What keeps you engaged at UFP?

In last Sunday’s service on UFP history, with our Minister Emerita Anne Orfald, breakout rooms created rich conversations and meaningful sharing about what engages us and keeps us coming. The main themes include Community, Sunday Services, Music Programming, Social Justice, Values and Personal Development.

The Questions Asked

  • Describe experiences that engaged you in the past and what keeps you coming to UFP now?
  • Describe in what way core UFP values have impacted you and how they continue to do so.

Community

  • Caring heart centred community
  • Community support
  • A spiritual intentional community of seekers
  • The people – kindness, acceptance, connectedness, expressions of love
  • Intergenerational connections
  • Safe to explore and have difficult conversations
  • Acceptance of diverse opinions
  • Listening to each other 
  • A sense of belonging
  • Fun and laughter
  • Friendship
  • Potlucks and coffee hour

Sunday Services

  • Meaningful services
  • A particular Christmas Eve service
  • Rituals, mystery and story telling
  • Youth led services
  • Minister led services
  • Shared ministry, co-leadership
  • On-line availability of services
  • Challenges my thinking and inspiring change 
  • Joys and Concerns
  • Guest speakers
  • Day of the Dead
  • Reading and quotes from great writers 

Music

  • Choral singing, guest musicians 
  • Diversity of music
  • Singing in a choir

Programming

  • RE programming for kids and youth – spiritual home for children
  • Covenant and Connection Groups
  • Connecting with nature 
  • Blue Horse Cafe
  • Adult RE programmes

Social Justice

  • Making a progressive difference in the world
  • Refugee settlement commitment
  • Environmental Awareness
  • Indigenous allies 
  • Equality of women
  • Welcoming Community for 2SLGBTQ
  • Anti racism work
  • Recycling 

Values

  • Interdependent web of life
  • No doctrine
  • Inherent value of all
  • Principles, not specific beliefs
  • Personal values fit
  • Equality in community
  • Belief that all living things are equal
  • Female leadership
  • Freedom to form our own beliefs

Personal Development

  • Finding and developing own voice
  • Leadership opportunities 

Grounded in Love: A Collaborative, Nourishing, Sun-drenched Success

This past Saturday, October 29th, UFP hosted our first Grounded in Love event, with much warm fall sundrenched success. With more than 20 volunteers contributing, and 80 community members attending, it was an event which highlighted the collaborative, generous and playful spirits of our community.

There was warm soup & cider sipping, sensory bin play, music around a roaring fire, collaborative poem writing, emotion mapping and flag making which culminated in a parade to our closing community circle.

Children ran freely, engaging with elders and peers, with everyone playing to their hearts delight. It was an experience which nourished, filled cups (of many kinds), connected, allowed for intergenerational tending and play, and imbued a much needed sense of hope for a style of events that could serve to be an anchor through these uncertain times.

Save the date for our next Grounded in Love event, already planned for Sunday Dec 18th at the Environment Centre again. Plans are underway to host four Grounded in Love events a year, one to celebrate each season.

— Jessica Smith, Director of Religious Exploration

. . .

GROUNDED IN LOVE

This is the poem that emerged from the lines and phrases contributed to our collective poetry station — the event and the day, speaking to us in our own voices.

Fall colours,
blue jay,
the unexpectedly warm sun on my back …

Excited people
lovingly preparing our space …

What I love about today is
being with this community of people.
So many joyful people,
toddlers and elders,
choosing to connect
with each other
and Mother Earth
one moment at a time —

The sun,
the colours of fall,
the smoke,
the love from community …
being outside together in the natural world …

Ancient stones, ever watchful,
us, young and curious —
what a perfect autumn day to gather
with sunshine that keeps on giving.
The clear air filled with happy sounds,
the sun’s illumination of the oranges and yellows …

What I see around me right now is
an unexpected,
delightful amphitheatre, how clever —
old and young together,

the sweet taste of apple cider.
The leaves are falling
like stars from the sky,
the applesauce is delicious,
the apple cider here is superb —

Leaves are colours,
bonjour, je suis une pomme!

A circle of joy, community,
children and love.
When I see clearly, I love …

This gathering inspires me to practice
relaxing with others, relaxing among friends:
to be inclusive and welcoming,
to be together in song, in nature,
in quiet, in family,

held by nature,
under the warm sun together,
the sun gently warming my back …

The sounds of happy voices in the woods,
play for people,
the joy of seniors playing,
“sunshine on my shoulders looks so lovely…”

Warmth from
the sun, and strangers
and people I know —

this gathering inspires me to
fly high, to taste the sweetness,
to sing and greet strangers …

To use my strength
in service
of a vision of a world made better
by love and friendship.

The cloudless sky,
the warmth of the sun,
a time to be with friends:
beautiful people gathered, being community:

We love the world.

I like
that we
are
here.

(Lines and phrases contributed at the Collective Poetry station and arranged by Ben Wolfe)

Music and COVID: Returning to Singing Together

At our meeting this week, the UFP Board approved the following COVID-19 and music policy, to enable Resonance, the Occasional Singers and any other small groups to rehearse and perform in the Sanctuary under these specific conditions:

—-

When the Local COVID-19 Risk Index is at Moderate:

Resonance and other singing groups are welcome to meet at UFP to rehearse based on the following precautions:

  • Rigorous self-screening to attend, modelled on the Peterborough Singers approach,
  • All participants properly masked at all times (N95 or better masks, properly worn),
  • Social distancing in effect,
  • Doors and windows open for ventilation, and,
  • No indoor social time before or after the practice. (Outdoors is fine, it’s all about air exchange indoors and amount of time together.)

Resonance and other groups can perform at UFP in-person services with these same precautions. (Distancing is desirable while performing too, but what is practical/possible needs to be determined.)

When the Local COVID-19 Risk Index is at High:

Resonance and other singing groups can still meet to rehearse at UFP, for a maximum of 1 hour, based on maximum care with above noted precautions.

Resonance and other singing groups can be recorded live together in the rehearsal space for use in on-line services.

Note: At High, our services are online, with only the service delivery team in the Sanctuary.

Additional note: The 1 hour time at High is based on the CO2 monitoring we have done to date in the space to check air exchange in real world conditions. With additional testing in a live rehearsal, this might be improvable.)

At VERY HIGH, we do not gather. The Board includes two members and lovers of Resonance, and we look forward to singing with many of you again soon.

Please email any clarifying questions to me, Ben, and I’ll share the answers.

— Ben Wolfe, President, Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough

Services will be online Again until the end of november, as COVID is at extreme levels Locally

Dear UFP beloved community:

As everyone watching the trends in the data has sadly been anticipating and preparing for… COVID spread is extreme in the local community, with hospitalizations now matching their highest peak weeks from April and January.

We are into our third week online. We do not like it, any of us, but we have (as we have to) put our heads and hearts into being ready for this and being all we can be for each other. Our Creative Worship Team has responded to the uncertainty of service planning week to week by declaring we will be online-only for Sunday services through the end of November. We have some truly wonderful services and other events coming. Do join in!

We will meet in person in some other special ways. Note especially that Jessica Smith and our RE team have planned a fall outdoor event, “Grounded in Love,” for October 29th.

Coming next on Sundays — I’ll be speaking on October 23rd, on the theme “Our Work is Loving the World.” Jessica Lindeman offers us some beautiful live music that morning. Rev. Peter Boullata will be back in the pulpit on October 30th and November 12th.

How can we love and support each other through this disappointing time, and all the stresses a COVID winter may bring? That’s a question every part of our community.

— Ben Wolfe (President), for your UFP Board

COVID hospitalizations now match their highest peak levels from April and January 2022.
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