The Deep Well of Appreciation

To rise, to rise each morning with the faint glow of starlight on our backs as we head into the joys, the surprises, the challenges of each day sometimes with awe and wonder, perhaps expectation, perhaps dread…

To rise, to rise each day peering over waterlines, sandbags, walls, garbage, bunkers… in windswept deserts and streets lined with sweet smelling olive trees alike.

What a gift we are given when we can rise in freedom, of some sort, to some degree.

This year, for once, for one honest moment, let us forgive our ancestors for the real and true roots from which the Thanksgiving ritual emerged. Let us acknowledge the less than honorable circumstances that created the “original” table of abundance that North Americans attempt to re-create each year. Let us acknowledge and forgive, each other and ourselves for perpetuating inaccurate history.

For how can we be truly grateful if we do not?

We rise with you, Spirit of Truth and Justice, to stroll through all the many gardens of gratitude, inhaling the crystal clear air of freedoms attained, through rough and tumble avenues of debate and destruction.

This year, in solidarity, let the hands across North America reach toward each others’ hearts to feel the pulse that has longed for centuries to beat as one: Whole, spirit-filled and grace-full, swimming in the river of thankfulness for the clarity such intentions provide.

This year let us give not until it hurts, but until we can look in the mirror and know that we are reaching profoundly into the wells of gratitude, know that we are sitting in the pure joy of it, tearfully acknowledging the gift to rise each day and make bread or beds, give smiles, elicit laughter, cross the line that is personal space to meet in the circle that is a hug.

Spirit of Compassion, you know that if we were never to give thanks, these gifts would still abound.

You know, we would rise and walk in the dark of emptiness, missing completely the air of humanity the being-ness that is grounded in the awareness, the age-old knowledge that we are all one, and together create the One.

This year, let us commit to always rise above wherever it is we find ourselves.

Let us give thanks for the interdependent web that brought food to our tables, for the spirits that gave of themselves so that we might eat, for the bended backs that labored in the hot sun and all the carriers that reached their destinations.

In this rich well of appreciation, let us stretch our hand across the table of abundance, pressing lifeline against lifeline, giving thanks that we can do so, and gently holding in our hearts those who cannot, and could not from the beginning.

Spirit of Our Deepest Desires, this year, let us commit to truly rising as One Unitarian Universalist voice working for and loving all of humanity.

Que asi sea. So may it be. Blessed Be.

Amen. Ashe. Ho! As Salaam Alaikum. Shalom.

Namaste. Paz.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marta I Valentín

With thanks to the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Worship Web.

Central Region Fall Gathering 2017 – Registration

Hosted by the Unitarian Fellowship of London | 557 Clark Rd, London | Oct 28, 2017

Program Information here.

Western Regional Gathering 2017 – Children’s Registration

Children’s Programming for Saturday – Ages 9-11 years. 12 year olds may attend either the Children’s Program or the Youth Con.
Fee: $50

A VERY Special Children’s Program is being planned for the Western Region Fall Gathering. We will be using the new children’s Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Reflection Guide from the Canadian Unitarian Council’s Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Team. A local team is creating an insightful and fun learning experience for the children of all the UU churches in the Western Region, and a special invitation is extended to children. Join us, and learn to become life-long healers in the reconciliation process to bring healing to all nations that make up Turtle Island (the name bestowed on North America by some Indigenous Peoples).

Childcare is available for ages 0-8 on-site at Wildrose United Church. Meals are to be taken with parents. Fee: $50

General Program Schedule for both Children’s age groups:

  • 8:45 a.m. – Gather at Wild Rose United Church
  • 9:00 a.m. –  12:00 pm – Programming
  • 12 noon – Join adults for lunch
  • 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. – Programming
  • 3:30 p.m. – Join families for walk back to Unitarian Church of Calgary
  • 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. – Children’s program will take place at the Unitarian Church of Calgary

Registration is now closed.

Truth, Healing & Reconciliation Day – October 14, 2017

Welcome to a journey of learning and sharing towards reconciliation and healing between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Jointly sponsored by the Unitarian Church of Calgary and the Canadian Unitarian Council, this one-day event welcomes all who are interested in addressing the damage of colonization and in particular, the ongoing societal effects of the residential school system. Anyone interested in being part of the journey towards reconciliation and justice, is welcome!

As part of this experience, a local Calgary Elder group will facilitate the Kairos Blanket Exercise to guide participants through 400 years of Indigenous history on the land we know as Canada.

WHEN: Saturday, October 14, 2017

WHERE: Wild Rose United Church (1317 1 St NW, Calgary) & Unitarian Church of Calgary (1703 1 St NW)

COST: Adult – $90 | Student & Self-defined low-income – $50. Includes lunch

REGISTER Scroll down to register by September 29, 2017

SCHEDULE:

10:15 am – 3:30 pm: At Wild Rose United Church

3:30 – 4:00 pm: Walk to Unitarian Church of Calgary

4:00 – 6:00 pm: KAIROS Blanket Exercise

Schedule Details:

10:15- 10:30 am: Registration

10:30 am – 12:00 pm: Part I is the beginning of a shared journey towards truth, justice, healing and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. It explores reconciliation and decolonization, and the commitment to engage with Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission‘s 94 recommendations, using the lens of Unitarian Universalist principles of worth, respect, dignity, compassion and equity. Read the CUC’s Expression of Truth and Reconciliation from 2014.

12:00 – 1:00 pm:  Lunch

1:00 – 3:30 pm: Part I continued

3:30 – 4:00 pm: Walk to Unitarian Church of Calgary & Snacks

4:00 – 6:00 pm: KAIROS Blanket Exercise

The Blanket Exercise is an experiential learning exercise that takes participants through 400 years of Indigenous history in the space of a couple of hours. The blankets represent the land we know today as Canada. The participants represent the Indigenous peoples and are given quotations from Indigenous people to read at key points and cards which determine their outcome in the Exercise. Facilitators act as Narrators and an elder will open the Exercise and lead the talking/debriefing Circle after the Blanket Exercise is completed.

Facilitators for Part I

The Rev. Samaya Oakley currently serves as the Minister for the South Fraser Unitarian Congregation, and as the President of the Executive of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers of Canada. She is also a co-chair of a task force of the Canadian Unitarian Council’s Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Reflection Guide – a task force that is creating reflection guides for Canadian Unitarian congregations around issues of the Indian Residential School system and its impact. She has been involved in Unitarian Universalism regionally, nationally and continentally in Unitarian Universalism for over twenty years. She considers herself blessed to have served as the Youth Program Coordinator at the North Shore Unitarian Church for close to fifteen years. She also holds degrees in Business Administration and Life Skills Coaching.

Jeff Webber grew up Unitarian, and has been actively involved as long as he can remember. As a child in Ottawa, and a youth in Hamilton, Unitarian teachings and values were ever present. Later with the Regina Fellowship, and now with Calgary Unitarians, he has been an active participant in leadership and a “big picture” thinker. Jeff recently began his journey toward truth and reconciliation through personal discernment, and hopes to further his learning through the facilitation and education process.

Registration is now closed.