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Reconciling Social Justice and Spirituality

By Jon Sievert

The Rev. Rohana Laing discusses the tension between social justice and political action issues versus “spirituality” often found in many churches throughout the world at this Sunday’s Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Service.

UU Fellowship service
Reconciling Social Justice and Spirituality
By Rev. Rohana Laing
Sun, Oct 19, 10:30am
Posada de la Aldea
Ancha de San Antonio 15

Rev. Laing’s talk addresses polarization and reconciliation to the majority of those in the middle who stand between the “so sure they are always right” traditional religions on one end and the often equally confident atheists on the other. She concludes that it is not only possible, but preferable, to focus on both “being” and “doing.”

Because Laing’s mother’s family was for many generations Baptist and her father a left-wing atheist, she was challenged from an early age to reconcile these seeming opposites. At first she followed her heart and ignored the issues, graduating from a Canadian Art School to become a practicing artist and teacher, combining her work with marriage and raising three sons. When faced with divorce and single parenthood at mid-life, she chose to face important material and existential issues by returning to university.

Surprisingly to herself and others, she experienced a ‘call’ to a liberal, justice-minded ministry that combined her growing interests in spirituality and political action. She was ordained into the United Church of Canada in 1988 after receiving a Master of Divinity Degree from the Vancouver School of Theology. Over 20 years she served five congregations and specialized in reaching out to non-church-going members in each community. Recognizing there were good reasons for people to be leaving organized religions, she chose to be active in her communities with non-religious as well as with religious people.

Laing’s ministry was especially inclusive because of her long-time involvement in an international multi-faith spiritual practice. She retired early from church ministry after an invitation to travel internationally with the world council of the Subud Spiritual Association (, a practice based on experience rather than belief or dogma. It led her to a different understanding of the relationship between social justice and spirituality.

Since completing that role in 2005, she has divided her time between her art studio and home on Gabriola Island, BC, Canada, her family, grandchildren, and friends, and, winter visits to Mexico, particularly San Miguel de Allende.

The UU Fellowship meets every Sunday at 10:30am at La Posada de la Aldea, Ancha de San Antonio 15, and welcomes people of all ages, races, religions, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Visitors are invited to attend the service and then join the UUs for hospitality and discussion afterwards. For additional information, visit


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