Monday, December 28, 2009

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday, January 17 at 11:00 a.m.DISPOSED TO BE HAPPY – Benjamin Franklin observed that there are two sorts of people—those who are "disposed to be happy" and, well, all the rest! Those who go through life with an unhappy air tend to be "discontented themselves, and by their remarks, sour the pleasure of society, offend personally many people, and make themselves everywhere disagreeable." In contrast, I choose to be disposed towards happiness. Rev. Stefan M. Jonasson will preach.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday, December 20 at 11:00 a.m. CHRISTMAS SERVICE – Our annual family Christmas service is a time of homecoming, caroling and reflection. As is our custom, we invite those joining us for this service to bring gifts for The Mitten Tree—clothing, nonperishable food items, toys and gifts—to be passed on to the Arborg Cheer Board. Rev. Stefan M. Jonasson will preach and the Arborg Unitarian Chorus will sing.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sunday, December 6 at 11:00 a.m. ON SAINT NICHOLAS – "A Visit from St. Nicholas" (better known as "The Night Before Christmas"), first published anonymously in 1823, is largely responsible for the modern conception of Santa Claus, including his physical appearance, the night of his visit, his mode of transportation,the number and names of his reindeer, and the tradition that he brings toys to children. Prior to the poem, American ideas about Saint Nicholas and other Christmas visitors varied considerably. On the anniversary of the death of Nicholas of Myra in 346, we will explore the life of this historic ‘saint’ and how he became Santa Claus. Sylvia Sigurdson will preach.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday, November 15 at 11:00 a.m.A BURNING KISS FROM GOD – Francis Dávid, the apostle of Unitarianism in Transylvania, described his call to preach as "a burning kiss from God." On this day each year, our Transylvanian sisters and brothers commemorate his martyr’s death in a cell at Castle Déva while celebrating his life and influence. We will join them this year in recalling the provocative teachings of this prophet of our faith, whose portrait addressing the Diet of Torda hangs in all of our churches in Manitoba, as in countless Unitarian churches and homes around the globe. Rev. Stefan M. Jonasson will preach.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday, November 1 at 11:00 a.m.LINGERING AT THE BONE ORCHARD – Whenever we would wander by the community cemetery out at Point Roberts, my grandfather would always refer to it as the "bone orchard." I don't think I'm especially morbid, but I've always found great comfort and inspiration wandering among the weathered stones of cemeteries. They feel more like "soul orchards" to me, gardens of memory and, curiously enough, of hope. At this time of year when we seem most conscious of the things of the spirit, I'd like to reflect on the life-celebrating value of cemeteries. Rev. Stefan M. Jonasson will preach.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday, October 18 OUR REFRESHING FAITH I recently received a message from an old friend who took exception to the theme for this year's regional gathering of Unitarians from across Western Canada, which was: "Unitarianism: An Evolution of Faith." In particular, he objected to the word faith, which he equates with uncritical belief—"blind faith"—and considers one of the most destructive products of human culture. He’s not alone: many Unitarians seem to have an allergy to words like 'faith' … and 'religious'! If my friend had been on the receiving end of the accusation directed at me by a fundamentalist some years ago—"Oh, ye of little faith!"—he would have gladly replied, "That’s for sure!" Not me! I'm overflowing with faith and I'm willing to bet that you are, too! On the sesquicentennial of the birth of John Dewey, author of A Common Faith, we'll explore our refreshing and remarkable faith. Rev. Stefan M. Jonasson

Services begin at 11:00 a.m. at the Arborg Unitarian Church, Ingolfs Street at River Road, followed by light refreshments. Everyone welcome!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday, September 20 - INTO THE DRAGON'S DEN - One of my favourite television shows is Dragon’s Den, which airs on CBC. The program features five prominent Canadian venture capitalists, who review proposals for new business ventures or expansions, offering their bottom-line judgments by actually buying a piece of the action in those ventures they deem promising. They each have a keen sense of economic value, yet is this truly what’s most important in human life? I sometimes fantasize about appearing on Dragon’s Den to pitch them the promising enterprise we know as liberal religion. I wonder if any of them would invest? Rev. Stefan M. Jonasson

Services begin at 11:00 a.m. at the Arborg Unitarian Church, Ingolfs Street at River Road, followed by light refreshments. Everyone welcome!

Gimli Unitarian Church is now closed for the winter months. Services will resume there next summer.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Summer Sundays at Gimli Unitarian Church

Sunday, July 5 - UNBELIEVABLE! – When Alice, of Alice in Wonderland fame, proffered that “one can’t believe impossible things,” the Queen responded, “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” While reading Norman Mailer’s mistitled last book, On God, I was reminded that even the most brilliant minds are capable of believing many impossible things. Rev. Stefan M. Jonasson

Sunday, July 19 - MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT—STILL RELEVANT TODAY? – Mary Wollstonecraft, arguably the first feminist, wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792. Her ideas were, for that time, impetuous yet determined, coming from her choice to live a lifestyle frowned upon—a single woman attempting to survive by writing and teaching. Do her words ring true today? Or have we met all the challenges she outlined? Sylvia Sigurdson

Sunday, August 2 - COMING TO HOLM – During our 2005 visit to Iceland, one of the best memories we brought back was from a Holm visit—a Bill Holm visit that is. Holm's sense of place was rooted in his love of landscape and country. His poetry and essays were deeply connected to the mystery and wonder of those things he saw outside his window—wherever in the world he happened to be. Rev. Wayne Arnason & Rev. Kathleen Rolenz

Sunday, August 16 - FROM GENEVA TO TEHRAN – Following the recent electoral charade in Iran, I watched events unfold in that country with a mixture of hopefulness and horror, resignation and revulsion. No good can come of it when a country’s government is subject to a religious hierarchy rather than its citizens. I will reflect on the folly of theocracy and the inestimable value of secular, democratic society. Rev. Stefan M. Jonasson

Sunday, August 30 - SETTING SAIL – Oliver Wendell Holmes observed that “we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it—but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.” Most people seem content to drift through life, or anchor themselves to yesterday’s opinions. Are we not called to sail with the winds of fortune? Rev. Stefan M. Jonasson

Sunday, September 6 - SEVERAL MORE LIVES TO LIVE – Henry David Thoreau left his one-room cabin by Walden Pond on this day in 1847, declaring he still had “several more lives to live.” In earlier times, some believed that cats had nine lives, while a modern soap opera suggests we have but one life to live. How many lives have you lived? Rev. Stefan M. Jonasson

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunday, April 5 - A GOOD WORD FOR JUDAS - A few years ago, my friend and professor Paul Trudinger published his book "A Good Word for Jesus" and, not surprisingly, I addressed this theme in my Christmas sermon that year. Well, as the Easter season approaches, is it possible to conceive of a good word for Judas? Recent scholarship has greatly expanded our knowledge of this shadowy figure, who is remembered for his betrayal of Jesus in the events leading to the crucifixion. Is it time to reassess our estimate of the ultimate traitor in the history of Christendom? Rev. Stefan M. Jonasson

Services begin at 11:00 a.m. at the Arborg Unitarian Church, Ingolfs Street at River Road, followed by light refreshments. Everyone welcome!

The Annual Meeting of both the Arborg Unitarian Church and the Gimli Unitarian Church will follow the service. A light lunch will be provided before the meeting.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

March Services

March 1 – A Profile in Ambiguity – Although his tenure in the White House was consumed by domestic issues, most notably the Civil War, few historic presidents are as widely known or well-loved outside the United States as Abraham Lincoln. Born on the same day as Charles Darwin, 200 years ago, Lincoln has proven to be far less controversial in religious circles than the naturalist who shares his birthday. Every faith would like to claim him, it seems. This is strange, indeed, since Lincoln’s religious views were ambivalent, at best, or antagonistic, at worst, notwithstanding his clever invocations of the language of reverence. Rev. Stefan M. Jonasson

March 15 – The Possibility-Driven Life – Pastor Rick Warren was recently the centre of much controversy after he was invited to offer the invocation at the inauguration of Barack Obama in January. For many, this may have been the first they ever heard of Rick Warren; for others, he is well-known as the author of The Purpose-Driven Life. As it turned out, his inaugural prayer was rather pedestrian; so is the theology behind his book! I’m sceptical of people who believe they have a foreknowledge of their life’s purpose, or anyone else’s for that matter. Our lives are driven by our responses to the possibilities we encounter, rather than the fulfillment of some preordained purpose. Rev. Stefan M. Jonasson

Services begin at 11:00 a.m. at the Arborg Unitarian Church, Ingolfs Street at River Road, followed by light refreshments. Everyone welcome!

Friday, February 13, 2009

February Services

February 1 Hold On to Your Hats: All of Unitarian Universalist History in Just Under Two Thousand Words – “Our uncle asks about the new-fangled questionable religion we’ve stumbled into—he’s never heard of it before—and it sounds a little sketchy to him. The guy across the hall thinks we’ve joined a cult that someone dreamt up ten minutes ago. The mom of our child’s friend wants to be supportive—or maybe just tolerant—but not supportive enough to recognize a religion that has no grounding in history—that’s her impression, anyway.” Well, Rev. Jane Rzepka of the Church of the Larger Fellowship answers back with her distillation of our history into about one word per year! Lay Service

February 15 From So Simple a Beginning Two hundred years after his birth, Charles Darwin remains a controversial figure, especially among people of faith. However, evolution is a fact and Darwin’s theory concerning its mechanism remains a milestone in our modern scientific understanding of the world in which we live. Having articulated his theory of natural selection, Darwin himself marveled that, “from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been and are being evolved.” Rev. Stefan M. Jonasson

Services begin at 11:00 a.m. at the Arborg Unitarian Church, Ingolfs Street at River Road, followed by light refreshments. Everyone welcome!

Friday, January 2, 2009

January Services

January 4: no service today.

January 18: A Prayer for Spiritual Diversity
- This day marks the beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Now, I have no objection to Christians everywhere seeking that spirit of unity in faith which brings people together in pursuit of holy ends. But our capacity for religious chauvinism has always troubled me, so I fear that, for some, their aspirations for Christian unity will be confused with their desire for doctrinal sameness. As a corrective, I will pray for spiritual diversity, knowing that a deeper unity can grow only from our awareness and appreciation of religious differences. Rev. Stefan M. Jonasson

Services begin at 11:00 a.m. at the Arborg Unitarian Church, Ingolfs Street at River Road, followed by light refreshments. Everyone welcome!