See You In Vancouver!

This year’s Annual Conference and Meeting has come to an end. Canadian UUs have returned home from our extended weekend together in Ottawa, ON with promises to carry home that flame of inspiration that is kindled in the warmth of shared community. We have dispersed with strengthened convictions, heavy, sleep-deprived heads, and promises to meet again next year in Vancouver, B.C.

In 2016, the national CUC conference will attract UUs from across the country to beautiful British Columbia. Conference 2016 will focus on better connections among UUs, greater public awareness, and deepening spirituality – on Bolder Ways of Being. Over the weekend of May 20-22, 2016, Unitarians will explore the risks (and rewards) of telling our stories, and sharing connections.

And in 2016 we will begin our bold new journey: rebranding our national gathering. We will no longer come together at the concise “ACM”, for “Conference 2016” marks the end of the CUC annual conference, and the beginning of conferences held every two years. How might we reflect this bold new attempt to decrease our environmental impact, use staff time and resources more effectively, and help congregations to plan financial support for delegates and conference participants? What would you call our bi-annual national gathering of Canadian Unitarians and Universalists? The Every-Other-Year-C-M? The CUC BiCon?

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Katharine Childs:

When I got home from the Annual Conference and Meeting (ACM) in Ottawa this spring, my husband looked at the group photo from my Our Whole Lives (OWL) training class and remarked “if I didn’t know you were Unitarians, I could tell just from that photo.” I didn’t argue the point – though, there’s no way he’d know what a Unitarian is if he didn’t know me – because he’s right. There we all are, eager, optimistic, a group of people living our faith.

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Julie Taylor:

The theme of the conference this year was "Seeking Justice in a Changing Land." That was not the theme that I took away at all. My experiences reflected themes like "too much Starbucks," "too many sandwiches," and "exactly the right amount of wine". But the overall theme, as I experienced it, was "We Are One". From the DREs' (Directors of Religious Education) offering one another their best practices, to the shared problem solving exercised by the DREs and ministers, to hundreds of people participating through song at the keynote address; there was an overwhelming sensation that not one of us was more important that the rest. That the contribution of each person was valued by all. And this illustrated itself in the most lovely way at the Saturday night dance.

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Katrina Den Hollander:

When I think of my last CanUUdle, ToUUch the Earth in Ottawa this year, I can't help but think of my first CanUUdle in Victoria, BC 2010, and how each of these events mark the start and ending of some of the biggest milestones in my life so far. I remember the last six years marked by fall conferences and OWL weekends, and the passing of every May long weekend at CanUUdle, which holds some of my greatest memories. Most of these include being surrounded by an amazing staff team, who have supported myself and others to take on leadership positions that deepened our friendships and our faith. From the stories that we shared, the strongest of connections were formed and for all of them I am thankful as they gave me the strength and encouragement I needed to face and overcome my own challenges.

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Rosemary Morrison:

Winner of a free registration this year because she registered by the March 31 early bird deadline.

There are a few reasons I like to attend the CUC ACM. The first and most important is to connect with fellow Unitarians whom I only get to see at these annual events. So wonderful to walk in and be greeted with hugs and hellos! The second reason I like to attend is to find out what is going on, get some information first hand with an opportunity to ask questions and discuss my views. The third and for me, the most important aspect of attending the ACM is connecting with other Unitarian seminarians.

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Jo-Anne Elder-Gomes:

It's All About the Connections...

When people talk about the reasons they go to the Annual Conference and Meeting, they nearly always talk about connections: meeting new people and seeing old friends, being part of a larger community, learning about the thoughts and needs that connect Unitarian Universalists throughout Canada and the world, discovering common ground and exploring it together. When we come together, we can overcome the loneliness or isolation we may feel in small or remote congregations, share the successful programs and social actions we're involved in, and experience new ways of living our faith and building community.

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"Our National Church"

A Sermon on the Canadian Unitarian Council

Rev. Brian J. Kiely,
Unitarian Church of Edmonton, May 24, 2015

It is likely that at some time in your life you have attended a conference. It is just as likely that the conference began with a keynote speaker, someone standing at a podium reading a speech, perhaps showing slides or a short video. It might have been good or not so much, but when I use the term keynote presentation, I am sure you can summon an image.

On a May Friday night in Ottawa at the Canadian Unitarian Council Annual Conference and Meeting- adults and young people together - dutifully trooped into the 500 seat theatre at Algonquin College. There was no podium, just an open and well lit stage with an electric piano, one of those drumming boxes, the kind you sit on, and a 30 something guy with curly hair pulled back in a bun wandering around the stage quietly playing a complex rhythm on a djembe.

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CUC ACM 2015

The Business of Resolutions,
Part II

Four motions for action plans and one motion to form a monitoring group were presented at the 2015 Annual General Meeting (AGM). The “Business of Resolutions” article in the April 2015 eNews explained the approach of presenting action items to fulfill previously approved resolutions rather than creating new resolutions annually. This year, delegates approved:

Read more.


Canada Revenue Agency Audit of CUC  

The on-site audit of the CUC took place from May 25 – 27th at the CUC offices, and that phase is now complete. The auditors will now sift through the information, and will be in contact with the results of their review. This could take at least several months, and CUC staff will update you when we have news.

For the previously published article “If Canada Revenue Agency Comes Calling, Will You Be Ready?” and some best practice tips, please see the April 2015 article.


Congregational Leadership Roles

A reminder to all congregations that the CUC staff rely on you to provide up-to-date information about leadership in your congregation. In an effort to update the CUC database and ensure that effective communication can be maintained with leaders across the country, please ensure that your congregation has filled out your Congregational Leadership Information.

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.


Many Hats

By Sarah Mae Baxter
Staff Support

Over the past few years I have accumulated a number of new UU hats to add to my colourful collection. Depending on the day and the situation, my role within any given UU circle will vary. On Sundays I take out my RE volunteer sunhat. Volunteering as a leader in the children’s program is how I engage with my local congregation. On Tuesdays and Fridays I don the jaunty pillbox of Fellowship staff, working as Office Administrator to keep a small, lay-led congregation organized and informed. And most mornings, when I check my e-mail, I am ready to drop my ace reporter fedora onto my head, signifying my role as CUC staff support, through which I’m called on to pick up those puzzle pieces that might get lost without a little help around the edges. I update webpages, post events, take notes during web conferences, and edit your stories to share with this national UU community through the eNews.

My volunteer and professional life – my entire resumé, really – is (almost embarrassingly) UU-centred, which is perhaps to be expected considering this lifelong identity I have curated from a child at Ferry Beach, to a youth at CanUUdle, to a young adult in love with a fellow raised-UU, and married by (both) our lay chaplain fathers.

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John Taylor with previous Knight Award winners. (Barbara not pictured) 

The annual Knight award for distinguished service to our movement in Canada is occasionally presented to two persons, and that is particularly appropriate this year because John and Barbara Taylor have always worked together jointly as a team. For many years they were familiar figures at CUC annual meetings, in charge of the bookstall, well-stocked with a wide variety of literature of interest to Unitarians. This had usually involved hauling the books across the country.

Haulage was also involved in the major project they undertook for the CUC, photographing the archival records of congregations from coast to coast with the heavy equipment necessary for this work. They travelled at their own expense and spent a lot of time arranging for storage and indexing, for too often the records were not in good order and had to be rescued from where they had been hidden in half-forgotten places.

Read more.

Youth Bring 2015 Fall Gathering to Winnipeg

Last fall, as the Western Region Fall Gathering in Edmonton came to a close, the Youth were asked if there was anywhere in particular they'd like the 2015 Con to be held. A chorus of voices exclaimed, "Winnipeg!". We asked the Winnipeg youth why they were eager to host:

To me, youth group is one of the most important things in my life. It's a safe environment where I can finally be myself, and not have to worry about fitting into society's norms. I love my youth group. Then, one day I was able to go to a fall con. I met more UU youth than I thought possible. In this place, people accepted you. I was truly amazed that there were more people like me, outside my little church in Winnipeg.

So far, I've only been to two western regional cons, but I've already clicked so easily with these people. I love these youth. I don't know about other people, but I like to share something I love, with another thing I love. That's why I want Con to be held at my church in Winnipeg.

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News from UU Ministers of Canada

After the Annual Conference and Meeting in Montreal, thirty-eight ministers gathered for business meetings and professional development, and the odd bit of socializing. This year we welcomed into Candidate status Christopher Wulff and Danielle Webber.

The new Executive serving UUMOC members for the 2015-2016 year include:

• Jessica Purple Rodela –President

• Victoria Ingram – Vice-President

• Stephen Atkinson – Treasurer

• Carly Gaylor – Minister Observer to the Board,

• Debra Faulk – Past-President, and

• Samaya Oakley – Secretary.

This year our professional development work focused on the environment. We were privileged to have Rebekah Hart with us for a full day of programming. Rebekah is a trained Work That Reconnects facilitator, based on the teachings and methods of Joanna Macy. The focus of our time with her was spent on exploring the spiral of four broad stages: Gratitude work, Honouring our Pain for the World, Seeing with New Eyes, and Going Forth.

back row: Shannon Mang (Calgary), Faye Mogensen (Victoria First), Pamela Smith-Loeters (Mississauga), Margaret Evans (Toronto Neighbourhood), Andrea James (Winnipeg), Lynn Sabourin (North Shore/Vancouver) middle row: Morgan Reid (Vancouver), Marie Gabe (Ottawa Fellowship), Susan McEwen (Ottawa First), Jennifer Rashleigh (Vancouver), Caroline Balderston-Parry (Montreal) seated: Julie Taylor (Grand River/Kitchener)

Click on image for a larger version with names.

By Andrea James

Last month, following the CUC’s ACM, fifteen Canadian religious educators gathered to be in community, reflect, and learn.

Formed in 2013, Canadian Unitarian Universalist Religious Educators (CUURE, a chapter of LREDA) works to support and promote religious education and professional religious educators throughout Canada.

During this year’s CUURE Days we shared worship and meals, wisdom and support; collaborated with our ministerial colleagues; and continued to build our network and practice outreach.

Read more.


A New Fund for CUURE

In honour of Caroline Balderston Parry’s retirement as Director of Religious Exploration from the Unitarian Church of Montreal, and to honour her work, a fund for religious educators will be established. This fund will help with supports, professional development, travel and other development opportunities. Donations can be made to the CUC electronically, or by cheque (with CUURE Fund in the subject line).


From New Youth Observer to CUC Board

by Neal Cameron

I'm always amazed at the sense of community that comes from being a UU and connecting with each other from coast to coast. As youth, it can be challenging to always know where we're going or how to understand what we all go through, but the community of open-minded people of which we are a part helps us make sense of it all. In our churches, our fellowships and our youth groups, we learn what it means to be part of the global community, and what being a UU is to each and every one of us. At our conferences, we learn how to share, how to cry, and how to grow incredibly close to a huge variety of like-minded youth in a few days.

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Goldmine: Introspection, Inspiration, Leadership

Goldmine is a fantastic program for UU youth who want to go deep by growing their skills and themselves as UU leaders. Goldmine is an intense leadership school for youth focusing on self-reflection and leadership skills. Youth learn concrete skills, learn to lead a worship in a wide variety of youth worship styles, and work to articulate the faith based grounding for their values and leadership. This summer, the CUC and Unicamp are partnering together to offer youth a Canadian Goldmine Youth Leadership School.

This inspirational event will take place August 24-30 at Unicamp of Ontario. Find out more about Goldmine, along with a link to the registration form here.

Read more.


Truth Healing and Reconciliation Task Force Updates

At the Annual Conference and Meeting:

Approximately 45 people from across Canada came to experience a taste of the Truth, Healing, and Reconciliation Reflection Guide. Together we engaged in an experiential exploration of the effects of the residential school system. In the morning, trained facilitators from Kairos, Jolene Dione and April Hope led us through the Blanket Exercise. This interactive experience allowed participants to learn the truth about colonization, Indian Residential Schools and their impacts, both past and current.

In the afternoon, we were graced with the presence of Viola Thomas from Reconciliation Canada who shared her reflections as a residential school survivor, and encouraged us to engage in the work of reconciliation. She shared, “We are all in this together.”

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The Part We Play:

Saving A Family From Syria

Annette Wilde, First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto

In February of this year, the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto unanimously voted to sponsor a refugee family from Syria. Why? Because we can.

The CUC holds a Refugee Sponsorship Agreement (SAH) which allows all congregations to privately sponsor refugees.

First Unitarian has a history of refugee sponsorship dating back to the late 1970’s. So far, they have sponsored families from Laos, El Salvador, and Ethiopia. All of these families have integrated well into their new lives here in Canada and are living happy, peaceful existences.

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Prof E. L. Donaldson

Equitable Abortion Rights in Canada

by Betty Donaldson

Did you know? Women living in areas or provinces that do not provide abortion incur considerable expense and abortion is excluded under reciprocal billing plans so women are not always reimbursed.

The CUC policy with respect to a woman’s right to make important decisions regarding abortion has been clear since the 1980 Resolution was passed forty years ago. Our faith community believes in personal choice, in accessible and affordable safe health care, and in support for the process. Our original position was articulated during the period that Dr. Morgentaler and his colleagues opened clinics and public slogans such as “every child a wanted child” and ”the right to control our own bodies” were common chants.

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UU Spring Seminar at United Nations - Report

 by Katrin Nagelschmitz

At least eight Canadian youth and six adults from three Canadian congregations attended the 2015 Intergenerational Spring Seminar of the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO) in New York City, right across from the United Nations. A total of about 120 participants (of which two thirds where youth) took part in the two and a half day event. This year the focus was "International criminal justice: from punitive to restorative".

The seminar consisted of high calibre and engaging speakers, who on the first days presented the current state of the criminal justice system, its history and its failings, including racism and hyper-incarceration. The second day focussed on solutions, presented by researchers and former inmates who are now dedicated to helping inmates.

Youth and adults alike were deeply moved and outraged by the degree of violent vindictiveness and racism of the current criminal justice system in the US, realizing as well that Canada has work to do to reduce crime and to address the high incarceration rates among Canada’s Aboriginal People.

Read more.


How Do Youth Get to UU UNO?

Five youth and their youth advisor from the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa were able to attend the UU-UNO spring seminar this year, thanks in part due to a grant offered by the congregation's UN Working Group. The purpose of the UN Working Group is to increase understanding and support of the UN and the UU-United Nnations Office, as the congregation’s “UU-UNO Envoy Team”. As for a number of years in the past, the working group provided again this year $100 per participant to help offset the registration and travel costs. This subsidy, along with youth fundraising efforts, has enabled Ottawa youth to maintain a steady attendance at the spring seminar, experience the UN, and gain valuable knowledge on topics of global significance in a professional setting. Ottawa youth are grateful for the continued support of their UN Working Group.
Tony Turner,
Youth Advisor,
First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa
Note: For information and tips for youth and adults on how to plan for participation please contact cuc-uno@cuc.ca.


Elaine Harvey:

International Justice Award

Few UUs know of Elaine Harvey and her very significant contribution in establishing the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Elaine Harvey was appointed by the American UUA and our Canadian CUC to be the main representative for six years: 1998 to 2003, during which Elaine’s primary focus was the establishing of the ICC.

In this process, Elaine was a member of the NGO Coalition for an International Criminal Court (CICC); a member of four Caucuses: Faith-Based, Women’s, Victims’, and Children’s; and a member of the Steering Committee on Children and Justice.

Read more.

Opus: Summerfest - Five-Day Young Adult Retreat

August 19-23, Nuhop Experiential Learning Camp, Perrysville, OH

Registration: $280 with $100 deposit due June 22nd, or Late registration: $315 due July 27th.

This year's theme is focused on all the good things of Summer. The long lovely days, warm nights, and all the memories of camp. We'll explore the theme of summer through music, crafts, and earth-based worships celebrating our time in this wonderful place. Please join us to create new and amazing summer memories.

What's this retreat all about?

The first Opus was held in Colorado in 1986 and has run (almost) annually ever since. Evolving over the years, Opus continues to be a highlight of the year for many UU Young Adults, and offers a special and ephemeral opportunity for YAs to gather together, minister to one another, build community and 'be church' for a week each summer.

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Power of ComUUnity – Youth Weekend

August 21-23, Unicamp of Ontario

Registration: $50 for Youth, Advisors Free

Unicamp’s youth weekend conference is open to all high school age participants and their youth advisors. This weekend is an opportunity to participate in workshops, foster friendships, and explore the power of coming together as a Unitarian Universalist Community. Special emphasis will be placed on discovering the importance and power of community as well as the ways we can work toward building world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.

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Planned Giving: Bequests

When Doug and Ellen Campbell sat down to write their wills, they knew that a few organizations had played very important roles in their lives, and they wanted to contribute to these organizations’ future health and development. One of them, of course, was their local Unitarian congregation, which has been a major part of their lives for over forty years.

But local congregations don’t stand alone. Doug and Ellen want to help ensure that there will be a national voice for Unitarian Universalism, that congregations across the country will have a way of supporting each other, and that Unitarians of all ages will have a national spiritual community. Doug and Ellen invite you to consider the health and future of our national UU community, as they did, when making your own plans.

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Sharing Our Faith:

Congregations Helping Congregations

Sharing Our Faith is a program of the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC), and it encourages greater associational awareness in our congregations, the fostering of relationships, and a sense of community and connection among and between our member congregations and communities. It is a growth initiative for congregations, supported by other congregations.

Due to the generosity of congregations who held Sharing Our Faith services in 2014 and 2015, and to the Foundation Fund of the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto, the 4 congregations who applied for Sharing Our Faith grants in 2015 received the full amounts requested. These are:

• Unitarian Church of Montreal - $4,400 for campus ministry and outreach.

• Unitarian Fellowship of Regina - $4,934 for consulting/developmental ministry. This is the first part of a two-year grant; UFR will also receive $4,934 in 2016.

• Unitarian Congregation of Saskatoon - $6,000 for outreach and publicity.

• UUEstrie (North Hatley) - $5,900 for continuation of outreach project.

Read more.


Theological Education Funds:

A Helping Hand for Ministerial Students

When newly-minted ministers are ordained and settled ministers are installed, they remember their journey from student to ministerial professional, and they give a little back. Collections are taken up at ordinations and installations, and these funds are sent to the CUC to become part of the Theological Education Funds. In turn, these funds are used to help other ministerial students on their own long, challenging and uplifting journeys towards ministerial leadership.

This year in 2015, 3 students are receiving generous grants. From contributions from installations, ordinations, and the Percy Simpson Bailey and Rouff-Mackie-Jenkins Funds held by the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto, Sean Neil-Barron, Curtis Murphy, and Danielle Webber are each receiving a substantial amount towards their ministerial studies. We wish them joy, luck and strong constitutions on their journeys, and thank First Toronto and all those who contributed at ceremonies.

Job Opportunities for Religious Educators

Several UU Congregations are under-going changes this year, from shifting needs in developmental ministry to retiring religious education professionals. To post your employment opportunities on the CUC website contact communications@cuc.ca.

Will you be the next Director of Lifespan Learning, at the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa? The Director of Lifespan Learning (DLL) plays a significant leadership and inspirational role in encouraging the spiritual lives of all ages; to explore beliefs; to assist in understanding values and spiritual practice; and to encourage responsible behaviour to strive for a just world, consistent with our seven Unitarian Universalist Principles. Find the job description online at: http://cuc.ca/job-and-volunteer-opportunities/


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.

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BC Regional Fall Gathering

Oct 2 - 4, Namaimo

Save the date!


Western Regional Fall Gathering

Oct 16 - 18, Winnipeg

Save the date!