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Minister's Column - Riverside Reflections

Riverside Reflections August 2013

Riverside Reflections

August, 2013
Rev. Millie Rochester

As I mull over plans for the 2013-2014 church year, a theme is emerging in my mind: In virtually all of my thinking, the concept of “going deeper” seems to be a common element – personally, professionally, and for congregational life. This summer, for example, I’ve deepened my experience of Winnipeg (loved the West End BIZ Mural Tour, as well as events that have become family traditions); and during my Sabbatical will delve into deeper personal spiritual practices and a study of world religions.

In terms of the congregation, I begin with Sunday morning worship, since that is the element of church life that is most generally shared. Many of you have heard me say that the Sunday service is more than the sermon, for it includes music, silence, stories, our emotions, as well as physical surroundings – perhaps most importantly, the people around us – and so there are a great many opportunities to be touched in some way by what transpires on a Sunday morning, whether in the sanctuary or outside of it. The Sunday Services Committee and I make a concerted effort to offer a broad spectrum of opportunities for spiritual and intellectual growth through worship. And yet, I have felt for some time that we have the potential to “go deeper.”

For this reason, I have decided to implement what is called a thematic approach to my preaching calendar. For instance, during the month of September, my theme will be Unity: from the Time Machine winner determined by congregational ballots, to our annual Water Communion and potluck luncheon afterwards, to what unites us in faith, to the interconnectedness of life and our responsibility for a sustainable earth.

I hope to share reading lists for your further study, and programming such as Chalice Circles and other Adult Ed offerings might incorporate the same themes I apply each month (which I will share, of course). These are only some of the ways we are in relationship with one another and with what we deem holy, or worthy of our attention. I encourage you to consider fostering more profound relationships through your activities, including inter-generationally (I look forward to Sundaes with Millie, Nov. 17); through strengthening pastoral care or membership efforts, or another aspect of church life.

My Sabbatical offers members and friends additional opportunities, too, such as a chance to engage in visioning the future, with the help of Canadian Unitarian Council staff member the Rev. Antonia Won, in early February.

I’m excited about the possibilities of this approach, and eager to talk with you about them! Do share your thoughts with me, as we continue our adventure together.

Warmest blessings,


Riverside Reflections June 2013

Riverside Reflections

June 2013
Rev. Millie Rochester

At the Annual Meeting and Conference (ACCM) of the Canadian Unitarian Council, colleagues and friends gather in animated conversation. Some have known one another for many years; some are encountering one another for the first time. Each person has a different perspective, yet all share common values. There's a feeling of excitement in the air, anticipation of a productive time together.

Read more: Riverside Reflections June 2013

Riverside Reflections May 2013

cherryblossoms1Riverside Reflections

Rev. Millie Rochester

It's hard to believe that we are nearing the end of my fourth year of ministry with this congregation. In my mind's eye, I travel back in time to my first encounter with you.

Read more: Riverside Reflections May 2013

Riverside Reflections April 2013

spring flowers in snowRiverside Reflections April 2013

Rev. Millie Rochester

One of my colleagues recently shared that she is "surfing the wave of whelm." The phrase so resonated with me, I asked if I could borrow it. Perhaps you feel that way too sometimes, when there is so much going on, you can easily become overwhelmed.

Read more: Riverside Reflections April 2013

Riverside Reflections March 2013

Tree of Abundance MillieSMRiverside Reflections March 2013

Rev. Millie Rochester

One of my colleagues, at a recent cluster meeting (through Skype), shared that she is currently "surfing the wave of whelm." The phrase so resonated with me, I asked if I could borrow it. Perhaps you feel that way too, sometimes – when there is so much going on, you can easily become overwhelmed.

The energy at church these days is palpable. Newcomers immediately grasp not only a sense of community, but of being welcomed into the community. They want to share it, so they bring friends and relatives with them the next time they come to church.

Read more: Riverside Reflections March 2013

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