Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.
Though Valentine’s is often thought of as a day to celebrate romantic love, we’re turning it into a day to celebrate all kinds of love. Sunday’s service will be a marvelous mix of moving music and powerful poems that speak to the love found in many different types of relationships. The poetry will range from Auden and Nash to Mary Oliver. And the music, and there will be lots of it(!), will be presented by Lisa and our Resident Musicians, who have been asked to share some of their favourite songs on the topic of love. It will be a great feast of music, from Jason Mraz and Elton John to our own Tom Lillington’s setting of a racy text from Shakespeare!
I am happy to share the news that I have been admitted to the Doctor of Ministry program at the Toronto School of Theology/University of Toronto. I’m thrilled by the opportunity to continue to grow in my capacity as a minister, and I’m deeply grateful this program is designed to allow me (require me, really!) to continue to serve as minister at First Unitarian over these next five years of study. My focus will be in the area of worship and emotion, so the congregation will, at times, be my laboratory; I will certainly need your help, from time to time, in getting my homework done! More than anything, I see this as a helpful way to bring external focus to how I use my annual study and sabbatical times in the coming years. I so look forward to sharing with you what I learn along the way!
Finally, as I mentioned last week, I will be taking my sabbatical break this year between 15 February and 23 March. I'll be travelling in Europe with Debra Faulk, the minister of the Calgary congregation, exploring church history, and in particular visiting places related to significant chapters in the Unitarian tradition. While I'm away, there will be a great line-up of Sundays, with Stephanie Gannon preaching twice, with the drummer Matt Meyer leading a wonderful music-based service, a celebration of International Women's Day with members of the cast of "The Vagina Monologues," and, at the end, with Dallas Bergen sharing reflections upon his return from his sabbatical. You'll be in great hands, as well, when it comes to pastoral care, with the Lay Pastors at the ready to be of support should you need them. As always, I'm grateful for these opportunities you provide me to recharge my battery and enrich and sustain our ministry together.
In faith and love,