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


October 31st, 2021 . by Rod Solano-Quesnel

Opening Hymn #128 For All That Is Our Life
~)-| Words: Bruce Findlow, 1922-
Music: Patrick L. Rickey, 1964- , © 1992 UUA

Rev. Christopher Watkins Lamb for Foothills Unitarian Church (9 August, 2020)

Time for All Ages – “What is Day of the Dead?” – Religion for Breakfast

“What is Day of the Dead?” – Religion for Breakfast, with Dr. Andrew Chesnut (24 October, 2021)

Remembrance Ceremony

These morning, many of our members shared memories of their dearly departed.

The photos in this printable slideshow are being shared with permission.

Honoring our Ancestors (printable slideshow)

Reflection – Lamentations – Rev. Rod


Read: [Printable PDF document available for download]

Lamentation, Celebration, and Gratitude can often come together.  These are strong – sometimes contradictory – emotional realities that can coexist.  When we remember and honour our ancestors, as many of us did this morning, we are bound the feel the sadness, maybe the pain of loss that came with their death.

Somewhere along the line, it can also be difficult to escape the joy that loved ones have brought us, recalling the delight of their company, the laughter that came with times together.  And along all this, we can build a practice of gratitude, being thankful for the opportunity we had to share our lives, even if briefly.

These don’t necessarily happen all at once, but somewhere along the journey, it is common for these to blend in a bittersweet brew – these realities can coexist.

My friends, this has been a difficult year, as we have been witnesses to death at a larger scale than usual.  Even for those among us whose life may have been less impacted by death in your immediate life, we have all been reminded of its presence with more frequency, just about every day.  This was a reality we faced late last year, and so we do again late in this year.

Also, toward the end of last year, we began to see many glimmers of hope toward ending the crisis of the pandemic, and this year has allowed us to witness parts of that hope bearing fruit.  Most of us here are walking participants in the efforts to contain the pandemic and effectively reducing the risks that come with it.

These realities co-exist.

In addition to the losses that we have named today, we are also paying our respects to the many deaths we know about around the world.  As of this morning, the death count from Covid-19 is about to cross the threshold into 5 million deaths.  That’s 5 million confirmed deaths… it is estimated that the true total is already much higher than that.  With similar grimness, it is likely that, this coming month, the total confirmed number of cases will surpass a quarter of a billion.

Alongside these realities, we can also express gratitude to the many souls who have given of their lives, and sometimes their very lives, in the work of taking care of us and those we love.  The healthcare workers, the care staff, the scientists, the retail and grocery workers, the first responders, and too many people and professions to name.  Some of them died doing what they love, others continue, sometimes wondering if they still love what they do.  All of them offering and having had offered essential service.  And for that we are grateful.

Just as the tally of deaths and infections are nearing grim thresholds, there are other inspiring thresholds we are facing.  Within the next few days, total doses of vaccines are on track to surpass 7 billion.  Of course, due to the multiple required doses of many vaccines, the total vaccination rate is lower – still, this coming week, we are likely to see that half of the world’s population has received at least one dose, and already, significantly more than a third of the world population has been fully vaccinated.

These are both encouraging and disappointing numbers.  It is incredible that we have reached those levels of immunization over the past year – many authorities doubted it would be possible to even begin that process by this time of this year.  And still, the numbers are not quite where they need to be to really offer the protection needed for everyone to be safe, particularly many who remain among the most vulnerable populations to begin with.

My friends all these realities can coexist, and we can acknowledge them together.

My friends, today we sit with lamentation, we are open to celebration, and we offer our gratitude.

My friends, today we live with these realities, and we honour them together.

So may it be,
In Solidarity, in love, in faith,

Copyright © 2021 Rodrigo Emilio Solano-Quesnel

Closing Hymn #322 Thanks Be for These
~)-| Words: Richard Seward Gilbert, 1936- , and
~)-| Joyce Timmerman Gilbert, 1936 , © 1992 Unitarian Universalist Association
Music: Hungarian Melody, 16th cent.,
~)-| arr. by Robert L. Sanders, 1906-

Jess Huetteman (27 March, 2021)

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