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SSUC Ministers’ Musings


Being Honest with our Children
This week, our community lost one of its key children’s program leaders. Micahel lived with a brain tumor for many years, managing the symptoms and functioning very well. Over the last couple of months, his reality changed and the tumor began to impact his movement and abilities. After Michael was no longer able to be present with the community and teach the children, it was important for us to address his illness and his absence with the children with whom he worked so closely. During our regular conversation time during our gathering, we took some time to acknowledge the difficult reality of Michael not returning to teach. I spoke words similar to the following: Today during our time on the carpet, we’re going to talk about someone very special. If you spent any time on this carpet, or in kidSPIRIT over the last 8 years or so, you know Michael.
Thank you, Michael
Michael O’Hea wins the kidSPIRIT VIP award as one of our most valued kidSPIRIT volunteers. Michael loves baseball, particularly the San Francisco Giants, and I know he’ll appreciate that a VIP award goes to someone without whom the successes and achievements we’ve made wouldn’t be possible. This is Michael. For more than 8 years, Michael has volunteered as a key leader in our children’s program. Michael always has energy and excitement for leading kidSPIRIT, volunteering for summer camps and helping wherever he could to share his joy and positive spirit with children. His passion for science and wanting to share how our universe works, his love of nature and his excitement to teach and share are contagious! I would often ask him if he wanted to take a week, a month, any time away from kidSPIRIT so he could participate differently in the gathering, and he would always say… ”kidSPIRIT
“Green Book” … Life on the Road
This is part of SSUC’s March Spiritual Gathering Series which seeks wisdom found in 2019 Oscar Nominated Films. Road trips are dangerous. It’s not just the weather or road conditions. It’s not just language or cultural barriers. It’s not just the risks of getting lost or running up against privilege, prejudice or the dangers of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Road trips should come with a caution label: travel at your own risk … you’ll never be the same again. That’s what happens in this movie to Dr. Don Shirley and Tony Vallelonga when they spend 2 months together on a road trip in 1962 mostly south of the Mason-Dixon line. Tony is a street-savvy, 3rd generation Italian American, born and raised in the Bronx. He is portrayed as earthy, quick tempered, profane speaking, a hardworking, family loving guy who bears the bigotry that characterizes his
Bao
This is part of SSUC’s March Spiritual Gathering Series which seeks wisdom found in 2019 Oscar nominated films.  Bao centres around a middle-aged Chinese woman living in Toronto. After her husband shoves three freshly-prepared bao (dumplings) into his face and heads out for the day, our protagonist watches as one remaining bao sprouts arms and legs and begins to burble like a baby. What follows is a chance for this woman to experience all the joys, fears, and sorrows of motherhood. As her child grows, gets hurt, learns new things, and eventually begins to rebel and try to fly the nest with his fiancée, his mother – in a last-ditch attempt at holding on to her dear child – devours him. While the experiences depicted may be specific to Chinese cultural nuances and intricacies, the themes are universal if, as viewers, we can step outside our own perspective. Our cultural
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
This is part of SSUC’s March Spiritual Gathering Series which seeks wisdom found in 2019 Oscar nominated films.  Bob Merrill and Jule Styne wrote a song for the 1964 Broadway musical Funny Girl that Barbara Streisand sang…and the first verse goes: People, people who need people Are the luckiest people in the world Where children needing other children And yet letting our grown-up pride Hide all the need inside Acting more like children than children To be human is to recognize that we need each other. And depending on who we are, our upbringing, our temperament, this is variously easy or difficult. I, for one, when I have a question about where to find something, recommendations about food or a service, or whatever…my first instinct is to research by myself and come up with an answer. I’m always shocked to learn that other people just put this need out there…on
Of Hearings and Heartbreak
Update: November 7, 2018 Toronto Conference, Rev. Gretta Vosper and West Hill United Church have settled all outstanding issues between them. Rev. Gretta Vosper will remain in ordained ministry at West Hill United Church. We acknowledge the faithful work of all of those who have been involved in this process.Read the full statement from Gretta here. This week, the United Church of Canada began to hear arguments to decide whether the Rev. Gretta Vosper will be placed on the ‘Discontinued Service List – Disciplinary’, their euphemistic way to defrock and excommunicate a minister. Even as of last week, even Gretta herself wasn’t clear about the scope of the hearings. The first week of the hearing is meant to establish just that. Will the hearing allow the panel to reconsider the the now-two-year-old ruling of Toronto Conference that she was “unsuitable” as a minister, or be limited to simply addressing the
Words to Live By
A few years after Southminster United Church began meeting in the Vernon Barford school gym in Edmonton, a community church began in River Heights School in Saskatoon. They became a part of the United Church, grew into a vibrant congregation with strong leadership and strong outreach into their city, and eventually settled into a church building. As time went on, changes came and building sold, MVUC evolved into a committed core of progressive spiritual seekers meeting in the lounge at St. Andrew’s College at the U of S. Over the years, there were connections made at conferences and retreats, and one year ago, some exciting conversations began about a possible partnership between MVUC and SSUC. All of that has led to this still-vibrant community partnering as a satellite community of SSUC, called SSUC-Saskatoon. One noticeable feature of MVUC’s gatherings at the College were the huge depictions of their Mission, Vision
What’s in a Name (Part 2)
In case you missed it, read about what prompted us to begin marketing ourselves externally as “SSUC: Spiritual Seekers United in Community”. Read What’s in a Name (part 1) Who are Millennials?  Millennials are the generation born somewhere from the late 1970’s until the late 1990’s. There’s much debate about what defines this generation, but some of what makes them unique is that they are marrying later; are upbeat about their economic future, despite the fact that almost 60 percent of them do not have full-time jobs and are likely living at home; are heavily into social networking; and communicate almost entirely through smart phones. 59 percent of millennials with a Christian background are not attending church, and some eight million in North America will leave the church before age 30. According to Rachel Held Evans, millennials, more than any other generation, will not choose between science and religion, but want
What good is Good Friday?
How do I judge the value of a religious observance? The only way it makes sense to me is if the holiday has relevance to my life, my living, and provide inspiration for me to improve myself and make a difference in my world. If not, it’s a relic of the past and doesn’t have any wisdom to share. Good Friday is one of those days that, traditionally interpreted, can be challenging to find relevance. In so many traditional settings, the story of Jesus’ death is read and re-enacted with melodrama and sadness, the purpose being to “experience” the death of the ‘son of god’, the snuffing out of the light of goodness in wait for its triumphant return on Easter. Those sad and melancholic observances are the result of centuries of theological gymnastics that the christian church has done to layer this story with liturgical meaning, turning the execution
The Dinner Project: A New Spiritual Gathering
Excited to announce a new type of Spiritual Gathering. Over the next 3 months SSUC will be featuring The Dinner Project.  An evening of shared wisdom and activity, followed by a catered dinner. Explore ideas that help make the everyday meaningful, connect you with community and make an impact. Perfect for people of any age – all are welcome to connect, share, discuss, and relax.  First one is Friday April 6, 6-7:30pm. Others are scheduled for Friday, May 25, and Friday, June 15. Stay up to date on Facebook To ensure the caterer has an idea of the number attending please contact the office to RSVP.
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Gathering 10AM Sunday