CUC Month is Coming Up!

February is the month we set aside each year to look beyond our local congregation to the national Unitarian Universalist movement that we share. This is the time when we ask each congregation to think ahead to the Annual General Meeting, and plan to discuss any business items coming up. We are fortunate this year not to have any new motions for resolutions, but we will be taking the time to discuss two significant items coming from the CUC Board: Visioning for our movement, and the annual program contribution (APC).

Plus, this year’s Sharing Our Faith Packet is now available, from Rev. Samaya Oakley, Rev. Meg Roberts, and the Truth, Healing, and Reconciliation Task Force. This year’s Sharing Our Faith theme is Truth and Reconciliation, and the packet brings together readings, songs, sermons, and multimedia links to help each congregation across Canada engage with this theme. We encourage you to hold your Sharing Our Faith service in support of congregational initiatives to enhance ministry, promote outreach, and foster the UU movement in Canada, before the end of March.

CUC Month is also the time to celebrate our national faith community through fun and games, inspiration, and trivia about the famous UUs who have come before us. Did you know that Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, joined the Unitarian Universalist Church in adulthood? That’s right, we wouldn’t have the internet without Unitarian pioneers! Stay tuned for more fun facts, trivia about CUC staff, and inspirational quotes, next month!


Vision Road Sign with dramatic blue sky and clouds.

We Envision…

Fiona Heath
CUC Board of Trustees

In May 2013, the CUC Board was inspired by two events at the Calgary Annual Conference and Meeting (ACM): Rev. Shawn Newton’s Confluence Lecture The Risks of Relevance  and a presentation by some young adults, The Church of Our Imagination. Inspired by the passion and concern expressed for the future of our faith tradition, the CUC board planned an intensive retreat in Fall 2013 with representatives from: UUMOC, CUURE, CUC Staff, UUA Staff and Young Adults. The board worked with these representatives to imagine a new way forward for the CUC. Priorities for the organization were simplified and clarified, creating a new focus for staff, and were approved at the May 2014 ACM and affirmed again at the 2015 ACM in Ottawa.

Other statements arose out of the process, which the board developed into a mission and a vision statement to capture a sense of a new way forward for Canadian Unitarian Universalism. Over the winter of 2013, the board shared this vision with UU communities and presented them at the ACM in 2014. Feedback at the ACM made it clear they were not good enough.

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. We have re-scheduled our test meeting for Wednesday, January 20th at 7:30pm Eastern. If you are available on that day 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 and the sign in details. We want at least 15 people to sign up for this testing session so that we can simulate the AGM situation as realistically as possible. Thank you for your enthusiasm and support!

Jo-Anne Elder-Gomes

Highlighting Our Conference Convenor: Jo-Anne Elder-Gomes

In the lead up to the 2015 national CUC conference, Jo-Anne Elder-Gomes took on a newly imagined role within the CUC, that of “Conference Convenor.” Planning a conference is a complex endeavour that brings out many Unitarian Universalists stereotypes: countless committees, endless e-mail threads, polite discussions, missed deadlines, and lengthy debriefing calls to wrap it up. It’s a lot of people working on a lot of different things, all with the aim of putting on a memorable, meaningful, and moving event for all participants. It is no wonder that we need someone at the centre of all that work, to hold our hands and guide us through the lengthy process of crafting a national CUC conference. Enter Jo-Anne:

When I was a child, I was miserable when I was bored. It didn't happen often once I learned to read and almost never after I was allowed to ride my bike to the library. However, the memory of having nothing to do has encouraged me to design my life in such a way as to never be in that position again, a life brimming with amazing experiences and with unexpected and undeserved gifts I've found along the way.

Read more.

The Story of a Refugee Who Changed Canada

By David Rain

“ exhausted with a feeling of absolute solitude in an entirely strange country...I came with $60 in my pocket. I had an unpronounceable name. I weighed less than 100 lbs, and I was completely lost."

The sad and terrible plight of families fleeing war torn lands increasingly garners the attention of caring individuals and societies across the globe, and here in Canada.

It is evident that Canadians have been engaged in debates about how many refugees to welcome, how quickly, screening processes, and the like.

What we have not been debating, however, is whether or not we should even be helping our global neighbours in distress on the far side of the planet. For the vast majority of Canadians, this is a given. We are a caring society. We take this for granted.

Read more.

UU Communities Welcoming Refugees

Barbara Harsanyi
for the UUCH Refugee Sponsorship Group

The Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax may be small in numbers (90) but mighty in our work. After an initial show of interest and early pledges in September, those pledges and more arrived once we got down to collecting them. In fact we received over $33,000 in just 8 days and have pledges for about $6000 worth of in-kind donations. Several non-UU members of the Halifax community have joined the UUCH Refugee Sponsorship Group which now has a steering committee and many task forces. As a result of the groups’ work, an apartment is awaiting the family as well as a job with a local construction company for Dia'a, a young father of two.

We hope to bring the family to Halifax ASAP, and are working towards bringing Sharifa (45) and her youngest child, 9-yr-old Anwar right away.  As well, Sharifa’s older daughter, Noor (25 yrs), whose baby was born over the holiday season, her husband, Dia’a (25 yrs), and their toddler Sarah will be joining them as soon as possible. All six are living in one very small place in Lebanon. All of the paperwork is complete and we hope they can travel soon. Once here, the UUCH Refugee Sponsorship Group, as well as our whole congregation and Sharifa’s older son, Nawras, a pre-med student at King’s College, are eager to welcome them and help them start their new life in Canada.

Read more.


Looking for a New Knight

Every year, the Knight Award is presented 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 and work of Victor and Nancy Knight.

Nominations 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. The citation should be at least 200 words in length and may be submitted by e-mail to Mary Lu MacDonald at jbmlmac@ns.sympatico.ca. Submissions must be received by March 31st. Click here for more information .

Introducing the 2016 CanUUdle XVI Co-Deans & Youth Staff!

A note from Karoline Moore...

"Hi, I’m Karoline, one of your Co-Dean Queens for CanUUdle 2016! I’m 18 years old, I’m from North Vancouver British Columbia, and attend North Shore Unitarian Church. Currently, I’m doing an associates degree in Global Development and International Relations at my local university! This year’s CanUUdle will actually be my first CanUUdle, as well as my first time deaning! I’m super excited for this opportunity and am excited to bring everything I can offer. I have been to six Pacific Northwest District Cons and BC regional cons, and was on staff for several of those cons. I have also attended Goldmine Leadership school in Washington, and am going to attend a Chaplain training in Washington this February! I’m beyond elated that this year CanUUdle is taking place in Vancouver, and I can already tell from what we staff have been working on that it is going to be a great time! Can’t wait to see everyone’s beautiful faces there!"

The second half of the majestic deanly duo, Meghan Bennett, is a member of the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto's youth group. Having been to more than seven conferences, and staffed twice (once as Community Captain, and once as Co-Dean), Meghan is an experienced con-goer and planner. She has also completed a Chrysalis training in youth worship planning and outside of the UU world is a dedicated member of Cadets. She has already brought her infectious enthusiasm and on point facilitation skills to our first staff meeting, and will surely continue to be a fantastic leader as CanUUdle XVI comes together.

Read more.

UU Young Adults at the CUC 50th anniversary Annual Conference & Meeting in Toronto, May 2011

Join the Call: Imagining Annual Young Adult Conferences


As the Canadian Unitarian Council National Conference moves away from annual gatherings and begins to explore the new rhythm of creating a national UU conference every two years, the question quickly arises: what about CanUUdle? For youth, an annual conference is a must to create and maintain that precious national community that comes together alongside the CUC’s adult conference. The time-frame for youth participation is a short 5 (give or take) years, and halving opportunities to nourish the Canadian UU youth community was rejected wholeheartedly by CanUUdle participants in 2014.

This sparked an ongoing conversation about how youth conferences will continue annually without the support of the ACM, and how the possibility of creating a national young adult conference to run in parallel with CanUUdle might work. Conversations are now set to continue in an effort to create the framework for maintaining these youth and young adult conferences, during the year(s) when the CUC’s National Conference is not taking place. This is a really promising idea and we would love to see it happen in 2017.

Read more.

Social Responsibility in Action

Last May 2015 at the CUC Annual General Meeting in Ottawa two environmentally-focused resolutions were passed asking members:

1. To review their congregation’s investments and divest from the top 200 companies based on their holdings of carbon reserves (Coal, Oil and Natural Gas); and
2. To engage with and support others in their community to first have municipalities, and subsequently their provincial and the federal government establish for all, the rights to clean air, water, and soil along with the right to know what pollutants are being released.

What follows is an update from the CUC’s Environment Monitoring Group:

Nationally, one hundred (100) communities just like yours have inspired their local governments to recognize: Clean Air, Water and Soil are important human rights, and every person in Canada’s right to a healthy environment. You can update yourself on which communities and more current status on this at http://bluedot.ca/declarations/.

Read more.


Consultation on Assisted Dying

Voice your choice! Dying with Dignity encourages all Ontarians to fill out the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario’s (CPSO) consultation on assisted dying survey. After the landmark decision by the supreme court in February of 2015 to strike down the federal law which prohibited physician assisted dying, the governments of Canada and the provinces were given a one year deadline to craft new legislation and develop protocols to reflect the ruling. Quebec is, as yet, the only province to enact any such legislation.

The federal government has since requested a six-month extension to this deadline, a deferral against which the CUC has expressed concern. The CUC’s statement reminded law-makers that to a terminally ill patient seeking end of life care, six months is a difficult, lengthy term to endure.

Read more.


Touring the United Nations

Dr. Betty Donaldson CVUF member
Courtenay, BC

On a sunny November morning in New York, one week before the Paris terrorist attacks, I visited the United Nations. It was a highlight of my visit to that global city, so humanized after the 9/11 tragedies. Walking to the site, I asked directions from a dog walker. He not only pointed out the distinctive flagpole that fronts the UN Security checkpoint, he spontaneously informed us of other nearby walks along the shoreline of Manhattan Island. His response was typical of other New Yorkers we consulted whenever the urban canyons engulfed our sense of direction. That warmth and patience wasn’t present during previous visits to NYC. Some shockwaves in post Sept. 11 society are positive.

I imagine that same impulse to build community and embody humane ideals inspired the United Nations during the post-WWII years. It is a powerful testimony to peace, a pearl encased within a hard bureaucratic shell.

Read more.


Interfaith Resources: The Golden Rule

Scarboro Mission Interfaith has gathered together an extensive collection of educational resources on their Golden Rule website. From curricula to meditation exercises, art activities, and questions to trigger discussions, this wide diversity of resources is sure to offer something useful to anyone planning to delve into the interfaith significance of the Golden Rule. Resources in the collection are appropriate for all kinds of different contexts, from youth group to meditation circle, and these resources address a broad range of issues including education, social justice, ecology, peace-building, spirituality, diversity and global consciousness.

Find these Interfaith Golden Rule resources online.

Lay Chaplain Events in 2016

In 2016 potential Lay Chaplains, and the members of congregational Lay Chaplaincy Committees will have two opportunities to participate in the ‘Basics’ training.

The Designing and Leading Rites of Passage Workshop is required for those interested in becoming Lay Chaplains and is very useful for those who serve on congregational committees. It covers the information you’’ll need to administer your congregation’s program and equips new Lay Chaplains to serve in the role.

Lay Chaplain terms are for six years, so training for new Lay Chaplains is required regularly. Potential and newly appointed lay chaplains should participate in this training close to the time of their appointment by the congregation. Any Lay Chaplains installed by your congregation in 2010 or earlier will be retiring soon and you’’ll be looking to recruit new ones. Please check the status of your Lay Chaplains and encourage any member who might be interested in attending the Basics Course to consider doing so.

Read more.

Theological Education Funds

On the ministerial track? Need a financial leg-up? You can apply to the Theological Education Funds, which provide bursaries to qualifying ministerial students. The monies come from special collections taken at services of ordination and installation of ministers in our CUC congregations and funds held by the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto. Deadline for applications is March 31, 2016; all information is at http://cuc.ca/unitarian-universalist-ministers-of-canada/theological-education-funds.

Deadline Extended! 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 20, 2016 to jobs@cuc.ca.


Unitarian Fellowship of London Seeks ¼ Time Minister

The Unitarian Fellowship of London, Ontario will be hiring a quarter-time minister to start in September 2016. We are in the process of developing a job description, so there will be more information to come. If you are interested in receiving a copy of the posting, please contact Karen Kidd at kiddkaren@ymail.com. We would be happy to talk to you.

Karen Kidd
Past President, Board of Trustees, Denominational Affairs,
Unitarian Fellowship of London


ICUU Seeking Executive Director

Steve Dick, current Executive Director of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists, will be retiring, and a new Executive Director is being sought to start in November 2016. Click here for full details and job description.

Application deadline: March 1

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

Apr 29 - May 1, Hamilton, ON

This training is for those considering Lay Chaplaincy, recently appointed Lay Chaplains, and members of a congregation’s Lay Chaplaincy committee. This is the only "Basics" training to be held in the Central and Eastern regions in 2016, so planning ahead will help make sure your congregation is prepared - any Lay Chaplains installed by your congregations in 2010 or earlier will be retiring soon and you’ll be looking to recruit new ones. Questions? Email lcc@cuc.ca


Resolutions Plenary

May 19, Vancouver

Discussions on resolutions.

Read more.


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.

Read more.


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.”  

Read more.


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.

Read more.