Registration Now Open: Vancouver 2016 National Conference!

The Canadian Unitarian Council’s 2016 national conference is our opportunity to come together as Unitarians and Universalists from across the country and beyond, in beautiful British Columbia. This year’s conference will be 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.

Building on themes and Confluence Lectures from the last few years, Conference 2016 will focus on better connections among UUs, greater public awareness, and deepening spirituality—on Bolder Ways of Being—Être et vivre avec plus d'audace. Over the weekend of May 20–22, Unitarians will explore sharing, the risk (and rewards) of telling our stories, and connections. Register online for this enriching experience! (Early bird deadline ends March 31st)

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Vision Road Sign with dramatic blue sky and clouds.


What might the future of Canadian Unitarian Universalism look like, transformed by our care and commitment?

The CUC Vision Task Force was formed in 2013 to shape a vision statement for Canadian Unitarian Universalism. After 2 ½ years of thinking, planning, consultation, re-working, and taking deep breaths, the Vision Task Force is ready to present a recommendation to the 2016 Annual General Meeting. The CUC Board of Trustees will be asking congregations and delegates to affirm the proposed Vision Statement and 5 Aspirations. The Board would like you to read about this in its full context, so please access the report here. The Board also encourages you and your congregation or community to spend some time reflecting together on the following questions:

  1. Can you see your congregation or community’s vision and mission within this larger vision statement?
  2. If this is affirmed as the vision for Canadian Unitarian Universalism, what are some ways you see your congregation or community living it?

Then head over the this SurveyMonkey to share your thoughts. Click here to provide your feedback by April 1st, 2016, either individually or as a group through this survey.


Annual Program Contributions: A Different Method of Calculation

Kristina Stevens, the CUC Board’s Treasurer, has been leading a conversation and, with the help of a task force, has been looking into a different method of calculating Annual Program Contributions (APC) for congregations. This was spurred in part by anecdotal information that some congregations were finding it onerous to send a per member fee for their members, as well as by the decrease in contributions coming from congregations to the CUC. Over the past two years, the APC Task Force looked at several methods of calculation and impacts on congregations and the CUC. One of the vital criteria for a new method is that it has to be equitable and sustaining both for congregations and the CUC.

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Online-Only Registration Payments Coming in 2017

Beginning in January 2017, the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) will be moving to online-only payment for event registration. Currently, event participants are offered the option of paying through PayPal, with credit or debit cards, or sending in a cheque. By removing the pay-by-cheque option, an online payment system will be more efficient and time-saving for CUC staff. Tracking down cheques and keeping track of who has paid for events is not a simple task, and centralizing event payments will help with that.

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Webinars: Another Way to Learn, Connect, and Develop Leadership Skills

CUC staff have been re-imagining leadership development offerings for UU communities and individuals. After conducting an evaluation of the Canadian UU Leadership (CUUL) School, CUC staff are planning delivery of leadership development through a variety of methods, including webinars, workshops at conferences and gatherings, and in-person retreats and learning.

Based on some early success with a Lay Chaplaincy training module delivered via webinar, CUC staff have begun planning other options for learning and connecting. The Zoom Meetings tool we use for meetings allows participants to view one another and to follow presentations being shown by the facilitator. A phone-in option is also available, making participation available to virtually everyone.

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New Settled Minister for Saskatoon

The Unitarian Congregation of Saskatoon is delighted to announce that they have a new settled minister. Rev. Karen Fraser Gitlitz has been the developmental minister in Saskatoon for the past 3-1/2 years, and consulted with them quarter time for a year and a half before that. Rev. Fraser Gitlitz recently accepted the congregation's call to be their settled minister. They will begin their new ministry together on August 1, 2016, and they are excited to see what this new stage in the journey will bring.



Indigenous Reconciliation Curriculum Selected as Northern Lights Recipient

Educating for Change - Transforming Indigenous & Non-Indigenous Relations has been selected as this year's first Northern Lights recipient. Grant Panel member Kristina Stevens was enthusiastic in saying that the project is “providing strong, high-quality programming support to all of our congregations... and addressing an issue that is of interest to many who are not currently UU members." Educating for Change is developing a multi-age curriculum exploring Truth, Healing, and Reconciliation for Canada's colonial history.

Northern Lights is a program where Unitarians from across the country sign up to support a selected project once or twice a year (more information at cuc.ca/northern-lights). Current donors from across the country will soon be notified of this year’s selection, and asked to send in their donations, which will be added to the amount already raised by Educating for Change. Donations to this project can be made online at Educating for Change or cheques can be sent to the Canadian Unitarian Council at 400-215 Spadina Ave., Toronto, ON M5T 2C7, with “Northern Lights” in the memo line.

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Edmonton Unitarians Come Together to Sponsor Refugee Family

By Susan Ruttan

Sponsoring a Syrian refugee family has been a hugely rewarding experience for Unitarians in Edmonton.

We started thinking about doing something in September, moved by the tragic TV images of Syrians fleeing to Europe. That month the Unitarian Church of Edmonton (UCE) held a Sunday service about refugees, which got people talking both at UCE and at Westwood Unitarian Congregation.

There was some hesitation at first about refugee sponsorship. Neither congregation had been active in refugee work for some years. Our members were already busy with many other things. The question was raised: can we pull this off?

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Walk for Water: Winnipeg UUs Demand Road to Shoal Lake 40 First Nation

by Esther Kathryn and Rev. Nicoline Guerrier

For a century, the city of Winnipeg has obtained its drinking water from Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, a community that sits along the Manitoba/Ontario border. And while Winnipeg has access to clean water, the people of Shoal Lake 40 have been under a boil water advisory for almost 20 years. Three levels of government, whose full collaboration was needed in order to fund an access road and water treatment plan to this landlocked community, had stalled for years on committing to eradicate the problem. So when First UU Church of Winnipeg member Esther Kathryn read a letter to the editor suggesting city residents make optional donations via their water bill, to be held in trust until the project saw the light of day, she responded with a proposition of her own.

Her counter-proposal, published in the September 10, 2015 edition of the Winnipeg Free Press, suggested the following: Winnipeggers “owe them (the people of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation) a debt of gratitude.  How about making the over-payment on water bills MANDATORY until the road and the water-treatment plant have been built? Let’s not wait for the federal government or election promises to be acted on---that could take another twenty years.  Let’s turn around the image of Winnipeg as the most racist city in the country, and get this done now.”

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Registration for UU-UNO Spring Seminar Open

Registration is now open for the UU-UNO's 2016 Intergenerational Spring Seminar - The Colors of Inequality: Costs and Consequences. The Seminar will be in New York City from April 7-9. Click here for registration, more information, and news from the UU-UNO in their Envoy Newsletter.


International Council of Unitarians and Universalists: A Look Back—and Ahead

by Ellen Campbell

In 1988, David Usher, a young Australian serving a congregation in the Midlands of England, presented a motion to the British General Assembly proposing the formation of a “World Unitarian Council.” The idea, which from the beginning had support from Canadians, took a long time to develop.

In 1995, delegates from fourteen Unitarian associations assembled in Essex, Massachusetts, to begin to develop a world organization. We came from Canada, the Czech Republic, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Romania, South Africa, Great Britain, Denmark, Germany, Russia, and the USA; there was also a delegate from the European Fellowships, a group of mostly expatriate North Americans. John Slattery and I were the Canadian delegates.

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OWL Facilitator Training - Elementary & Adult

Have you ever thought about becoming an OWL Facilitator? OK, let’s back up a bit. We’re not talking about facilitating owls. We’re talking about learning to be a facilitator for our OWL programs. Wait – you don’t know what that is?

OWL is a favourite acronym (and Unitarian Universalists do love acronyms) for Our Whole Lives – a program developed jointly by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and the United Church of Christ (UCC) to provide accurate information about sexual health, human development, sexual behaviour, relationships, communication, and cultural influences on sexual identity and behaviour. Actually, there’s much more than this, all presented using a wide variety of activities, games, role playing, stories, and more.

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Lay Chaplains – Training opportunities in Vancouver

As part of the pre-ACM programming there will be at least two Lay Chaplaincy training programs.

Designing and Leading Rites of Passage, the two day program will be offered on Thursday May 19th and Friday May 20th. This is the ‘Basics’ strongly recommended for all new Lay Chaplains before their appointment.

Challenging Weddings, will be offered on Thursday May 19th. This program will help Lay Chaplains consider how they can create and maintain sacred space, while dealing with a variety of situations. The program will include topics such as: safety issues, respect, appropriate use of humor, handling mishaps with grace and dignity, claiming your authority and self-care.

Deepening, Maturing and Growing will be offered on Friday May 20th. This workshop is designed to assist our lay chaplains, in deepening their self-awareness, and to assist them in maturing in their role and identity and to grow spiritually on the job. This is for experienced Lay Chaplains.

Registration information will is available at: http://cuc.ca/events/

Generosity Nurtures Leadership – Will You Help?

Over the years, the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) has been privileged to offer numerous subsidies to support leadership development in our Canadian Unitarian movement. With the initial gift generously donated by Elinor Ratcliffe at the CUC’s 50th anniversary in 2011, the Edward B. Ratcliffe Leadership Development Subsidy was established to help strengthen the Unitarian voice. Alongside the Support the Dawning Future Subsidy for youth and young adults, these grant programs have disbursed over $32 000 benefitting 121 individuals in need of financial support since 2011.

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Apply for Sharing Our Faith Grants by March 31st

The Sharing Our Faith program provides funds for congregational initiatives which enhance ministry, aid projects and outreach for the congregation, and enhance the Unitarian Universalist movement in Canada. The Sharing Our Faith fund consists of monies collected by congregations at special Sharing Our Faith services held during the year, and from a Foundation Fund administered by the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto. These funds are allocated in the form of grants to congregations for projects they may otherwise not afford to undertake.

Grant applications are due by March 31 of each year with all required documents. Completed applications can be e-mailed to sharing-our-faith@cuc.ca or mailed to the CUC office.

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Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ottawa Seeks Half-Time Developmental Minister

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ottawa (UUFO) is actively seeking to fill the position of a half-time Developmental Minister beginning August, 2016. We are a small but dynamic congregation with our own building in partnership with a community agency. We have worked with 4 UU Ministerial Interns over the past 5 years and are eager to work with a Developmental Minister to achieve mutually defined goals.

Detailed information about the position and the Congregation can be accessed by entering the UUA Settlement System (https://www2.uua.org/Default.asp). You can also access it by sending an email requesting the information to Enrique Soto at sotodanseco@rogers.com. We look forward to hearing from you!


Unitarian Fellowship of London Seeks Quarter-Time Minister

The Unitarian Fellowship of London, Ontario will be hiring a quarter-time minister to start in August, 2016.  Click here for full details and job description. We are looking forward to talking to interested candidates.


2016 Census Canada is Hiring

35,000 positions across Canada!

Who: 18 years of age and older and eligible to work in Canada

When: early March to end of July 2016, depending on role

For more information, click here.

Charity Law Webinar

Mar 24 @ 7pm est

This webinar will cover:

• Charitable Purpose

• Charitable & Political Activities

• Personal vs organizational political activity

• Looking at your congregation’s political activities

• Qualified & Non-qualified Donees

• Charities Operating Outside Canada

• Refugee Sponsorship

More information to come.


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

OWL Facilitator Training – High School

OWL Facilitator Training – High School

May 18 - 20, Vancouver

The CUC is pleased to offer a the High School OWL Facilitator Training. OWL stands for Our Whole Lives and is a comprehensive, lifespan sexuality education curriculum that was developed jointly by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ. This intensive training will allow individuals to become trained to lead both of the High School programs: the gr. 7 – 9 steam (sometimes called Jr. High OWL) and the the gr. 10 – 12 steam (sometimes called Sr. High OWL). Training includes familiarizing participants with the curriculum as well as focusing on the values of OWL and on the program’s interactive, workshop based teaching style.

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Resolutions Plenary

May 19, Vancouver

Discussions on resolutions.

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Challenging Weddings - Training for Lay Chaplains

May 19, Vancouver

This program will help Lay Chaplains consider how they can create and maintain sacred space, while dealing with a variety of situations. The program will include topics such as: safety issues, respect, appropriate use of humor, handling mishaps with grace and dignity, claiming your authority and self-care.  Registration information will be available soon.

Read more.


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

May 19 - 20, Vancouver

This 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.

Lay Chaplain terms are for six years, so training for new Lay Chaplains is required regularly. This “Basics” course is the keystone piece to that training, and incoming lay chaplains should participate in this training close to the time of their appointment by the congregation. Please note that the Basics training is only held about once a year in each region, so planning ahead will help make sure your congregation is prepared.

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Deepening, Maturing and Growing: for Experienced Lay Chaplains

May 20, Vancouver

This retreat is designed to assist our lay chaplains, in deepening their self-awareness, and to assist them in maturing in their role and identity and to grow spiritually on the job. Facilitator: Rev. Nicoline Guerrier. Registration Cost: $65 (includes lunch) *Cost does not include accommodation 

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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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Conference 2016 in Vancouver

May 20 - 22, Vancouver

The Canadian Unitarian Council’s 2016 national conference will take place in beautiful British Columbia. The conference will be 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.

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.

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