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UPCOMING ONLINE SERVICES
 
Please join us via live stream at 11:00am or as noted
Details are below including our Zoom service link.


Sunday, May 2
Encountering Awe in Unlikely Places
Presented by Rev Debra Thorne

Sunday, May 9
Moon Ways 
Presented by Rev Debra Thorne 

Sunday, May 16 at 10:00am
CUC National Conference Sunday Service
‘Sustaining Our Light’ - a Multigenerational Worship Service 

Presented by Rev Meghann Robern (Winnipeg) & Kathryn Childs (DRE Montreal) Music with Suzanne Maziarz (Music Director, Neighbourhood Toronto) 

Sunday, May 23
Lux Eterna
Presented by Peter Scales

Sunday, May 30
Getting to Yes!
Presented by Rev Debra Thorne
UPCOMING IN MAY     
 
May 2        Co-ordinating Council Meeting         1pm
May 9        Strategic Plan Q & A Session            1pm
May 16      CUC National Conference Service    10am 
                  Joys and Concerns Social                 11:30am
May 23      Town Hall Meeting                              1pm
MINISTER'S MESSAGE
It feels like we are all taking another deep breath to calm down our frustration or impatience that the pandemic restrictions are once again rolling in. As I write to you, the Covid numbers are rising higher than they have ever been. As the headlines ramp up warnings, I remind myself that though we live in one of the safest areas in the world we still need to practice respect for the virus.  She is a wily one.  

This liminal time between the old normal and before we know what the new will be, has become far longer than we ever thought. We have been creative in our resilience. We have adapted to patience as a constant in our lives. We are walking more in our neighbourhoods. Talking more to distant relatives. There is good coming out of this experience, but the world as we know, it will never be the same. 

As we approach the end of the Fellowship year, a year we have all been challenged to stay alert and flexible to the constant changes, members are weary and needing respite. Later in the newsletter, you’ll see an announcement from the Sunday Services Committee and myself describing a different summer experience. 

And finally, I am excited to tell you that there are plans in the works for a great big celebration concert to mark the end of the Fellowship year. Look for details in the June newsletter. 

As always, my listening heart is there for those who need it. If you are struggling, please reach out. 


Warmly, Rev Debra

Rev Debra Thorne 
Hiiye’yutul tst ‘u to’ mukw stem ‘I ‘u tuna’ muka
Everything in nature is part of our family; we are all family

      MISSION STATEMENT

At FUFON we create spiritual connection and
bring compassion, discovery and social justice to life.
SUNDAY SERVICES
 Theme for May is Theologically Alive:
We seek to be ever-evolving in our understanding, open to new knowledge.
 
To join any of our upcoming services on Zoom,
please click on this 
SERVICE LINK a few minutes before the service

Sunday, May 2
Encountering Awe in Unlikely Places
Presented by Rev Debra Thorne


Have you ever encountered a world beyond your imaginings where light and sound and shape pull you out of your preconceived ideas, transporting you into a new understanding of your world? Environmental artists can take you to the most unexpected places. They have transformed war zones and forests and the underside of urban bridges, shapeshifting your senses and your expectations of time and nature; opening you to the forces which create and uphold life, moving you to awe and renewing our spirits.

Sunday, May 9
Moon Ways 
Presented by Rev Debra Thorne 


The moon exerts her silvery influence on the earth by drawing down the tides and slowing time. We watch her face dissolving and reforming, a trustworthy cycle to follow time. It is the Lunar calendar that marks feast days and holy days for many religions. Muhammad said that ‘Paradise lies at the feet of your mother.” Today we recognize the conclusion of Ramadan and weave in the story of  Amna bint Wahb, the mother of the Prophet.

Sunday, May 16 at 10:00am
CUC National Conference Sunday Service
‘Sustaining Our Light’ - a Multigenerational Worship Service 

Presented by Rev Meghann Robern (Winnipeg) & Kathryn Childs (DRE Montreal) Music with Suzanne Maziarz (Music Director, Neighbourhood Toronto) 

Now, more than ever, we need to be grounded in connection, in hope, and in love. As the cycles of the seasons teach us the gifts of the dark as well as the light, we still need energy - a spark - to fuel living into our aspirations and values, no matter the season, the struggle, or the celebration. This Sunday service will celebrate how our UU faith and our connections are crucial to sustaining and amplifying that spark.

After the national service, there will be a social time for our congregation at 11:30am focusing on our Joys and Concerns. 
Facilitated by Rev Debra Thorne


Sunday, May 23
Lux Eterna
Presented by Peter Scales


The Covid-19 pandemic and Canada's isolation response caused all religious organizations to close their physical services. Some groups were ready for the change because they had already been broadcasting certain services. Other congregations struggled to reach out. Religious and community leaders know that their function is as much pastoral (caring for the people) as it is theological (spreading and reinforcing the core messages of the faith), so not only pulpit services but also coffee chats and social gatherings are shifting to online. Considering FUFON's May theme of "Theologically Alive," what do we want from our congregation in normal times, and how did that change in pandemic time?  How do we keep the chalice flame illuminated?

A lifelong learner, Peter Scales is delighted that so many Canadian UU congregations successfully switched to Zoom last year, and is intrigued that some congregations grew in participation during the plague.
Peter is a member of Capital UU Congregation in Victoria.



Sunday, May 30
Getting to Yes!
Presented by Rev Debra Thorne


To get to new knowledge, we enter a space where we have never been before. A space unencumbered by preconceived notions of right and wrong, and free of expectations that bind and limit opportunities. We can get to that space using the creative technique called ‘improvisation’. And at the heart of all good improv is the sacred ‘yes’. There is nothing more exciting nor scarier than acting on the pure impulse of ‘Yes!’ There are no nets to catch you. There is only the juiciness of your creatively curious, fully alive, self. I call this a theology of ‘Yes’.
BOARD BITZ
Much Deserved Recognition
Updated Job Description and Raise (and flowers) for Lise

For our principles to be more than just words, we need to put them into practice. How we manage and compensate our staff is a reflection of our values, so, as a Unitarian Universalist organization, it is incumbent upon us to strive to be an ethical employer.

With that in mind, one of the first tasks undertaken by the newly formed Human Resources Committee was to do a complete review of the Office Administrator’s job description and salary. The job description was updated to reflect expanded responsibilities taken on over the years, in particular in this past year since the retirement of our Financial Officer, John Soer.

The HR Committee then looked at the rate of pay of similar positions elsewhere, factored in Lise’s 7 years of experience as our Office Administer, and the central role she plays in so many facets of our organization, and recommended a substantial raise (at the top end of the salary range for similar positions) retroactive to October 1, 2020 (when John retired). The Board approved the retroactive raise. 

We are so fortunate to have someone with Lise’s dedication and heart at the hub of our organization. Her devotion to this Fellowship, and her concern for the welfare and well-being of all who are impacted by her work, are felt by everyone with whom she interacts. 

It is fitting that her compensation now more closely reflects her value to our Fellowship. 


        
Lise receives flowers from Ruth on behalf of the Board
           to show appreciation for all that she does for our Fellowship.   Photo by Zale Dalen
SUNDAY SERVICES COMMITTEE
A Different Summer Experience at FUFON
 
The Sunday Services Committee has been working hard to bring you high quality Sunday Services throughout this last challenging year. We hope you agree that our Sunday Services have nurtured you spiritually and held us faithfully together in this difficult time. We are somewhat confident that we are meeting your needs for connection, as our attendance numbers have remained strong and consistent since we moved online. 

It has taken extra effort, learning new skills and adapting to new technologies this year, to provide the services and the Committee is recommending something not done before at FUFON. We are recommending, for the health and well-being of everyone, that this be a fallow summer, a time to pause our Sunday Services. The Committee will use this time to restore energy and creative resources.  

We realize that Sunday Services are the connection point for members. In lieu of Sunday Services, we recommend that there be a variety of opportunities to connect with each other. We hope that there will be opportunities to meet out doors for social distanced picnics. We are also considering a weekly social connect, such as a time for Joys and Concerns. We will provide you a list of congregations offering worship services from across Canada so that you can join with Unitarian Universalists through July and August to reflect, sing and connect. And finally, the Connection Callers Team will continue to reach out to you by phone. 

 
We thank you for understanding and for supporting this temporary change.  
We hope your summer is a time for rest and renewal. 

The Sunday Services Committee and Rev Debra
COMMUNICATIONS
What are your friends at FUFON doing?
 
Would you like to know what your friends at FUFON are up to, or what their interests are? Would you like to share a special moment or what has made your day?
 

Join our private Facebook page. Here is How:
On Facebook enter ‘
FUFON FB Members’ in the search bar (the one with the little magnifying glass) and when it pops up, click on it.
 
You will see a blue bar across the top of the page showing the option ‘Join Group’. Click on that and your request to join will go to the administrator who will welcome you to the group.
 
The posts on this page cannot be shared publicly and anything you say in comments or reactions remains in the group. The ‘Best Practices’ for the group can be viewed under ‘Files’.
 
We share pictures and quotes, sad happenings and happy ones, and we post all sorts of notices of events that might be of interest or need our attention and that haven’t made it into the Weekly Update, or this Newsletter.
 
You are welcome to join the discussions.

STRATEGIC PLANNING
The Strategic Plan is coming!
(Or the Plan's plan)

The Strategic Planning Steering Committee (SPSC) has received feedback from committees and staff on a draft of the Strategic Plan. The plan is being revised and reworked in light of the feedback. The SPSC is hoping to have this revised version of the plan in the hands of Fellowship members and friends around May 3 or 4.

A Question & Answer session about the plan has been scheduled for May 9.

Strategic Plan: Q & A Session
Time: May 9, 2021  1:00 PM 

If all goes well, the June 13 General Meeting will include a vote on the acceptance of the Strategic Plan.
CHILDREN'S RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
It’s difficult to imagine that we are already well into the second quarter of 2021. I used to think change was exhausting but the last year has shown me how exhausting staying the same can be! Those of us involved in the Children’s Religious Education program continue to stay open to new ideas while being realistic and honest with ourselves when it comes to our planning and our expectations of children and families.

This is especially true now that spring is here and the sun is shining and there finally seems to be more wonder outside to explore, even in our own back gardens. It is a relief and a joy. The young folks who were available a couple of weeks ago contributed to a short Earth Day video for Sunday Service. It was a way for the congregation to see our children after such a long absence from sharing Sundays in the church.

Everyone will also get to see a little of our wild doodling conversations from meet-up, where we often create something together as we chat, and in this case, we made some transition titles for our Earth Day clip. As usual, our young folks are funny, clever and willing to indulge us by talking about what they love about spring and the great outdoors.


Sibyl Birrell
Children's Religious Educator
UNITARIAN SHELTER
Is it just me, or does it seem like the homeless situation is growing so much more desperate? Picture these images: First responders and RCMP surrounding an older aboriginal man in a wheelchair, a man shaking his fist in the air and screaming while camped on the E and N trail with his two shopping carts and tarps strung up, sleeping bodies stretched out in any number of green spaces throughout the community … these are sights I see on my daily travels. I'm betting that the images are not hard to conjure because I know that we all witness similar sights every day as we go about our day. It is no secret that the vast majority of these folks suffer from severe and persistent mental illnesses, addictions and have experienced major trauma, abuse and poverty in their lives. Why does society say it is okay for this highly vulnerable population to be left to fend for themselves and not to be provided with the basic necessities of life?

The response of the government to the pandemic has clearly demonstrated that there is money to be begged, borrowed or stolen to bail out major corporations, help out the middle-class working population and shell out cash to small business to help cope with the economic outfall of the health crisis. Don't get me wrong, it is right for government to attempt to stimulate the economy, enable people to pay their rent and survive and help keep small businesses afloat during these difficult times. What isn't right is to allow the homeless situation and opioid crisis to snowball into such a desperate mess, culminating in misery and death for so many souls. 

My message to the government is to get busy and create a task force for both of these issues and invest the money that is required to provide the solutions that we all know exist. I guess I was naive enough in the past to think that the cash just didn't exist. Seeing the billions that have been shelled out to save the economy have led me to believe otherwise. It has to be a question of priorities and just plain easier to give lip service to these problems, letting those who cannot care for themselves live and die in misery. I hate being a part of society that allows this to happen.

I also hate how it's been turned into an us and them situation. If you are ever hard up for reading material and pick up a Times Colonist, you will read about the anger and disgust of Victorians seeing their parks being destroyed by people trying to find a place to exist. The same story is duplicated in small or big city North America anywhere you choose to look. There is no one that is right or wrong here; what is wrong is those elected to govern our society are allowing this travesty to carry on and spiral out of control.

Finland found a solution to manage homelessness effectively and that was to provide people with a place to live! It is the only European country whose homeless numbers are increasingly falling and practices the model of Housing First, a concept well known in this side of the world, but utilized very minimally. Canadians have the heart and we are very capable of building our own Housing First structure. Let's get on with that necessary work!


Debra Librock
Unitarian Shelter Advisory Committee Chair
Unitarian Shelter     595 Townsite Road     (250) 754-3720
 
The answering machine is checked daily for messages and calls are answered as possible depending on staff and client needs. 

Shelter Facebook page: 
facebook.com/unitarianshelter/                
Contact the Outreach Program c/o
shelter@ufon.ca or 250-758-1601
COVENANT OF RIGHT RELATIONS

In creating the beloved community here at FUFON,
we remember that relationships are more important than the issues

We, the members and friends of FUFON, commit to:

a) consider our personal responsibility in the community
b) come from a place of compassion and integrity in our communications with others
c) work to uplift congregational life
d) be mindful of the breadth of diversity in our congregation
e) engage in conflict respectfully

HAVE SOMETHING FOR THE NEWSLETTER?

Deadline for submissions is the 15th of the month
Next publication date: May 28th
Contact the newsletter editor at news@ufon.ca


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First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo
First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo
250.755.1215 or email us at info@ufon.ca        595 Townsite Rd. Nanaimo BC, V9S 1K9 



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