“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.

CanadaCouncil Logo

QWF Logo

 

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

Townships Tellers and New Members

In lieu of our normal service this Sunday, we were treated to stories by the Townships Tellers as well as other local tellers. This was followed by a potluck lunch. Thank you to all who attended and shared stories and dishes.

From left to right: Shirley Nortcliff, Ann Rothfels, Heather Davis, Michel Thibeault, Elizabeth Copeland, Jason Kerpan

From left to right: Shirley Nortcliff, Ann Rothfels, Heather Davis, Michel Thibeault, Elizabeth Copeland, Jason Krpan

townshiptellers2

Ann sharing stories about her time as a Kindergarten teacher.

Last week, we welcomed three new members to UUEstrie: Esther Saanum, Ryan Frizzell, and Crystle Reid.

From left to right: Esther Saanum, Ryan Frizzell, Crystle Reid, Rev. Carole Martignacco and UUEstrie president Rachel Garber

From left to right: Esther Saanum, Ryan Frizzell, Crystle Reid, Rev. Carole Martignacco and UUEstrie president Rachel Garber

Please follow UUEstrie’s Facebook page for more pictures and news.

Rev. Fulgence update

An update from the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) on Rev. Fulgence. Please be sure to share the word on social media by using ‪#‎releaserevfulgence‬.

“Fulgence is meeting with his lawyers to prepare for his defence. Financial support is needed during this process; to donate directly to International Council of UUs, please click here or at the following link:https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr…. Regrettably, Canadian tax receipts cannot be issued at this time.

ICUU is in touch with members in Burundi and providing support to Fulgence.

The Change.org petition has reached over 1,000 signatures and has been sent on to decision-makers. Please encourage more to sign on here.”

Petition to free Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana

Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana, minister of the Unitarian Church of Burundi

Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana, minister of the Unitarian Church of Burundi

Friends of UUEstrie –

The Unitarian Church of Burundi has recently come under attack in the context of civil unrest within the country. The church was recently vandalized and ransacked, and members of the church have been questioned, jailed, and forced to flee for their safety. The minisiter of the church, Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana, was arrested at gunpoint on November 16 and is currently in police custody.

Rev. Ndagijimana visited UUEstrie in 2013 as we were celebrating ten years of shared ministry. Our minister, Rev. Carole Martignacco, has been in contact with him since his visit and was “deeply moved by his peaceful spirit as he described the challenges of his ministry, struggling to serve a very poor community with limited resources”. He has spoken with her frequently about the increasing violence he faces in Burundi.

We encourage all members and friends of UUEstrie to write to Stéphane Dion (Minister of Foreign Affairs) in order to secure the immediate release of Rev. Ndagijimana.

A Facebook page has been created to keep everyone updated on the situation in Burundi. Please follow the page at https://www.facebook.com/SupportUUBurundi. The International Council of Unitarians and Universalists is currently raising funds for displaced members of the church as well as repairs and legal fees (more information can be found at https://www.facebook.com/InternationalUUs/posts/1146749508689023). You can also sign a petition demanding Rev. Ndagijimana’s humane treatment and immediate release at www.change.org.

Please help us stand in solidarity with our friends in Burundi.

 

Welcoming Congregation

The Welcoming Congregation program was developed for Unitarian Universalist congregations wanting to become more inclusive of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) people. Welcoming Congregations are those which have completed the program and passed a congregational vote to affirm that they welcome the membership and active participation of the LGBTQ community.

In 2005, we at UUEstrie did these things and became an official welcoming congregation. We have two plaques, one in English and one in French documenting our Welcoming Congregation status.

Ten years later, we thought it was time we refresh our understanding and commitment to the inclusion of LGBTQ persons, and thought to invite once again some personal testimony from folks living in the sex and gender minorities. Hence the invitation to Lisa McDonald-Jensen and her eldest son Tadhg, to speak at the worship service on June 28 just past.

Could we have timed this service any more perfectly?

  • In May, the United Nations launched a video spotlighting LGBT diversity.
  • In June, the UN released a report presenting recommendations on protecting LGBT persons:

While some progress has been made since the first study four years ago spotlighting discrimination and violence against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, the overall picture remains one of pervasive, violent abuse, harassment and discrimination affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBT/I) persons in all regions.

“Violence motivated by homophobia and transphobia is often particularly brutal, and in some instances characterized by levels of cruelty exceeding that of other hate crimes,” according to the report by the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) (A/HRC/29/23) to be presented … to the UN Human Rights Council, which requested it.

  • The month of June has been particularly full of debate about gender diversity as former Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner came out as Caitlin Jenner.
  • And on Friday, June 26, 2015, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that state bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional, making gay marriage legal across the country. Their conclusion was that the right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty. The Court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them.

Keith, with thanks to Lisa McDonald-Jensen

 

Alzheimer’s: Susan’s Story Inspires

Susan and her Mom Patti on St Patrick's Day 2012

Susan and her Mom Patti on St Patrick’s Day 2012

On Sunday, March 22, UU friend Susan Macaulay gave a presentation about the journey she’s undertaken with her mom who was originally diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2006.

Susan, who lived in Dubai for 18 years, came back to care for her Mom in her mother’s home near Georgeville  in October 2011.

Susan shared audio clips and examples of how the experience with her Mom have transformed the way she sees Alzheimer’s disease and the people who have it.

“I believe if you believe people are going to be aggressive, angry and frustrated well, sure enough that’s how they turn out to be,” Susan said. “But if you see it in a different way then you can manage the situation differently. You can change your own behavior and you can have a different impact on the person who has the disease.”

Susan said her mother, who is in the later stages of Alzheimer’s, still has many moments of clarity in which she shares her thoughts and wisdom.

Susan quoted author and dementia care pioneer Naomi Feil who says:

  • all very old people are unique and worthwhile
  • maloriented and disoriented people should be accepted as they are we should not try to change them
  • listening with empathy builds trust trust reduces anxiety and restores dignity
  • there’s a reason behind the behavior of very old maloriented and disoriented people; it may be because their basic human needs are not being met

Susan recently published the first in a series of ebooks about her journey with her Mom; it’s called My Alzheimer’s Story: A Daughter’s Diary and is available on Amazon here.

Susan also writes a blog called MyAlzheiemersStory; see videos of Patti playing piano and singing with Eric Manolson here.