Category Archives: Brian’s Blog

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 […]

On track for the new church year


Getting back on track for the new church year, DRE Will Adair, Administrator Janet Polkovsky and I met for our first staff meeting of the year. It was good and productive. It was a chance to discuss plans and concerns as we look ahead. Here are a few takeaways: * We are creating a new Parent’s Council to support our church school program. The idea is to invite all parents to participate in setting the direction for the program in […]

21st year serving UCE


I ask you to indulge me for a moment as I ponder the end of my 21st year serving this congregation. And no, I am not leaving anytime soon. 21 years is a long time, especially for a Unitarian minister. Many careers aren’t even that long, for this is a field that burns some people out. Most parish ministries average 7 or 8 years. Perhaps conflict grows underground and finally erupts, perhaps ministers and congregations simply grow tired of each […]

Change and Transformation


Change and Transformation Speaking of change and transformation – April’s theme – it’s been quite a six week whirlwind for our family. We put our house on the market on January 29, and sold it the same day. As I write this (March 20th) I am looking forward with the usual mix of emotions towards moving house tomorrow.  We have had our new home for about 10 days and with the help of many hands have done some renovating and painting…along with […]

What does it mean to be a Unitarian Universalist?  What does it mean to be part of UCE?


Well, those questions are likely to be answered differently by each person who claims the titles. Many of us arrive at this church for the first time a little wary of religious stereotypes we have encountered. We wonder if we will fit in with the people we meet.  We wonder if we will like what we hear in the services.  We wonder if the theology will make us feel confined or uncomfortable. For some, coming to church is about crossing […]

There was a talking circle debrief…


On January 14th as part of this series on First Nations Spirituality, our Social Justice team arranged for a Kairos Blanket Exercise. This was an ‘embodied exercise’ meaning we moved around in a very simple role play designed to help us not only think, but to feel as well. We moved around the carpet of blankets representing Canada in the role of Fist Nations people. We experienced ‘our’ lands being taken away, slowly at first and then more rapidly. I saw […]

Everyone has a responsibility


I am very much looking forward to the New Year and the two month long theme delving into the lessons of First Nations Spirituality. Since the Truth and Reconciliation Report was released in 2015, the challenge has been to weave the recommendations into the social fabric of this nation. The federal government has to do some things, the provincial governments has to do some things. Great. But the real fact is that more and more First Nations people live in our cities, […]

Looking back, looking forward


It’s been quite an autumn around the Church, hasn’t it? Our child and youth programs have been growing. There have been lots of new faces and an uptick in Sunday attendance. Our building is hopping with four choirs and an orchestra using it as well as several chefs making use of our kitchen. There is a concert soon with our own Erin Van Der Molen-Pater and friends. We had a successful adult program series on Living and Dying. Adult OWL has started again. There have […]

From the Western Regional Fall Gathering


This month UCE President Karen Mills and I and several other UCE folk attended the Western Regional Fall Gathering. We were introduced to Rev. John Pentland, a United Church minister who has led the transformation of his 60 member congregation to one of over 600 people. He was our keynote speaker and a workshop leader who gave an overview of his book “Fishing Tips”. We bought several copies to share amongst Board members and others to see if there are ideas that could be useful […]

Thoughts on “The Death of Sunday School”


“The Death of Sunday School” (PDF, source UUA.org) This provocatively titled essay has been causing a buzz throughout the UU universe and was the topic of the meeting between Lauren and I and the Westwood professional staff. We have also discussed this with the Board and the RE Committee. The key point in the author’s opinion is that the old ‘seen but not heard’ classroom format where children go to school while adults attend service no longer fits our culture… It is harder than ever […]