February is CUC Month!

February is the month that Canadian Unitarians in congregations across the country are invited to join together in a shared celebration of our national movement. This is the time set aside to look beyond the boundaries of our local communities to the wide and wonderful connections we share beyond our walls. In the spirit of connection, February is our month to reflect on our national faith community, to look to our shared future, and to have some fun! Here are some things to include in your CUC month:

Visioning for Our Movement

The CUC Board invites all congregations and affiliate groups to take some time this month to participate in a visioning workshop, designed to help shape our movement’s shared mission and direction in the years to come. What’s this visioning all about? Rev. Fiona Heath and Rev. Carly Gaylor of the CUC Board Visioning Task Force explain in this video.

Sharing Our Faith

Congregations are also invited to set aside one Sunday morning as a Sharing Our Faith week. This annual ritual is designed to bring us together as a wider faith community, to reflect on a shared theme and the congregations across the country to which we are connected. Taking up a special collection for the Sharing Our Faith fund also provides vital support to sister congregations in need and valuable ministry projects. As the CUC board leads us in thoughtful reflection, this year’s SOF theme is Visioning. The SOF Sunday worship package will be posted here shortly.

Read more.


Come to Ottawa in May!

Join us in Ottawa for the CUC Annual Conference and Meeting! Held at Algonquin College, May 15-17, this year’s theme will bring us workshops and streams delving into the ongoing quest for Justice in a Changing Land.

Registration is now open.

Adults General: *Early-Bird – $275 (until Mar 31), *Mid-Bird – $300 (April 1 – 30), *Regular – $325 (after Apr 30), One-Day Registration Sat – $175, *Sun – $215.
*All registration include the Banquet Dinner on Sunday night, except One-Day Saturday. Online registration closes closed April 30.

CanUUdle (ages 14-21): Early-Bird – $100 (until Mar 31), Regular – $125 (April 1 – 30),
*All registration include meals. Registration closes April 30)

Children (ages up to 14): Regular – Sat-Sun: $100 / Fri-Sun: $150 (until April 15),
*All registration include lunches. Registration closes April 15.

Register by the Early Bird Deadline (March 31th) and you will be entered to win a free registration!

Read more.


2015 Annual General Meeting

Got Delegates?

Your congregation’s delegates are important folks - they step up to become familiar with the business going to the CUC’s Annual General Meeting, and then share this with your congregations. They are the carriers of your congregation’s wishes when it comes to voting on resolutions. Now that the proposed resolutions are available, if you haven’t yet had opportunity to do so, we suggest that you take advantage of CUC Month to select your delegates. To support you in this process, CUC staff has put together some information about representation, delegate selection, preparation for the AGM, and roles of delegates prior to and in-between AGMs. Click here for the Delegate FAQs.

For matters going to the Annual General Meeting, please refer to the Governance - Annual General Meeting section of the CUC website.


Time for a New Vision

by Rev. Fiona Heath

What are your hopes for Canadian Unitarian Universalism?

The CUC Board of Trustees wants to hear your thoughts and dreams for the future of our faith community. We want to lead with a vision of what could be, gathered through intentional conversation with congregations, communities, and affiliates. What kind of world do we—as people of the chalice—want to create?

Many of our communities and affiliates have scheduled a Vision for the Future workshop in February as part of our Sharing our Faith month. Congregations can also hold workshops throughout March. These conversations are happening from coast to coast. We strongly encourage Religious Educators, Young Adult groups, and other affiliate groups both within and outside of congregations to conduct a workshop. All our voices matter.

Read more.


Exploring Ways of Calculating Congregational Commitment

This report follows up on Kristina’s Stevens' progress report on the APC Task Force in the Canadian Unitarian, Fall 2014 edition, p10.

In November 2013, the Annual Program Contribution (APC) Task Force members evaluated the options for calculating congregational “fair share” contributions in support of our national association of congregations, the Canadian Unitarian Council. The Task Force's mandate was find more equitable options of calculating the APC, and then make recommendations to the CUC Board. The criteria used by the Task Force were that the APC calculation method should:

• Result in a fair share for each congregation based on financial resources;

• Be easy to describe, determine and administer;

• Change only gradually; and

• Provide a stable funding base for the CUC.

Read more.


CRA Guidelines for Rentals

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has very specific guidelines that could affect how your congregation rents out space. When renting rooms to individual members of your congregation, please be aware:

• Members cannot receive preferential treatment or specific member benefits.

• Members and non-members must be charged the same amount to rent space for personal events, including parties, weddings, and memorials.

To test out your policies, ask yourself: “Would we offer this same deal to somebody walking in off the street?” See the CRA policy on undue benefits here.

CUC Staff Voices

Your CUC staff will be writing monthly blogs to share, to inform, to present provocative musings, and to increase connections. The topics for the blogs will be eclectic, and you can look for them around the first of each month on the CUC website here.


UUs and Social Responsibility: It’s Who We Are

By April Hope
Social Responsibility Coordinator

I’ve learned a thing or two since I started working for the CUC, but it seems like the more I learn, the less I know. Excited and naïve, I was thrilled to be offered the position of Social Responsibility Coordinator. I thought to myself, “How hard could a position be that is only allotted 5 hours/week?” Well let me share with you, UU’s have what I like to refer to as a ‘dauntingly’ successful history of social action in Canada.

We have been at the door of political and social change throughout our country’s history. We are much more than individuals who believe in this cause or that: our very Principles tell us that we are the vehicle for social change. Our communities are filled with people doing amazing work in every imaginable area of social justice, and each group offers their expertise in unique and inspiring ways. Please look to our Social Responsibility pages for examples of our long-time commitment.

Read more.


Rev. Carly Gaylor: Social Justice Minister

In September 2014, Rev. Carly Gaylor took up the newly created post of Assistant Minister for Outreach and Social Justice at the First Unitarian Church of Hamilton. In this capacity, Carly has been guiding the congregation through an in-depth process to determine what social justice project(s) to undertake. Hoping to go deeper with their social justice work, Carly’s role is to help the congregation determine how to invest their energy and support into the local community.

“The congregation has a history of being involved,” Carly explains, speaking about her role in Hamilton. “For years they sponsored a hospital in Haiti. But this focus is ‘how can we be involved in the local community,’ and not just giving money, but building relationships and meeting real needs; not just providing help, but learning as well, and bringing humility and reflection to the process.”

Read more.


Theme-Based Ministry in Peterborough…

it’s really growing on us!

by Rev. Julie Stoneberg

(Theme-based ministry refers to the practice of choosing monthly themes to guide congregational life…themes that are explored in worship, in covenant groups, in lifespan learning, and in spiritual practice.)

My first exposure to the idea of theme-based ministry came in the spring of 2011 at a presentation by Rev. Marlin Lavahar, the senior minister at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, OK—one of our largest UU congregations. I was excited by the idea, but overwhelmed. Peterborough has just over 100 members, and limited staff hours. How could we undertake such a large project, involving all of our programming?

A colleague helped me to see that it didn’t need to start large! Instead, why not start small, encourage participation as possible, and see where it goes? And that’s what we did. For three years, we cycled through a rotation of over thirty themes: compassion, death, faith, sexuality, forgiveness… and we started simple. During our first years, usually just one Sunday service focused on the theme each month, we included a page of resources (buried) in our monthly newsletter, and our covenant groups were invited to use the theme as their topic. This took us into some territory we might not otherwise have explored, and it provided a great framework for our service calendar. But it was just a start.

Read more.


Sharing Our Faith: Nurturing Unitarian Universalist Initiatives

The Sharing Our Faith program provides grants for congregational initiatives which enhance ministry. Special collections from Sharing Our Faith services held by congregations across the country make it possible to fund these projects. Together we create a national Unitarian Universalist community strengthened by our mutual support.

Since 2001, Sharing Our Faith has awarded over $150,000 to congregations for growth initiatives.

Read more.


Make Room for the Mystery

With these words, 15 people from across the country began their three-day Lay Chaplaincy Basic Training, Designing and Leading Rites of Passage. The CUC-sponsored workshop took place in Victoria last November, co-led by practicing Lay Chaplain Liz Graham and minister Rev. Meg Roberts.

Informative, lively, and deeply spiritual, the weekend covered everything from wedding interview techniques to how best to hold the flow of a memorial service. Liz and Meg were engaging, experienced and made room for humour. They spoke to the joy and spiritual depth in the Lay Chaplain's own life as they practiced. It is truly a gift, they said, "transporting people to that place of transcendence, of deeper connection to each other and to the mystery". That November weekend will be long remembered by all trainees as their gift to us.

Read more.


Know Someone Knight-Worthy?

Since 1995, the Knight Award has been presented annually to a living person who has, as a volunteer, contributed at the national level to furthering the principles of Unitarianism in Canada. The award honours the ideals exemplified by the lives of Victor and Nancy Knight.

Nominations for the 2015 award may be submitted by any member or friend of a Canadian UU congregation, and must be accompanied by a citation describing what the nominee has done at the national level to promote liberal religious principles in Canada and why she or he should be considered for the award. For details, check our Knight page. Deadline for submissions is March 31. Check out previous Knight award winners here.


ToUUch the Earth at CanUUdle

Youth Conference
May 15-17, 2015 in Ottawa

As Unitarian Universalist youth we are deeply grounded with strong roots that bind us to this pale blue dot of a planet. We grow from the experiences and knowledge we gain from being ever connected to the earth that surrounds us. We strive to take care of this home. We are all physically and spiritually connected with these grounds upon which we stand, the air that we breathe, and the skies of which we dream. Mother earth and father sky are interwoven into our lives. That is why the theme of CanUUdle XV is “ToUUch the Earth.”

As youth, we are reaching out, digging down, and exploring with our green thumbs this beloved world we all share. We will be exploring the physicality of our lands, as well as the interconnected web, our spiritual imperative to celebrate and protect this planet. We will be trying to touch our earth in all the ways that we can, and by doing so this world will touch us back. We will be standing where earth meets sky and blessing them both with all of our individual gifts, as they bless us with theirs. We will feel the burden of Atlas as we all find strength to “ToUUch the Earth” as one.

-Carter Mahoney, CanUUdle Co-Dean

Unitarians Welcome Refugee Commitment

In his announcement on Jan 7, Immigration Minister Chris Alexander stated that Canada would be opening its doors wider for refugees fleeing a turbulent Middle East civil war, saying that it will accept another 10,000 Syrians over three years and 3,000 more Iraqis in 2015. Unitarians welcome this move and will work with government and other Sponsorship Agreement Holders to prepare for this resettlement.

In June 2014, when Mr. Alexander was urged to take on an additional 10,000 Government Assisted Refugees (GARs) he replied, "Stand by for the announcement, we will do one. We will have an ambitious goal for Canada, but we need to prepare the ground with our private sponsors." Private sponsors, who have yet to be consulted, look forward to significant conversation to address issues like financial support, the challenges of long processing times and complicated application procedures, and the limitations of the current Interim Federal Health program.

Read more.


Diversity Current: How We Aspire to Live

The CUC’s Diversity Monitoring Group (DMG) is working to re-launch the Celebrating Diversity program. The Celebrating Diversity program is an intentional way of supporting and encouraging UUs to live our values in a peaceful and inclusive world community. Often the word diversity is used to signify racial or ethnic inclusion. While ethnic issues are part of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) issues, the DMG wants to emphasize that within our UU movement, diversity is an inclusive word and pertains to more than just ethnicity. Diversity relates to all people and all our multiple and intersecting social identity groups. Recently, the Diversity Working Group (DWG) at First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto, alongside the DMG, worked to create the categories below to be inclusive of all social identity groups:

• Ability & Accessibility

• Age

• Ancestry & Culture

• Family Structure

• Gender Identification & Sexual Orientation

• Political/Ideological

• Socio-Economic Status

• Theology

Read more.


UU-UNO Spring Seminar

Every year, the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO) hosts an intergenerational spring seminar. Each year focuses on a different human rights theme, and offers participants a unique opportunity to go deep into important social justice issues in an international and intergenerational context. Youth and adults from across the continent gather in New York City to learn together about an issue of global concern.

This year’s theme will take on international criminal justice, and will take place in New York City from April 9 - 11. The seminar will work to help participants find themselves in the global UU story with regards to international criminal justice. We will consider UU engagement with such issues as:

• Disability rights

• Mental health

• Mass incarceration

• Immigration detention

• Canadian justice or lack of it for indigenous women

• Why are people imprisoned?

• Positive examples of restorative justice

Read more.


1 for 7 Billion: Choosing the Right UN Secretary General

As leader of the United Nations (UN), the Secretary General is responsible for ensuring that the organization is capable of solving the world’s most significant and complex problems.

Considering the vital role that the UN Secretary General plays in managing international crises, from armed conflict to ecological disasters, we as citizens of the world deserve the best possible candidate for the job. So proposes the 1 for 7 Billion Campaign, aimed at reforming the selection process for one of the most important jobs in the world.

Current UN practices for appointing candidates are considerably flawed and opaque. The selection of the UN Secretary General is voted on (or as is often the case acclaimed) by the General Assembly following the endorsement of a single candidate by the Security Council. Chosen behind closed doors, through negotiations between the five permanent members of the Security Council (each of whom has the power to veto candidates), no formal selection criteria or qualifications guide the process.

Read more.

Goldmine Youth Leadership School at Unicamp!

“What is it for us to do? It is for us to Heal the World!”  Goldmine is an intensive, UU youth leadership development program offered across the US and in Canada for youth ages 14 – 20. In this dynamic program, youth get to participate in a program that is co-led by youth and adults, where they will learn practical leadership skills, go deeper in to the inspiring history of our tradition, do service work, learn how to lead diverse and engaging worships and create friendships and community that will last a lifetime.

This year Goldmine returns to a Canadian location through a partnership between the Canadian Unitarian Council and Unicamp. Goldmine will run Aug. 24 – 30, and is open to youth of all leadership experience levels. Cost is $495

Read more.


Save the Date for Elementary OWL Training!

This year the CUC is very pleased to announce the return of Facilitator Training for the Our Whole Lives sexuality education program in advance of the CUC ACM.

In addition to Lay Chaplain trainings we are offering the Elementary (K-1 and gr. 4 – 6) OWL Facilitator Training at Algonquin College, May 14 & 15 in advance of this year’s ACM in Ottawa. Registration for this program is $250 and will be available through the ACM Adult registration form. A minimum of 10 registrations are needed by April 15th for the program to take place, so everyone is enthusiastically encouraged to sign up! Offering this training is part of the CUC’s commitment to provide support to religious education and we are pleased to be able to have Canadian UUs serve as our trainers.

Accommodations are not included in your registration fee, but Algonquin College offers two-bedroom suites at $89 a night, complete with shared bathroom and kitchenette. Only one reservation is to be made per suite. Find more information on the Accommodations Page.

A Helping Hand for Ministerial Students

The path to ministry is both rewarding and challenging, and ministers who have walked that path know that some of those challenges include financial hurdles. The Theological Education Fund was established to help ministerial students with the expenses incurred while studying for the ministry. For more information on eligibility requirements, check here, Deadline for applications is March 31. All inquiries can be sent to tef@cuc.ca.

Part Time Congregational Facilitator

Don Heights (Toronto)

The Congregational Facilitator will support the Don Heights Unitarian Congregation and Board to live out our vision statement:

Don Heights is a resilient, welcoming community of diverse individuals, promoting love, reason and freedom in religion, fostering lifelong spiritual growth and acting for social justice and the environment.
- Approved at a Congregational Meeting, October 4, 2009

The Congregational Facilitator will provide general assistance to the Board of Directors and in particular will work with members of the congregation to enhance and develop our congregational life.  The Congregational Facilitator,   in co-operation with the Don Heights Future Focus Committee, will create a workplan for the year within a month of beginning this contract.

Read more.


The Enneagram: Its Contributions to Congregational and Compassionate Lives

Feb 7, Edmonton

Workshop Leader: Rev. Keith Kron, Director of Ministerial Transitions, Unitarian Universalist Association

Enneagram allows us to look at the patterns of our lives, our ruts & rituals. We can then see not only the lens from which we view the world, but also the lenses of others. We'll explore these lenses, focusing on self-awareness, authenticity & fun.

Participants will come away with understandings & confirmations of individual Enneagram styles, how those styles inform compassion in our lives & how the Enneagram can foster community & congregational well being.

Read more.


Designing and Leading Rites of Passage: Basic Training for Lay Chaplains

May 14 - May 15, Ottawa

The “Basics” workshop is for those considering Lay Chaplaincy, recently appointed Lay Chaplains and members of a congregation’s Lay Chaplaincy committee. It provides basic guidelines on the management of a congregation’s Lay Chaplaincy program and the training new Lay Chaplains need to begin their work.

This will be the only offering of “Designing and Leading Rites of Passage: Basic Training for Lay Chaplains” in the Central and Eastern Regions for 2015!

Facilitated by: Rev. Carole Martignacco

Cost: $95 (Includes: lunches for both days are included; accommodations are not – the Algonquin residence offers a 2-bedroom suite with kitchenette and bathroom for $89/night).

Registration: now open.


Elementary OWL Facilitator Training

May 14 - May 15, Ottawa

This year the CUC is very pleased to announce the return of Facilitator Training for the Our Whole Lives sexuality education program in advance of the CUC ACM.

We are offering the Elementary (K-1 and gr. 4 – 6) OWL Facilitator Training at Algonquin College, May 14 & 15 in advance of this year’s ACM in Ottawa. Registration and details about cost and other program details will be available soon. Offering this training is part of the CUC’s commitment to provide support to religious education and we are pleased to be able to have Canadian UUs serve as our trainers.


The Power of Ritual: Training for Lay Chaplains

May 15, Ottawa

Rituals play a significant role in our lives, whether we realize it or not – our daily lives are filled with rituals, from how we wake up in the morning to how we welcome new births. Lay chaplains engage with rituals to help others celebrate, mourn and mark important milestones. This workshop takes lay chaplains on an exploration of the power of rituals in our lives.

Facilitated by: Amanda Tarling and Peter Brydon

Cost: $65 (Includes: lunches for both days are included; accommodations are not – the Algonquin residence offers a 2-bedroom suite with kitchenette and bathroom for $89/night).

Registration: now open


Annual General Meeting

May 15, Ottawa

Each year, the Canadian Unitarian Council holds its Annual General Meeting (AGM) to elect members for the CUC’s Board of Trustees, vote on resolutions, and to attend to the business of the Council. Learn more about Annual General Meetings and what Delegatesneed to know.


CUC ACM 2015

May 15 - May 17, Ottawa

The 2015 Annual Conference and Meeting will be held in the capital city of Ottawa.

Hosted by the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa, the ACM theme is “Seeking Justice in a Changing Land À la recherche de la justice sur une terre changeante.” 

The ACM venue is Algonquin College, which has the beautiful new Commons Theatre. The Opening and Welcome Ceremony, the Sunday service, and other events throughout the weekend will be held at the Commons Theatre.


CanUUdle XV - ToUUch the Earth

May 15 - May 18, Ottawa

As youth, we are reaching out, digging down, and exploring with our green thumbs this beloved world we all share. We will be exploring the physicality of our lands, as well as the interconnected web, our spiritual imperative to celebrate and protect this planet.

Mother earth and father sky are interwoven into our lives. That is why the theme of CanUUdle XV is “ToUUch the Earth.”


CUURE - National Religious Educators' Gathering

May 18 - May 20, Ottawa

Gather with colleagues from across Canada to explore spiritual practice in our personal and professional lives and to share challenges, meaningful moments, best practices, and program ideas. Our time together includes a Worship, dinner, and evening of discussion with our ministerial colleagues, as well as the annual meeting of the Canadian Unitarian Universalist Religious Educators (CUURE). Join us for inspiration, refreshment, and recharge.

Read more.