The Chalice – March 2023

From the Board - Preparing for Spring

At home, I’ve been dusting off my gardening tools, getting our car ready for summer-time driving, and planning where to go once the nice weather arrives. And at the UFL, our committees are gearing up for the reopening of normal services, including making children a part of our Sunday services.

Along with that, the UFL Board has opted to reduce some of the COVID restrictions we’ve had in place since last year. This should happen in April, and when we can open our doors to admit outside air, we should be able to breathe easier. Attendees can still wear face masks if desired, and we may impose some restrictions around singing aloud. I hope you’ll welcome these changes, join us in person, and greet each other with big smiles.

Our Worship Weavers committee is meeting regularly to plan interesting and challenging Sunday services, complete with a selection of informative guest speakers. Summing up the goal of spiritual development is hard to define, because everyone has different needs and we grow at different rates. Your participation, especially if you’d like to speak about your spiritual journey, would be fantastic. How have you grown? What are your plans for this summer, now that we seem to be moving on from the worst of the pandemic?

Our theme this month is Renewal, and we’ll also celebrate the conclusion of our annual pledge campaign with what I expect will be good news. I hope with the coming of spring that you will feel renewed, come on out to the UFL and share your experiences of renewal.

Best wishes from Brian Keith, Board President

Director of Congregational Life

Here we are with Spring around the corner, although you wouldn’t know it with the amount of snowfall we have had of late.

We are seeing a lot of new faces, both online, and in person at the UFL. Just to note we have had positive comments from two guests saying what a welcoming place the UFL is. Great job….all of you for creating such an open, loving environment.

For Adult RE I am thinking about facilitating a reading of a book called How We Grieve: Relearning the World. This is a book recommended and read in the Death and Dying course I took last semester. Let me know if you would be interested. We would meet in person to review the book and have discussion. I am not an expert, so this would be a group effort to work through some of the ideas presented.

As well as of April 1st the children will be back! We will welcome them and their parents to the sanctuary for the beginning of services and start doing A Time for All ages. Many thanks to Ann Klinck who has been doing the program with our 6 little ones since we reopened for covid.

Also many thanks to my new IT partner, Raghul who has stepped up to help out at the services. He knows more than me from the get go, but I will be away on March 26 (first time in 3 years!) as I am attending a family function. Raghul has agreed to take the helm that day to set up zoom and forward slides.

We had an end of life doula, Jayne Dill, speak to us last week and I was asked to publish the closing words/meditation from the book A Spiritual Becoming, by Kayla Parker

We are all dying, our lives always moving -toward completion.
We need to learn to live with death, and to understand that death is not the worst of all events. We need to fear not death, but life— empty lives, loveless lives,
lives that do not build upon the gifts that each of us has been given, lives that are like living deaths, lives which we never take the time to savor and appreciate, lives in which we never pause to breathe deeply.
What we need to fear is not death, but squandering the lives we have been miraculously given.
So let me die laughing, savoring one of life’s crazy moments. Let me die holding the hand of one I love, and recalling that I tried to love and was loved in return. Let me die remembering that life has been good, and that I did what I could. But today, just remind me that I am dying so that I can live, savor, and love with all my heart.

That is my wish for each of you, family, and friends, that you die laughing, holding the hand of those you love!

Stewardship Campaign

My name is Christine Kelsey , and I am speaking as a member the 2023 Stewardship Campaign Committee. We are entering the final week of the campaign. You have heard from other members of the committee, Kat Proctor, Linda Lincoln, Judith Warren, and Ann Klink, on previous Sundays this month. Many of you have already returned your pledge sheets, and we thank you. Please contact a member of the committee if you have any questions about the pledging procedure.

Our theme this year was borrowed from a letter sent to the congregation from our former minister, Reverend Peter Boullata. He said that “This Congregation Exists for a Reason”. We all have our own story about what first attracted us to the UFL, and what continues to nurture us. I started attending the UFL in the 1980s, when my children were young. Like many UFLers, I wanted to find a place where they could explore different beliefs, and feel safe and comfortable within a community. In retrospect, I realize that I wanted to challenge their minds, nourish their spirits, and help them develop into people who could act in the world. The UFL remains very important to me, as a home for liberal religion in London, and as a place where I find friendships, stimulation, and of course, occasional challenges.

Our congregation has had many shared experiences over the years. We are all enriched by being in relationship with people with different beliefs, different traditions, and different life experiences. We all contribute to the future of this congregation, with our time, our talents, and our treasure.

Every February, we start to set the budget and goals for the coming year. This process is helped by having an idea of how much money we will have available. One major expense is, typically of any organization, our staff expenses. Our DRE Lori Turner Otte and our office manager Patricia Daly, contribute enormously with their outstanding energy, skills, and dedication. So Let’s all work together to ensure that the next generations of London UFLers will be able to say to each other “yes, this community, this congregation, exists for a reason”. Please pledge as generously as you are able.

Following the morning service on Sunday, March 5, we will celebrate our shared generosity with yummy cupcakes. Please join us!

On Renwal

Cherry blossoms against the sky

To renew our spiritual energies we can find inspiration from various activities.  But first, make an effort with conscious intention to discover and awaken  inspiration from within and throw off the doldrums.

The Desiderata, famous advice from an anonymous monk, advises:

“Go placidly amid the noise and haste, remember what peace there can be in silence.  As far as possible be on good terms with all persons.  Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.  Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.  If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself…  Keep interested in your own career, however humble , it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time…..Many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.  Be yourself…Do not feign affection.  Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass….Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.  But do not distress yourself with imaginings.  Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness….You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.  And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should….In the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.  With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.  Be careful.  Strive to be happy.”   

May these words be a guide to help us renew our energies and enthusiasms in life.

March Sunday Services

Black and white photo of sufferagettes

Women in Leadership: Progress, Challenges and Opportunities

Worship Leader: Alison Konrad

March 8 is International Women’s Day, but still, in March, 2022, there were more Canadian CEOs named Michael (7) and Mark (6) than female CEOs (5). Women now hold 26% of board seats among all TSX-listed companies, a number that has slowly increased over the years. Finance scholars have generated over 100 rigorous longitudinal studies examining what happens when boards become gender-diverse, as well as a dozen studies of the impact of race/ethnic diversity on boards. Findings are fascinating and suggest new opportunities for enhancing Canadian innovation, ecological responsibility, and employee well-being.

05 Mar
10:45 am - 11:45 am
Unitarian Fellowship of London
557 Clarke Road,London, ON N5V 2E1
white sheep in a green field

Spiritual Renewal

Worship Leader: Lori Otte

Asking some difficult questions of ourselves in an effort to redefine our lives. I will be using the book by Rebekah Lyons called “Rhythm of Renewal”

19 Mar
10:45 am - 11:45 am
Unitarian Fellowship of London
557 Clarke Road,London, ON N5V 2E1
group of red pawns next to single black pawn

Leadership: Ministry in Community

Worship Leaders: Judith Warren and Bill Ratcliffe

As Unitarian Universalists we are all called to be leaders. Every year we elect a Board of Trustees to balance carrying out our Mission with the everyday nuts and bolts of running a Congregation. Like other Congregational roles, Board membership is grounded in the same UU values and anchored by the Covenant of Right Relations.

Dialoguing Questions:
1. Is leadership affected by the relationship between the leader and the followers?
2. How has having been a leader changed you?
3. Have you been changed by a leader? How?
4. What propels people out of their comfort zone and into leadership?

26 Mar
10:45 am - 11:45 am
Unitarian Fellowship of London
557 Clarke Road,London, ON N5V 2E1
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