Over 90 people, including some Victoria Storyteller’s Guild members, were at the recent Victoria launch and celebration of Faye Mogensen’s book Ancient Stories for Modern Times: 50 Short Wisdom Tales for All Ages. With humour and humility, Faye told us about her three year investment of time, determination, head and heart. She illustrated her challenges, frustrations and joys in writing the book with five of its stories, where the characters overcame similar dilemmas.
The folktales shared were from England, Finland, China, Russia and Sudan. Their themes ranged from developing confidence to rediscovering hope; from transforming perspectives to enjoying second chances; and from finding focus to savouring the power of generosity. Faye experienced real community in writing the book with her supportive colleagues, and kind family and friends. She feels very grateful for the good listening ears and feedback of her audiences, especially her husband Christian and her story buddies, Karen Gummo and Margo McLoughlin.
The scene for each story was set with music from its culture. Kristina Stevens and Michael Wood went to great trouble transcribing and learning the folk tunes; their mandolin, guitar and several flutes were a magical addition to the evening.
All of the books Faye had available were sold. She promises to continue to bring them into Victoria and has just learned that beginning in December they will be available through Amazon.ca.
Angela Klassen, Director of Lifespan Religious Education at Toronto First Unitarian and I collaborated to bring forward an inspired and enriched agenda of CUURE days. Professional Religious Educators commonly over extend themselves to provide support and programming that often is beyond the scope of the hours that their contracts afford. Our days together elevated the importance for self-care. We allowed space for recharging and then connecting. We mindfully spent our time together attentively offering opportunities for deep listening.
For three days following the CUC National Conference in Vancouver, Canadian UU Religious Educators will meet for professional development, support, and community. Programming will run from 10am on Monday, May 23rd to 1pm on Wednesday May 25th in “the Nest” student building at UBC. Organizers are still working out the details of how this time together will be spent, but are excited to be offering the following workshop, led by Dr. Schonert-Reichl, a renowned expert in the area of social and emotional learning (SEL) research with children and adolescents, particularly in relation to the identification of the processes and mechanisms that foster positive human qualities such as empathy, compassion, altruism, and resiliency, on Wednesday morning:
“We don’t talk much about behaviour and classroom management in religious education. But effectively facilitating children’s and youth participation in our religious education and family ministry programs requires an understanding of children’s development and their interactions with their world outside of the church. Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl is an established researcher in the field of child development and the modern technological environment. This workshop highlights understanding the effect of the digital world on children’s developing brains and the correlation to their behaviours. It is intended to support religious educators’ work in providing a positive environment for all participants in religious education programs.”
What will be your peak moment of the CUC 2016 Conference in Vancouver? Will it be the inspiration of the Confluence Lecture? Will it be the joy of a mass choir raised in celebration at our Sunday worship? Will it be the provocative streams and workshops—from Cross-border Climate Change to an exploration of personal ministry? The smile on your face as you recognize scenes from your own church in the slideshow that will enhance the banner parade? Or maybe just the opportunity to network with Unitarian friends old and new?
Online registration is open now for the Conference “Bolder Ways of Being,” which will bring Unitarians from across the country to the UBC campus May 20-22. After April 30, registration in advance will be closed. Walk-in registration will be available on site once the conference begins. The special group rate for accommodations will end April 15th
Check out the Conference 2016 Website to find out about meal plan options and accommodation at the Gage Residence and make your reservations. Most program sessions and meals will be held in the award-winning new Student Union Building, The Nest. The conference website includes links to other Canadian Unitarian groups meeting on or near the weekend, as well as descriptions of the streams and workshops.
Sunday worship at the Chan Centre will feature the conference choir and special roles for young adults. The service will be followed by a multigenerational lunch and all-ages workshops in the afternoon. The awards banquet on Sunday night is included with full conference or Sunday-only registration.
Several months ago, the Canadian members of Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA), publicly proclaimed their intention to form a Canadian chapter of this professional association. As noted on the LREDA website: “The center of our work as religious educators is belief in the transformative power of education through our UU faith.” This statement transcends borders.