Interview by Sarah Baxter
In the next year, Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana, a recently arrived refugee from Burundi, will be working with the Unitarian Congregation of Saskatoon, as he as he fulfills the requirements of the Ministerial Fellowship Committee (of the Unitarian Universalist Association) toward becoming a credentialed Unitarian minister in Canada. Rev. Fulgence says, “I really felt it was important to go work in a church to learn the culture and learn how church is done here in North America.” Having worked as a minister at the Unitarian Church in Bujumbura, Burundi for the past 12 years, the MFC has been supportive, taking into account Rev. Fulgence’s experience and training, as he prepares to appear before the MFC panel next year.
“I think since I’m here, the fates wanted me to be here, I want to use that as an opportunity to continue my calling serving as a Unitarian minister. That allows me, in different ways, to continue my work back home. I’m glad that it’s working out.” The fates, in this case, guided Rev. Fulgence into our Canadian Unitarian community, after he was forced to flee his home in Burundi where, through his Unitarian church, he had been fighting against the violence and injustice of war that threatened the safety of thousands of Burundians.
Rev. Fulgence goes on to explain more fully, “I feel that many people do not know the story and it is important that they know.” The history of violence in Burundi stretches back almost half a century, and this history informs the current crisis. “Because the situation is so complicated, I would like people in the West to have some understanding.” Continue reading
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
Since 2011, CUC subsidies have helped 121 youth, young adults and adults learn and improve leadership skills. They would not have had these opportunities without the original $32,000, generously donated by the Ratcliff Foundation, that helped them get to trainings, conferences and gatherings
Ariel Hunt-Brondwin, CUC staff, says, “The number one reason I didn’t make it to any regional, national or continental events when I was 18 – 24 was because of finances. Period.” Many Canadian UUs find themselves in the same position. One young adult says, “For myself and many other UU Young Adults, subsidies like this one, and creative pay-what-you-can models are what makes it possible for us to gather together and reaffirm our identity as members of a community. I urge anyone who is able and moved to do so to donate to this evolving, growing edge of UUism in Canada, and I thank you deeply for your support and your faith.” Continue reading
We are excited to announce that the Northern Lights Grants panel has selected the Truth, Healing, & Reconciliation Reflection Guide (THRRG) as this year’s recipient project for the Northern Lights Program.
This Reflection Guide is one of our commitments in our “Expression of Truth and Reconciliation” to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Edmonton, in March, 2014. In response, we (Revs. Meg Roberts and Samaya Oakley) teamed up with the Diversity Monitoring Group of the CUC to plan educational materials for our congregations. We consulted with Indigenous elders and educators in these areas, and Unitarian Universalists from Canada and the US, with various ages and stages of experience to develop these Reflection Guides. There will be age‐appropriate Reflection Guides for each level: lower elementary, upper elementary, youth, young adult, and adults. Continue reading
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. Continue reading