Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Hymns Old and New -- Spirit of Life



For about 10 years, I was a member of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Winnipeg. The UU religion (for lack of a better term) is a non-Christian, non-creedal liberal humanist movement. It is a spiritual home for theists, agnostics and atheists alike. Lesbian pagans are welcome and fit right in! I enjoyed my time with the UUs and have nothing but respect for them. My UU experience was an important, even crucial, part of my spiritual development.

Anyway, like many church-goers, UUs love to sing. One of their favourite contemporary hymnists is the spiritual feminist songwriter and social activist Carolyn McDade. Her most famous modern hymn is probably "Spirit of Life." With its beautiful melody, secular lyrics and emphasis on compassion and justice, you can see why it's so popular with many liberal religions of whatever stripe, including Christian ones.

In 1997, Carolyn McDade came to Manitoba and held a weekend choral workshop at a First Nations ministerial training centre north of Winnipeg. My girlfriend at the time absolutely adored all things Carolyn McDade and so we attended. Once we got there, the First Nations staff offered to hold a sweat lodge for us on the Saturday night. I figured "Sure, why not participate? Might be interesting." Little did I know what to expect!

Next post: My Sweat Lodge Experience

30 comments:

Marie Smith said...

Interesting post about the UUs. I look forward to the next post.

mxtodis123 said...

There is a huge Unity Church in Manhattan that hubby and I used to attend. Loved the services. Too far to travel now since I don't ride subways anymore.
Mary

lady M said...

I was never one for church in any of its forms - still a sweat lodge sounds very interesting.

mistress maddie said...

I do have m own beliefs, but I haven't been in a church in any form in years. except for weddings. Sweat shop??? This here every night lately.

DEZMOND said...

we do like it liberal! I did not know such non-religious churches even existed!

mrsduncanmahogany said...

I've been to the UU - lovely site on Wellington! :) Its a great place to be, and oh yes, the singing! Good memories all around!

laurie said...

hi Debra,, I hope you and your wiseone are well and enjoying summer,, this was an amazing post,, I had never heard of this ,,
I live under a rock don't you know lol,,,,,

Lynn said...

Beautiful. Can't wait to hear about the sweat lodge experience!

Ol'Buzzard said...

This gives me food for thought
thanks
the Ol'Buzzard

Susan said...

I have been interested in UU but the closest is over a half-hour. I am awash in traditionals and evangelicals where I live, however. I prefer the night sky over my deck.

John M said...

I haven't been in church for years; wish I had more faith.
I loved the hymn. Looking forward to your next post.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

UU sounds like something I'd enjoy. The hymn was beautiful.

LL Cool Joe said...

The tune sounded familiar. I look forward to reading the next part!

Guillaume said...

A Church welcoming to atheists? That is a rare thing.

Janie Junebug said...

The words "sweat lodge" already have me frightened.

Love,
Janie

Barbara said...

I enjoyed my time at UU also. It was close to what I wanted, but again, not quite.

bj said...

I;ve never heard of a "church" that non-Christians attended...
and I want no part of a Sweat Lodge...sounds scary to me...but, you know I am such a titty baby..:)

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

I'd heard good things about the Unitarian Church, but never would've expected such a direct connection to a sweat lodge. You're a bold woman, Debra.

Rosemary said...

A Sweat Lodge!!!!

Miss Val's Creations said...

This church sounds intriguing. I love the idea of a humanist church versus religious preaching. It makes more sense for today's world even for those who are religious. I look forward to hearing about your sweat lodge experience!

Linda @ Life and Linda said...

hmmm, a sweat lodge. I wonder what that is like. I will wait for your answer...LOL

JACKIESUE said...

I still love the old rugged cross...
but I really really love we all come from the goddess and to her we shall return..

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Good info - thanks - and looking forward to the sweat lodge post.

Dark Witch said...

I don't attend church for numerous of reasons, but if I was going to attend a church I might find that one interesting seeing it's liberal and that it's not associated with Christianity.

Missy George said...

Beautiful Hymn..I haven't been to church since my husband died..I can't handle the music...Can't wait for the sweat lodge post...

Magic Love Crow said...

Very beautiful Hymn! I can't wait to hear the rest of the story!!! I can see why many people would go to this church!!

Professor Chaos said...

I've been thinking about checking out the Unitarians. I haven't been feeling very religious lately. The Missus is becoming a Quaker, and I love those people and what they stand for, but I don't see the point of sitting silently for an hour each Sunday. I mean, regular Christian church service seems a waste of time too, but at least you get to sing.

Fundy Blue said...

Lucky you, Debra! I would love to experience that! I've seen Navajo sweat lodges. They're made of heavy wood and covered with mud.

The Happy Whisk said...

That is pretty cool. Also, I loved the hands shot. Trees are my most favorite of all nature, but the hands was a great shot.

The Captain said...

I've played about with religion to see if there was anything there for me but never found much (I did meet a lot of really nice people though). I've listened to a few humanists (one did my Grandad's funeral although my Nan said she'd booked a humourist) and do like the point of view.