The Western Region Fall Gathering in Calgary from October 13 – 15 was a great success, thanks to the speakers and workshop leaders, including CUC staff Joan Carolyn, April Hope, and Asha Philar, and musical offerings from Tony Turner and Jane Perry. The gathering had the largest adult attendance, the largest local congregation attendance, and the largest Youth Con attendance in recent memory. Reverend Anne Barker of Westwood Unitarian Congregation in Edmonton, shares her reflection:
“The 2017 Calgary WRFG was a rich collection of wisdom, opportunity and connection.
- John Pentland’s keynote and workshop were inspiring – a wealth of ideas for getting focused, keeping relevant, taking risks….
- The afternoon “Songs for Social Change” with Tony Turner was soul nurturing.
- I heard great things from folks who attended the THR offerings – particularly the elder circle.
“I’m always glad to have gone to Regional Gatherings – and this one is no exception. Thanks to Calgary for their gracious hospitality, and to the CUC for their commitment and contributions”.
Commenting on the weekend’s highlights, another participant added “John Pentland – really practical tips, no matter the size of congregation. The talent show. Sunday morning worship – it all flowed so well and really showed the rich talent we have in music and ministry in the western provinces”.
Planning is now underway for next year’s WRFG in Winnipeg, October 19-21.
The 2016 Western Regional Fall Gathering was a departure from the usual format – the Saturday program was open to the wider Saskatoon community, and was an inter-spiritual, multi-faith response to Truth and Reconciliation. The program invited participants into a direct experience of the Indian Act using the Medicine Wheel to focus reflections and discussion. Held at Wanuskewin Heritage Park just outside Saskatoon, the day provided participants with an opportunity to begin the journey towards reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
The weekend of October 14-16th 2016 was an intense one for me. I got to take part, mostly from an observer perspective, in the Western Fall Gathering organized by the Saskatoon Unitarians in the region and open to other people in the community. I am a new resident in Canada and not familiar with the history of the Country. My reflection is about my feelings as I heard and watched people face a difficult past (of the residential school system and destroying the way of life of Indigenous peoples) with honesty, and what the event meant to me, personally.
I have a history of colonialism and the patterns are the same; going after the culture, religion as its most significant expression, the young people and what kind of education they are getting to preserve their culture and transmit it to the next generations.
Finding our place in the Circle WRFG photo credit: Erica Bird
In my experience of being part of a privileged minority, it can be hard to face a painful history. One lesson I got is that it is even harder when the history happened when one was either not there or not adult enough to be responsible, but to which one is connected in a fundamental way. Guilt is real. Systems are rarely neutral. They benefit us or oppress us. Having benefitted from the system in many ways make it real for people and it makes sense that people feel connected to the conversation. I hope that the conversation which is going on will help people not to take a personal responsibility and therefore shade off the personal guilt. Continue reading
Oct. 14-16, 2016, Hosted by the Saskatoon Unitarians
You are invited to find your place in the circle …
This year’s Western Fall Region Gathering is an inter-spiritual, multi-faith response to the Truth & Reconciliation Calls to Action.
Friday Multigenerational Ingathering and Reception 7pm
At the Unitarian Congregation of Saskatoon
Saturday Adult Program: A Medicine Wheel for the Indian Act
Responsibility * Relationship * Respect * Reciprocity
With Marjorie Beaucage, creator of Medicine Wheel for the Indian Act
- 9:00am – 4:30pm Program at Wanuskewin Heritage Park
- 5:00pm – 6:30pm Adult Dinner at Wanuskewin
- 7:00pm – 9:00pm Multigenerational evening at Station 20 West
Sunday Networking & Sunday Service
At the Unitarian Congregation of Saskatoon
Join us for the installation of Rev. Karen Fraser Gitlitz as Saskatoon’s settled minister.