Vision Road Sign with dramatic blue sky and clouds.

Into the Future – CUC Vision Update

Boldly Inclusive. Deeply Connected. These are two of the phrases which resonate with Canadian Unitarian Universalists. In the past three months, in workshops and webinars, Canadian UUs have discussed the future of Unitarian Universalism. Communities and individuals have been responding to the CUC Visioning Process with thoughtful insights.

• “More diverse ways to worship – both within and beyond Sunday mornings.”

• “As much value placed on spiritual practices as on social justice activities.”

• “Be inspiring as spiritual leaders for liberal minded people.”

It’s clear we care deeply about the potential inherent in our faith tradition, and the Vision Task Force will compile the results and consider them carefully before shaping a vision to lead us into the unknown future.

Read more.

CUC AGM: The Business of Resolutions

Although four potential resolutions were initially proposed for the 2015 Annual General Meeting (AGM), they each engage a topic that the CUC has addressed in years past. The CUC has standing resolutions supporting Abortion Rights (1980), Truth and Reconciliation between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Canadians (First Nations Justice 1995), and Environmental Activism (Environment 1999, Environment update 2009, Climate Change Mitigation 2013). 

Resolutions previously passed at CUC AGMs continue to guide our actions as an organization, allowing for new and ongoing projects that support and further their intentions. After reviewing the proposed resolutions this year, CUC Parliamentarian, William Fulton, has recommended that proposing new resolutions along the same themes are neither necessary nor in order, according to Robert’s Rules of Order. In short, while these issues have been identified by the proposers as particularly valuable areas of concern this year, the CUC as an organization has already voted its agreement and repeated resolutions are redundant.

View the Proposed Actions here.

What will happen to these resolutions?

Read more.


If Canada Revenue Agency Comes Calling, Will You Be Ready?

Since the announcement in January 2015 of Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) audit of the Canadian Unitarian Council, there has been discussion, concern and confusion about charitable status, charitable and political activities, and CRA guidelines around the same.

Here are 5 steps to provide you with information that will lead to best practice and compliance with CRA requirements:

Read more.

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.

Joan Carolyn, Congregational Development (B.C. Western)

Positive Power Potential of our CUC circles!

By Joan Carolyn
Congregational Development (BC & Western regions)

Greetings to you from somewhere in the middle of Alberta! As someone with just shy of five months on the job with the CUC, I feel privileged to find myself on a steep learning curve regarding the vast network of member congregations and fellowships. As a newcomer to the CUC staff team, most of what I wish to share with you regards first impressions.

At the time of writing, I’ve had the opportunity to attend two Regional Fall Gatherings and visit with approximately half the congregations and fellowships in the B.C. and Western regions. In this first year, one of my major goals, supported by the CUC office, is to listen deeply to the strengths, resources, needs and concerns within each member group. This information gathering is necessary as I seek to fill the role for which the CUC hired me.

And what an incredibly rich journey it’s been so far!

Read more.


Congregational Development Staff Areas of Engagement

Leaders in congregations often find themselves facing questions that are new to them. Most congregational board members or committee chairs don’t have a background as professional church workers. Most do a wonderful job bringing skills and ideas from their other roles and applying them to congregational settings. But congregations are unique organizations and the questions that leaders face there are often of the “Gosh, I didn’t know I’d need to think about that!” variety. Sadly, in the urgency of the moment those same leaders sometimes forget about the resources that are available to them. The Canadian Unitarian Council staff work in support of congregations and because this is our main focus we find that the questions that surprise congregational leaders often seem familiar to us.

This past year the staff worked together defining the areas we work in, providing development support to our congregations and their lay leaders and professional staff. We are available to help identify resources, provide training, support networking, and to consult in four main areas of congregational life. They are:

• Building Beloved Community

• Lifespan Religious Exploration

• Spiritual Growth

• Community Resilience

Read more.


Healthcare for Vulnerable Children in Burundi

The second phase of the Canadian Unitarian Council’s (CUC) partnership with the Unitarian Church of Burundi took effect earlier this year, with 600 Healthcare Insurance Cards being distributed to vulnerable children in three Burundi provinces, Muyinga, Gitega, and Bujumbura. With funds donated by congregations, individuals and the CUC, the Unitarian Church of Burundi was able to buy these health cards, which cover the costs of doctor’s consultations, hospitalization, hygiene education, dental care, and medicines not only for the child who holds it but for their whole family for the next 12 months.

This initiative to provide health care support to children followed on the first stage of the Burundi partnership project from the fall of 2014, when donations sent by the CUC supported the purchase of school supplies for 150 children in need. Supplies included school uniforms, backpacks, notebooks, pens, and math boxes, and allowed children otherwise struggling to afford their education to keep going to school. The project particularly focused on supporting girls, who are more likely to be kept home if families can’t afford to send all their children to school.

Read more.

Communion: Dwelling Together in Unity

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for people to dwell together in unity!”

It is indeed pleasant and good that people would dwell together. And it is for this purpose, for the purpose of communing, that we came together in Kingston for a short weekend in February. 

Communion 1-1   Communion 1-2   Communion 1-3

Read more.

Child Haven

A Child Haven Fundraiser: You’re Invited to Neighbourhood UU

Many Unitarians have a history of supporting Child Haven and no doubt many of you have been to these fundraisers. Child Haven provides shelter, education, food, healthcare, clothing, and a loving environment for 1300 destitute children in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Tibet.

Michelle Lalonde, a member of Neighbourhood UU Congregation in Toronto, is one of those supporters, and is holding such an event at Neighbourhood on May 1st at 7:30pm. This is the third year that Michelle has organized the fundraiser and the goal is to raise $20,000 ($15,000 was raised in 2013). We hope you can join us. Fred Cappuccino, Unitarian Minister and co-founder of Child Haven, will also be delivering the message of inspiration on Sunday May 3rd at Neighbourhood and we would love to see you then as well.

Read more.


Unitarians Awarded Environment Award in Manitoba

Carolyn Garlich, Chair of Winnipeg’s Unitarian Green Action Committee and long-time member of the CUC Environment Monitoring Group was recently recognized for her commitment to environmental work. The Manitoba Eco-Network recognized Carolyn and her husband, Peter Miller, with the lifetime achievement award – the Anne Lindsey Protecting Our Earth Award. Click here to read the complete article from the Winnipeg Free Press, March 14, 2015.


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 into 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.

Supreme Court Support for Assisted Dying

On February 6 the Supreme Court of Canada announced its unanimous decision to end the ban on assisted suicide. This decision will decriminalize physician assisted dying for individuals with a grievous and irremediable medical condition that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual. Although these terms (“grievous and irremediable” and “enduring suffering”) remain undefined at the moment, they allow for those competent Canadians who are suffering to choose a death with dignity.

The CUC has a long history of advocating for the recognition of the right to death with dignity and holds a deep belief that this is a human right. Resolutions dating back to 1973 have guided us through our involvement at every level of appeal as intervener with the Taylor and Carter cases.

Read more.


Capital Rainbow Refuge Welcomes Two New Former-Refugees to Canada

In February, two young men descended the escalator together in the arrivals section of the Ottawa airport. They were smartly dressed, in red sweat pants, blue hoodies, and blue suede running shoes. The young men were no longer refugees from the Middle East. They entered Canada as Permanent Residents, ready to start their new lives here. As they descended, they spotted us immediately: almost two dozen members of Capital Rainbow all smiling and waving a rainbow flag. Soon we were all hugging and making introductions. Some people they recognized from the photos and bios we had sent. Others they knew quite well having shared their most personal stories of persecution as we prepared their paperwork during Skype calls.

In both their homeland and the country where they were in hiding as refugees it is illegal to be gay, and sometimes citizens enforce society’s intolerance with discrimination and violence. So they have spent a long time anticipating and hoping they would be able to settle in Canada. One man told us that he went too quickly through the X-ray machine in Toronto and was told to re-enter. So he went back, put one hand straight forward and the other on his hip and strutted. The customs officer laughed and said “welcome queen” and they all laughed together, knowing they had reached a country that has progressed significantly on LGBT rights.

Read more.


The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report

Established by the 2007 Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission set out to inform all Canadians about what happened in Indian Residential Schools and to document the truth of survivors, families, communities and anyone personally affected by the IRS experience. The Commission will release its report and recommendations in Ottawa May 31-June 3, 2015. There will be many ways to participate in the events being planned. KAIROS, Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, the coalition of churches and religious organizations working together for justice, has a schedule of the events.

A Walk for Reconciliation will take place on Sunday, May 31st, beginning at 11:00am in Hull. People will gather in the area of the Robert Guerin arena, for music and speeches, followed by a two-hour walk to Ottawa City Hall. Welcoming speeches, a keynote address, and live music will follow.


Diversity Current: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility:

A Call to Love Each Other As Part of the Human Family

Like Family Day and Valentine’s Day, it says something that we need an International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. We ought to know that we should care for and love our family members and those with whom we have relationships. Since we need reminding to value our close ties, it seems appropriate that we would also need to be reminded to “widen the circle of our embrace”, and remember we are all part of one human sisterhood and brotherhood, called to live our values every day. In some corners, there may be rumblings, “Diversity again?” Yet, as we open up and discuss, we increase and improve our awareness so that the distant “others” may become “we”.

The Diversity Monitoring Group aims to draw attention to the reality that although race is an important aspect of it, diversity deals with more than race. It is the ongoing interplay of race, poverty, gender, and our other social identities in relation to how we access resources. Addressing race relations alone will not allow for inclusion and equity. We need to address the whole person and continue advocating for change.

Read more.


UU-UNO Reception at the ACM

by Valerie Chapman

The Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO) reception, taking place Sunday evening (May 17th) at the CUC Annual Conference and Meeting (ACM), will welcome interested people, including youth, who are interested in becoming envoys.

The reception will introduce Bruce Knotts, Executive Director of our United Nations Office in New York City, and intern Allison Hess, who is the new Envoy Coordinator. We expect to see many interested people, adults and youth, engaging in a lively interchange of ideas, as well as taking the opportunity to meet Bruce and Allison.

There will be light refreshments, a chance to network with like-minded folk and exchange ideas. If you are interested in becoming an envoy or want to find out more about what the UU-UNO does, you are invited to attend this reception.

Read more.


Register Now! CUC’s Annual Conference and Meeting, May 15-17th

There is still time to register for the CUC’s Annual Conference and Meeting (ACM) coming up over the May long weekend in Ottawa, ON. Join us at Algonquin College for a weekend of Seeking Justice through music, worship, multigenerational workshops, and in-depth explorations of truth and reconciliation, democracy, sustainability, how to live out our faith through social justice, and lots more! Learn more about pre- and post- conference events, associate organizations that will be hosting gatherings, and lots more on the ACM website. Bring your talent to share at open mic night, your dancing shoes for the Saturday night host event, your open mind, your loving heart, and your helping hands. Register online by April 30th! (After that, late-bird registration will only be available in person, on May 14th and 15th.) Children’s registration closes April 15th and CanUUdle registration closes April 30th.


Parading Our Banners

Bob Armstrong, coordinator of the banner parade, has a special message for congregations and their banner carriers:

I will be the MC for the banner parade at the CUC ACM in-gathering on the Friday evening, May 15.  This year, instead of a long parade of the banners, we will have each banner carried on to the stage of the beautiful Algonquin Commons Theatre whilst I introduce the congregation and read a few words about it.

I write to ask you to send me the few words you would like me to read about your congregation/fellowship/organization. Only a few words are required - I'm restricted to about 5 seconds for each banner.

Read more.

Wanda Morris

Wanda Morris, CEO of Dying with Dignity, to speak at ACM Sunday Banquet

For years the CUC and Dying with Dignity have worked together to raise awareness about death with dignity and to advance changes in legislation about physician-assisted suicide. At the ACM Sunday Banquet, Ms. Morris will speak about the spiritual challenges of having conversations about death, and what issues may emerge over the coming year with regard to assisted dying and patient rights. Dying With Dignity is a not-for-profit organization with over 3,000 members and supporters across Canada. The organization provides education about advance care planning, patient rights and the reasons why end-of-life choice should be legalized.


Breakfast Meeting for Aspirants at ACM

David Pettee, the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Ministerial Credentialing Director, will host a breakfast for aspirants and candidates. This will take place on Sunday May 17 at the Annual Conference & Meeting in Ottawa 7:30-9:00am. There will be opportunity to discuss the ministerial process and the possibility of dissolving the Regional Sub-Committee on Candidacy due to high financial costs.

For more information, contact Debra Faulk, president of the UU Ministers of Canada at debra@unitarianscalgary.org


Save the Date! Western Regional Fall Gathering

The First Unitarian Universalist Church of Winnipeg is excited to invite UUs throughout the Western Region to this year’s regional fall gathering, taking place October 16-18, 2015, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The Keynote speaker will be Stefan Jonasson, the former UUA director for growth strategies. Rev. Stefan Jonasson is widely regarded as an expert on congregational governance, organizational development, conflict management, church-size dynamics, church growth, and leadership training. And he also happens to be a gifted communicator, who listens carefully and speaks articulately. Stefan was born and raised in Winnipeg and he is rare among Unitarian Universalist ministers for having completed his theological education entirely in Canada. He is the only Manitoban (and perhaps the only Canadian) to have received the Governor-General’s Gold Medal for a theological degree. Stefan and his wife Cindy, whom he met in high school, live in Winnipeg and they have two daughters, Brandis and Heather.

Our Winnipeg hosts are developing a theme for this year’s gathering that focuses on Leadership Development. Stayed tuned to the next issue for more information!


The CUC is Moving!

The CUC’s lease on our current main office space is ending and we have decided to move to a new location. We are joining the community at Centre for Social Innovation. Please make the appropriate change – as of April 1, 2015, the new mailing address is:

Canadian Unitarian Council @ Centre for Social Innovation
215 Spadina Avenue - Suite 400, Toronto, ON M5T 2C7.

Phone numbers and emails remain the same. Any mail addressed to our old location will automatically be forwarded to our new offices for a 4 month period.

Please note that the CUC office won’t be responding to phone calls or inquiries from Thursday, Apr 17 – Tuesday, Apr 21 to facilitate our move (we’ll stay open on the 17th and 18th for the sale)


CUC Moving Sale

The CUC is downsizing to a smaller office with a lot of shared amenities. Therefore we will not need a lot of our current electronics / furniture / kitchen supplies.

Some of the items include: older computers, printers, print toner, tables, office chairs, bookcases, projector screens, kitchen supplies and so much more.

If you want to take advantage of some good deals, and help us downsize in the process, come on down to our CUC offices Wed Apr 15 – Fri Apr 17 1pm until 7pm.

We are located near Dupont and Spadina.

344 Dupont St Suite 100
Toronto, ON  M5R 1V9


Director of Religious Education – Unitarian Church of Montreal

The Unitarian Church of Montreal seeks a Director of Religious Education to oversee our growingchildren and youth program, including management of a small staff of educators and volunteers. Responsibilities include: implementing a Unitarian curriculum, participating in spiritual development and ministry, coordinating weekly Sunday children’s activities, and directing program development and administration. All of these duties require working closely with the minister, the religious education committee, and congregation families. This is a permanent, 20-hour-a-week position.

Read more.

CUC Moving Sale

Apr 15 - 17, Toronto

The CUC is downsizing to a smaller office with a lot of shared amenities. Therefore we will not need a lot of our current electronics / furniture / kitchen supplies.

Some of the items include: older computers, printers, print toner, tables, office chairs, bookcases, projector screens, kitchen supplies and so much more.

If you want to take advantage of some good deals, and help us downsize in the process, come on down to our CUC offices Wed Apr 15 – Fri Apr 17 1pm until 7pm.

Read more.


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

May 14 - 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 - 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

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 - 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

CanUUdle XV - ToUUch the Earth

May 15 - 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 - 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.

Goldmine Youth Leadership School

Goldmine Youth Leadership School

Aug 24 - 30, Honeywood (Unicamp)

Goldmine is a UU youth leadership development program. Youth (ages 14 – 20) will learn practical leadership skills, go deeper into the inspiring history of our movement, do service work, learn how to lead diverse and engaging worships and create friendships and community that will last a lifetime. Registration is now open. Read more about Goldmine.

Read more


BC Regional Fall Gathering

Oct 2 - 4, Namaimo

Save the date!


Western Regional Fall Gathering

Oct 16 - 18, Winnipeg

Save the date!