From Sponsorship Basics to Settlement Plans:

Canadian Unitarians Step Up for Refugees

23 Unitarian and Universalist congregations and fellowships across Canada are currently in the process of fundraising, planning, and working towards sponsoring refugees from Syria and Iraq. It is a complex process that involves many volunteers, many forms, many conference calls, and many questions. Amazingly, the two Edmonton congregations, Unitarian Church of Edmonton and Westwood, raised an incredible $29,000 in two weeks for their Syrian refugee fund.

Our CUC Social Responsibility Coordinator, April Hope, has been working flat out these past few months to support Canadian UU congregations who are sponsoring Syrian refugees. April is our go-to staff person on refugee matters. The CUC is a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH), which is an organization that has signed an agreement with Citizenship and Immigration Canada to assume overall responsibility for management of refugee sponsorships. April has been setting up the systems to share sponsorship information with congregations, and creating a platform for congregations and committees to share their work with one another.

Read more.

Congregations, Charities, and Best Practices

“Congregations, Charities and Best Practices” is a series of articles in the Canadian Unitarian Council’s eNews, published every even-numbered month. The articles are aimed at sharing information about Canada Revenue Agency and Income Tax Act guidelines governing Canadian charities, with a particular focus on specifics for Canadian Unitarian Universalist congregations. Please note that these articles are for information only and should not be constituted as legal advice. For additional details or for information about seeking legal advice, please contact executivedirector@cuc.ca.


Tracking Political Activity

Tracking and defining political activity is a slippery creature which many charities struggle with. What is political activity? How can we measure how much political activity we engage in?

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) provides guidance on these matters, fortunately. Find their video on political activities here.

CRA says that a charity engages in political activity when it:

Read more.


Save the Date for Conference 2016!

The Canadian Unitarian Council’s National Conference offers the opportunity for Unitarians and Universalists from across the country to gather together in community. This year’s conference will be taking place May 20-22, 2016 at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC. Registration will open at the end of January, and we are looking forward to an engaging weekend celebrating Bolder Ways of Being. The Host and Program Planning committees are hard at work filling the conference schedule with workshops, networking events, and entertainment. Details will soon be posted on the conference website. Stay tuned!

Please note the resolutions deadline for the Annual General Meeting is fast approaching (December 15th). Any planned resolutions should now be into consultations with the resolutions committee; contact the committee at resolutions@cuc.ca.


Annual Program Contribution Options - The Conversation Continues

Since 2013, CUC Board Treasurer Kristina Stevens has led an initiative to find a more equitable way of calculating the Annual Program Contribution (APC) for congregations. The APC from congregations supports the work of the CUC in congregational and community development, social justice and refugee sponsorship initiatives, international connections, providing a national voice for Canadian Unitarians, and more. Currently, congregations remit $93 per member to the CUC, and the work of the APC Task Force has been focused on defining a calculation method that is sustainable for both congregations and the CUC. (Read further background in the February 2015 eNews.)

Read more.


Testing… Testing…

In preparation for the 2016 Annual General meeting, CUC staff will be testing the web platform used for off-site participation. We will need guinea pigs, um.. volunteers, to help us test the robustness and flexibility of the platform. If you're available for an hour on Mon, Dec 14th at 5:30 pm eastern, and are avidly excited about helping us work through technical kinks, please sign up here to let us know you'll be joining us. We will send you an agenda.

Monthly eNews Six-Month Pilot Project

In response to several requests and comments about the bi-monthly format of the eNews, CUC staff will be trying out a monthly publication schedule between January and June, 2016. This should address some folks’ concerns that our bi-monthly eNews is too long and daunting to get through, and will provide more regular articles and announcements to you, our readers. Deadlines for article submissions are the 15th of each month. Please contact communications@cuc.ca with ENEWS in the subject line, with your ideas and submissions.


Welcome Rawaa, CUC’s new Administrative Coordinator!

We are happy to announce that the newest member of our CUC staff team, Rawaa Shubbar, has taken up her post at the CUC office in Toronto. Rawaa is the new Administrative Coordinator, managing much of the daily office activities, and offering some behind the scenes support to event planning and logistics. She can be reached through info@cuc.ca.

Rawaa came to Canada in 2008 as a refugee from Iraq. She has a B.A in English literature, and worked hard to become part of Canadian society. She volunteered by helping newcomers to Canada, and recently, completed the program of Office Administration-Executive at Fanshawe College in London, ON. She has worked as an Administrative Assistant for different organizations and is excited to share her experiences with the Canadian Unitarian Council.

Sharing Our Faith Packet Available Shortly

The future, and the well-being of all our children, rests with the kind of relationships we build today.” Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, Gwawaenuk Elder founder of Reconciliation Canada

What does it mean, reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal? What would it involve? What can individuals and congregations do to engage in the process of reconciliation? In 2016, the CUC Sharing Our Faith worship theme and package is on Truth, Healing, and Reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.

Read more.


News from North Shore Unitarians

After a great 8-year run with Rev. Stephen Atkinson at the helm, the North Shore Unitarian Church (NSUC) in Vancouver is once again in search mode. We hope to have a full-time minister in place by the fall of 2016 (or latest 2017). In the interim, Rev. Fran Dearman is providing great guidance and readying us for a new minister.

NSUC’s search committee (pictured above) has been hard at work all summer collecting input from the congregation. Among other things they conducted a survey that had an incredible 76% rate of return, indicating keen interest on the part of the congregation. In addition to providing stats, people collectively wrote 45 pages of comments about what’s going well in our church, what we need to do better, and what we’re looking for in a minister.

Read more.


Stealth Unitarian: Rev. Karen Speaks at TEDx Saskatoon

On a Saturday in late October, Rev. Karen Fraser-Gitlitz, 3/4 time developmental minister for the Unitarian Congregation of Saskatoon and 1/4 time consulting minister for the Unitarian Fellowship of Regina, took to the stage among a slate of other speakers at TEDx Saskatoon, the independent lecture series based on the TED Talk model of ideas sharing. The full-day event brought together diverse speakers sharing thematically linked ideas on the topic of “Elevate.” Rev. Karen spoke to CUC eNews editor Sarah Baxter about the TEDx experience:

CUC eNews: So, what did you end up talking about at TEDx?

Karen Fraser-Gitlitz: I was talking about cross-cultural relationships and the big piece was about getting over , for those of us who shy away from feeling like “oh I’m going to offend somebody or do something embarrassing,” or thinking it’s not going to go well, getting over that hump.

Read more.

Autumn Leaves

Reflections from Regional Fall Gatherings

Strengthening Connections in the Atlantic Hinterland

Glenna Hanley, President of the UFF

The Unitarian Fellowship of Fredericton (UFF), NB, was pleased to host the Atlantic cluster October 16 to 18, a mini-version of an Eastern Regional Fall Gathering.

It can be a bit isolating being Unitarians and Universalists in this hinterland, the Atlantic Provinces. I had hoped that getting together with our UU cousins from Halifax, Saint John, and PEI would be a uniting and strengthening experience and I was not disappointed.

Read more. 

Renew One’s Faith in the Presence of Youth!

Martin Dooley, Hamilton

I had the great pleasure of participating in the October 2015 Central Regional Fall Gathering at my spiritual home, the First Unitarian Church of Hamilton. This was my first CRFG and I participated in the morning session and helped facilitate the afternoon session of our first Central Region Jr. Youth Day. Both experiences were very enjoyable and enriching. In the morning, twelve of us shared experiences in dealing with the ever present challenge of raising money for operating budgets – the annual canvass. It was most comforting to hear that this crucial yet decidedly unglamorous task is one of the biggest hurdles that my fellow Unitarians face. It was also a group that dwelt little on the “woe is us” stage and moved quickly to sharing strategies for bringing greater success and even fun to this vital task.

Read more. 

A New Vision for the CUC and an Inspirational Keynote in BC

Joan Morris, Beacon UF

What a privilege to be able to attend the BC Regional Fall Gathering, October 2–4 hosted by the Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo (FUFON) with support from Comox Fellowship. It was a wonderful opportunity to be inspired, meet other Unitarians and make connections.

Highlights of the weekend for me were the keynote speaker, Christine Boyle, and the afternoon session with FUFON’s choir director leading a joyful singing workshop. As usual, there were several excellent workshops from which to choose, and the worship service on Sunday was inspiring with Rev. Samaya Oakley’s message of heart connections.

Read more.


Regina Thanks Sharing Our Faith for Consulting Minister!

Regina Unitarians are very excited to have welcomed Rev. Karen Fraser Gitlitz as our new consulting minister this fall. Karen’s first weekend in Regina took place September 24 – 27, 2015, and she will be making the trip out from Saskatoon every second month.

Our Fellowship has been in existence for 60 years – that is an amazing accomplishment. There have been many speakers and activities throughout those years, with a focus on freedom of belief and examination of ideas. The Fellowship has been lay-led throughout that entire time, with occasional visiting ministers.

Read more.


February is CUC Month!

Every year we set aside one short month to focus on our national movement and the connections we share as Unitarian Universalists, united by our faith across the vast distances of our country. We ask congregations to set a few hours aside as a community in February, to discuss any issues or motions that will be coming up at the CUC’s Annual General Meeting. You are also encouraged to hold a Sharing Our Faith service before the end of March, the annual tradition of building a service around a nationally shared theme, using the worship planning packet created by Canadian UU ministers. This year’s Sharing Our Faith packet will unite congregations on the shared theme of Truth, Healing, and Reconciliation. But it’s not all business! February will also bring with it quizzes and trivia about famous UUs and the CUC. Look for fun facts, games, and famous quotes on the CUC website and Facebook page.


Crowdfunding for Northern Lights

Sean Neil Barron, Chris Wulff, and Liz James

This year, we are embracing the tools of crowdfunding. Instead of a traditional application process, Northern Lights applicants are asked to apply directly to the Faithify crowdfunding site. (It’s as simple as filling out a form!)

What is Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is just another way to invite a group of people, (the crowd), to get behind a great project, and support it through donations. It is a way for people to connect directly to projects and sponsor those that they are most passionate about.

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Introducing Casey Stainsby, new CanUUdle Coordinator!

Ariel Hunt-Brondwin, Youth & Young Adult Ministry Development

Working on CanUUdle (the CUC's annual, national Youth Conference) has frequently been one of the highlights of my job with the CUC and no exception to that has been the opportunity I've had to work closely with the CanUUdle Coordinator. The CanUUdle Coordinator is an under acknowledged contract position the CUC created in 2009, to give CanUUdle and the intrepid …

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Dying with Dignity: What’s Next?

This fall, the federal panel on physician assisted dying held consultations with organizations and individuals on their opinions about implementation of legislation approved by the Supreme Court of Canada. The CUC presented a written statement in September and a verbal submission in early November. Shortly after, the mandate of the panel was altered by the new federal government - instead of presenting recommendations for implementation, the panel was asked to share the results of the consultations. This is a step in the right direction, as there was concern that the recommendations might not have led to good process. However, there are also indications that there might be a delay in the implementation date of February 6, 2016.

Wanda Morris, CEO of Dying with Dignity, says, “An extension would be terrible news for desperately ill patients, especially those at end of life. A delay of six months may seem like nothing to Canadians in good health. But to those with unbearable terminal or chronic illnesses, it could mean the difference between a peaceful death and a nightmarish one."

Read more.


UU Values Upheld as Canada Declares its Commitment to Indigenous Peoples

From the CUC Truth Healing and Reconciliation Task Force

On March 29, 2014 Rev. Meg Roberts and then CUC Board President Gary Groot, on behalf of the Canadian Unitarian Council and the Unitarian Universalist Ministers of Canada, issued “An Expression of Truth and Reconciliation” to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Edmonton. The statement expresses our commitment as Unitarian Universalists to the journey of healing and reconciliation, and our willingness to do the work of upholding our principles of justice, equity, compassion, and respect for indigenous Canadians.

In his mandate to the new Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau states that the Canadian government must make reconciliation and the building of a renewed relationship with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples a priority.

Read more.


Participate in the Environment Monitoring Survey!

The Environment Monitoring Group has been busy following up from resolutions passed at the Annual General Meeting in May, 2015, and now we need your help and participation. We have created a survey to determine congregational awareness and commitment to the Environment resolutions, Fossil Fuel Divestment and the Right to Clean, Air, Water and Soil.

Please complete this Environment Survey no later than December 10, 2015, so that we can report on progress and/or answer further questions your congregation may have.

Read more.


Double Cappuccino to Go

Just over a month ago, Katarina and Kynan Cappuccino embarked on their 5 week journey as Child Haven Interns travelling through three countries and staying, in each, at the Child Haven homes that their grandparents, Fred and Bonnie Cappuccino, founded decades ago to help formerly destitute women and children access food, shelter, and education. Experiencing first hand their grandparents’ legacy, these two cousins have been writing about their travels on their blog, Double Cappuccino to Go.

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Lay Chaplains Outreach:

5-Session Webinar!

Lay Chaplaincy is a significant part of our CUC story. Distance and weather have a way of making travel for training and connecting a challenge. However, thanks to the increased capacity for connection we will be offering a Lay Chaplains Outreach training module via webinar. Amanda Tarling, experienced Lay Chaplain will be the trainer.

Read more.

A Special Thank You to our Friends

There is a group of special Unitarians who generously support the work of the CUC directly - Friends of the CUC. With our Friends’ financial support this year, we have been able to do many things besides the refugee work mentioned in the lead article. Among them:

• Dealt with a Canada Revenue Agency audit and gave guidance to congregations on best practices re such audits.

• Connected UUs to one another through e-news, Regional Fall Gatherings, the Annual Conference and Meeting, and other events.

• Engaged with congregations in areas of ministerial and church staff transitions, youth and young adult support, social justice connections, conflict management, governance, and more.

Read more.

CUC Youth and Young Adult Ministry Development Staff

1 year replacement position

The CUC is looking for a one-year replacement starting mid-February 2016 to work collaboratively with youth leaders in Canada to support and enhance activities and programming for our youth (14-20) and young adults (18-35). We seek an individual who:

• is passionate about working with youth and young adults

• understands youth and young adult dynamics, developmental needs and theories

• has a solid knowledge of multigenerational ministry and Unitarian Universalist congregational and community dynamics

• is committed to Unitarian Universalist values

• has experience working with youth and young adults

• has the ability to identify and act on needs and initiatives

• is experienced with event management and coordination

Contact executivedirector@cuc.ca for details and full job description. Send applications by January 5, 2016 to jobs@cuc.ca


New Master of Arts at Meadville Lombard

Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, has introduced a new Master’s program “for lay leaders who wish to pursue a seminary degree that leads to a career in paid or voluntary religious leadership other than ordained parish ministry.”

“Meadville Lombard’s new MA is the right choice for people of traditional faith, people of non-traditional faith and people of questioning faith – anyone who wants to explore religion, their own and others’, and use the exploration to make the world a better place.” -Rev. Dr. Lee Barker, President and Professor of Ministry.

Read more.

CUC Office Closed

Dec 23 (noon) - Jan 1

The CUC office will be closed from noon Wednesday, December 23th, 2014, and will reopen on Monday, January 4th, 2015.

“My theology guides me to be a light in dark and trouble times. My theology is simple: Love. No exceptions. Salvation. No conditions.”
– Starr Austin, Director of Religious Education at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Huntington, NY


Outreach for Lay Chaplains

Jan. 5, 12, 19, 26 & Feb. 2, Webinar 

Is your stole getting dusty? Would you like to officiate at more weddings, lead a plethora of baby naming or work with more families to plan and officiate at memorials? Then this workshop is for you! This online five-week webinar by Amanda Tarling will teach many different types of outreach strategies; from whom to reach out to in your community to your presence on social media and other platforms.

Read more.


Resolutions Plenary

May 19, Vancouver

Discussions on resolutions.

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Annual General Meeting

May 20, Vancouver

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 Delegates need to know.

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CUC National Conference 2016

May 20 - 22, Vancouver

Save the Dates! The 2016 Annual Conference and Meeting will be held in Vancouver, BC. The venue is The University of British Columbia. Hosted by the four Lower Mainland BC congregations: Beacon Unitarian Church, North Shore Unitarian Church, South Fraser Unitarian Congregation, and the Unitarian Church of Vancouver, the theme is “Bolder Ways of Being.”  

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CanUUdle XVI

May 20 - 23, Vancouver

CanUUdle is the annual Unitarian Universalist youth conference of the Canadian Unitarian Council. It is a three-day-long social and business conference that runs in parallel with the CUC’s National Conference in May.

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