Fall 2016 Connection Circles

Fall 2016 Connection Circles are starting!

Connection Circles are an opportunity to deepen relationships with other members of CMUC through a shared interest. Registration sheets are in the main church office. This year they include:

Sacred Wounds – Led by Gwen Dirks

A 4 session creative exploration into your faith of origin story. Looking into the source of religious trauma and injuries experienced that have affected our relationship to God and each other. Opening to the healing process of our heart, body and mind using collage or any other form of right brained activity (journaling, poetry, prose, playing music, visual art – any creative means you want to choose) to tell our stories and our healing to ourselves and each other.

Dates: Saturday mornings, 9:30-noon. Sept 24th, Oct 8th, Oct 29th, Nov 19th.

Meeting in the CMUC Sanctuary (with an alternative location TBD for Oct 8th)

Keeping Our Hearts Open in Hell – Led by Toni Pieroni and Bob Russell 

The past several months has been a challenging time in the world, with what has felt to be an increase in difficult and traumatizing events, e.g., the shootings in Orlando, the attack in Nice, racial violence in the U.S., the U.S. Presidential election, and closer to home, environmental issues regarding pipelines, the Site C dam, etc. It is natural to feel fearful and overwhelmed.

Thich Nhat Hanh says: “The bells of mindfulness are calling out to us, trying to wake us up, reminding us to look deeply at our impact on the planet.” As Christians, how do we respond to these events? What are the practices that deepen us into God’s love for the world as embodied in Jesus? Please join us in this circle to share our feelings about world events and learn practices from various wisdom traditions to transform our responses in a way that contribute to the healing of our world.

Dates: Wednesday evenings, 7pm. Oct 19th, Oct 26th, Nov 2nd, Nov 16th, Nov 23rd, Nov 30th

Meeting in the CMUC Fireside Room.

Dying, Death, and all that Denial – Led by Steven Chambers 

There are times when we need to think about all of it – living, dying, grieving – even in a culture that doesn’t much want to. Join Steven Chambers for a 4-week circle of reflection and discussion on death, how we meaningfully think about it, prepare for it and talk about it in a community of care. 

Dates: 4 Mondays, Oct 24th, Nov 7th, Nov 21st, and Dec 5th. 7pm.

Meeting in the CMUC Fireside Room.

Parenting Connection Circle – Led by Dana MacDonald

How do we want to raise our kids? As a family connection circle we will consider together how to increase our children’s awareness of social justice and environmental issues through a Christian lens. We will be selecting either a book or articles to anchor our meetings (to be determined).

Dates: 6 Thursday evenings, Oct 13th to Nov 17th, 7:30-9pm.

Meeting in the Centre for Peace (either the Library or the Meditation Room depending on availability – check the sign at the bottom of the stairs when you arrive)

Cinema Sophia – Led by Tom Little

Sign-up for this connection circle will be open starting at our Fall Kick-Off Sunday on Sept 18th.

Date: Every second Monday, starting Oct 3rd. 7pm.

Meeting in the CMUC Fireside Room.

Church for Every Body

Bathrooms have been in the news a lot lately, due largely to new and existing laws in many US states which require people to use the bathroom which corresponds with the sex they were identified with at birth, rather than the gender that best fits for them.

Welcome to CMUC’s new Gender Neutral Bathrooms! 
Welcome to CMUC’s new Gender Neutral Bathrooms!

Our culture tends to limit it’s understanding of gender to only two options: man and woman. Here at Canadian Memorial, we recognize that there are more than two genders, and an infinite variety of gendered experience in the world.

Many of the single-stall bathrooms at Canadian Memorial have been gender-neutral for years, because that is what made the most logistical sense. A few weeks ago we updated the signs on our two most frequently-used bathrooms, on the main floor of the Centre for Peace. Transgender and gender-variant people often experience anxiety and abuse around bathroom use. And we wanted to be very clear that all bodies are welcome here.

Interested in learning more? Read on!


Who Benefits from Gender Neutral Bathrooms?

  • People who are uncomfortable in men’s or women’s rooms for many reasons; for example, people who are not women or men and/or people who are gender nonconforming
  • Parents/caregivers whose children are a different gender from them
  • People with caregivers or personal attendants who are a different gender from them

Resources on gender neutral bathrooms 

Basic Definitions About Gender Identity

Biological Sex: The biological attributes such as anatomy, chromosomes, and hormones that inform whether a person is male, female, or intersex. Where sex refers to biology, gender refers to the cultural and social understandings that are layered on top of biology.

Gender Identity and Expression: Gender Identity is an individual’s internal sense of being a man, a woman, neither of these, both, and so on. That identity is expressed in the ways in which a person manifests masculinity, femininity, both, or neither through appearance, behavior, dress, speech patterns, preferences, and more.

Gender Binary: A system of classifying sex and gender into two distinct and disconnected forms—male/man/masculine and female/woman/feminine—and assigning all bodies, identities, roles, and attributes to one side or the other. The gender binary is dependent on policing people to make sure they don’t digress from the system in appearance, anatomy, or behavior.

Sexual Orientation: The gendered pattern of a person’s sexual attractions, or the gender of the people a person is attracted to. Gender identity refers only to a person’s own self. Gender and sexual orientation are often lumped together, despite being different. Transgender individuals can be lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, straight, or any other sexual orientation. Everyone has a sexual orientation.

Transgender: First coined to distinguish gender benders with no desire for surgery or hormones from transsexuals, those who desired to legally and medically change their sex, more recently transgender, trans, and/or trans* have become umbrella terms popularly used to refer to all people who transgress dominant conceptions of gender, or at least all people who identify themselves as doing so. The definition continues to evolve.

Cisgender: A term that is becoming increasingly popular to describe people who are not trans or gender variant—in other words, those whose gender identities, presentations, and behavior “match” (according to the gender binary) the sex they were assigned at birth.

Gender Non-Conforming / Gender Variant: General terms for people who bend gender in some way and/or have non-binary gender identities.

* From: http://www.uua.org/lgbtq/identity/transgender