11135-65 Avenue Edmonton, Alberta T6H 1W3 · Traditional Lands of Treaty 6 First Nations



A compassionate community of free religious thought, inviting all people to rest, grow, and serve the world.

Youth and Young Adult Forum on the 8th Principle

Youth and Young Adults Forum on the 8th Principle Saturday, August 7, 12 pm MT |  (2 hrs)Young Unitarian Universalists in Canada ages 14-35 are invited to attend this forum to discuss the 8th Principle and the process for adopting it in Canada. We will respond to the discussion package (“The 8th Principle Process: Next …

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Meet Our Story Corner Friends!

Sunshine is a very rare bird in amidst our Story Corner friends! He is very boisterous and joyful and has beautiful lessons to teach us about communicating kindly and listening well when we speak in different ways. You see, Sunshine communicates in birdsong…well, whistles, really, but he has a gorgeous voice! We learned his name is Sunshine by listening very, VERY carefully as he whistled “You Are My Sunshine”.  Sadly, his gorgeous voice doesn’t translate very well over computer audio, so he is very excited for the day he can meet everyone in person! Sunshine’s unique communication style helps teach lessons on accessibility, respect, and active listening skills. All very important in our diverse and pluralistic world!

I have recently noticed that sound tends to pick up more clearly in a recording rather than live viewing, so Sunshine may very well surprise us with an appearance on YouTube or during a Sunday Service Story for All Ages! However, being a Robin, it’s likely this surprise appearance will happen come spring! He is really looking forward to meeting everyone!

Blessed be,

Ilara Stefaniuk-Gaudet, Director of Religious Education

Meet Our Story Corner Friends!

Goldie has been slithering her way into our hearts since March when Covid first began! Goldie’s full name is Goldie the Golden Rule Corn Snake, but that’s a bit of a mouthful so she usually introduces herself simply as Goldie. She came in from Ilara’s garden near the tree that Spruce lives in to help …

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Meet Our Story Corner Friends!

Image shows Director of Religious Education, Ilara Stefaniuk-Gaudet, smiling with a squirrel hand puppet. The Puppet's name is Spruce.

Image shows Director of Religious Education, Ilara Stefaniuk-Gaudet, smiling with a squirrel hand puppet. The Puppet's name is Spruce.

Although many of you have met today’s feature Story Corner friend in the fur, Spruce wanted to share some things about ermself that you may not know yet, and introduce ermself to those of you that e hasn’t met yet! Spruce has A LOT of backstory! In fact, Spruce has so much backstory that I often finds myself as surprised as anyone else by some of the things Spruce comes up with. Spruce is a very unscripted squirrel, and we love erm for it.

Spruce wants to to share a bit of erm backstory for anyone new to our community. Spruce has been a part of Westwood for a few years now, and is a very beloved community member. Spruce’s stories began in the Westwood RealiTree, which was an incredible living sculptural piece that changed every single Sunday to match what was happening in nature. Here is a photo of the RealiTree from this time in a year past!

This was Spruce’s original home, as well as the roots of Spruce’s stories! During our year of time with the RealiTree, I used it for our monthly Sunday Stories for All Ages, so folks got to know Spruce and a few other story friends very well! Originally, Spruce was a little felted squirrel that lived in the RealiTree, but them erm dressed as a puppet of ermself for Halloween one year…and now erm is magically transformed into the puppet version of ermself! Spruce has even changed erm pronouns within our Westwood community and is forever grateful for the loving response e has received.

Now that Spruce has shared a small portion of erm backstory, e tells me e would also like to reveal some NEVER BEFORE SAID OUT LOUD parts about erm life! E hadn’t even told me what I’m about to tell you until this very minute! I, for one, can hardly contain my excitement to hear what e is going to tell me! You folks all ready for this? So, apparently the pouch that Spruce always carries in erm paws is a MAGIC pouch! It’s made to look like an apple, and at one point it held soft things to help line another squirrel’s nest, but in reality it can hold anything that Spruce wishes for inside it! Wow, I can’t believe Spruce hadn’t told me that before! Imagine the story possibilities with a magic wishing pouch!

Speaking of stories, Spruce would love to see you at our Saturday Story Corners! We gather in our Zoom Room to settle in and get comfy at 2:45pm MT, then there is a 3pm story on our Facebook Live! After our story we pop back into the Zoom Room so you can visit with our puppet friends! All are welcome to join us on either platform; Spruce LOVES seeing people commenting on erm stories!

See you all soon!

Much love from me and Spruce!

Ilara Stefaniuk-Gaudet, Director of Religious Education


Meet Our Story Corner Friends!

Shows Religious Director Ilara with one of the Children's Weekly Story Corner Puppets, a fairy named Elm with a green leaf skirt and a bee on her head.

Spruce recently brought it my my attention that it is very likely many of you may not have met erm yet, and that made me realize that if you haven’t met Spruce yet (you will!) then you definitely haven’t met our other puppet friends. So I’m going to do a little mini feature on each of our …

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Online Programming for Children and Youth Now Available!

Our world has changed overnight, and we are working hard to make sure that we have programming and supports in place to meet new needs, including for children and youth. For families with elementary aged or younger children, Director of Religious Education, Ilara Stefaniuk-Gaudet (they/them pronouns) will be hosting a weekly story session with our …

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OWL in the Spotlight

Our Whole Lives (OWL) is a Unitarian Universalist program designed to nurture a knowledgable and healthy attitude towards sex and sexuality for your children and young people. Our Whole Lives and UUA OWL Program Manager Melanie Davis are featured in “A Thoughtful Podcast,” which offers conversations about religious and spiritual life on the other side …

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Happy New Year from Westwood Children’s Program!

Happy New Year! Our theme for January is our fourth Source: Jewish and Christian teachings of God’s call to love our neighbour. In the children’s program, we will be exploring some of the messages from the Jewish tradition on January 5 and 26, and messages from the Christian tradition on January 12 and 19. We will do so through story telling, games, crafts, and conversations about what kindness looks like in our lives and in the world.

Many Blessings for the year ahead!

Ilara Stefaniuk-Gaudet, Director of Religious Education

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