I really love the metaphors of journey and travel as a way to think about life. We are all on some kind of a journey. For some, in any given moment, it is an adventure. For others, it is a tough slog. And of course, the quality and style of our journey changes from day to day. We never really know if today’s path will be easy or joyful or painful or exciting.
It is always bittersweet for me to come to the end of June. I am very ready to be on the road to some non-Fellowship-related holiday spots, and I’m also sad to be letting go of the patterns and joys in my normal life. Is the same true for you? I will miss you, and I will miss gathering with you in different ways throughout the week.
But there is nothing like a new vista to clear one’s head, and to offer us a bit of perspective. Whatever your summer plans, try going to a new place. It might be a city street that you’ve never been on, or a bike path that veers off in an unexpected direction. It could be a visit to a new friend’s home, or a big trip to places unknown. But do go somewhere new…because it’ll open your eyes a little wider, and make your sight a bit clearer.
My summer will contain a bit of the old and a bit of the new. I’m leaving Peterborough several weeks earlier than usual because of a change in my family’s reunion date. I’m traveling to the UUA General Assembly in Spokane, WA and will hear/see many new things. I’m going to be the chaplain for Camp fYrefly at Trent when I return from this trip. And, later in the summer, some friends are coming to Peterborough and we’re going to Haliburton to take an art class…another new thing.
A big new thing is that Ben Robins will start work as our DRE in mid-July. So I’ll be returning to the office for a week to train/orient him, and will also lead the service on July 21.
Our website calendar will note the ‘in’ times for Elaine, Ben, and me throughout the summer. When I’m not available, there are other ministers on-call for Peterborough. If you have a need, please reach out to Guy Hanchet, our Board chair, or a member of the Committee on Ministry…Chris Campbell, Paula Greenwood, or Jovanna Soligo.
Call on our Circle of Care. The link to the facilitator of the month will be in The Flame, which will come to your inbox each Friday, as usual.
Finally, reach out to one another. Plan some fun get-togethers. Get a group together for a picnic, or 4th Line, or a paddle. Advertise your idea in The Flame. Some family outings are being posted on our RE Facebook page. Join that page, so you see events in your news feed.
This year, we have traveled far together. Now, the summer is a time to roll the windows down, stop for ice cream, and park under the stars. Head for the beach, or just get your hands deep into your garden soil. Linger in a favourite spot, but also go to places never explored before.
But sooner or later, be sure to connect. The summer is no time to go it alone. Check in with one another. Come to Sunday evenings at UFP and hug your friends. Meet some new folks. Think about some new things.
Travel well. May you experience many new things. And after you’ve seen all you needed to see, and had a chance to rest and be restored, come back home. I’ll meet you at UFP.
June 6, 2019
The Canadian Unitarian Council acknowledges the systemic and ongoing nature of colonization of Indigenous peoples, land, and resources on this land. We are becoming more aware of the many ways in which colonization unjustly privileges settlers at the expense of Indigenous peoples. We acknowledge the findings and calls to justice of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) Final Report, and that these require immediate attention.
As Unitarian Universalists, we have also taken a stand for gender equality and the rights of LGBTQ+ peoples – values that intersect with the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ (MMIW) Calls for Justice.
The term ‘genocide’ is used in this report (read the reflection on ‘genocide’ in the Executive Summary) to describe our collective actions towards Indigenous peoples. As challenging as it is to acknowledge this term, in particular towards Indigenous women and girls, we accept this assessment based on the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. We are mindful that resistance to the use of ‘genocide’ may be linked to beliefs about our identity as a nation and denial of the facts of our shared history. It may also be linked to a mindset that emphasizes individual intention/action while minimizing the role of systemic influences in racism and privilege.
Chief Commissioner Marion Buller has stated that an “absolute paradigm shift is required to dismantle colonialism in Canadian society”. We recognize that the paradigm shift asked of settlers may cause us to feel uncomfortable and vulnerable. While we may not have individually constructed the racist system that is in place, we are each complicit in sustaining it until we take steps to change it. Therefore, we take ownership for our part in a system that has resulted in Indigenous women and girls:
- being 12 times more likely to go missing than any other demographic;
- being 16 times more likely to be killed or disappear than white women;
- constituting almost 25 percent of all female homicides in Canada between 2001-2015.
As Unitarian Universalists we are committed to studying this document with the intent of taking action on the 231 Calls to Justice starting with item 15.3, which urges us to read the final report, take other steps to educate ourselves, and call on our governments to take action.
From the Canadian Unitarian Council National Voice Team, which consists of the President of the CUC Board of Trustees, the President of the UU Ministers of Canada, and the CUC Executive Director. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Resources for reading and action:
- Be informed and educated:Executive Summary of the Final Report
- CBC article: “231 Imperative Changes: The MMIG’s Calls for Justice”
- United Nations Office on Genocide Convention and Responsibility to Protect
- Government of Canada – Indigenous Peoples
- Hold the government accountable for follow-up action:
- Contact your Member of Parliament
- Global News: “Prime Minister Promises Action”
- CBC article: “Prime Minister Says Deaths and Disappearances of Indigenous Women and Girls Amount to Genocide”
- Be informed and educated:Executive Summary of the Final Report
…is available right here.
We are very pleased to announce that Ben Robins will be joining us as Director of Religious Exploration. Ben grew up in the Kingston congregation, and is just completing his training as a UU minister with an internship in Hamilton. This summer he is moving to Peterborough to join his partner. Here’s what he had to say in his application cover letter…
“Religious Education (RE) is a transformative experience. An environment that includes and honours diversity, that centres love, justice and relationship, that invites children to shine their light, not only grows kids that enrich our families, congregation and community, but creates a generation that gives me hope for the future.
“My trained to be a UU minister has been about learning to nurture inclusive, collaborative community, support personal growth, and help people to centre their lives and their communities on all the good things like love, justice and relationship. I lived for 5 years in an improv dance retreat centre with roots in intentional community, and in my administrative, supervisory, hosting and facilitating roles, it felt like I was holding space for spiritual community. It put me on the path to ministry. Unicamp has also been a beloved home for creating and connecting.
“My life has been an exploration…I’ll close by saying that I get chills reading the mission statement at the beginning of the job description. Game on.”
Here’s what that our purpose (mission) statement says:
Grounded in love, the Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough strives to be a welcoming community that embraces life with wonder and inquiry. Dedicated to our Unitarian Universalist Principles and inspired by our interconnection with all that is, we foster personal transformation and act for a just and sustainable world.
Ben and Rev. Julie will begin working together around July 15 to put together a work plan for the rest of the summer. Ben will be wanting to meet and get to know each of you as soon as possible!
FYI: Gloria Proctor-Bennett will be returning to her role as our beloved RE Facilitator in the fall.