The Canada Revenue Agency’s audit of the CUC is in the final stage. A Compliance Agreement has been signed, which outlines the corrective measures the CUC has to take. We have 6 months from the signing of the agreement (until February 21, 2017) to implement these measures. CUC Executive Director, Vyda Ng, has already begun the implementation.
The CUC has obtained top notch legal advice during the audit process, which began in January 2015 – this legal advice has helped us navigate the intricacies of the process with confidence and has led to a constructive outcome. The legal advice, however, has come at a high cost. We have been guided well, but legal fees in 2015 amounted to $38,000; in 2016, they will be in the vicinity of $25,000. This expertise includes advice in general on charity law and international agreements, all of which have resulted in resources to benefit our congregations – check out the Congregations, Charities and Best Practices series, as well as on-going webinars like the upcoming one on Reviewing and Updating Charitable Purposes.
Many Canadian UUs are committed to supporting the work of our international partners, the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (ICUU) and the UU-United Nations Office (UU-UNO). You have been waiting patiently while the CUC has been working through compliance with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) guidelines for Canadian charities to function internationally. During this period, we have held on to contributions to these partners, and have asked you to do the same.
We are now pleased to inform you that the CUC, in consultation with our legal advisors, have worked out specific agreements, in accordance with CRA requirements, to further the CUC’s work of supporting the growth and development of UU communities internationally with both ICUU and UU-UNO, and to provide necessities and resources to those in need. We will work with ICUU to develop leadership potential and skills for UUs in African countries, and with the UU-UNO with the Every Child is Our Child (ECOC) program in Ghana and other African countries. Continue reading
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