Unitarian Universalist Church of Olinda
news of our historic UU church in Ruthven (Kingsville), Ontario

Apart Together

March 29th, 2020 . by Rod Solano-Quesnel

[Download Interactive PDF version of this Sermon]

As we round a second week after the call to increase the physical distance between us, we are also called to recall the links we already have that keep us together – even when we are apart. And we are called to find new ways to maintain – and deepen – those links.

Throughout the world, people are finding ways of staying together through the physical distancing recommendations by global health agencies and civil leaders. Amid the challenges these requirements bring, folks are exploring how we might support each other, encourage each other, bring the warmth of community from six feet away – or a continent apart.

And we cannot forget the harsh reality that these requirements represent…

Staying apart, staying away, staying at home. These are not easy tasks for many of us.

And these are even harder tasks for folks who are already vulnerable when economic uncertainty was already a reality, when staying away may mean critical time apart from loved ones, when home may not be safe, or when there is no home to stay at.

These are impossible asks for those who are required to offer us essential services, like healthcare professionals, grocery store employees, chain-of-supply labourers, utility workers, and many more who we depend on – without even realizing it. The list of essential services in Ontario outlines over 74 kinds of workplaces that may remain open while many of us are asked to remain apart. And despite the challenge, they are still responding to that ask.

This is more the reason why those of us who can, are called to work in solidarity with all who cannot, or may not. So that we may contribute to minimizing not only our risk – but also minimizing the risk to those who must face that risk, now and in days to come.

This pandemic has reminded us that the people we depend on are many and more varied than we often recognize, and that they are often unseen or underappreciated.

This pandemic has reminded us of the reality that the world is more closely tied than we have realized before. And this can bring a whole deal of wonder and admiration for what we can do for each other, as well as clarity about the fact that we really do depend on each other – be it for resources, services, or support.

This reality also amplifies the liabilities that come when what touches one affects us all. And the reality that quick transmission of disease is also easier than before.

My friends, at a time when transportation technology has made it easier than ever to physically come together, it has also become easier than ever to virtually come together, while staying physically apart.

This is a reality in which the greatest liabilities of our interconnectedness invite us to use our greatest assets for connecting.

A reality that, by being apart, we are working together.

When we’ve lit our chalice during our in-person services, we have repeated the words – as the wick joins the flame to the candle may our separate selves be joined in one community of warmth and light.

We can still join our separate selves in one community of warmth and light. It won’t be the same, and we look forward to a time when many of us can meet in person as well. And during this time, we can also explore how some alternatives can bring us closer together.

Already in the past few weeks, we have expanded how often we connect remotely, and by which means we can do so. From telephone conversations with friends, family, or fellow congregants, to more frequent mail post, to videoconferencing options that are becoming available to us.

In these ways, we may keep the rituals of mutual care alive. We may tell each other our sorrows and our joys. We may reflect upon what is important to us and the values of our faith, which calls us to remember that love is a more positive force for good than fear.

And during this time, some of us may even have opportunities to step back from other aspects of our lives and contemplate those other dimensions of our lives and homes that are often swept aside. To come in closer relationship with ourselves.

My friends, to everything there is a season. There is a time to take acceptable risks, and a time to play it safe. A time to do work, out in the community, and a time to work on our community, at home. A time to gather together, and a time to wave at each other from afar.

My friends this is a time to play it safe, a time to work on our community at home, a time to wave at each other from afar.

In Solidarity, so may it be.
Amen

Suggested hymns:

108 My Life Flows On in Endless Song (interpreted by The Chancel Choir of the First Unitarian Church of Oakland, CA – Edited by AMIKEMA)

157 Step by Step the Longest March (directed by Matt Meyer)


Solidarity – It’s in Your Hands!

March 22nd, 2020 . by Rod Solano-Quesnel

[Download Interactive PDF version of this sermon]

Last week, I spoke about the home cook who offers surprisingly simple approaches to cooking at home. His “shocking” secret was to simply cook in a way that you enjoy, is accessible and practical to you, and tastes good to you and those around you. In making soup, one way to do that is to simply put whatever you have around in water… and boil it. That was the secret… the “shocking” secret.

There are other “shockingly” simple techniques… practices, that can have surprisingly effective results.

Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis was a 19th century obstetrician who made a peculiar observation at the Viennese hospital that he supervised – in the hospital’s two maternity clinics, there were two drastically different mortality rates for childbed fever.

In the first clinic, medical students often oversaw births after carrying out autopsies on corpses – and it had a mortality rate around 10%, while in the second clinic, midwives would carry out births without any involvement with cadavers – childbed fever fatalities were around 1%.

After accounting for other factors, and finding other corroborating facts, he concluded that some kind of infection was being brought in through the handling of corpses. And since chlorinated lime water helped in eliminating the deathly smell, he suggested washing hands with a solution of chlorinated lime.

Deaths from childbed fever declined to nearly zero.

Dr. Semmelweis found that the most effective solution to saving lives was simple – cleanliness.

He couldn’t explain exactly why… he was still lacking a theoretical explanation – but the data was very clear. And its implementation was effective.

Semmelweis’ observations, explanation, and method, were not easily accepted – despite the hard data that backed it up. The reasons are complicated, and have been attributed to psychological tendencies, as well as social, and political. There may have also been interpersonal disputes between Semmelweis and his colleagues – it’s complicated. However, it is a matter of record that he was often mocked by some of his colleagues, some of whom took offence at the suggestion that they needed to wash their hands, despite their gentlemanly status.

My friends, we’re at a time when we’re faced with several trying weeks, due to a complex health emergency, that is further complicated by economic and political factors.

Along this difficult problem, we’re have been empowered by a deceptively simple solution – handwashing.

And now we have also been asked a similarly simple – yet sometimes more difficult – request: staying away from each other. This is not comfortable for many of us. We are social creatures that thrive on contact with others, our very worship practices are often based on meeting up, and for some of us, isolation may in fact put at risk our livelihoods – or those of people we know. And yet social distancing, along with handwashing are the most powerful tools we have in saving the lives of many of our neighbours, including members of our community.

That outcome is in our hands.

And while social distancing can have many difficult side-effects, the other tool we have – handwashing – requires very little of us beyond water, soap, and some intentionality.

Whatever your life situation allows, handwashing is a disease-fighting superpower that is entirely in your hands.

The power to stop COVID-19 is in your hands.

And it doesn’t stop there. Because handwashing can prevent a whole diversity of diseases – including the common cold and the seasonal flu, as well as other common infections. For many of these, we don’t even need the chlorinated lime solution proposed by Dr. Semmelweis – soap and water does just fine. It is a good practice to have – even during times that feel more normal.

This power is in our hands.

We are being called to use this power – not only for our personal sake – but for the sake of all who surround us… for what touches one affects us all. And even those of us for whom the odds seem favourable have a responsibility of solidarity to all who we may affect – near and far – and who may be much more vulnerable.

My friends, in being mindful to curbing the spread of disease – be it COVID-19 or any other easily transmissible virus – we are acting in solidarity with health providers in Canada and around the world, we are acting in solidarity with other essential personnel, like grocery store, and we are acting in solidarity with the most vulnerable among us.

In Solidarity, so may it be.
Amen

Suggested hymns:

188 Come, Come, Whoever You Are – Sing this twice while washing hands!

134 Our World Is One World

18 What Wondrous Love

1002 Comfort Me


The Shocking Secret (March 15, 2020)

March 21st, 2020 . by Rod Solano-Quesnel

Some recipes invoke a certain degree of orthodoxy, but a home cook affirms that it doesn’t have to be that way.  And whether making a meal, or bringing together a community of faith, following the recipe that works best for you has its advantages.


Current Sunday Services for 2020

March 18th, 2020 . by William Baylis

In-person Services suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Executive Committee of the Board together with the Minister of the church are monitoring advisories on the current coronal virus outbreak. At their meeting after the service on March 15, they elected not to offer in-person worship services for the next three Sundays, March 22, 29, and April 5. For worship services after these, the situation will be re-evaluated with the latest medical and societal information then available. Some other worship materials, including reflections by Rev. Rod and other sources of inspiration will be made available.

Please check back on this site for updates, and visit canada.ca/coronavirus for more information on the virus.

Date Speaker Title Musician(s)
Feb. 2 Rev. Rod ESQ In Store (RE Downstairs) – The mid-winter time leaves some questions up in the air, and the outlook can be intriguing.
Toni Janik
Feb. 9 Irene Moore Davis Contested Memory, Complicated History: Reflecting on the earliest Black Lives in Sandwich and Windsor. Lorie Lyons
Feb. 16 Rev. Rod ESQ Let Me Count the WaysAffection has a way of expressing itself in more ways than we know numbers.
Baylis/Stone trio with Karen Miller
Feb. 23 Rev. Rod ESQ Gentle Angry PeopleThe expression of anger – and the experience of it – can take many forms. And the expectations on its outcomes can also shift, from origin to receiving end.
Toni Janik
Mar. 1 Rev. Conrad Dippel One Star at a Time –  celebrating individual human dignity within the constellation of humanity. Lorie Lyons
Mar. 8 Carrie Ann Peters Teachings from Mother Earth –  Carrie Ann Peters from the Caldwell First Nation is visiting us again, sharing wisdom from water and women, and the relationships they nurture. Baylis-Stone Trio
Mar. 15 Rev. Rod ESQ The Shocking Secret –  Some recipes invoke a certain degree of orthodoxy, but a home cook affirms that it doesn’t have to be that way. And whether making a meal, or bringing together a community of faith, following the recipe that works best for you has its advantages. Toni Janik
Mar. 22 Rev. Rod ESQ PUBLIC SERVICE CANCELLED! The Best Worst Spanish –  Sometimes, making mistakes can be the best way to get it right – be it learning a language, or building community. Toni Janik
Mar. 29 Rev. Rod ESQ PUBLIC SERVICE CANCELLED! A Time to Learn, A Time to Teach –  Getting to know wisdom involves being open to both taking initiative, and also stepping aside, from time to time. Indian Village Strings
Apr. 5 Rev. Rod ESQ PUBLIC SERVICE CANCELLED! Wuthering –  – when expectations suddenly change, a new way of thinking about the future can emerge. Baylis-Stone Trio
Apr. 12 Rev. Rod ESQ We Have the Technology! –  since before the internet, the telephone and telegraph allowed fast communication over vast distances.  Even post mail can bring people together around the world.  Whether lo- or hi-tech, connection prevails. Toni Janik
Apr. 19 Bill Baylis The Overview Effect –  a profound experience often reported when Earth is seen from space. Lorie Lyons
Apr. 26 Rev. Rod ESQ Essential –  the tricky question of what meets our most basic needs leads to the deeper question of what those needs are. Baylis-Stone Trio
May 3 Rev. Rod ESQ tba –  Lorie Lyons

September 2019 Newsletter

September 7th, 2019 . by William Baylis

Click here and enjoy!


Walter Sinclair (1933-2019)

August 8th, 2019 . by William Baylis

Dear friend and lifelong supporter of the UU Church of Olinda, Walter Sinclair died peacefully on Monday, August 5, 2019. Please visit the website
https://wheatleyfuneralhome.ca/tribute/details/15454/Walter-Sinclair/obituary.html#tribute-start for his obituary and details on visitation and funeral arrangements.


March 2019 Newsletter

March 5th, 2019 . by William Baylis

Click here and enjoy!


Sunday Services for February 2019

January 30th, 2019 . by William Baylis
Date Speaker Title Musician(s)
Feb. 3 Rev. Rosalind Mariconda Patterns in our primary relationships: awareness, practices and shifts. Toni Janik
Feb. 10 Rev. Rod Emilio Solano-Quesnel How to be Right. A secret to infallibility lies in recognizing when we’re fallible. Baylis Combo
Feb. 17 Rev. Rod Emilio Solano-Quesnel How to be Wrong. Being right can sometimes be overrated, especially when there are better ways to be wrong. Lorie Lyons
Feb. 24 Teajai Travis, Community artist, activist and historian. Born Enslaved: A Freedom Story.Explores the life of Richard Travis, who was born in Virginia (1745). Baylis Combo
Mar. 6 Rev. Rod Emilio Solano-Quesnel Successful Failures. Some of the most exciting accomplishments can come from a new understanding of our goals. Toni Janik

Discussion of CUC Motions

January 11th, 2019 . by William Baylis

CUC AGM May 11, 2019

4 or 5 motions will be considered at the annual general meeting of the Canadian Unitarian Council in May, and our two delegates can vote on them. In order to give direction to our delegates, we will hold a short discussion session following the service on Sunday, February 17. Please review the motions and come to the discussion to advise our delegates how we would like them to vote!
Download and read the CUC Motions for 2019 AGM


Sunday Services for December 2018

November 20th, 2018 . by William Baylis
Date Speaker Title Musician(s)
Dec. 2 Rev. Rod Emilio Solano-Quesnel Adventure Expectation is one way to peek into the future… and to glimpse into our present Lorie Lyons
Dec. 9 Rev. Rod Emilio Solano-Quesnel Glimpse Finding the occasional glimpse of the future that can be is another way to be prophetic  Toni Janik
Dec. 16 Greg Wiens The Bridge, the Leamington Youth Resource Centre: from Concept to Reality  Baylis-Stone Trio
Dec. 23 Rev. Rod Emilio Solano-Quesnel In The Flesh Embodying the spirit of hope involves looking for it in unexpected places  Lorie Lyons
Dec. 24 Rev.  Rod Emilio Solano-Quesnel The Most Beautiful Baby in the World A 5 PM Christmas Eve service to celebrate the power that a child can have The Baylis gang
Dec. 30 Helen Moore Open mike: reflecting on 2018, anticipating 2019. Audience participation invited. Bobbye & Bill Baylis
Jan. 6 Rev. Rod Emilio Solano-Quesnel Epiphany Lorie Lyons

 


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