Sermons

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We have begun filming the talks given at our Interfaith services. You can watch them all on our YouTube channel. Please subscribe!

Our service on Samhain, the Celtic New Year festival, took place on October 31, 2020. Dr. Alexandra Chauran – an author and High Priestess of British Traditional Wicca – shared about the history of Samhain, its connections to the modern-day celebration of Halloween, and how it is observed today by members of the Neopagan community. In addition, she told the ancient story of the Goddess Inanna’s descent into the Underworld. You can watch the service here.

Alexandra Chauran

Our service on what it would mean to decolonize the Thanksgiving holiday took place on October 17, 2020. Reverend Murray Pruden – a United Church minister and member of the Cree nation – shared his perspective on the history of the holiday and the importance of developing gratitude for every gift the Creator has given us. You can watch the service here.

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Our service on the benefits of meditation took place on October 3, 2020. Writer and podcast host, Brett Dupree, told a story about how our brains function normally versus the changes that come about when we begin to implement deep breathing exercises and meditation. You can watch the service here.

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Our service in honour of the Jewish High Holy Days took place on September 19, 2020. Living Interfaith Founder, Reverend Steven Greenebaum, shared about the significance of the New Year of Rosh Hashanah and the days leading up to Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement. He explained at length about the importance of forgiveness in Jewish tradition and how one might reflect on forgiveness in their own lives during this sacred period. You can watch the service here.

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The first week of September was our two-year anniversary as a community! We celebrated at our September 5, 2020 service by taking turns sharing about what we love about this congregation, what we have learned about other spiritual traditions and one another over time, and our individual and collective hopes for the future. You can watch the whole service and discussion here.

Bruce and Cheryl

Our service dedicated to the inner work of anti-racism took place on August 22, 2020. Our Interfaith Leader, Cathy Merchant, shared about the work we must do – both in ourselves and in our spheres of influence – if we are to uncover, acknowledge, abandon, and heal from our racist ideas and behaviors. You can watch the service here.

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Our service in honour of Lughnasadh took place on August 8, 2020. Writer Patrick McKenna shared about the practical and spiritual importance of this ancient harvest festival and what it means to him as a modern Celtic Pagan. You can watch the service here.

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Our service in honour of Hajj took place on July 25, 2020. Sheikh Nasir Zaidi shared about the spiritual and historic importance of Hajj in the Muslim faith and what, exactly, this means for us this year when most Muslims around the world were self-isolating at home during this most important occasion. You can watch the service here.

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The video of our service in honour of the Báb took place on July 11, 2020. Community Interfaith Educator, Harold Rosen, shared about the life-changing teachings of the Báb that helped pave the way for Baha’u’llah and the later Baha’i vision for peace and justice among all the world’s religions. You can watch the whole service here.

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Our National Indigenous Peoples Day service took place on June 27, 2020. Council member Reverend Mary Fontaine – a local Presbyterian minister and founder of the Aboriginal healing circle, Hummingbird Ministries – shared about the deep faith and resilience of her own Cree people. She talked about the significance of this holiday for all First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people across Canada, yet also about the deep racism and injustice they still face today at nearly every level of society. Cree Elder Dorothy Visser also joined us to share her perspective and to offer the Lord’s Prayer in Cree.

You can watch the whole service and the group discussion following it here.

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The video of our service in honour of Guru Arjan took place on June 13, 2020. Former World Sikh Organization director and activist, Sukhvinder Kaur Vinning, shared about Guru Arjan’s life and contributions to the Sikhee movement (known in the Western world as Sikhism) and what people from all faith traditions can still learn today from him. You can watch the whole service here.

Sukhvinder Kaur Vinning

Our Eid Al-Fitr service took place on May 30, 2020. Creative Consultant and Educator, Sister Jaminah Shannon, shared about her organization Wasat. She also led the second half of the service with stories from her family’s Eid celebration and beautiful recitations of the Takbir Al-Eid prayer and from the Qur’an. You can watch the whole service here.

Jaminah Shannon

Our Ascension Day service took place on May 16, 2020. Our Interfaith Consultant, Dr. Eloecea, led the second half of the gathering and spoke about what ascension looks like in different religious traditions and what it might mean for us today. You can watch it here.

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The video of our Easter Interfaith service – held on Zoom on April 18, 2020 – may be viewed on YouTube here. Jean and Steven Ward from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints preached the sermon.

Jean and Steven Ward

The full video of our Annual Interfaith Passover Seder, this time held via Zoom on April 4, 2020, may be watched on YouTube here. Compassionate Listening facilitator and Global Citizen Journey founder, Susan Partnow, led this Seder using her family’s own Haggadah.

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Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, our services have been moved online via Zoom starting March 21, 2020. Zoom automatically records all gatherings, so here is the recording for the entire service that day (minus the “Sharing of Our Hearts,” where participants share their own personal joys and concerns with the group). Watch it on YouTube here.

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This talk was given by Indian writer and theology student, Nirmalya Das, on the joy of Holi, the Hindu Festival of Colour, on March 7, 2020. In it, he speaks about the history and spiritual significance of this joyous occasion, as well as what it means for us today, as both Hindus and non-Hindus in a largely non-Indian context. You can watch it here on YouTube.

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This dharma talk was given by Daniel Francis from the Vancouver Triratna Buddhist community on February 22, 2020. In it, he shares about his sangha’s eight-step Buddhist recovery practice for those who are in the process of healing from any manner of addiction. You can watch it on YouTube here.

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This story was told by Vancouver General Hospital Chaplain Lauren Sanders on January 25, 2020. In it, she gives us a snapshot of our shared Indigenous and Intercultural history and then gives us time to reflect on how this history continues to play out today in innumerable ways, across our entire society. You can watch it here on YouTube.

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This sermon was given by Bijan Adlparvar from the Vancouver Baha’i Community to the Living Interfaith Sanctuary on January 25, 2020. In it, he discusses the origins of World Religion Day and the core tenets of the Baha’i Faith that make it almost the perfect representative of an “Interfaith religion.” You can watch it on YouTube here.

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This sermon was given by Presbyterian Minister Peter Sanders to the Living Interfaith Sanctuary on December 14, 2019. In it, he discusses the differences between Advent and the Christmas season, the difficulty in honoring Advent in our consumerist culture, and how these six holy weeks can bring peace and joy to us all, regardless of religious tradition. Watch it here on YouTube.

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This sermon was given by Living Interfaith Sanctuary Council member, Brynn Craffey, on November 30, 2019. In it, he discusses his experience living as a queer person in San Francisco in the 1980s and ’90s and the way in which the AIDS epidemic impacted the city and his loved ones. You can watch it here on YouTube.

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This sermon was given by our Interfaith Leader, Cathy Merchant, during our November 16, 2019 service. In it, she discusses the fears and habits that keep us from reaching out to people from different spiritual paths and how we can work through these to develop more Interfaith relationships. You can watch it on YouTube here.

Cathy Merchant Sermon The Raft is Not the Shore

This talk was given by Sikh World Organization director and activist, Sukhvinder Vinning, at our October 19, 2019 service on the birth of the Guru Granath Sahib sacred text. You can watch it on YouTube here.

Sukhvinder Vinning Talk

Here is our first sermon given by our Interfaith Leader, Cathy Merchant, on February 4th, 2018 at Trinity-Grace United Church:

‘Can You Teach Us Those Prayers?’

You may have noticed when I came in that I did the three prostrations that Tibetan Buddhists do when they enter a holy sanctuary. This is done both to humble oneself and to express reverence for the place one has entered; you not only lie flat on the ground at the entrance, but you lift your hands up to raise up the wisdom that emanates from such a place. I think this is a beautiful tradition, and I have been doing it in one form or another since 2005. Read more.