Sharing Our Faith Grants

Sharing Our Faith was able to disburse a total of $8,241 to 4 congregations this year.  They are:

  • First Unitarian Church of Victoria: $2,000 for purchase of a fixed projector to enhance Sunday services and increase rental prospects.
  • Unitarian Church of Calgary: $2,000 towards support for intern minister.
  • First Unitarian Church of Hamilton: $3,200 for outreach ministry program – support for ½ time ministry for one-year pilot project.
  • Westwood Unitarian Congregation: $1,041.91 for upgraded sound system.

We are grateful to congregations who hold Sharing Our Faith services, which in turn, benefits the wider UU community; since 2002, the Fund has granted over $143,800 to congregations for growth initiatives.

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. The Sharing Our Faith fund consists of monies collected by congregations at special Sharing Our Faith services held during the year, and from a Foundation Fund administered by the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto. These funds are allocated in the form of grants to congregations for projects they may otherwise not afford to undertake.

Comox Valley to Make Next Northern Lights Call

ComoxThe Northern Lights team is delighted to announce that Comox Valley Unitarian Fellowship in British Columbia has been awarded the next Northern Lights Call.  The Fellowship will ask Northern Lighters to help them extend professional religious leadership for an additional year so that they can undertake their most ambitious growth project yet: moving to weekly Sunday services.

Comox Valley’s project grew out of a “leap of faith” in the spring of 2012, when the congregation voted to pursue a quarter-time consulting minister.  They secured the services of the Rev. Meg Roberts, and the results were so clearly beneficial that they applied for a Sharing Our Faith Grant to support a second year.

In the past two years they report growing “tremendously” in organizational strength, as well as seeing growth in numbers.

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Bequests: A Distinctive Way to Give

By Maurice (‘Maury’) Prevost, First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa

Over 90% of estate gifts in Canada, both in number and dollar value, are in the form of bequests. Leaving a bequest to your UU congregation and/or the CUC in your will can be a powerful gift for the future.

Three basic types of bequest:

  • Specific gives a specific amount of money (e.g.$50,000) or specific property, such as securities.
  • Residual gives all or a fraction (e.g. 35%) of what remains (the ‘residue’) after all debts, taxes, administrative expenses, and specific bequests have been paid by the donor’s estate.
  • Contingent gives all or a fraction of an estate in the event of the prior death of other beneficiaries (e.g. a spouse) or if certain conditions have been met.

Giving a bequest offers several important benefits for the donor. A bequest has no impact on your income or assets during your lifetime. If you are concerned about
the possibility of outliving your financial resources, this is a gift you can still make. Bequests are revocable, meaning that if you change your mind about a beneficiary
or the amount of a bequest, you can revise your will or add a codicil. The tax receipt for a charitable bequest can help to offset other tax liabilities of the estate. Finally, making a bequest provides an opportunity to give substantially to a cause close to your heart.

A bequest to your congregation or the CUC is a good source of future revenue for the organization, especially at times when other sources of revenue or income from investments may be at a low point. Bequests can help with expenses or projects that may not be affordable within operating or capital budgets, or possible within the constraints of other restricted funds.

Bequests are distinctive in that they are often the largest financial gift a person can afford to make. My congregation recently received a specific bequest in the amount of $200,000—far more than the member gave during his lifetime. In accordance with the donor’s wishes, some of the bequest proceeds are being used to help fund our ministerial intern position, which we have struggled to maintain in our operating budget.

Bequests are a way to give long after you are gone, and offer interesting options when planning your estate. In any event, be sure always to have a will and powers of attorney; review them every three to five years, and update them as circumstances change (e.g. death of a spouse). Without these documents, provincial legislation dictates what will happen and it may be quite different from what you intended.

Remember to discuss your plans with loved ones and others implicated (if, for example, you are naming a friend as your executor, or guardian for your minor children). And make your bequests as unrestricted as possible: restrictions can, with unexpected future developments, make it impossible for the charitable organization to accept the gift or to use all of the bequest proceeds—a lose-lose situation. And be sure to always obtain professional legal advice for your situation and province of residence.

Email executivedirector@cuc.ca, if you’d like to consider leaving a bequest to the CUC.

Raising the Barn for Mississauga’s Youth

Northern Lights supporters from across the country have been sending in donations to the Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga, (the latest recipient of the Northern Lights funding program) to help with the renovations that will allow their congregation’s youth group to keep pace with the growth it’s been experiencing.  Thank you–through your generous support, almost $10,000 has been raised.  The renovations are underway!

But there is more needed–and it’s time to start thinking creatively!  Seeking to tap into sources of funds beyond the existing members of the Northern Lights program, we’ve designed a website to allow for viral promotion of the project.  From https://northernlights.wpengine.com/, people can watch a youtube video of the project, learn more about the progress so far, and make online donations.  Our goal is to reach beyond the group of Northern Lighters, to tap into a much wider group of people who care about creating a safe, open place for youth to develop community, explore, and deepen spiritually.  Our materials are designed for Unitarians and non-Unitarians alike, and our goal is to reach people who haven’t made the commitment to become Northern Lighters, but who might make smaller, one time donations to this specific project.

This is where you come in!  Have a look at the website, and see what you think.  There are buttons right on the site that allow you to share it via Facebook, and Twitter, or you can simply forward the email link.  Help us spread the word, and make this experiment with new ways of fundraising a resounding success!

Thanks so much for your support,
Sean Barron, Liz James, and Chris Wulff
Northern Lights Viral Media Volunteers