CUC AGM 2016

A New Vision and Purpose

On May 20th, 2016, Canadian Unitarians did something bold and made history. They approved a new vision for Canadian Unitarian Universalists:

As Canadian Unitarian Universalists, we envision a world in which our interdependence calls us to love and justice.

These 5 Aspirations guide us in living out our faith: As Canadian Unitarian Universalists, we are Deeply Connected, Radically Inclusive, Actively Engaged, Theologically Alive, and Spiritually Grounded.

This new Vision follows almost three years of discussion, consultation and refinement, involving Unitarian Universalists across the country. The Vision Task Force, led by Rev. Fiona Heath, consulted with UUs singly, in groups, and in congregations. Canadian UUs were asked to imagine and dream, and to reach for what they thought UUs should aspire to. The vote at the Annual General Meeting on May 20th to affirm this as the new vision for the national Canadian UU community was overwhelming, and was a moving moment.

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President's Notes

“Our interdependence calls us to love and justice”

By Keith Wilkinson

Our May 2016 Sunday worship service (of the national conference) at the University of British Columbia’s Chan Centre—how beautiful, how skilful, how interdependent, how promising! It was a Canadian Unitarian Universalist celebration of faith at its best. If you haven’t already done so, please consider giving directly to Friends of the CUC to help ensure more of these special occasions. It’s easy to do online.

This year’s national CUC conference and related gatherings made for a rich, value-based experience for those who attended in person or, for the first time, participated electronically at the Annual General Meeting! As a national community working together, we made important visionary and practical decisions.

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Canadian Unitarian Council: The Rock We Stand On

By Susan Ruttan

Interdependence is not an everyday word, yet for Unitarian Universalists in Canada it’s a powerful one. It’s no accident that interdependence is the key word in the new vision statement of our national movement.

Whether we’re large congregations or tiny fellowships, UUs in Canada need each other. And we need the national organization that helps us all, the Canadian Unitarian Council.
The CUC is the hub of UUism in Canada. With a staff of just eight, it provides congregations across the country with good information, wise counsel and with staff support for regional and national gatherings.

And the congregations are grateful. Rachel Garber of the UUEstrie community in North Hatley, Quebec, puts it eloquently: “The CUC is the rock we stand on. Thank you!”

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Farewell, Jorge

After more than 6 years with the CUC as Tech Support staff, Jorge Moreira is leaving to explore different opportunities. Also known as the creator of Uni the Unicorn, Jorge has provided tech support for membership management, conference logistics, website coordination, and a myriad of other ways in which CUC Board, staff and congregations have needed tech questions answered. We will miss your irreverent humour, Jorge, and wish you all the very best as you chart new territory in expanding your artistic side.


Upcoming Webinars

Following a successful 5-session Lay Chaplaincy Webinar in January and February, the CUC staff have begun planning for a series of webinars. Registration for the next two webinars is available at the CUC event page (http://cuc.ca/events/).

Healthy Congregations – Tuesday June 14, 7:30 p.m.(Eastern)

In this workshop, facilitated by Rev. Linda Thomson, participants will learn about the role of the leader in supporting healthy congregational dynamics. Information about the ways in which Family Systems Theory applies to community life will also be featured.

UU Board Legal Training 101 – Saturday September 17, 12:30 p.m. (Eastern)

Have you just joined a CUC congregation board and are wondering about the legal and practical perspectives of becoming part of that team? Are you a long timer and wish you had a shared understanding of how boards function? We welcome you to a webinar based on a new video "Serving on a UU Board in Canada", produced by Jen Rashleigh and facilitated by Geoff Gomery of the Unitarian Church of Vancouver, with the participation of the UCV board of trustees.

Canadian Theme-Based Ministry Showcase – November (Date & Time TBA)

Ellen Campbell Knight Award

Knight Award Winner: Ellen Campbell

Interview by Sarah Baxter

When Ellen Campbell first learned she was the recipient of the 2016 Knight Award, she was surprised. “It was very moving. I never expected it because I thought much of my contribution had been as a staff person and I figured I wouldn’t qualify.” The Victor and Nancy Knight award is given to a living person who, as a volunteer, has contributed to furthering the principles of Unitarianism in Canada. Ellen Campbell, who served as Executive Director of the Canadian Unitarian Council from 1990 to 2000, preceded her time on staff as an active member of Toronto First Congregation, and followed it up ten years later by serving on the CUC Board.

Joining the CUC Board happened in a bit of a roundabout kind of way, as Ellen describes: “The CUC board had had a number of resignations. John Hopewell was suggested to fill one of the positions and I agreed to help persuade John to go on the board, which he did. Shortly after that there was another resignation, and at that point John had been elected president. So he called, and there wasn’t any way I could say no. So I went on the board.”

In that position, Ellen worked hard to re-invigorate fundraising campaigns to support the CUC, in particular the Friends of the CUC campaign.

“I really believe in the importance of institutions as central places that support what people want to do. I think there are many things that you can do as related to an institution that would be very difficult to do on your own. And certainly things like the refugee project illustrate that.” The value of the collective, national organization becomes quite evident when Ellen speaks about it.

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Sunday night singing

Conference 2016 Reflections

A Tremendous Feeling of Awe by Crystle Reid

This was my first time attending the CUC National Conference. I am extremely grateful for the experience. It was really interesting to encounter many different perspectives and voices within our wider community. It was wonderful to make connections and reconnect with other UUs across Canada. The programming was really enjoyable and stimulating, both intellectually and spiritually.  I left with lots of ideas to bring home to my congregation in North Hatley, Quebec.

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Please Touch Gently by Kristen Wilson

Never having visited Vancouver before, I was determined not only to take advantage of all the conference had to offer, but to see what I could on the UBC campus while I was there. There was a strong sense of place and especially of the aboriginal people of the region, with totem poles and signs reminding us of the different groups of people who had inhabited the land.

Throughout the weekend there were addresses from aboriginal elders and opportunities to learn more about the history of interactions between native people and settlers. Fellow Grand River delegate Janis Collins shared with me something she learned in an event on Sunday – that in aboriginal culture, when you show respect to an elder, you take their hand gently. When you embrace them, you take care with their bodies, rather than the crushing embraces and handshakes that white people often use to express closeness and forthrightness.

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Sunday night singing

 An Emotional Stimulating Experience by Peter Brydon

What was it like as a native person to experience the arrival of government Indian agents who took away your sacred objects, made the use of your language and the performing of traditional rituals illegal, and ultimately took away your children?

Those of us who attended the Saturday steam entitled “Building Bridges Through Understanding the Village: Truth, Healing and Reconciliation” at the Annual Conference and Meeting got some kind of an inkling of that experience.

Led by Kathi Camilleri and Meredith Martin, with assistance of Elder Jim White, we played the roles of the members of a native village before European contact. In the centre were children surrounded by their parents. Nearby were the “aunties and uncles” – important other adults who helped in the raising of children. Seated around these people were the village elders and standing in a ring on the outside were the hunters and guards. We had to learn the important values of village members in dealing with each other: love, respect, kindness and generosity.

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Sunday night singing

Conference 2016 Retrospective by Marcia Stephenson

From the opening anthem created for the CUC conference by Joyce Poley, we knew that the 2016 weekend, Bolder Ways of Being, was indeed “the time to speak as one.” Annual General Meeting delegates had already logged many hours in discussion before approving a new Vision and five Aspirations for our national faith community on Friday May 20. The AGM delegates, including those linked remotely, also voted in recommended changes to the CUC’s Statement of Charitable Purposes.

The clarion call to “bolder ways” infused the spirit of the Opening Ceremony. We reached out to local First Nations Elder Larry Grant for an invocation. Amber Dawn Bellemare told us the story of her filmmaking odyssey documenting a quest of young Inuit in the North. We opted to display our banners rather than marching them in, then shone the spotlight on social action and refugee sponsorship projects along with images of congregational life in a slide show. Pumped by the energy of youth in the room, we stood up and cheered as our local congregations appeared on screen.

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Shining lights

Introducing: Shining Lights!

Are you aware of some congregations and/or groups within our CUC Unitarian Universalist network that are

Worthy of Note?

The following new vision statement was approved at our 2016 Annual General Meeting- “As Canadian Unitarian Universalists, we envision a world in which our interdependence calls us to love and justice.”

This year will also mark the beginning of the CUC’s search for stories of excellence- innovation, best practices, resilience, creativity- highlighting Canadian UUs incarnation of these calls to love and justice. Each year, we will choose one such group, create a brief narrative celebrating their contribution and provide a link for those interested in learning more.

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Canadian UU Religious Educators

by Pamela Smith-Loeters

Angela Klassen, Director of Lifespan Religious Education at Toronto First Unitarian and I collaborated to bring forward an inspired and enriched agenda of CUURE days. Professional Religious Educators commonly over extend themselves to provide support and programming that often is beyond the scope of the hours that their contracts afford. Our days together elevated the importance for self-care. We allowed space for recharging and then connecting. We mindfully spent our time together attentively offering opportunities for deep listening.

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Creative Ways We Build Relationships

An Interview with Rev. Helen McFadyen by Sarah Baxter

For Rev. Helen McFadyen, the appeal of spiritual community and leadership drew her to ministry instantly upon discovering Unitarian Universalism at the age of 50. She began her career in community ministry with the desire to live a good life and help others to be their best selves. But after some time working as a hospital chaplain, Rev. Helen wanted to make the switch to parish ministry.

In the summer of 2015, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Kamloops (UUFK) posted a job opportunity: quarter time developmental minister. The search for a minister is an important step in the life of any congregation, but for a tiny Fellowship with just 20 members, it is a major undertaking. It is vitally important that the new minister fits into this very specific culture, and can work with and inspire this very small community.

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UUMOC 2016

New UUMOC Exec

UU Miniters Of Canada members gathered at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver for their annual Odyssey banquet, which features the spiritual journey story of a colleague. This year's speaker was Rev. Arthur Berman.

• President: Rev. Samaya Oakley

• Past President: Rev. Jessica Purple Rodela

• Vice President: Rev. Victoria Ingram

• Secretary – Rev. Brian Kiely

• Treasurer - Rev. Stephen Atkinson

• Minister Observer to the Board – Rev. Debra Faulk

Click to read the bios of the new UU Ministers of Canada Executive.

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Conference Worship

Ministerial Transitions

At the CUC’s Sunday Worship Service at the University of British Columbia on May 22nd, transitions in ministry taking place across the country were honoured and recognized. Ministers who have completed their time with a congregation, ministers who are at the beginning of a new congregational relationship, ministerial students reaching milestones in their professional training, ordinations, retirements, and sadly we marked the death of beloved minister Rev. Christine Hillman.

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Climate Justice

By Carolyn Garlich

Nature does not play by human rules of fairness. It does not selectively reward the just and punish the unjust, and in some cases those who suffer most from natural calamities are those least blameworthy in creating environmental damage. Human-caused climate change is an example. Those least responsible for it are those who are already feeling its effects in droughts and in flooding due to rising sea levels, and they will likely bear the brunt of it in the future. There is little that we can do to stop this process. What we can and should do is see that the cost of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and of mitigating the effects does not fall disproportionately upon the poor.

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Danielle Webber, one of this year's Theological Education Fund recipiencents and Wendy McNiven, TEF Committee

Who Was Percy Simpson Bailey?

Why is his name vaguely familiar – and awfully important?

By the Theological Education Funds Committee

Photo: Danielle Webber, one of this year's Theological Education Fund recipiencents and Wendy McNiven, TEF Committee

Percy Simpson Bailey was in many ways an “ordinary” Unitarian. But more than that, he was a particularly generous and committed man, enough so that he left a legacy for Canadian Unitarians.

Mr. Bailey was born in New Brunswick. He was a high school science teacher in NB and Saskatchewan, before moving to Edmonton in 1909. He had achieved the level of Principal by the end of his teaching career. Percy attended the Unitarian Church of Edmonton until his death in the mid-1970s.

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Sharing Our Faith Recipients

This Year’s Sharing Our Faith grants were awarded to four congregations. 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. Once a year, congregations are encouraged to hold a “Sharing Our Faith” worship service focused on the UU faith in Canada, with a special collection for the Sharing Our Faith fund. Annually, the CUC provides materials to help congregations prepare for this service to celebrate the larger Canadian UU community.

The four recipients for 2016 are:

• First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto: support for Assistant Minister of Community Engagement

• Comox Valley Unitarian Fellowship: continuation of weekly Sunday services

• UU Fellowship of Kamloops: support for part-time Developmental Minister

• UU Fellowship of Salt Spring Island: children’s programming

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Healthy Congregations - Webinar

Jun 14, Online

In this workshop, facilitated by Rev. Linda Thomson, participants will learn about the role of the leader in supporting healthy congregational dynamics. Information about the ways in which Family Systems Theory applies to community life will also be featured.  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgdcljNV-Ew).

Read more.


UU Board Legal Training 101 - Webinar

Sep 17, Online

Have you just joined a CUC congregation board and are wondering about the legal and practical perspectives of becoming part of that team? Are you a long timer and wish you had a shared understanding of how boards function?

We welcome you to a webinar based on a new video "Serving on a UU Board in Canada", produced by Jen Rashleigh. Geoff Gomery Q.C., a lawyer and former board member at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver, offers legal context and practical advice on serving on Unitarian Universalist boards in Canada.

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Western Regional Fall Gathering 2016

Save the date! More info to come.

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