eight!) homeless people have died on the streets of our city. This has to stop. In a city with such prosperity, our failure to care for those with the least is absolutely immoral. If you’re willing and able to do more, I encourage you to phone the mayor’s office, or the office of your councillor, as well. Thank you.

 

In faith and love,
Shawn

 

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Sunday, November 24, 2019 10:30 am - 11:30 am
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“Bah Humbug!”

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.

 

It’s already started. Christmas carols and seasonal songs are now on offer most everywhere we turn. Joy abounds, whether we’re quite ready for it—and whether we’re personally feeling it or not. For many, be it ourselves or someone dear to us, there’s a real disconnect between the outward festivities of the holidays and how we’re feeling inside. My sermon will explore how to navigate what can be a complicated season with integrity and compassion, for ourselves and others. Our musicians will sing Sarah McLachlan’s “Full of Grace” and Lucas Marchand’s setting of “Blue Christmas.” On this Sunday before the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women, we will also remember the women who died, while reflecting on what response we can make to gender-based violence today.

 

In faith and love,
Shawn

 

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Sunday, December 01, 2019 10:30 am - 11:30 am
This event does not repeat

“‘Tis the Season of Compassion”

Sermon by Rev. Lynn Harrison.

 

In the words of a very-familiar Christmas song, this is the season to be “jolly.” While this may ring true for some of us, many people are finding that kindness and compassion come more naturally than a giddy and festive mood—and that can be good news, both for our holiday season and the world.

This Sunday, we’ll be celebrating acts of compassion, starting with the important work of Amnesty International which we proudly support each year. As well, we mark Bodhi Day, the anniversary of the Buddha’s enlightment, leading so many to lives of compassion, and we’ll reflect on simple ways each of us can offer kindness to others (and ourselves!) this holiday season. As music offers kindness to the soul, both the choir and I will offer songs to support the compassion theme.

Acts of kindness can be carried out by each of us, at every time of year, and a focus on compassion during the holiday season can serve to keep us grounded. By re-affirming the connections we all share on this planet, we can return to love this holiday season, to find deep and enduring joy. I hope you’ll join us on Sunday.

Blessings and peace,
Rev. Lynn

 

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Sunday, December 08, 2019 10:30 am - 11:30 am
This event does not repeat

“Bethlehem Revisited”

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.

 

This Sunday will find us on the way to Bethlehem. We’ll share in a multigenerational and likely very messy Christmas pageant, as we welcome children and adult members of the congregation to join the cast. In my homily, I’ll reflect on what this enduring story can still mean to us, even as Unitarians. As well, I hope you’ll take part in the Auction, before and after the service, and join us for our Winter Holiday Potluck Dinner following the service.

In the coming weeks, we have a number of special services planned. Please plan to join us for any and all of them as we move through the holy days and holidays that give shape to this season. I encourage you to stretch yourself to honour and learn from a tradition or outlook that might not necessarily be your own. See the listing of services below for more detail.

In faith and love,
Shawn

 

View the Order of Service.

Sunday, December 15, 2019 10:30 am - 11:30 am
This event does not repeat

Solstice Vespers

Sermon by Rev. ShAwn Newton.

 

We’ll celebrate the Winter Solstice through ritual and reflection around a great evergreen spiral at the centre of our sanctuary. With winter carols, Celtic music, candlelight, our ministers will help us usher in a Merry Yule as the earth turns once more.

 

View the Order of Service.

Friday, December 20, 2019 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
This event does not repeat

Solstice Vespers

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.

 

We’ll celebrate the Winter Solstice through ritual and reflection around a great evergreen spiral at the centre of our sanctuary. With winter carols, Celtic music, candlelight, our ministers will help us usher in a Merry Yule as the earth turns once more.

 

View the Order of Service.

Friday, December 20, 2019 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm
This event does not repeat

Better to Light a Candle

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.

 

We the will honour the traditions of Chanukah and Yule, with the choir singing “Boruch Atoh” by Joshua Jacobson. There will also be a special announcement at the end of the service.

 

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Sunday, December 22, 2019 10:30 am - 11:30 am
This event does not repeat

Candlelight Christmas Eve Service

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton & Rev. Lynn Harrison.

 

With wonderful music from our choir and resident musicians, the ritual candle-lighting ceremony, and readings and sermon by Rev. Lynn that celebrate Christmas from a Unitarian angle. A reception with cider and sweets in Workman Hall will follow the service.

Childcare will be available, starting at 6:45 pm.

 

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Tuesday, December 24, 2019 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
This event does not repeat

The Unbearable Art of Doing Nothing

Sermon by Rev. Lynn Harrison.

 

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Sunday, December 29, 2019 10:30 am - 11:30 am
This event does not repeat

Fire Communion

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.

 

This Sunday, we will mark the turn to the new year, as we gather for our annual Fire Communion service. Like the literally two-faced Roman god Janus (for which January is named), we will look back to the past and ahead to the future.

In preparation for the central ritual of Fire Communion, you are encouraged to consider what you wish to relinquish to the year that is now behind us. Are there regrets or persistent roadblocks you want to leave to the past? Is there a particular hurt or mistake you need to not carry into this new year? These are the things we will be invited to bring to mind and then commit to paper, before igniting those slips of paper with their burdensome words in the light of our chalice. This ritual doesn’t, of course, automatically erase whatever it is we struggle with, but naming these things can ease our transition to a different way of living, as we—with intention—set our hearts and minds towards the promise of the dawning year.

Karen Dunk-Green will share a significant update about the status of our sale and search for a new property during the service on Sunday.

With all best wishes for the year ahead!

 

In faith and love,
Shawn

 

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

Lives Lived

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton & Rev. Lynn Harrison.

 

On Sunday, Rev. Lynn Harrison and I will offer a series of short eulogies, as we look to the lives of a number of people in the wider world—the famous and the not-so-famous—who died in 2019. We will offer tributes to lives lived that made an enduring impact in our world, from Jean Vanier to Ram Dass, and Mary Oliver to Toni Morrison. Our resident musicians will offer music by James Ingram, Roxette, Joao Gilberto, and Captain & Tennille.

While it may seem strange to attend a service packed with eulogies, this annual service has now become a much-beloved tradition at First Unitarian, for it is a life-affirming experience to lift up compelling and complicated examples of lives lived well.

In faith and love,
Shawn

 

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

My Year of Living Spiritually

Sermon by Anne Bokma.

 

It will be my honour on Sunday morning to introduce you to our guest preacher Anne Bokma. I’ve known and admired Anne for many years as a journalist who often reflects on spirituality through a secular lens. Her new book, My Year of Living Spiritually: From Woo-Woo to Wonderful—One Woman’s Secular Quest for a More Soulful Life, has gained significant attention recently across various Canadian media platforms. I am particularly looking forward to hearing her Unitarian voice on Sunday as she joins us in our pulpit. She will also be speaking at Issues & Ideas following Coffee Hour and will have copies of her book available for purchase. I hope you’ll join us to hear Anne reflect on her spiritual adventures.

In faith and love,
Shawn

 

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

"Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered"

Sermon by Rev. Peter Hughes.

 

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Sunday, January 26, 2020 10:30 am - 11:30 am
This event does not repeat

Those Cracks in Everything

Sermon by Rev. Lynn Harrison.

 

“Nothing is perfect, nothing is finished, and nothing lasts.”

According to the ancient Japanese concept of wabi sabi, transience and imperfection are woven into our lives in beautiful ways, contributing to life’s meaning.

We hear that philosophy echoed in Leonard Cohen’s lyric about the “light getting in” through the crack in everything…and it’s expressed in other wisdom teachings, too.

On Sunday, we’ll explore how the undesired aspects of our lives might be welcomed, that they may be held in the wholeness of relationship. It’s the start of a sermon series on the theme “Broken and Whole” that will continue for three Sundays.

Also, throughout the month of February we’ll be celebrating Black History Month, with music from Afrocentric traditions and poetry from a wide range of Black authors.

We hope you can join us on Sunday morning, as we seek hope, inspiration and the blessings of community amidst the brokenness of the world.

Love,
Lynn

 

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Sunday, February 02, 2020 10:30 am - 11:30 am
This event does not repeat

All Kinds of Love

Sermon by Rev. Lynn Harrison.

 

Our annual “All Kinds of Love” service takes place on the Sunday closest to Valentine’s Day. It’s an opportunity for us to reflect on the many ways love enters our lives: through romantic relationships, through friendships, through intimate bonds of all kinds. This year, our poetry selections support Black History Month as well as our current service theme of “Broken and Whole.”

With moving words from Nikki Giovanni, Dionne Brand, Maya Angelou and many more poets, we celebrate the transformative power of love in our lives and our world. As well, the “All Kinds of Love” service features uplifting music from our choir and resident musicians, and I’ll be singing for you as well.

After service, make sure to stay for the special “Sweet Sunday” coffee hour, featuring a chocolate fountain (surely a sweet way to chase away the February blahs).

At First Unitarian love is in the air!

Blessings,
Lynn

 

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Sunday, February 09, 2020 10:30 am - 11:30 am
This event does not repeat

Broken and Whole

Sermon by Rev. Christopher Wulff.

 

Forget your perfect offering is some of the very best advice Leonard Cohen gave us. We imagine sometimes that there is a ‘right' way to be - a right way to be sorrowful, a right way to be joyful, a right way to be in community. And sometimes we receive and internalize a message that we can’t, or maybe just shouldn’t, offer anything until we are ‘right’ with ourselves. What would it mean to be not only accepting of every part of ourselves, but radically self-loving towards ourselves, towards our body, mind, and spirit? What ‘imperfection’ might you recast as a gift or blessing?

Join us this Sunday as the choir will be blessing us with a full-throated rendition of Thula Klizeo, a song from our teal hymnal written by Joseph Shabalala, one of the founders of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, who died earlier this week. We’ll also enjoy singing an adaptation of Leonard Cohen’s Anthem (from which the phrase “forget your perfect offering” is drawn), as well as a multi-voice piece written by Bernice Johnson Reagon of Sweet Honey in the Rock. The choir will be offering the great gift of Mark Miller’s “Show Us How to Love” as the anthem, which our hearts might sorely need. Lynn Harrison will be in dialogue with Chai Kalevar on the Madrid Climate Summit, Lynn Torrie will tell a tale of recognizing blessings in what we thought were faults, and we will bless this world for the coming week. Come, give and receive, and be filled.

Blessings,
Christopher

 

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Sunday, February 16, 2020 10:30 am - 11:30 am
This event does not repeat

The Call to Radical Inclusion

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.

 

In this fragmented, fragmenting world, when people are reporting increasing feelings of loneliness and isolation, as our politics and public discourse seem to grow more polarized with each passing day, it is a radical act to make a move greater toward inclusion—to seek to make room for the Other, the outcast, that perceived opponent who understands the world in a very different way than you. And, yet, that is I believe, what our faith asks of us. And it is, I believe, what this present moment needs from us. This Sunday, my sermon will explore what this means for us as a congregation and what this may mean for our country as we grapple with questions of justice and equity, healing and reconciliation. To honour Black History Month, the choir will sing Moses Hogan’s setting of the spiritual “Good News, Chariot's a Comin’” and will end the service with Harry Belafonte’s “Turn the World Around.”

During the service, we will also receive an encouraging update about our real estate situation!

Following coffee hour, all are invited to attend our annual Budget Meeting in Sunderland Hall. We will consider a shift to our fiscal year and vote on our proposed budget. We will also have time for conversation about our latest developments in our real estate journey. Lunch will be available.

I look forward to seeing you all soon!

In faith and love,
Shawn

 

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Sunday, February 23, 2020 10:30 am - 11:30 am
This event does not repeat