Category Archives: Brian’s Blog

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 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 […]

Insisting on change for change’s sake

It’s not often that I quote National Post columnist, Andrew Coyne…ok, it’s never happened, but these might be extraordinary times. I’m writing on August 10th as Donald Trump is promising ‘fire and fury’ to North Korea and Kim Jong-un is promising ‘enveloping fire’ on Guam. I am not stockpiling post Armageddon supplies of canned food and water yet, but the news is still troubling. This column is not about the odds of nuclear war. I will leave that to people who know about […]

Sometimes it’s good to take stock

Well, that year went fast! I was surprised to sit down and find myself already writing “Services for June”! Sometimes it’s good to take stock. We often do it at the turning of the year, or the changing of the seasons. For someone in my line of work, and perhaps teachers, now is as good a time as any. Our community did a great deal implementing and celebrating our Strategic Plan. We enjoyed a resurgence in the RE and Youth Programs under the […]

Don’t you hate being sick?

Don’t you hate being sick? I mean, aside from the feeling lousy part of it, there is the ‘depending on others’ part that doesn’t always feel good for people who like running their own lives. Like me. Pneumonia. I was diagnosed on Easter Monday. That heavy cold I thought I had wasn’t… it was a lung infection. Suddenly my time was being spent getting driven to doctor’s offices and pharmacies, waiting to be fed, having nurses and doctors and loved ones taking care of me. […]

The #Makeitawkward campaign

Tuesday’s Journal Editorial read: Sustained efforts needed to thwart racist behaviour. It was a well-timed article for me. I had been thinking for some time about the visit from Jesse Lipscombe and the #Makeitawkward campaign. He had urged us to be allies, to speak out when we saw it happening. I had my first chance the day before. I get my haircut in a local barbershop owned by Fadhi, a Muslim man. He’s a very nice guy. He now has two shops […]

Speaking of learning…so this happened

Speaking of learning…so this happened: On Thursday, February 9th our 13 year old van was stolen form a store parking lot. “Bluie” had been part of our family for a decade. There are a lot of fond memories. That Sunday night and I learned that the RCMP had ‘recovered’ it. Turns out it was in not one but two high speed chases over the weekend. A Constable from the local RCMP detachment spoke to me. He said that he was in the […]

“We will be okay”

Well, it happened. Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the President of the United States on Friday, January 20. As close as I could tell, the sun rose on January 21st. In his final press conference Barack Obama closed by saying “We will be okay,” exhibiting some faith in the resiliency of his country and even more faith in the people of that nation. I have no doubt that the next few years will be challenging, full of face-palming […]

The world, and near and far

As the news broke today that the NDP is seriously considering doing away with Daylight Savings, so did the news of the fall of Aleppo, the on again off again cease fires to let the innocent escape, and the culmination of all the horrors of that siege. Suddenly Daylight Savings (which I loathe from the depth of my being) seemed like an awful insignificant ‘first world problem’. One UCE Board member mused last evening about how the our concerns around […]