December 2019 Newsletter

              All are Welcome to Our
       Upcoming Sunday Services

Services start at 11:00am
Special Christmas Eve service at 4:00pm
                 Service Details & Presenters Are Below

December 1
Sermon on the Mount 
Presented by Peter Scales

December 8
Gifts of Grief 
Presented by Ardith Finnamore 

December 15
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Presented by the youth, the FUFONics, and all who need a little Christmas joy

December 22
The Oak King and the Ivy King - a Unitarian Solstice Service
Presented by Rev. Debra Thorne

December 24 - A Christmas Eve Service at 4pm
The Gifts of Peace
Presented by Rev. Debra Thorne 

December 29
Mirthful Musings and Music for a Winter’s Day 
Presented by Debbie (the Devious) Goodman & Tony (the Troublemaker) Turner 
December 8        Holiday Bake Sale           12:00-2:00pm

December 24      Christmas Eve Service   4:00pm         
This time of year as the days get cooler and the rains come and the darkness deepens, I am reminded  of  times in my life that were similar although I lived in different parts of the world.  Times that held a deep quiet, a deep peace.  I remember being in Scotland, decades back, whose weather and temperatures are similar to here on the island.  In particular I remember being on the west islands off the coast, the islands of Iona and Erraid where the winds blow constantly and the cold seeps under the door and lingers over the floors. Only a strong peat fire can push the coldness back.  Despite or maybe because of the elements, there is something special in the ‘feel’ of these places.   I am not the only one who calls the special quality ‘deep peace’.  Like the cold, this deep peace seeps out of the earth, it emanates out of the stone walls of the buildings, it seems to hover in the very air one breaths.  It is an earthy peace. A peace that pulls you into itself, that wraps you round like a thick warm comforter. It quietens the rushing thoughts. It soothes the worry. It gently holds the grieving heart.  There is no doubt that it is a very real thing, this deep peace, because you can feel it, because it changes you.   In my memory as I write these words, I can touch again, (or is it me being touched?) by this deep peace. 

In this season of light and celebration, I wish for you the experience of this deep peace. For it is here on this west coast too; in the earth, in the fir and cedar forests and in the quiet of the dark night.  May the deep peace of the season wind its arms around you. May you be well.  

Warmly, Rev Debra Thorne

Gaelic Blessing (secular version)
Deep peace of the running waves to you,
Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
May the road rise to meet you;
May the wind be always at your back;
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
May the rain fall softly on your fields.
Until we meet again,
May Nature hold you in the hollow of her hand.
December 1
Sermon on the Mount 
Presented by Peter Scales

After a few years of healing the sick, Jesus Christ gave an extended speech to his followers about how to live in accordance with Jewish law.  The speech includes the Beatitudes including "Blessed are the poor in spirit," and the Lord's Prayer.  Some people call it “a gospel within the Gospel,” and it is part of the historical sources of Unitarian-Universalism.  Is there anything in the Sermon on the Mount that could apply to our lives in 2020?

Peter is a BC historian whose most recent project centred on interviewing 23 retired clerics (Unitarian; United; Lutheran; Anglican; Catholic; Baptist; Jewish) about their careers in ministry.

December 8
Gifts of Grief 
Presented by Ardith Finnamore 

The holiday season can be particularly challenging for those who have experienced loss. Ardith's talk will offer survival tips to help with grief during the holidays. She will discuss post-traumatic growth and unwrap the present moment with you. Post-traumatic growth (PTG) is a theory that explains transformation following trauma, which can include the death of a loved one. Please join Ardith to explore the potential for self-growth and develop strategies to care for yourself this season.

Ardith Finnamore has been working with Nanaimo Community Hospice since her arrival from New Brunswick two years ago. She is a master’s student in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on ageing, death, and dementia. Currently she is the Coordinator of Program Services at Nanaimo Community Hospice.

December 15
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Presented by the youth, the FUFONics, and all who need a little Christmas joy

What happens when your heart is two sizes too small? Dr. Seuss’s tale ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ comes alive today with the help of our very talented children and youth. There is a part for everyone in our village of Whoville, the young and the old, the tall and the small, to raise our voices and sing, “Fah who foraze! Dah who doraze! Welcome Christmas, Christmas Day!” 

A Christmas celebration for the whole family, presented by the children and youth of the fellowship, the FUFONics, and all who need a little Christmas joy. Please wear bright colours today. 

December 22
The Oak King and the Ivy King - a Unitarian Solstice Service 
Presented by Rev. Debra Thorne

In this modern environmental Solstice story, two brothers, the Oak King and the Ivy King, struggle against each other to control their territories of light and darkness. The Oak King, emboldened with human support, grows in power until the world becomes filled with constant light and the darkness is forgotten.  The brothers realize that the whole world will perish if they do not find another way to wield power. 

December 24 - A Christmas Eve Service at 4pm
The Gifts of Peace
Presented by Rev. Debra Thorne 

With story, poetry and carols, with music and candle light we celebrate the birth of Jesus, who brings into our world the Gifts of Peace.  Before the service there will be warm apple cider, cookies and carol singing. At the conclusion of this candle light service, you will be invited to leave quietly taking hearts filled with peace into the gentle dark Christmas evening.

December 29
Mirthful Musings and Music for a Winter’s Day 
Presented by Debbie (the Devious) Goodman & Tony (the Troublemaker) Turner

As we have done for the last 10 years (!), we will mark the last Sunday of the calendar year with light-hearted music and reflections to ease us into the coming year. Join us for an hour of respite to help you forget your holiday stresses, embrace your annual weight gain, and abandon your New Year's resolutions in advance.

At the October board meeting the subject of the renovation, which started 18 months ago, came up and the board agreed that completing the final stages of it is a priority.  It’s  been difficult for staff and volunteers to work in the ongoing construction for such a long time.

While Katherine Ball, paid contract help and volunteers pursued an ambitious construction schedule over the summer with a view to end of summer completion, unfortunately there are some construction bits to finish and lots of stuff still needs to find a home.  The Hall is looking great and Rev. Debra’s office is finished but there are other rooms that need to be either finished or reorganized.

At the board meeting our newest board member, Sharon Reeves, volunteered to be the point person for coordination of finding an appropriate place for all the “stuff” that’s still floating around the building.  To that end she’ll be spending more time in the building and she may be looking for volunteers to do various tasks.  In the interests of overall coordination, if someone asks you to build/move something please check in with her first.  She will also coordinate with Katherine so that the construction and redistribution of the “stuff” can go hand in hand.

Here’s hoping that the work will be complete by the end of the year so she can move on to her work on the Policy Task Force.  Let’s look forward to a beautifully reorganized and refreshed environment!

The fall season has been a busy one at the shelter with a full house the majority of nights, resulting in many turn aways, due to no available beds. The situation may be alleviated somewhat when the Extreme Weather Shelter located in the basement of St. Peter’s Church opens up for the winter on December 1, 2019. It is clear that the homelessness situation in our city has not improved with the current housing crisis making a safe and affordable home unattainable for many residents.

On a more positive note, the outreach position for the pilot project has been posted, and we anticipate the start date of the project to be January 1, 2020.

Check FUFON’s Facebook page for more details about this job posting. The project will target individuals that have fallen through the cracks and attempt to connect them to community resources and services that will help improve quality of life. Ultimately, the project will help house individuals and assist them in maintaining their housing situation. We have received funding from the Nanaimo Foundation to provide a portion of the costs of this project, however, we are still seeking donations to cover costs for this exciting project. It is possible to do an e-transfer of funds if you are considering donating to this cause, with receipts for income tax purposes issued.

Warm Donations Welcomed
With the cold and wet weather upon us, we are as usual seeking donations of warm weather clothing for our shelter and shower guests, such as gloves, toques, socks and sweat pants. New or gently used items are appreciated.

In an effort to expand and improve the shelter experience for our guests, we now have a contract with Literacy Central Vancouver Island who will provide bi-weekly visits to the shelter from a Literacy Outreach Worker to provide informal activities and help assess and provide appropriate literacy supports to shelter guests.

All of us with the Shelter Committee would like to wish all FUFON members and friends a truly memorable holiday season and thank you for your continued support of the shelter throughout the past year.
Debra Librock
Unitarian Weather Shelter Committee Chairperson

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.

Informational Tea Appreciation

On November 3rd, the Membership Committee held a very successful Informational Tea. Our minister, Debra Thorne, gave an informative talk about Unitarianism. Ruth Anderson spoke about the board and the opportunities for involvement in our Fellowship. Members of the committee spoke about the history of our Fellowship, the weather shelter and the path to Membership.  Thank you to all. 

Inclement Weather Phone Tree 

The committee has up-dated our telephone tree so we can call everyone if inclement weather forces the cancelation of a service.  If you have not received a call by the end of November to check that you are on the list and that your phone number is correct, please let Lise know.
Found! A Fabulous Children’s Religious Educator!
We have a new Children’s Religious Educator!  Her name is Sibyl Birrell, and here she is!

Sibyl comes to us with an impressive list of credentials, including a MEd in religious education, and an extensive background in education as both teacher and school administrator. Originally from Calgary, she has recently returned to Canada after living in the UK for close to 20 years.
Sibyl is passionate about religious education and social justice, and says she was attracted to the position because of the Unitarian values of inclusion and community. She started teaching CRE classes in mid-November and has enjoyed meeting our intelligent, creative FUFON kids. In her spare time, Sibyl is renovating a house on Kennedy Street, where she lives with her 19-year-old son. Welcome Sibyl!
Many, many thanks to our hard-working CRE chair, Krista Whaley, who led the CRE classes in the interim, developing some wonderful in-class projects.
There may be a world premiere of one of them, a video on freedom using stop-motion animation and with an exciting plot featuring villains and heroes – stay tuned!
Our second Messy UU Church on Nov. 15th was also on the theme of freedom – the freedom to choose – and potatoes.

How creative is that?
We heard a story about them, had a soup with them, baked them and ate them, and made stamps with them that we used to decorate bags for the Christmas goodies we give to our shelter guests.

Kathryn Hazel
Children’s Religious Education Committee

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


Deadline for submissions is the 15th of the month
Next publication date is December 27th


At FUFON we create spiritual connection and
bring compassion, discovery and social justice to life.
First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo
First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo
FUFON uses Fair Trade coffee.
Our hall is wheelchair accessible through the front door.
We have a T Loop system for those persons having a T Loop switch.

250.755.1215 or email us at
Our mailing address is: 595 Townsite Rd. Nanaimo BC, V9S 1K9 

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