From September to June we use monthly themes to help us explore new ideas and new ways of being. Themes show up in some (not all) of the services in a given month, in second hour programming, workshops, and social events. Themes provide a common thread and the monthly theme question even gives us a handy starter for conversations!
For those who like to explore on their own, or in a small group, there is Explorations, the monthly compendium of resources connected to the theme, including a column from our minister or a guest writer. To sign up for the monthly theme packet, click here and scroll down to the bottom right hand corner of the page.
The next ten months, in themes
We begin in September with Welcome. Welcome back. Or maybe just ‘welcome’ to this community! What does it mean to truly welcome someone, or be welcomed? As a society, how are we Canadians doing at welcoming newcomers?
In October, we consider Courage. Courage is the ability to do something that scares us, or to be strong in the face of pain or grief. What does this really look like? What does it require of us? When we look at some of our social and environmental justice challenges, how could courage make a difference? How can we encourage one another to be courageous?
Having bolstered our courage, next we tackle one of the most controversial of all topics – Power. What is it? Who has it, who doesn’t have it, and why? How are we affected by power differentials? Are there Unitarian approaches to power? Expect to hear many questions, and many perspectives, from Niccolò Machiavelli to Judith Butler to the members and friends of this congregation.
Then in December, as the days get shorter and holiday spices fill the air, we turn to Mystery, and mystics from a variety of religious and secular traditions. We will explore alongside those who believe that there is an essence or quality of being that connects all things, and that language is woefully inadequate to describe this experience—which won’t, of course, stop us from trying to describe it!
January brings a new year, and Intention helps us to sharpen our focus, whether the topic is living a life of intention, living in intentional communities, or simply trying to distinguish intention from impact.
It’s February. The wind is blowing, the snow is deep, but some intrepid and organized gardeners are planting tomato seeds in their basements. Hallelujah! Renewal reminds us that life will bloom again! Followed by March, the month of equinox, which swings us into an exploration of Balance. From balancing sides of an issue, to creating a good balance of service topics, to chasing balance in our personal lives, there are many approaches to attaining this often-elusive state.
April often brings the first visible signs of spring and Emergence is our theme. From birds flocking to fish schooling, scientists have been surprised to discover that the behavior of the collective is often quite different than that of the constituent parts, whether we are taking about atoms or human beings: “We call this resulting behavior emergent. Emergence thus refers to collective phenomena or behaviors in complex adaptive systems that are not present in their individual parts.” (David Pines).
May flowers with Creativity. How can we bring more creativity to our problem solving, whether we are looking at personal issues or large-scale political and cultural challenges such as environmental sustainability? This theme should really be titled “creativity, part two” as it is the second time we’ve used it. We had so many ideas the first time, we could only use a small fraction of them, so we are excited to see what will bubble up this round!
In June we celebrate pride, walk for reconciliation, and honour our high school graduates. What better time to explore Blessing, and the experience of being blessed?
If one of these themes sparks an idea for a service topic, guest speaker, a second hour conversation, a song, or any other kind of workshop or event, we want to hear from you!
Kyla Huckerby and Liz James, Co-chairs, Sunday Services Committee
Kathryn Green, Song Leader
Karen Fraser Gitlitz, Minister