Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.
It’s wonderful to be back after a very enriching summer that included trips to the Unitarian Universalist Association’s General Assembly in Ohio and the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists biennial conference in the Netherlands, which brought together people from over twenty countries, from Indonesia to India, from Burundi to Columbia, from the EU to North America. It was rewarding (and humbling) to see the world through the eyes of our coreligionists who live in such very different contexts around the world.
Between attending those two conferences, I spent an intensive week travelling the world, all while staying put in Toronto. I took part (with Angela Klassen, who joined me while on her sabbatical) in the amazing Encounter World Religions program hosted at UofT. The program included brilliant lectures on various world religions and site visits to nineteen different faith communities in the GTA, including three Hindu temples, a Sikh gurdwara, Orthodox and Evangelical Christian churches, a Reform synagogue and an Orthodox Yeshiva, a Pagan coven, a Rastifarian shop, and Buddhist, Taoist, and Zoroastrian temples. It was rewarding to see the world through the eyes of our neighbours, and to grow in my appreciation for the diversity of our shared context as citizens of this remarkable city.
These journeys near and far will figure into my sermon this Sunday (and, really, next week, too), as I reflect on what it means to be a Unitarian in Canada today.
Finally, it gave me great joy to welcome the Rev. Lynn Harrison to our congregation this week as she joined our staff in the newly-created role of Minister of Community Engagement. On Monday, Lynn began her work with us to help build connections within and beyond our congregation. She is and will be a tremendous partner in the ministry of our congregation. I invite you to welcome her in your own ways in the coming weeks and to mark your calendars for the service on Sunday, October 2nd, when we will officially celebrate Lynn’s arrival and create our Covenant with her as she becomes a minister of our congregation.
I hope summer has been a blessing to you all. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday—or sometime very soon!
In faith and love,