July 1, the Canadian Unitarian Council, Conseil unitarien du
Canada, will come of age, becoming an independent,
self-sustaining religious denomination in Canada.
Why is this clear separation of Unitarians and
Universalists in Canada from their fellow Unitarians and
Universalists in the United States coming about?
How has the Council developed since its founding in
1961? How did the separation come about?
first, the “why” question is the more elusive one,
hidden so no one will fully understand, as men do not fully
understand women, or women men, because neither is the
being here in Quebec City, on this day, the Fête Nationale,
St. Jean Baptiste Day, Quebec’s Fourth of July, complete
with fireworks, points to the underlying answer.
A short walk from here are the Plains of Abraham,
where British General Wolfe defeated French General Montcalm
in 1759, bringing to
an end most of the French empire in North America.
French had hemmed in the English thirteen colonies, down the
Ohio Valley, the Illinois and Mississippi rivers, to the
Gulf of Mexico. The
defeat of the French opened up the west to the English
attempts of England to get them to pay the bill removing the
French obstacle to their westward expansion resulted in what
Canadians call the American Revolution, waged, as the
colonists themselves put it,
in defence of “the rights of Englishmen.”
The result was three peoples: the English in the
United States, the English in British North America, now
known as Canada, and the French Canadians.
Canadiens resigned themselves to living under British rule.
The British promised them the right to keep their
language and their religion in perpetuity. This guarantee
was carried over in time into the Canadian constitution
the sheltering wings of the Roman Catholic church, full of
clerical refugees from the French Revolution, the French
Canadians devoted themselves to survival as a people by the
revenge of the cradle.
With the centuries, their 20,000 grew to four million
English who left the United States during and after the
Revolution were markedly different from the ones who
remained to build the new American nation. Those who remained were, for the most part, Protestants of
the dissenting kind, and
Whigs they stemmed from the thinking of such as the English
Unitarian John Locke, who stressed liberty, individual
rights, and human equality as regards to dignity, worth, and
opportunity, but not equality of well-being.
Governments were not to be trusted, and should not
acquire undue influence, their chief
role being the protection of property.
Tolerance of differences should be observed.
In his masterful book, Continental Divide: The
Values and Institutions of the United States and Canada
, Seymour Lipset, political sociologist at
Stanford University, sums up the American creed as
antistatism, individualism, populism, and egalitarianism.
this foundation, Americans set out in quest of “life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
The Tories who left the United States for Canada
during and after the Revolution held the opposite of these
relying so much on the private initiative of citizens and on
voluntary associations, they saw government as playing a
more positive and active role in the welfare of society.
The community took precedence over the wants and
wishes of the individual.
The voice of the people was not the voice of God, and
so was not always to be consulted, trusted, or followed.
(In spite of the efforts of feminists and many
others, the Equal Rights Amendment
has yet to pass in the United States.
By contrast, when the Charter of Rights and Freedoms
was written into the Canadian constitution in 1982, equal
rights for women was included.
No vote of the people was held.
Equal rights was included
by the federal government in the process of
negotiation with the provincial premiers, with scarcely a
ripple, as were affirmative action programs.
Ontario, Canada’s most industrialized, wealthy, and
populous province, has gone on to enact legislation
requiring that women receive the same pay as men for jobs of
was not formed as a country because the people living in
British North America wanted one.
It was formed for economic reasons, and to forestall
annexation by the United States after the Civil War.
In the Civil War, Britain had sided with the south,
and what became Canada with the north.
When the war ended, the United States proposed that
in compensation for having supported the south, Britain give
it British North America.
The British ambassador told the American Secretary of
State that Great Britain “did not wish to keep Canada, but
could not part with it without the consent of the
neither the French, who were conservative, nor the English,
who were Tories, not Whigs, wanted.
They got together, French and English, came to an
agreement, and asked the British parliament in London to
pass the British North America Act, creating Canada, with
its own government.
has changed since then.
Much underlying has remained the same.
family moved with me to the United States in 1966.
For about a dozen years we lived in Evanston,
Illinois, between the black and white neighbourhoods.
My daughter was mildly curious that 80% of the
children in her kindergarden class had dark skin.
What stood out in her mind was not that but the
pledge of allegiance to the flag.
I had never said anything to her.
(I suspect my wife had.)
My daughter refused to say the pledge of allegiance.
She also remembers from her early school days that
her papers were always returned to her with words
incorrectly spelled marked with a red “x”,- words such
as neighbour and centre, which her mother had told her how
to spell. When
the Canadian Unitarian Council met in Kelowna, British
Columbia, for its annual meeting last month, it adopted the
UUA seven principles and six sources as its own.
Just three minor changes were made.
One was who was doing the covenanting.
This covenant was entered into by member
congregations of the Canadian Unitarian Council, not of the
Unitarian Universalist Association.
The other two changes were the spelling of neighbour
in “loving our neighbours as ourselves” from “or” to
“our” and the spelling of “earth-centred” in “Spiritual
teachings of Earth-centred traditions” from “tered” to
an American is more than a matter of birth or citizenship.
It is an ideological commitment.
There is no “Canadian way of life.”
Something or some one can supposedly be un-American.
The word un-Canadian is not in the lexicon at all.
Canada has no ideology.
It is the most decentralized federation in the
western world. Canada
is rooted in its own history, a tradition that is absorbed
even by those in Canada who do not know it.
It is the Tory tradition, as opposed to the Whig.
The Whigs in England were the believers in
meritocracy, in laissez-faire, the builders of factories.
They were generous in good works, private charities,
and voluntary associations. The Tories were the older establishment.
the Factory Acts limiting the hours of work, protecting
child labour, and caring for the welfare of society as a
whole. The Tory
tradition is more oriented towards the welfare of society
than the Whig tradition. It is more supportive of state intervention.
All Canadian national political parties are to the
left of the Democratic Party in the United States.
(The one notable exception is the Reform Alliance
Party, a party rooted in western protest with no seats in
Parliament east of Manitoba.)
The 1966 UUA Committee on Goals found that a majority
of Canadian Unitarians and Universalists then supported the
New Democratic Party, the most left-leaning of the then
three major Canadian political parties
. Once in those days Dufferin Roblin, then
the Premier of Manitoba, walked in to a Unitarian gathering
in Winnipeg and for
ten minutes thought
he was at a meeting of New Democrats.
He recognized seven members of the legislative
assembly, including three cabinet ministers, two Winnipeg
city aldermen and one member of the Winnipeg Metro Council,
all of whom were New Democrats
the nineteenth century the English Unitarians were the Whig
party at prayer, as the Anglicans were the Tories at prayer.
The Canadians were and are still somewhat the NDP
meditating, if not praying.
The Tory tradition is to be seen in the fact that 87%
of Canadians adhere, however loosely,
to just three churches, in order of numbers the Roman
Catholic, the United Church, and the Anglican
Two have been established churches.
The United Church was created in 1925 in part to have
one strong church in small towns, rather than divisive
United Church, though on average perhaps more liberal than
the other two, from the start took on some of the
characteristics of establishment.
are not very assertive or nationalistic.
Canada, in Seymour Lipset’s words,
is the anti-nation
. There was no Canadian citizenship until
1947. For the
first sixty years after forming a country Canadians remained
British subjects. We
had the same rights in England as Englishmen.
We had no national flag until 1965.
Till then the nearest thing we had was the flag flown
by ships registered in Canada,- the red ensign, a red flag
with the union jack in the corner and a coat of arms with
maple leaves in the middle.
We had no national anthem.
We sang “God save the Queen” until “O Canada”
was adopted by Parliament in 1967.
True to Canadian form, only the tune was officially
adopted as Canada’s
national anthem then. It
took Parliament another thirteen years to decide on the
official words, which became official only after “God” was
added by the politicians, invoked to keep Canadians “glorious
and free.” Canada
got its very own constitution only in 1982, when the British
parliament gave up its control over amendments to the British
North America Act of 1867. Queen Elizabeth came to Canada to sign and thereby give royal
assent to the newly minted Canadian constitution, she being
the legal and constitutional head of state, which she remains
to this day.
United States was formed for “life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness.” Canada was formed, in the words of the Fathers of
Confederation, for the purpose of “peace, order, and good
Canada, law enforcement preceded settlement.
In the Klondike gold rush of the 1890's, writes
values [upheld by the Mounties and 200 soldiers] stood firm
against ‘rampant American individualism’ [80% of the
miners were Americans] spilling across from towns in Skagway,
Alaska, run by thugs.
respect authority. They
are suspicious of American suspicion of authority.
Authority has a moral obligation to care for people
individually and collectively.
Such sentiment can be called paternalism.
Compared to the United States, this paternalism it
has given Canadians a much lower rate of homicide, crime,
incarceration, and infant mortality, and safe cities, and
almost free medical care.
Having faith in and respect for law, Canada has less
than half the number of lawyers per capita the United States
placing no stress on freedom, it has kept alive a culture in
which, with the absence of patriotric conformity, Canadians
are freer to be themselves.
So Canada’s elitist, aristocratic, statist society,
founded for “peace, order, and good government” is not
all bad. Its
leading literary voices tend to be women, not men.
It is anti-hero, Charlie Chaplin, not Superman.
It is not the innocent Adam beginning in a virgin
land without a tradition.
Canada, observes Lipset, is Noah carrying with him
the weight of a failed history
do not have a clear sense of identity.
At the same time, they sense they have a hold of
something they appreciate and want to keep.
With all due respect to their benevolent neighbours
south of the border, most Canadians do not want to be
most Canadians are agreed on.
“Canadians,” observes Lipset, “are the world’s
oldest and most continuing un-Americans.”
does this play out? What
has this to do with the creation and coming of age of the
Canadian Unitarian Council in the last forty years?
The simple fact is that Canada is not the same as the
United States. The
Unitarian Universalist Association has functioned mostly as
an American organization, geared to the situation and needs
of people in the United States.
But as Dorothy is reputed to have observed in The
Wizard of Oz, “Toto, this isn’t Kansas.”
Perhaps without exception, the UUA has never had a
fulltime staff member living and working in Canada.
tell you, having lived eighteen years in the United States,
you cannot understand Canada if you live in the United
States unless you make that your chief mission, as have some
do not expect Americans to understand them, and that
includes American Unitarian Universalists.
The UUA is knowledgeable and effective as a national
American organization. It has been, on the whole, a continental organization as an
afterthought, tending to assume that what fits in the United
States fits in Canada.
Canadians have sometimes been annoyed to be left out
of American resolutions on social issues, and sometimes
angered when included, as though the same issues arise in
the same way with the same urgency in Canada.
For Canadians, the UUA agenda has sometimes been the
wrong agenda. Canadians have wanted to meet on their own, with each other,
to build their own agenda, and act on it.
us move on to the evolution of the Canadian Unitarian
formation of the CUC was
a long-held dream. Proposals
to form a Canadian organization were made by G.C. Holland,
minister of the Ottawa church, in 1898
, Samuel A. Eliot, President of the
American Unitarian Association in 1908
, Charles Huntingdon Pennoyer, minister of
the Halifax Universalist Church in 1909
, and Horace Westwood, a Unitarian minister
in Winnipeg in 1913.
1946 The Commission on the Work of the Churches of the
British Unitarians recommended that “the Assembly should
interest itself in the formation of a Canadian Unitarian
Association which many Unitarians there believe to be
first native seeds were planted with the publication of The
Canadian Unitarian in Ottawa from 1940 to 1946, a small
newsletter distributed with the newsletters of Canadian
the Second World War, the
growth of the Unitarians in Canada began to show the
strength which would make some Canadian organization
feasible, if not imperative.
Unitarians, most notably
Toronto ministers, generated considerable media
attention from the centre of Canada’s English language
Unitarian Service Committee of Canada, founded in 1945, was
receiving considerable attention both in city newspapers and
on television, so much so
that the word “Unitarian”
became a household world,
though its meaning was not that widely known.
In 1946 there were six Icelandic Unitarian churches
with 272 members, and five English-speaking churches with
1,049 members. The
Universalists had five churches with 459 members.
In 1961 there were three Universalist churches with
68 members, and three Icelandic and eleven English-speaking
Unitarian churches with 3,476 members, and in addition 22
Unitarian fellowships with 773 members.
The Universalists almost disappeared in Canada,
outside of a small rural church in southwest Ontario, and
were probably saved in the other two surviving locations by
influx of Canadian Unitarians.
By contrast, Unitarian membership more than tripled
in the same fifteen years.
In 1953 there were six Unitarian ministers serving
congregations in Canada.
Ten years later there were five ministers in the
Toronto area alone.
groundswell for some sort of Canadian organization began to
came from British Columbia, the prairies, from Ontario, from
the Canadians holding rump sessions late Sunday evenings
each year at the annual May meetings of the American
Unitarian Association in Boston.
On December 3, 1960, a meeting of seventeen people
from eight Unitarian churches in Ontario and Quebec met to
form an organization to enable the congregations in the two
provinces to work together.
The meeting identified areas where needs were not
being met. Key areas were publications and social action.
(Pamphlets on famous American Unitarians, including
Unitarians in the White House, and a Boston headquarters
address did not quite project a Canadian image.)
A committee was appointed to draft an organizational
December 27, the committee met with a plan before it.
I had served as a minister in western Canada for five
years, and been the president of the Western Canada
Unitarian Conference. I
had visited Vancouver on several occasions and knew Phillip
Hewett, the Unitarian minister there.
I knew the plan would be acceptable across the
was no point in limiting the proposal to Ontario and Quebec.
It was adjusted to fit the whole country, and sent to
all congregations in Canada.
early April, 1961, a meeting with delegates from ten
congregations was held in Montreal.
The plan was approved 8 to 1, with the understanding
that “The Council will function within the framework of
the continental Unitarian Universalist Association.” The next month, the American Unitarian Association and the
Universalist Church of America met in Boston to approve the
formation of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
That same week in Boston, on May 14,
some fifty Canadian Unitarians and Universalists from
Vancouver to Halifax met and approved the bylaws which
brought the Canadian Unitarian Council into being, and
elected its first Board of Directors.
The Board elected me its first President, a position
I held until 1965.
Board requested a grant of $1,500 from the Board of Trustees
of the new UUA. It was approved. It
was enough to enable a truly national board, with members
from New Brunswick to British Columbia, to meet twice a
year, to fund some office expense, and a bit more.
The Council held its first annual meeting on Canadian
soil in May the following year, 1962.
The ministers held their first national meeting in
November, with every last
minister from New Brunswick to British Columbia in
first pamphlet, Unitarians in Canada , was published
in 1963. Its
back cover listed the name and location of every church and
fellowship in Canada. Other
pamphlets by ministers in Canada followed.
Resolutions on social issues were initiated by
congregations, narrowed down in polls, and voted at the
national meeting each year.
The first annual meeting outside Ontario and Quebec
was held in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1965.
Thereafter, the CUC has met in different cities from
coast to coast.
1965 the first capital workshop was held in Ottawa.
A panel of journalists discussed “The Ottawa Scene”
with a view to increasing Unitarian political understanding
and effectiveness, and there were speakers and workshops on
the labour movement and penal reform. Subsequent annual capital workshops dealt with poverty, the
future of Canada, international and domestic obligations,
Canada’s aboriginal people, and violence.
In 1970 a Social Responsibility Officer was funded,
employing Mary Lou Church for two years.
1969 came a crisis that began the transformation of the CUC
into an association in its own right.
Confronted with a drastic financial crisis, the UUA
proposed cutting the CUC allocation back from the $8,000 it
was then receiving annually to its original $1,500.
At the CUC annual meetings in Montreal that May,
area delegates proposed that Canadian congregations separate
from the UUA, and the CUC go its own. Twenty four
congregations were present as delegates defeated the
proposal 29-21. Negotiations
between the CUC and the UUA produced what became known as
the First Accord. In it the CUC was given the responsibility for denominational
fund raising in Canada, getting over half the proceeds.
The CUC got to elect, in effect, a member to the UUA
Board, and authority to certify ministers to do weddings in
Canada. The UUA
also agreed not to oppose CUC membership in the IARF.
(As a continental organization, the UUA had included
a Canadian in its IARF delegation, and opposed direct
The CUC was accepted into IARF membership in 1972,
and invited its Congress to meet in Montreal in 1975, which
credentialing authority for the performance of weddings, the
CUC decided to institute what are now called lay chaplains.
These are people who are appointed by their
congregations and trained and authorized by the CUC to
perform wedding ceremonies.
Lay chaplains also do infant dedications and
baptisms, funerals and memorial services.
The first lay chaplain was appointed in 1971.
The need for them was acute in 1971.
We had 20 churches and 34 fellowships then, and just
16 settled ministers in the whole country.
The fellowships wanted celebrants available to do
rites of passage. There
was a strong demand for Unitarian weddings on the part of
the general public. It
was more than the ministers could handle.
Today there are seventy seven lay chaplains.
First Accord provided that the CUC would keep the first
$15,000 Canadian raised, give the UUA the second $15,000,
and divide anything above $30,000 equally.
The CUC raised $17,030 in 1970-71, and had little
incentive to exert itself to raise more. A Second Accord in 1972 changed this: the CUC would keep the
first $8,000, and share the remainder equally with the UUA.
This pushed the results up a few thousand dollars a
A new factor changed the whole picture in 1977,
producing the Third CUC-UUA Accord.
Veatch matching funds began, under which the CUC,
like the UUA, received from the Veatch Foundation a dollar
for every dollar it raised for the Annual Program Fund.
If, for instance, the CUC raised $50,000, the Veatch
Fund would add another $50,000.
The CUC would receive its initial $8,000, and share
the remainder with the UUA.
This would result in $54,000 for the CUC and $46,000
for the UUA, instead of $42,000 in the absence of the Veatch
matching grant. And
the CUC ended up with $4,000 more than it raised.
Since its first years, the CUC had been administered
by a devoted competent volunteer, Barbara Arnott.
The CUC “office” was in her bedroom until she
retired in 1978. The
CUC mailing address had been that of Toronto’s First
Unitarian Congregation, 175 St. Clair Avenue West.
All CUC mail received there had been sent on to her
home address, to be dealt with by her in her apartment.
When she retired, office space was rented at 175 St.
Clair Avenue, made possible presumably by the Veatch
matching funds. Here
the new administrative secretary could work, with additional
paid and volunteer help, and meetings of the executive
committee and board could be held.
Five years later the next important step came when,
after a process of two years of soul-searching and looking
to the future involving the congregations, the annual meeting, supported by the congregations, voted in
1983 to hire the CUC’s first professional executive
Hunter was chosen, a lawyer and former president of The
Unitarian Church of Montreal.
Hiring a professional executive director changed the
way Canadians thought about the CUC.
They took it and their responsibilities for it more
developed an increasing sense of identity, commitment and
giving to the Annual Program Fund thus reached $101,729 in
1986, and kept increasing. The congregations supported the APF wholeheartedly.
Almost all congregations, whether churches or
fellowships, began giving their full fair share as set by
the UUA. Kathleen
Hunter, like lay CUC president Mary Lu MacDonald in 1970-71,
in time visited all the congregations in Canada.
With an executive director at the helm, the CUC
functioned more smoothly and effectively.
The first Unitarians began preparing for the ministry
at theological schools in Canada, in Toronto and Vancouver.
Work was found and congregations were helped to
develop to expand opportunities for home-grown ministers in
Canada. In the 1980's seven Canadians were ordained to the ministry,
in the 1990's fifteen.
Soon there will be six more.
Noteworthy in 1988
was a program developed by Mark DeWolfe and Phillip
Hewett and used in many congregations, The Language of
the Land, an exploration of Canadian contextual
theology. This culminated in programs at the annual meetings of the
Canadian ministers, and the CUC itself.
Also in 1988 the CUC launched its first long range
planning process. Its Board members visited 35 congregations, meeting face to
face with 10% of our total membership.
They found Canadian Unitarians and Universalists
wanted their faith to be publicly visible; they wanted to
grow; they wanted better communications.
The first edition of Phillip Hewett’s definitive
history, Unitarians in Canada, was published in 1978.
. The 1980's saw the Canadian Unitarian Council joining
coalitions such as Project Ploughshares, a sophisticated
organization doing peace research and education and action,
and playing a key role in the Canadian peace movement.
Canadian religious education material continued to be
written and produced, including The Canadians...
Adventures of Our People, about Canadian Unitarians and
Universalists, by Margaret K. Gooding
effective program in 1989-90 was “Our Common Future,” a
study of the Bruntland Report prepared for the Rio de
Janiero summit on the environment.
Different congregations prepared the chapters for the
study guide. During
the winter and spring, congregations across Canada studied
the report. The
CUC and some congregations were tied into the national
nongovernmental coalition working with the federal
government, and to NGO individuals who went to Rio and
reported back to them.
Unitarians for Social Justice, an activist group formed a
few years previously, was recognized at the 1996 meetings as
a valuable leadership group. It has its own publication and more than 350 members.
Today the CUC itself has social responsibility
monitoring groups in the following areas: environment,
globalization, choice in dying, gay and lesbian issues,
economic justice, justice for first nations, and peace.
shall now describe what led up to the independence of the
Canadian Unitarian Council.
Fourth CUC-UUA Accord was signed in 1983.
Under this agreement
Liberal Religious Charities Society gave a matching grant as
well. If, for
example, $50,000 was raised by the CUC in its APF, the
Veatch and LRCS grants would make the total $150,000.
The CUC would get $4,000 plus $50,000 for a total of
$54,000. The UUA would get the balance, $96,000
was as if the CUC sent all the APF money it raised to the
UUA, the Veatch Fund sent the UUA a matching amount, and the
Liberal Religious Charities Society sent the CUC an amount
equal to what the CUC raised plus an extra $4,000.
The money did not,
apparently, flow that way
. The formula determined the end amounts.
The Fourth Accord did not benefit the CUC. It did keep the UUA satisfied financially for a time
arrangement worked until in 1986 the Veatch Fund decided to
stop the matching fund grants, giving the UUA twenty million
dollars for capital funding instead.
The LRCS cheques to the CUC stopped two years later.
A new accord, Accord Five in 1987, agreed that the
CUC would raise a large endowment fund and pay 75% of its
income to the UUA for its services to Canadian
fund failed to materialize.
Accord Six struck in 1991 agreed on the estimated
cost of services to Canadian societies not paid by the UUA
endowments or other funds.
The CUC agreed to get to that level of payment while
limiting the amount of the annual increase to three per cent
of the previous year’s CUC expenditure budget.
Accord Seven in 1994 added clauses to protect the CUC
from rapid year to year fluctuations due to foreign currency
exchange rate and the restructuring of the UUA budget to
include use of trust funds in its current budget.
Two years later, the UUA expressed its dissatisfaction
with the seventh Accord.
At the May 1997 annual meetings in Thunder Bay,
Ontario, UUA President John Buehrens, stating that Canada
was costing too much, informally offered three officials of
the CUC one million dollars for the Canadians to go on their
After negotiations, in 1998 this Accord it
was dissolved by mutual agreement of the CUC and the UUA.
Wrote Kim Turner, CUC President from 1999 to 2001,
At the beginning, we had a hard time convincing the
UUA that in fact we did not have an agenda to separate -
and that we needed the congregations to tell us what they
To find out what congregations wanted, the CUC Board
the year before, in 1997, had established the Commission on
Services to Canadian Congregations. This involved a survey of all congregations, and extensive
consultations and visits by Board members and staff, with
93% participation of congregations and “emerging groups.”
The Commission in its report, sent to all
congregations before the 1998 annual meetings, set forth
four options for the relationship between the CUC and the
the meetings, the desire was expressed for evolution, not
revolution, some adjustment of services to meet Canadian
needs and make UUA services affordable. No decision was
taken, nor action approved.
In their ongoing negotiations, the CUC and UUA agreed they
wanted a healthy relationship, which would include equal
relationship, less dependency, equitable/fair,
congregation-centred, not governance centred,
permanence/stability, and partnership.
A Stage Two report from the CUC Commission to the 1999
annual meeting called for a gradual change towards greater
Canadian service delivery and programs, with priority to
religious education and growth.
Again, no decisions were made.
The CUC Board took the discussion and suggestions of
the annual meeting under advisement.
Later in the year the CUC negotiators found that the
UUA was not prepared to negotiate any new arrangement
without consulting the districts.
The CUC negotiators suggested this was the
responsibility of the UUA, not of the CUC.
May 2000 CUC meetings in Calgary by a vote of 79 to 11 (with
no abstentions) authorized the CUC Board to begin the changes recommended by
the Commission, and to negotiate with the UUA to make this
all, three annual meetings were held before the CUC Board
had the authority to undertake definitive negotiations.
September 2000, the negotiating teams
met in Regina, Saskatchewan.
There events took a sudden turn the CUC team had not
expected or anticipated.
The UUA rejected the CUC’s evolutionary approach.
It indicated that “although the evolutionary
approach may work in concept for the CUC, the slow evolution
would not work for the UUA.
It proposed a greater shift in services to the CUC,
ministry, youth, and young adult services excepted.”
The UUA could not shift or adjust services
gradually, year after year.
It proposed, in effect, that the CUC go on its own,
except for the ministry, youth, and young adult services,
which would remain continental and primarily a UUA
CUC Board authorized negotiations to continue.
In January 2001, the UUA proposed the transfer of one
and a half million dollars (U.S.) (calculated on the value
of endowment shares as of December 31, 2000) to fund an
independent CUC. The
money was to be handed over on July 1, 2002 if the CUC had a
service delivery plan ratified by its members and CUC
congregations withdrew from the UUA and the districts.
Both groups agreed that cross-border informal
associations and many continental groups, such as the UU-UNO
and the Liberal Religious Educators’ Association be
February 2001 the UUA negotiators refused to reconsider
their position on the membership of Canadian congregations
in the UUA
what the UUA response would be if Canadian congregations did
not ratify the agreement, it stated,
ratification fails, the UUA will NOT negotiate a new CUC-UUA
Accord. All APF
funding will go directly to the UUA (at a 2001-2002 rate of
$44 US (or approx. $66 Can.) per member.)
All UUA services will be delivered through UUA
congregations fitting UUA membership parameters will
continue with the UUA. The UUA will not restrict its
relation to Canadian congregations, i.e., Capital
fundraising and Friends programs will include Canada.
The CUC will in no way be impeded from raising its
Either number eight was to be the final Accord, or the
Accords would end with number seven.
Given that clear-cut drastic choice and no other
option, many Canadian Unitarians probably thought the
decision,- totally unexpected a few months previously,-
had been made for them.
Canadian Unitarians, augmented by guests from the UUA and a
full meeting of the International Council of Unitarians and
Universalists, converged on Montreal for the May 2001 CUC
meeting. The interests of proportional representation restricted the
number of deletes to 127.
The delegates came from all ten of Canada’s
provinces and belonged to six UUA districts.
They represented forty congregations.
After a presentation, there followed
three hours of sometimes passionate debate.
Every delegate was present to cast his or her secret
vote was 105 for and 22 against.
The final Accord between the CUC and the UUA was
accepted. The Canadian Unitarian Council would become the primary
assocation and service provider of Canadian Unitarians and
Universalists on July 1, 2002.
The only exceptions were to be the ministry, youth,
and young adult programs, where former arrangements would
the year that followed, the CUC Board appointed an
Implementation Task Force to plan for the new beginning.
The final proposal was to divide the country into
four regions, British Columbia, Western Canada, Central, and
Eastern (including eastern Ontario), served by two Directors
of Regional Services, fulltime professionals, one in the
west, one in the east.
In addition the CUC would add to its staff a fulltime
Director of Lifespan Learning.
When the plan was brought before the 2002 annual May
meeting in Kelowna, British Columbia, there was some
discussion about the lines of accountability for the first
two directors. Then
came the vote. It
was unanimous. Not a single voice was raised against the plan.
Not a vote opposed it.
Amidst the rejoicing, many hugged and broke into
have been tears of grief and tears of anger too, shed on
other occasions. Such
tears have flowed especially in the five international
districts to which Canadian Unitarians and Universalists
have belonged. Some
cross-border relations will continue.
The final Accord stipulates, among other matters
including continuing high level consultations,
that Canadians shall be welcome at all American
meetings, and Americans at all Canadian ones.
But the meetings will not be as frequent and as
widely attended as they have been these past forty years.
There has been a richness in the peoples of the two
countries working together easily and comfortably in a
common cause. A
sense of the prospect of loss here has brought tears.)
the years negotiations between CUC and UUA representatives
varied in mood, intensity, and effectiveness.
At times there was friendly generosity and easy
times there was implacable resistance, avoidance on one
side, anger and frustration on the other, and acrimonious
UUA negotiators came to meetings lacking basic information,
ill-prepared to negotiate anything.
Too often through the short years faces changed, so
that CUC negotiators had to explain everything over from the
beginning again. Unresolved until several years ago was the international
mandate of the UUA itself: was it a national, a continental,
or a world organization?
Reportedly the issue came to the fore with the UUA
Board of Trustees when an application for membership came
from Pakistan, claiming a potentiality of 5,000 members
a sea change occurred.
Recalled Kim Turner, a CUC member of the final
negotiating team, of the meetings,
were frustrating - as it was clear we had no real “leverage”
until all of sudden the UUA side started to view us as being
a marginal group (like blacks, gays, etc.) to the point that
they had to be very careful not to”impose” upon us their
standards, language, views.
Their desire to let Canadians decide their own future
was a turning point.
did all this happen? Ellen
Campbell, CUC Executive Director from 1990 to 2000, deems
the development of the ministry and ministers in Canada a
huge change when I was on the Board was the move into
technology. We went from discussing whether we should rent fax machines
for Board members to having e-groups for discussions. This has resulted in amazing changes both in decision making
and in communication across Canada
offer three reasons:
The first is the very existence of Canada, more of a
reality than most people living in the United States can
appreciate, a country with its own history, politics,
logistics and communications, movements of people, media,
literature, art, identity, et cetera.
Canadian Unitarians and Universalists needed a way to
talk to each other, to visit each other, to work together
and for each other.
second is process, the process Canadian Unitarians and
Universalists have used from the beginning in building
consensus and trust, in developing projects, arrangements,
ideas, in identifying and pursuing goals and objectives.
third is a growing sense of identity and commitment, and a
confidence in their ability to manage their own affairs.
Acquiring the first professional CUC executive
director was the big step. Raising money, over $400,000 in the last endowment campaign
begun in 1993, and in increasing amounts in the Annual
Program Fund, has added to their commitment and confidence.
The Canadian Council goes on its own on July 1 with a
budget of $690,000. That
is a modest amount today.
I expect it will give Canadian Unitarians and
Universalists and Unitarian Universalists a good start.
What they lack in immediate cash they will more than
make up for with enthusiasm, ingenuity, dedication, and
sheer determination. There
is the will. They
will find the way.
apologies and thanks to Arthur R.M. Lower, From Colony
to Nation: A History of Canada (Toronto - Longmans,
Green and Company 1946 4th rev. ed. 1964 5th
ed. 1977 McLelland and Stewart Limited)
. Under the constitution,
Roman Catholics and Protestants were guaranteed their own
publicly financed school systems in Quebec.
This provision was changed in 1998 at the request
of the Quebec government, which wanted to base the two
school systems not on confessionality but on language
(French and English) instead.
. According to the 1961
census, there were 4,291,689 in Quebec for whom French was
their mother tongue, and 5,123,151 in Canada.
The 1996 census figures are higher, but include
growing numbers of French-speaking
immigrants and such factors as many more French-English
. Seymour Martin Lipset, The
Continental Divide, The Values and Institutions of the
United States and Canada (New York - London: Routledge,
Chapman and Hall, Inc., 1990)
. J. Bartlet Brebner Canada
-A Modern History (Ann Arbor: The University of
Michigan Press 1960) 149
. Report of the Committee
on Goals, Unitarian Universalist Association 1967
“If you live in Canada: For which party did you vote in
the l965 national election?”
of respondents answered New Democratic (NDP); 37.1%
Liberal; 5.6% Conservative; 0.3% Social Credit; Other
0.3%; Did not vote 5.7%.
. Report on the May 14-17,
1971 annual meeting in Winnipeg, Manitoba in The
Canadian Unitarian, Summer 1971
. Lipsey op.cit. 88 (The
figures will be out of date due to Canadian immigration
. Phillip Hewett, Unitarians
in Canada (Toronto: Canadian Unitarian Council 1978,
rev. ed. 1995) 248
. ”The Commission is
grateful to the American Unitarian Association for
assuming general oversight of Canadian churches during the
reasons of geography and common interests the Canadian
churches must continue to work closely with the American
At the same time, however, these congregations are
very conscious of their attachments to this country and
the Commission believes that the Assembly should, for its
part, do everything possible to show how much these
sentiments are reciprocated.
It is especially desirable that, as opportunity
occurs, one or two English ministers should settle in
Canada, and the Assembly should interest itself in the
formation of a Canadian Unitarian Association which many
Unitarians there believe to be necessary.”
(quoted by A.Phillip Hewett in an e-mail sent to
“UUs in the Canadian Unitarian Council” March 26,
. Published by the Canadian
Unitarian Council, 55 Eglinton Avenue East, #705, Toronto,
Ontario, Canada M4P 1G8 4th rev.ed. 1995
. Published by the Canadian
Unitarian Council, 55 Eglinton Avenue East, #705, Toronto,
Ontario, Canada M4P 1G8
. Brian Kiely, A Brief
History of the Accord, in The Canadian Unitarian,
September 1989 (This article outlines the contents of
the first five Accords.)
. The CUC fiscal year ends
March 31, the UUA fiscal year June 30.
This makes it difficult to relate flows of
contributions as reported in the CUC audited statements to
the Accords, which were apparently governed by the UUA
fiscal year. The audited statements for the CUC fiscal
year ending March 31, 1983, for instance, show CUC income
from APF and Friends of $53,925, $52,127 from the Veatch
from LRCS, and expenditures of $47,762 to the UUA.
. The LRCS money reportedly
came from the Holdeen Fund.
Both funds can be found on the UUA web site (uua.org)
using its Google search engine.
More information may be found using Google directly
on the web.
. John Hopewell, President
1997-99; Kim Turner, President 1999-2001; Ellen Campbell,
Executive Director 1990-2000.
. E-mail to author on April
.The final negotiating team
for the CUC was led by President Kim Turner and included
Treasurer Mark Morrison-Reed, Trustee Brian Kiely, Past
President John Hopewell, and UUA Trustee for Canada, Katie
Stein Sather. The
UUA team was led by Moderator Denny Davidoff and included
Financial Advisor Larry Ladd and District Trustees Gini
Courter, Judi McGavin and Kathryn McIntyre.
Beth Graham participated as facilitator.
. Correspondence from CUC
President Kim Turner to author.
For similar words and a longer account see president’s
message in Special Report II on the agreement
between the Canadian Unitarian Council and the Unitarian
Universalist Association included in The Canadian
Unitarian (February 2001 Vol.42 No.1).
This report includes a summary of the agreement,
and descriptions, explanations, and interpretations.
.The UUA found it could not
legally compel the Canadian congregations (or any other
congregations) to withdraw their membership in the UUA.
I expect such membership will diminish with time.
The UUA is revising the boundaries of its districts so
that Canadian congregations will be excluded.
. Summary from the
CUC-UUA Negotiations 5 in e-mail memo, summarizing
March 5, 2001 meeting of the Negotiating Teams. Authorship
not clear. May
be from the teams themselves together.
. Ellen Campbell, Laying
the Groundwork: Ten Years at the Canadian Unitarian
Council (Edmonton, Alberta: Canadian Unitarian and
Universalist Historical Society 2002) (The 2002 Mark
Mosher DeWolfe Annual Lecture, May 19, 2002) 5
. e-mail of April 1 to
. Ellen Campbell, op.cit.
. e-mail of April 1, 2002 to