Author Archives: Brian Kiely

Thank you.

This column is about stuff we don’t always notice or remember to appreciate. Specifically, I am thinking about things that get done behind our backs. A lot of that kind of work goes on around our church. In January we were asked on short notice to hold a memorial service for Joanne Olafson, a longtime member. When I added a request for volunteer help to the service announcement letter, about six people replied quickly and about a dozen showed up to […]

Reclaiming Liberalism

Third in a sermon series  Rev. Brian J. Kiely   November 25, 2018 READINGS “Trump’s mood takes a foul turn”  November 15, 2018 By several CNN reporters Washington (CNN) A political clobbering, bickering aides and now a public grenade launched across the White House by the first lady have placed President Donald Trump in a position he loathes: backed into a corner. A week after standing in the East Room and declaring victory in the midterm elections, the President is isolated […]

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The Threat to Liberalism

 Part two in a three part series   Rev. Brian J. Kiely, November 18, 2018 Reading:   Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences. Groupthink requires individuals to […]

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Unitarians and the Liberal Tradition

Part one of a three part sermon series  Rev. Brian J. Kiely, November 11, 2018 READING (From a United KingdomA level philosophy course study guide)  The logical starting-point towards understanding any ideology concerns its view of human nature. In straight-forward terms, liberals share an optimistic attitude towards human nature. This is based upon an assumption that our behaviour is determined by rational interest rather than irrational emotions and prejudice. We are therefore governed by reason and should be entrusted with […]

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Snows came, went, came, rinse, repeat, came once more…

Well, the snows came early…then left…then came…then left…then came once more. Then Christmas hit the stores, in some places before Hallowe’en – a pet peeve of mine and my eldest daughter. One of the pop radio stations switched to its Christmas music playlist just after Remembrance Day. Sigh. I love Christmas as much as the next person, maybe more. But I kinda like Christmas to be, well Christmas. I mean it should be a special season. I have always felt […]

Come, Come Whoever You Are

On October 20, my three daughters and I went to the Draggin’ Youth Hallowe’en Show at the church. We hadn’t been for a while, so it was nice to go back. It was the best attended of these events in the two years they have been running and a terrific night. Perhaps you don’t know much about drag shows. They are performances where individuals dress up (often extravagantly) and take to the stage lip-syncing to some popular song. Most often the performers portray characters […]

At Canada Day Breakfast…

Every so often I attend the Canada Day breakfast at the Leg – the one provided by the Muslim community. And if I stay long enough, I enjoy the swearing in ceremony of new Canadian citizens. If you have never been, they process down to the outdoor amphitheatre from the Leg, some wearing the national dress of their birth countries, a colourful festival that ranges from kilts to jalabiyas. A few years ago we brought our newly arrived Syrian refugee […]

UCE Vision Statement

“UCE Vision Statement” a sermon By Rev. Brian J. Kiely September 16, 2018 Unitarian Church of Edmonton In the last two services I have spoken about the basics of our faith tradition, about the things that define us, without limiting or restricting us.  There are the seven Principles to help us as we wrestle with challenging issues, six Sources that describe the traditions and philosophies that inspire us and support us. Those are held in common in all of our […]

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How Did We Get Here?

“How did we get here?” a sermon on the Sources  Rev. Brian J. Kiely September 9, 2018, Unitarian Church of Edmonton Sometimes I am asked why we have six sources in addition to the seven Principles. In one way, they are the second part of the answer to the question, “Just what is a Unitarian anyway?” The Principles lay out our path for living well. But the Sources add another texture.  In the tradition of theological debate, it’s not enough […]

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Ingathering- Our Principles

“Ingathering – Our Principles” a sermon by Rev. Brian J. Kiely  Unitarian Church of Edmonton September 2, 2018 I begin with a quotation from liberal theologian Anthony Padovano: Being human is the most difficult and the most religious of all our undertakings, for being human means accepting the sacredness and fragility of one’s own life.  It means living every moment with tragedy at hand and grace close by.  Being human means forever trying to settle oneself into the unsettling situations […]

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