“Happy Endings” in Magog and North Hatley

How to end one’s life well depends on a number of things. Five key factors are featured in a series of weekly workshops called “Happy Endings” coming to Magog and North Hatley, starting next week.

The two series are organized by UUEstrie, as was a pilot series last year in Lennoxville. The workshops in Magog are in partnership with the Memphremagog Community Learning Centre, and are on Wednesdays. The ones in North Hatley are on Fridays. In both places, the sessions are from 10 a.m. to noon, and all are in English. They are free of charge, with a donation of $2 suggested for refreshments. All are welcome.

“We believe that all life is sacred, in its beginnings, in its living and loving, and in its endings,” said UUEstrie’s minister, Rev. Carole Martignacco. “The series is about the aspect of life that we call endings. We give so much attention to the rest of life, yet we don’t take time to consider how to exit this world well.”

Rev. Carole Martignacco“Last Words: How to plan your own memorial or celebration of life” is a workshop by Rev. Martignacco herself. She has developed an expertise in personalized ceremonies, and she gives participants a guide to designing memorials that leave a legacy of personal values. Last Words is the first session in Magog, on Wednesday, April 27, and the second topic in North Hatley, on Friday, May 6.

Me. Tim Leonard “Wills, Living Wills, and End-of-Life Legal issues” is the first topic in North Hatley, on Friday, April 29, and the second one in Magog, on Wednesday, May 4. The speaker is Me. Tim Leonard, a notary in Sherbrooke. He will speak and answer questions about legal issues pertaining to the end of life, such as do-not-resuscitate orders, incapacity mandates, and others.

 

StephanElkas photo 009 cropped“Green Burials and Home & Family-centred Funerals” is the title of a talk by funeral director Stephan Elkas of the Steve L. Elkas Funeral Home in Sherbrooke. He will focus on environmentally friendly, alternative burial options that are locally available. This includes a new method, Alkaline hydrolysis (also called biocremation, aquamation and/or resomation). Elkas will be speaking on May 11 in Magog, and on May 13 in North Hatley.

How to Die COVER“How to Die in Oregon” is an award-winning documentary film about persons having recourse to the “assisted dying” law in Oregon. Various viewpoints and experiences are explored in the film. After viewing it, participants will learn how the law in Oregon compares to Quebec’s assisted dying law, and the potential Canadian law. This session is planned for May 18 in Magog, and May 20 in North Hatley.

Photo - Alain Lévesque small“Bequests: How to give to your favourite charity AND leave all your money to your children” is the topic of the final session, on May 25 in Magog, and May 27 in North Hatley. It will be led by Alain Lévesque, financial advisor, who will explain how to maximize giving to your favourite charity without reducing your estate too much. He is expert at simplifying financial concepts, and will offer participants his most recent booklet on bequests.

In Magog, all the workshops are at the Memphremagog Community Learning Centre, Princess Elizabeth School, 120 Bellevue. Participants are asked to enter by Door 3 from the parking lot, and to press the CLC Room buzzer. Please pre-register by phoning 819-238-1254 or 819-842-4146, or emailing info@uuestrie.ca.

In North Hatley, all the workshops are at UUEstrie, 201 Main Street, in Stoddard Hall (lower level). Please pre-register by phoning 819-842-4146 or emailing info@uuestrie.ca. UUEstrie is the home base of the Unitarian Universalist Community in North Hatley. For more information, see www.uuestrie.ca, the Facebook page UU Estrie, or call 819-842-4146.

We are grateful to the Canadian Unitarian Council for their support for this series, through the Sharing Our Faith grant.

  • Rachel Garber

 

Soup for Syria – this Sunday at UUEstrie

Maybe it’s the alliteration, or maybe it’s that soup is such a comfort food worldwide, but “Soup for Syria” has become a movement across Canada. From the Salvation Army to the Soup Sisters, from Calgary to Ottawa, groups are putting on soup-a-thons for the support of Syrian refugees. Sometimes they cook up more than 5,000 servings at a time.

On a much smaller scale, in a much smaller place, UUEstrie is planning a Soup for Syria fundraiser in North Hatley. It’s on Sunday, April 24, at 12:30 p.m. Volunteers are making several different sorts of soup, along with bread and desserts. For a donation of $5, all are welcome to come and have a hearty bowl.

“All proceeds will go to help local efforts to bring refugees home to the Townships to live in safety, free from fear,” said Rev. Carole Martignacco, UUEstrie’s pastor.

She was inspired by a cookbook called Soup for Syria. “Even before we tried the recipes, our hearts were warmed by photos of refugees of all ages, accompanied by quotes by contributing chefs,” she said. “Soup is a common meal for the human family around the globe. Come share a heartwarming meal.”

UUEstrie is the Unitarian Universalist Community at 201 Main Street in North Hatley. The Soup for Syria lunch will be in the Stoddard Hall, on the lower level. It follows the Earth Day service at 10:30 a.m. All are welcome. For information, visit www.uuestrie.ca or the Facebook page UU Estrie, or call 819-842-4146.

  • Rachel Garber

The Bell Tolls for Thee – 400 times

“No man is an island, 400Bellringers 2014-04entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main….any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

The poet John Donne penned those famous lines in a meditation in December 1623. They speak of the interconnectedness of all beings, an idea that has more force today than ever before. As the effects of global warming slam into us, we are finally becoming aware that our “continent” earth is in danger. And so are we all.

For the first time, three years ago our earth’s atmosphere measured 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide, and it still does today, on average.

Carbon dioxide is the main pollutant that causes global warming. Before the industrial age, carbon dioxide levels averaged 275 ppm. Researchers have calculated that the safe level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is 350 ppm or less. They say more than that “is not compatible with life on earth.” That’s a bell tolling for all of us.

Carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere 100 years. The solution is a slow one. It involves reducing our reliance on fossil fuels now.

To raise awareness of our collective predicament and the need for action, UUEstrie is marking Earth Day on Friday, April 22, at 11 a.m., by ringing the church bell 400 times.

Persons who would like to participate in this annual ritual are welcome to gather at UUEstrie’s bell tower on the upper level of the church, on Gagnon Street in North Hatley, just off 201 Main Street. Come a few minutes early for coffee and to get organized for the ringing.

Earth Day is also the topic for the Sunday service, April 24, at 10:30 a.m., at UUEstrie, the Unitarian Universalist Community in North Hatley. For more information, see www.uuestrie.ca, the Facebook page UU Estrie, or call 819-842-4146.

  • Rachel Garber

The Poetry of Nature

Treehugger SteveHow seldom do we pause to get inside the skin of our natural surroundings, and let nature into our hearts! Oh, the power of a tree to still the mind. And the power of a poem to awaken it in a new realm.

We are delighted to offer readings by two poets on the theme of Nature, this February and March 2016.

Angela Leuck revealed the world of Haiku to us on February 28, and gave a reading of her Haiku poems about nature. Her title was “Time Out for the Rainbow: Appreciating Nature through Haiku.”

And Steve Luxton is giving us a reading of his poems, “The Poetry of Nature: From the Bible to Ecopoetics.” on March 20 at 10:30 a.m. (Yes, that’s Treehugger Steve in the photo above.)

Both readings are at UUEstrie, 201 Main St., North Hatley, in the lower level, Stoddard Hall. They are in English. Admission is open – all are welcome. Refreshments follow.

Both Angela and Steve are published authors, with long and distinguished paths in the world of poetry. We are honoured by their gifts to our community.

We gratefully acknowledge the financial assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013-2018 Education, Immigration, Communities, and the Quebec Writers’ Federation, which offered honoraria to the two writers.

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Remembering Nancy Pacaud

REMEMBERING NANCY PACAUD

Nancy Pacaud recently passed away. She was one of the pillers of the Unitarian Universalist Church of North Hatley for many years. Her contributions were many and varied, both in time, attention and financially. In a sense, UUEstrie is a living memorial to her. We remember her with gratitude, and with sincere sympathy for her family and many friends. She is sorely missed!

Here are two photos of her at the May Pole Dance on May Day, 2009, at UUEstrie.

MayPole 2009-05-03 NancyPacaud2
MayPole 2009-05-03 NancyPacaud

Pervasive Surveillance and other CUC Resolutions

Be it resolved…?

Two UU work groups are proposing resolutions for possible adoption at the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) AGM in Montreal in May.

Peace in Israel-Palestine. The first resolution concerns the tangled conflict in Israel-Palestine. It asks that CUC member congregations study the history of the conflict, and the present conditions in Israel. It asks that the CUC provide resource materials and persons to help in this process. And it asks that, at the 2015 AGM, member congregations be prepared to decide if Social Justice action on this matter is needed.

 We already began this study with two recent services. The most recent was on March 23, when Jerzy Przytyk presented a video by an Israeli soldier entitled “Soldier’s Diary.” Jerzy suggested the best way to intervene is to support Israeli and Palestinian groups who are working for peace. The discussion has just begun!

 For more information, visit http://cuc.ca/acm-2014/annual-meeting/

Pervasive Surveillance. The second resolution is new and urgent. It responds to information that became public in January – that the Canadian government believes that it has the right to engage in wholesale collection of “metadata” about telephone and Internet communications of Canadians. The promoters of the resolution say this is an attack on our basic freedoms, and one which should be challenged by UUs.

The resolution asks CUC member congregations to call on the government of Canada (1) to report on all pervasive surveillance programs that have been carried out by government agencies over the past five years; (2) to assign the authority to oversee surveillance activities undertaken by the government to an agency that is responsible directly to Parliament, not to the Cabinet; (3) to make it unlawful for the government to engage in pervasive surveillance, including the routine mass collection or storage of its citizens’ communications, movements, or metadata; (4) and to recommend that the individual members of CUC member congregations write their elected representatives to express concern about pervasive surveillance and their support for the changes outlined above.

 Any members of CUC congregations who support the resolution are invited to formally join the group of “proposers.” To do this, contact Jack Dodds by email <brmdamon@hushmail.com> or telephone 905-727-4097. For more information, visit http://firstunitariantoronto.org/component/content/article/97-social-justice/514-pervasive-surveillance-resolution .

New Mission and Vision Statements. The CUC board of directors also sent us a discussion paper about the CUC’s new vision and mission. Many religious denominations have seen declining numbers. This includes Unitarian Universalists, although the decline is not as sharp as for some other groups. The question is this: What would it mean for us to be a truly transformative religion for the times in which we live? For more information, visit www.cuc.ca .

CUC Board Nominations – Congratulations, Jaime!

The CUC Nominating Committee has proposed three nominees for the Board of Trustees of the CUC. For the Eastern region, our very own Jaime Dunton. For the Central region, Lorna Weigand of Don Heights. For British Columbia, Kristina Stevens of Victoria (second term). They join five other board members whose 3-year terms are in progress.

Further nominations (by April 16), questions and comments may be directed to the Chair of the Nominating Committee, Bunty Albert, at nominations@cuc.ca. Details are on the Governance page of www.cuc.ca.

Christmas pageant – Home Sweet Home

The Unitarian Universalist Meeting House (UUEstrie) in North Hatley was bursting at the seams on Sunday evening, December 4,  for a pageant/play, “Dulce Domum – Home Sweet Home,” featuring the children of UUEstrie community. The play, starring Rat and Mole and the Spirit of Christmas, was taken from the book, The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame. Lindsay-Jane Gowman narrated the story. The photo shows Mole and Rat surrounded by a choir of field mice, in Mole’s Home Sweet Home. Glorious music rounded out the evening, starring Les Chants de la Terre, an a capella choir that specializes in Christmas songs, led by Françoise Miousse. The festive wood-panelled sanctuary was filled with people of all ages. The event ended with a turkey potluck supper (turkey provided), an annual tradition at UUEstrie.