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Unitarian*Universalist--You Star, You!
Have you noticed stars popping up in email messages and articles? Have you wondered, What’s with the stars?

At a CUC annual meeting a number of years ago, there was a resolution to change the name to "Canadian Unitarian Universalist Association". The motion was defeated, but in response to the issues presented, the CUC started using, wherever possible, the phrase "Unitarian and Universalist". This followed the lead of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists—a naming that took much time and effort in order to be inclusive of U*Us worldwide!

However, some responded, "I’m a Unitarian Universalist—adjective and noun. This doesn’t include me." Also, the Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax--uses both words, but in reverse order, in honour of their origins as the first Universalist congregation in Canada.

I started using an "asterisk" to mean:"both/and/or/or reversed" and it started catching on. When I say aloud Unitarian*Universalist or U*U the star is silent, since You, Asterisk You! Sounds like an insult, although You, Star, You! Is a compliment indeed!

The CUC Board’s Statement of Principles Task Force ( ) has adopted this as their "shortcut". Samantha Magnus, youth member, has written an article in the CUC’s Youth Newsletter Busking on the Causeway, that was sent to all congregations, and is also on the web ( )

Kalvin Drake, also on the Statement of Principles Task Force says, "As well as being visually intriguing, I personally find the "*" useful. When talking about matters U*U, sometimes it's convenient just to say "UU"; other times the "*" provides an excuse to actually talk about the interplay between Unitarianism and Universalism. There are really three (and, I would argue, almost independent) issues:

1. How do we brand/label ourselves as a distinct philosophical and religious denomination?

2. What is historically accurate for the Canadian movement?

3. What is theologically accurate for the current state of the Canadian movement?

I would argue that #1 should be driven as much by "ease of recognition" and "ease of pronunciation" as by the answers to #2 and #3!  "U*U" works for me on that score. Perhaps it's for the "*" between the "U" and the "U" that people join us.

A popular reading from Singing the Living Tradition at this time of year is #621—Why Not a Star? It says, "Who knows what uncommon life may yet again unfold, if we but give it a chance!"

As we enter this season of both light and darkness, let us give "uncommon life" a chance to again unfold. In the way we use language—with intention and inclusiveness in mind—as well in the way we allow mystery and awe and surprise into our lives.

Take care of yourselves and each other, you stars you!


Executive Director,


Top Canadian Unitarian Council - Conseil Unitarien du Canada
018-1179A King Street West, Toronto ON M6K 3C5
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