Upcoming Services

JOIN US Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m.


Spring 2017: GRU READS Atul Gawande’s BEING MORTAL.


June 25, 2017
"Flower Communion: Growing Like a Weed."

Rev. Jessica P. Rodela and Julie Taylor.
UUs of all ages will join us for singing and celebration at our annual Flower Communion.    You are invited to bring any flower and will be invited to take a different one away with you as a symbol of our commitment to diversity.  After our short interactive service upstairs, we’ll head outside to our own GRU backyard for our annual congregational picnic.


July 2, 2017
“As Canadian as Possible (Under the Circumstances).”
Rev. Jessica P. Rodela.

Upon moving to Canada, I received a number of books for a new section in my home library:  How to Move to Canada, Hockey for Dummies, Only in Canada You Say, and What Is a Canadian?  But my favorite gift was a beautiful book called Exploring Canada’s Spectacular National Parks.  The woman who handed it to me explained, “this is not a going away gift; it’s a going toward gift.”  So, what have I moved toward in this near-decade of learning how to speak, spell, and think “Canadian”?  


July 9, 2017
“What Does a Nonreligious Chaplain Do? What Difference Does He or She Make?”
Keith Martin with Service Leader Rev. Jessica P. Rodela.   

This is a sequel to last year's talk: "How I Became a Nonreligious Chaplain."   How do I as a nonreligious chaplain encourage spirituality or life-enhancing values among students?

Keith Martin is a nonreligious chaplain at U. of Waterloo and U. of Guelph. He is the director of Spectrum A&E Media, a nonprofit, registered charity promoting media arts in education and fostering values that enhance life. He is the author of Seismic Shift: From God to Goodness, about his own journey from evangelical Christianity to 'spiritual but not religious.'  The book is available in our GRU library.


July 16, 2017
“Our Journey to a Healthier Lifestyle.” 
Ellen Pappenburg & Jim Sannes with Service Leader Janis Collins. 

From being a believer in the standard American diet and the Canada Food Guide to a radical disbeliever took most of a lifetime. It was a revelation in many ways and it paid off with better health and a different mindset regarding planet and animals.

Ellen and Jim are longtime Unitarians, social activists and vegetarians. Ellen is from the Netherlands where cheese, eggs, meat and potatoes are the basic diet. Similarly for Jim in Canadian society. To hold different beliefs amidst the mainstream and adhering those principles is what all of us have to face at some time. It's so easy to give in or give up. To be part of and in unison with the planet and with animals is very rewarding.


July 23, 2017
“Making Space.”
Russell Booth with Service Leader Jessica Bayne. 

Youth and young adults in 2017 are as spiritually alive and building communities that are as vibrant and inclusive as ever before. Yet, they have little to no interest in attending Sunday services, or doing ‘church” the same way as it is done across Canada in our congregations. 

How are we as Unitarian Universalists making and holding spaces in our communities for this new generation? Where are we falling short? Being multigenerational is not as simple as inviting the young ones to participate; we need young people not only because they are the leaders of tomorrow, but because they are the leaders of today! Young people need a place to feel spiritually alive and nourished in multigenerational UU communities.

Russell Booth is a queer, transgender, non-binary weirdo who grew up in our congregation. Russell is home for the summer and will return to Thunder Bay come September to continue their second year of school at Lakehead University studying Outdoor Recreation and Women’s Studies. They have been heavily involved in both youth /young adult and adult Unitarian circles over the past several years and have always had an interest in the different ways of being that can draw the generations apart. Other hobbies include: canoeing, procrastinating, reciting poetry, wallowing in self pity, planning youth worship, and looking at memes from 3 years ago thinking they are new and hip.


July 30, 2017
The Times They Are a Changin’ (Or Are They?)” 
Margaret Insley and Michele Cadotte. 

It is sometimes difficult to keep fighting the good fight. Just when things are looking a bit more hopeful in our country and our world, and you believe that change is just around the corner, then… *#&+%#*!!  We all want to make a difference but what really motivates us to take a stand and keep going in spite of all the setbacks and struggles?   Join GRU members Margaret Insley and Michele Cadotte, and their musician friends Lorne Heffer, Jon Bathmaker, Ed McCarron and Glen Erikson, to share in some “protest songs” and be inspired to keep up  the fight!


August 6, 2017

What Do You Mean When You Say That?” 
Rev. Anne Treadwell with Service Leader Mag Horman. 

A few weeks ago I was at a GRU meeting when the conversation turned to our connectedness with one another, and with the world we live in, through our actions, and I thought of some religious phrases which have been used to describe this but which would probably sound quite unacceptable to a UU.  Can you imagine telling someone that you believe in "original sin" for example, or "the communion of saints"?!!? Yet some such "doctrines", when we unpack them, may be excellent shorthand for some of our own liberal religious convictions.

I had the happy experience of being the minister of this congregation from 1998 till my retirement at the end of 2004.  Then John and I were in Nova Scotia for seven years, and when we returned to Ontario I was overjoyed to renew my membership here with the wonderful leadership of the current Minister, Rev. Jess.  Sunday services and discussion groups supply frequent inspiration for my thinking, and occasionally I put that "mulling over" into the form of a talk such as this one.


August 13, 2017
“Please Don't Do Anything Weird for the Next Five Minutes.” 
Mike Szarka with Service Leader Margaret Insley. 

Diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorder are up to one in every 68 children.  How do parents of ASD children cope?  Is losing the genetic lottery a life sentence for the parents?  What's it like to feel everyone is staring at you and your kid?  How can we support members of our community with these challenges?

Mike Szarka has twenty-three years of experience as the parent of a child with ASD, and works at the University of Waterloo as a Director in the Office of Research.  Mike and his wife Tracey have been GRU members since 2015.


August 20, 2017
Seven Principles, Six Sources, and Five Aspirations Walk Into a Bar....”
Janis Collins, GRU Board President.

Is it a Unitarian joke? Is it a math joke? Or is there something to all these numbers and words?

Janis Collins loves words (lots of words), but hopes to use them wisely as she navigates her UU path.


August 27, 2017
Chris Moore, UU Seminarian, with Service Leader Charlotte Innerd.

Our friend Chris Moore returns to GRU to share another thoughtful reflection. 

Chris Moore is a Unitarian Universalist seminarian at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary where he is studying Spiritual Care and Psychotherapy alongside his Masters of Divinity. He is currently a member of First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto.


September 3, 2017
Question Box Sermon:  Why Wonder?”  
Rev. Jess with Service Leader Janis Collins.  

Today YOU decide the topics and choose the readings  for our annual interactive “stump the minister” Sunday.


September 10, 2017
Annual Water Communion and Ingathering Service. 

Join Rev. Jess for the launch of our congregational year.  You are invited to bring a small sampling of water representing your summer vacations and “staycations” as we mingle our experiences in this uniquely Unitarian Universalist ritual.   A potluck will follow today’s service.  Please bring a dish to share.


Welcome to our Congregation!

We are a liberal religious community that draws inspiration from its Judeo-Christian heritage as well as the wisdom of world religions, our direct experience of transcending mystery and wonder, the words and deeds of prophetic women and men, humanist teachings, and the spiritual teachings of Earth-centred traditions. We include believers, doubters, and seekers; those who pray, those who meditate, and those who pour their souls out in song. We pledge to support one another in our individual searches for truth and meaning. Will you join us?

We gather for our regular Sunday services at 10:30 AM. Located in Kitchener, we draw people from all over the Waterloo region. Visitors are warmly welcomed. Please follow us on Facebook to be notified of additional updates. 


Unitarian Universalism - Are We What You've Been Looking For?

Grand River Unitarian Congregation is a proud member of the Canadian Unitarian Council's Welcoming Congregation Program. We warmly welcome and include people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. For more information, please visit Our History and scroll down midway to the Welcoming Congregation logo.