Past services

January 26, 2020

Ally-ship and Integrity

Rev. Melora Lynngood with Worship Associate David Vest –

Whatever our own array of identities, how might we be good allies to those with marginalized identities that are different from our own? In particular, how might we act as a bridge of learning for others?

Do we stand up against Uncle Joe when he says something unwittingly offensive (e.g., sexist/ racist/ homophobic) at the family reunion?

When do we ‘call people out,’ when do we educate with gentle compassion? How do we do so without being patronizing?

How do we handle our own inter-cultural errors with integrity?

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January 19, 2020

The Commandments of Our Lives

Rev. Shana Lynngood with Worship Associate Victoria Barr –

This year’s sermon of your choice auction winner has invited me to reflect on the passage of Christian Scripture in which Jesus says,”Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”

This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (KJV, Matthew 22:37-39)

What do we make of this “first and great” commandment? Does it hold meaning for those who are atheists? All of which got me reflecting on the hold the commitments of our lives have on our beings.

What do you feel ultimately committed to? How does it shape your choices and path through life?

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January 12, 2020

Can I be honest?

Rev. Melora Lynngood with Worship Associate Morgan Reid

How honest are we really? How honest do we need to be to live lives of integrity? What would happen if you were more honest than you usually are? Would people’s feelings get hurt?

When is honesty used as an excuse for being hurtful? (example: “I’m just being honest!”). Do honesty and compassion have to be in conflict?

We’ll explore the benefits and the limits of this moral virtue.

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January 5, 2020

Not Hiring a Hitman: How Our Stories Can Save Democracy

Chet Phillips (Lead Organizer – GVAT) with Worship Associate Samantha Magnus –

We live in a time when political polarization and personal isolation are increasing, and democracy itself is imperiled around the world.

It can be tempting to retreat into our most intimate circles of loved ones, those with whom we most agree, even as these circles get smaller and the lines around them turn into walls. Yet revitalizing our communities, our democracy, cannot be done at a distance. Nor can it be done through debating “the facts.”

Sharing our stories means being vulnerable enough to share both our own personal pain and concern and to seek out how our stories connect with those of others, even the stories that seem to challenge our own. Pluralistic democracy depends on respect for our differences, yes, but also on our working constantly to invite others to join in the telling of a common story.

Chet Phillips arrived in Canada after 22 years in southern Arizona where his work ranged over fields as varied as sustainable agriculture, creative writing, collaborative land management and conservation planning and the social science of conflict resolution. Chet joined GVAT this past July as the full-time lead organizer and now resides in Victoria with his partner, Jen, and their three young children.

In all his work, he is guided by a saying from one of his mentors: “An individual can resist injustice, but it takes a community to do justice”.

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December 29, 2019

There is Some Awe: The Joys of Poetry

Shelley Motz with Worship Associate Lynne Bonner –

All month, we have explored what it means to experience awe – a transcendent experience that poets have long attempted to capture (and conjure) with their words.

Join Worship Associate Shelley Motz and members of the congregation as they share an eclectic collection of poems that invite us to pause, pay attention and explore what it means to be a people of awe.

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December 24, 2019

Christmas Eve for All Ages

4:30 pm – Rev. Shana Lynngood with Worship Associate Kressa Sisu –

Join us for our annual singing of the timeless music of the season and exploration of the story of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.

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December 22, 2019

Waiting Can Be Sweet

Rev. Shana Lynngood with Worship Associate Victoria Barr –

In the midst of the Christian liturgical season of advent, we will look at the gifts that can be found in waiting and expectation.

How does our ability to be patient, to wait for things to come to us offer us gifts that making things happen and proactive doing sometimes can’t?

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December 21, 2019

Winter Quiet Spiral Ritual

Winter Solstice – All ages (children, adults, elders, all!) gather at 4:30 pm; ritual begins at 5:15 pm for a winter solstice ceremony with Rev Melora and Arran Liddel (Director of Spiritual Exploration and Learning for Children), with Worship Associate Shelley Motz.

4:30 pm pizza and crafts. Connecting with the young and our elders makes the holidays more meaningful. Come enjoy intergen crafts and a meal together before our winter quiet ritual. Vegan and gluten-free options available.

5:15 pm: ritual. We’ll process into the Sanctuary to begin our ritual by the light of a single candle at the centre of a spiral of evergreen boughs. One by one, each person will be invited to walk the spiral, in candlelight and slowly, magically, the room will grow brighter. Treats and hot apple cider await in the Lion Hall when the ritual is complete, or when the young grow restless.

5.45 pm: Meditation. Those who would like extra quiet time are invited to stay in the Sanctuary for a period of candlelight meditation and reflection.

Everyone is invited to bring a small special object that gives them comfort or warmth in the winter nights that will be placed in the spiral before the ritual begins (objects will be returned to owners at the end).

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December 15, 2019

Paradoxical Awe

Rev. Melora Lynngood with Worship Associate David Vest –

How is it that awe – at the magic of the northern lights, at the breathtaking beauty of a spectacular sunset, at the majesty of the mountains and ocean – can make you feel so insignificant and yet also a part of the larger whole? 

And another puzzle: how might we cultivate sense of awe in the ordinary amidst the every-day, even when we are feeling a distinct lack of awesomeness in our lives? 

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December 8, 2019

A Crack In Everything – Seeking Light in Darkness

Dana Seaborn with Worship Associate Shelley Motz – Here in ‘bleak midwinter’ we light a candle in the darkness. 

When we find ourselves in the dark days of our lives, where do we find the light?  Let’s look to our midwinter traditions, and to the songs and stories of our human family, to see if we can find some answers.

Dana Lynn Seaborn is a retired chaplain from Capital UU; she’s Métis, and has written new lyrics to “The Huron Carol.”

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