Metro Vancouver Unitarian Gathering

Gather – Connect  –  Inspire

Saturday, April 7, 2018  | Unitarian Church of Vancouver, 949 Oak Street, Vancouver, BC

This is a not-to-be-missed multi-generational gathering, organized and planned by the four Unitarian congregations in the Metro Vancouver Lower Mainland. Together we’ll reflect on intergenerational solidarity and inclusion with a panel of Vancouver young adults. We’ll spend time with talented musician Tony Turner “Singing for Change”, and strategize about how Metro Vancouver Unitarians can actively work for social justice.

There will be a children’s program and a weekend-long youth con that will weave in and out of the adult program. No matter your age or stage in life, please join us at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver to be a part of this exciting day.

Children’s Program Event Consent: All Children are required to provide a signed, informed consent form as part of the requirements for their attendance at Canadian Unitarian Council Events. Any participant who does not provide a signed informed consent form prior to the start of the event, will not be allowed to participate in the event. Parents and guardians – please fill in the consent form here.

Schedule Details

The Saturday multigen gathering schedule is available here.

Youth con begins Friday, April 6, 7 p.m. and runs till Sunday, April 8, Noon.

Registration Costs:

  • $65 Adult Early Bird.  $80 Regular Adult
  • $40 Young Adult [20- 35] & Self Defined Low Income
  • $55 Youth [full weekend]
  • $15 Children
  • Open Mic Coffee House $5.00 at the door [free to conference registrants] Welcome to All!

Adult Registration

Youth Registration

Children’s Registration

Registration deadlines:

Registration opens: Feb. 20
Early bird ends: March 15
Registration Closes: March 31, 2018

Billeting: Available – please indicate that you would like home hospitality on the registration form and someone will be in touch.

Transportation information

The Unitarian Church of Vancouver is accessible by public transit – please see the Translink website or consult Google Maps for directions.

Children’s programming

On-site programming from 9:00- 2:30. Trip to Van Dusen Gardens later in the afternoon. Returning to share dinner with parents/guardians. NOTE: Please have children bring bus passes/tickets if they have them!

Please note – Children’s Program Event Consent: All Children are required to provide a signed, informed consent form as part of the requirements for their attendance at Canadian Unitarian Council Events. Any participant who does not provide a signed informed consent form prior to the start of the event, will not be allowed to participate in the event. Parents and guardians – please fill in the consent form here.

Program Details

Session I: Young Adult Panel- Intergenerational Solidarity. What are the challenges? What can congregations do to help? Are some currently being considered and/or implemented?

Session II: Intergenerational Solidarity Small Group Discussions.

Session III:  “Singing For Change”. In this workshop, we will explore the importance of songs to social action related to our seven principles. Using historical and recent examples we will learn that the power of song can unite minds and spirits and aid the cause of social change.

Bio: Tony Turner is a Canadian singer-songwriter whose life-affirming, articulate and socially relevant songs are as diverse as this country. From Circle of Song, his much-loved anthem of unity recently published in Rise Again, to his award-winning protest sing-along Harperman, Tony has proven he can channel both the mood of the times and the ties that bind.  An active Unitarian now based in Nanaimo, Tony has been writing songs for over twenty-five years and has created three critically acclaimed recordings.

Accompanist BioElliott Dainow has been playing and organizing the music at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver after taking over from Harold D. Brown around 2002. He is also active as an accompanist, mostly with choirs and singers, and also sings as the section lead in the Vivaldi Choir. Apart from playing chamber music, his favourite musical activity is accompanying himself in song from the piano. He has made one CD of his favourite songs, most of which were learned for a particular Sunday morning theme.

Session IV: “Acting For Change”

Social Justice Networking – Lead Facilitator: Lynn Armstrong.

We’ll hear from each of the four Metro Vancouver congregations about how they are “doing” social justice these days.  What’s new?  What are the big challenges?  What’s new with Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice (CUSJ)?  Then, we’ll have breakout groups on specific topics of current interest. Focus on action.

Special event: After a fabulous dinner, we’ll enjoy an open mic evening hosted by Tony Turner- a time to showcase that poem, dance, story, or song with an appreciative and supportive audience.

PR notice for congregational bulletins and/or emails: Save the date for the Metro Vancouver Unitarian Gathering to be held April 7 from 9 am to 9 pm at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver. Four Lower Mainland congregations are co-hosting the Saturday meeting with a spotlight on social justice issues. Tony Turner, slated to lead a workshop on “Singing for Justice”,  welcomes all to an evening Open Mic Concert. Plans for a children’s program and a youth con are in the works. A great opportunity to network with Unitarians as spring blossoms in Vancouver:  stay tuned for registration details coming soon.

Link to Poster:2018 MVG April 7 – Final   

Important Information on the CUC Conference Opening Ceremony

The CUC’s 2018 National Conference takes place at McMaster University in Hamilton ON from May 18-20, 2018, and we want your congregation to be represented in the Opening Ceremony!

There will be a virtual banner parade, i.e. images of each congregation and their banners will be presented on-screen. Please send in jpg or png format, for the Virtual Banner Parade slideshow:

  • One high definition image of your banner, and
  • Two other high definition images (e.g., a picture of your building, a special feature inside your building, a photo of the entire congregation, or a photo of your members engaged in worship or activities), and
  • One or two other photos of your members engaged in a social action, which is self-explanatory, eg in a march, welcoming refugees etc

These images will be included in full size with your congregation’s name – be sure to include your congregation’s official name in the email, e.g. First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa.  The banner pictures will also be used as part of the Sunday Worship Service.

We’d like to get these images by January 31. If we don’t hear from you by that date, we’ll just capture the best images/graphics we can from your website and we will use these for the Banner Parade presentation.  Please send your full size images to Irene Laurie of the First Unitarian Church of Hamilton at

You are welcome to bring your physical banner as well (banner poles not necessary). Please bring this to Michael DeGroote Centre for Learning (MDCL), Room 1307 between 3-6 p.m. on Friday, May 18.

The opening ceremony will be held in MDCL Room 1307 and registration will direct you to that room.  After the Opening Ceremony, the banners will then be moved to the exhibit hall – please pick up your banner by 5 p.m. on Sunday. The CUC is not responsible for forgotten and lonely banners.

Questions? Please email Gail Rappolt at or Irene Laurie at

Looking forward to seeing members of your congregation in May,


Pat Dickinson and Gail Rappolt

Co-leads, Opening Ceremony, 2018 CUC National Conference

First Unitarian Church of Hamilton

A Preview of Streams at the 2018 Annual Conference and Meeting

“As Canadian Unitarian Universalists, we envision a world in which our interdependence calls us to love and justice.” This vision of our national faith community asks us to live this out through actions of love and justice. We are called to work together from a place of love to bring justice to all beings.

The 2018 National Conference Theme is “An Invitation to Love and Justice and while planning is still underway, the Conference Program Planning Committee has chosen the following streams for the Saturday. Details on Sunday workshops will follow.

1. “From 110 Good Ideas to Three Action Projects”

Jennifer Kaye, Bill Johnston, and Gail Rappolt, from First Unitarian Church of Hamilton

Like most Unitarian Universalist congregations, the members of the First Unitarian Church of Hamilton have lots of ideas for great social justice projects. Turning ideas into focused action can be more difficult. In this workshop, facilitators from Hamilton will share the method they used to make decisions and give participants tools to develop or strengthen their own social justice work.

2. “1 + 7 = 8: Considering the Proposed 8th Principle in the Canadian Context”

Beverly Horton, First Unitarian Church of Hamilton, and Reverend Julie Stoneberg, Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough

This stream focuses on issues of racial justice by learning about the 8th principle that has been proposed to the Unitarian Universalist Association in the US and thinking about how the 8th principle’s call for racial justice translates to the Canadian context. How might the proposed 8th principle help “us” acknowledge and dismantle racism and other oppressions that have marked the historical experience and lived realities of Indigenous Peoples and People of Colour in Canada?

3. “Beyond Welcoming: Including and Valuing Trans and Queer People”

Cole Gately and Monica Bennett, First Unitarian Church of Hamilton, and Autumn Getty, Mennonite, Trans Peer Supporter, Hamilton, ON

This interactive, participatory workshop will provide information and outline of the processes for congregations to re-certify as Welcoming Congregations. It will equip learners with tools and resources to help trans and queer people feel included, valued and welcome in their communities and congregations.

4. “Communities of Belonging and Possibility: Dialogue Methods that Reawaken Congregational Life”

Ben Wolfe, Aukje Byker, and Todd Barr, Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough

This workshop stream aims to transform how congregations and committees gather to discuss and decide what matters, to begin with the premise of love and possibility, and to give everyone in the room a voice, leave meetings more connected, and to widen circles of leadership.

To this end, the facilitators will introduce and model next-generation participatory dialogue practices and principles that could help reinvigorate your congregation, make better use of your meeting time, energize your outreach and social justice efforts, and create an increased culture of collaboration and play.

5. “Love and Justice in Support of Our Mental and Emotional Wellbeing”

Reverend Steven Epperson, Unitarian Church of Vancouver, Reverend Carly Gaylor, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Durham,
and Laura Delano, Executive Director of the Inner Compass Initiative

An essential part of building love and justice is questioning the narratives which feed injustice. One of those narratives pertains to how we understand and respond to mental health challenges that so many of us experience in our lives and families. The dominant narrative funnels all experiences of persistent mental and emotional distress or unusual and inconvenient behaviour into a disease model. In this stream we’ll explore alternative experiences and narratives of mental health and wellbeing, including sharing personal stories, inviting participants to share their stories, and offering strongly supported, evidence based resources.

6. “’More than a Hymn Sandwich’: Creating Sunday Services Differently”

Reverend Wayne Walder, Susane Maziarz, and Margaret Evans, Neighbourhood UU Church

An interactive workshop on the style and substance of Sunday services. If UU congregations hope to bring a new generation of people to Sunday services and keep those who come, there may be a need to design Sunday services that look and feel different from those in our history. To address this, this stream will create interactive experiences that use music, ritual, interactive conversation and story that will invite people into our buildings, our programs, our inner life, and our social connectedness, thereby increasing our capacity for love and justice.

7. Truth, Healing, and Reconciliation, exact title TBD

THR Task Force
Facilitator tbd

Canadian Unitarians and Universalists are honoured to be walking with all who are on the journey towards truth, justice, healing and reconciliation between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous peoples. This year’s THR Saturday Stream will offer participants an opportunity to deepen their understanding of Indigenous experiences and engage in a meaningful process that has the potential of transforming relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

Questions about the CUC’s National Conference? Email

What Does the December Season Evoke for You?

For many of us, the holidays are a time to connect with family and friends, to catch up on stories and journeys over food and drink, and to spend time with loved ones. Some of us revel in the excitement of getting that must-have LeapPad for the precious 4 year old in our lives, the wrapping, decorating, baking, cooking, welcoming, visiting, eating. Others of us sigh, take a deep breath and trudge on through it. There are those of us who would prefer to avoid the holiday season altogether, when all the bustle brings out the snark and growl in us. For some of us, the holiday season accentuates pain and loss, tragedy and grief. Others of us find quiet moments of meaning and joy to keep us sane and help us celebrate. Many of us give of our time and resources. Some of us work during this season – writing and delivering sermons, ministering, coordinating, conducting, singing, and maybe collapsing at the end of December.

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A Successful Western Region Fall Gathering

The Western Region Fall Gathering in Calgary from October 13 – 15 was a great success, thanks to the speakers and workshop leaders, including CUC staff Joan Carolyn, April Hope, and Asha Philar,  and musical offerings from Tony Turner and Jane Perry. The gathering had the largest adult attendance, the largest local congregation attendance, and the largest Youth Con attendance in recent memory.  Reverend Anne Barker of Westwood Unitarian Congregation in Edmonton, shares her reflection:

“The 2017 Calgary WRFG was a rich collection of wisdom, opportunity and connection.

  • John Pentland’s keynote and workshop were inspiring – a wealth of ideas for getting focused, keeping relevant, taking risks….
  • The afternoon “Songs for Social Change” with Tony Turner was soul nurturing.
  • I heard great things from folks who attended the THR offerings – particularly the elder circle.

“I’m always glad to have gone to Regional Gatherings – and this one is no exception. Thanks to Calgary for their gracious hospitality, and to the CUC for their commitment and contributions”.

Commenting on the weekend’s highlights, another participant added “John Pentland – really practical tips, no matter the size of congregation. The talent show. Sunday morning worship – it all flowed so well and really showed the rich talent we have in music and ministry in the western provinces”.

Planning is now underway for next year’s WRFG in Winnipeg, October 19-21.