Update on the Canadian Unitarian Council’s Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Reflection Guides

As we resume the church year, many people are reflecting back on a summer of fun, sun, and relaxation, while many others are busy getting calendars and programming in place. We here at the Truth, Healing, and Reconciliation Task Force (THRR)  wanted to take a moment to give you a heads up on some programming opportunities, as well as to let you know the status of the Truth, Healing, and Reconciliation Reflection Guides  (THRRG) material.

We are excited to announce that effective October 1, 2017, three of the five THRRG will be available in their final form. Congregations with trained facilitators will be able to access the following levels of the THRRG: Adult, Young Adult, and Upper Elementary. Thank you to everyone who took part in facilitating, participating, or supporting these pilots.

We are looking for congregations to pilot the youth THRRG to begin in the fall of 2017, or starting in January 2018. Please let us know if you’re interested – contact information is below.

We’ve already held a couple of Facilitator Trainings on:

  • Saturday, August 26 from 9-12 Pacific, 12-3 Eastern

  • Wednesday, August 30 from 3-6 Pacific, 6-9 Eastern

  • Saturday, September 30, 9-12 Pacific, 12-3 Eastern

Don’t worry if you forgot to register! You can mark your calendar for the following dates, so that you have trained facilitators in place!

  • Saturday, November 4 from 9-12 Pacific, 12-3 Eastern.

  • Saturday, January 13 from 9-12 Pacific, 12-3 Eastern.

Sign up for these trainings here, or let us know you’re interested by e-mailing us – contact information provided below. The cost to participate in this training is $25.00 for Canadian congregations, $50.00 for community groups or Unitarian congregations from outside of Canada.

The THRRG Task Force is also beginning the process of revisioning itself to become a standing committee of the CUC to continue the work of our commitment to Truth, Healing and Reconciliation. We are excited that Amber Dawn Bellemare of the team will step forward as Chair. The team will be transitioning Amber into this role over the coming year.

If your congregation is interested in knowing more and/or offering the THRRG, please contact us at reconciliation@cuc.ca.

CUC Board Member Publishes Book on International Social Justice

Tanya Cothran

“Teach a man to fish and you’ll feed him for life” is the old adage that most people associate with global charity, aid, and philanthropy.

But what happens when the man already knows how to fish?

If the pole breaks or the river is polluted, what could help the most then?

We are pleased to announce that Tanya Cothran, CUC Board Member and member of First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto, has edited and contributed to a new book of 30 essays from 22 authors, called Smart Risks: How small grants are helping to solve some of the world’s biggest problems. This book looks at the ways that international organizations are moving beyond “teaching a man to fish,” toward a partnership model that listens to grassroots wisdom and builds close connections with local leaders.

Continue reading

Responding to the Tragedy in Las Vegas

Canadian Unitarians are united in shock following Oct 1st’s mass shooting in Las Vegas. With the death toll continuing to climb over 50 and more than 500 injured, our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, their friends and family, and all those affected by this tragedy.

Some will argue this is an insufficient response – yes, we do need to continue asking  hard questions about what action is needed to stem the seemingly steady stream of such incidents, like gun control and better supports for those living with mental health challenges. We may never have all the answers, but as the Unitarian Universalist Association’s President Susan Frederick-Gray has stated, “There will be time for answers and organizing soon, even healing. But, first, let us open our hearts to the pain and the mourning in Las Vegas. Reach out in prayer and love to the distraught, the confused, and the grieving. Reach out with open hearts and loving hands to your neighbor, family and friends.
Hold on, hold each other, and hold to love.

Our hearts are understandably heavy with sorrow. To paraphrase UU composer Jason Shelton, let love break them open wide.

Practice random acts of kindness.

Act with love.

Create bridges, not walls.

Tear down injustice and hate.

Greetings for Rosh Hashanah










September 20 marked the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and the start of the 10 Days of Repentance. It’s an opportunity to reflect on the year past and ask forgiveness for wrongdoings during this time. Greetings to all celebrating this holiday, and L’shanah tovah—to a good new year.

National​ ​Orange​ ​Shirt​ ​Day Saturday,​ ​September​ ​30,​ ​2017

Wear​ ​an​ ​orange​ ​shirt​ ​on​ ​Saturday,​ ​September​ ​30 ​to​ ​walk​ ​with​ ​and​ ​show​ ​your​ ​support​ ​for Indigenous ​and​ ​Non-Indigenous ​reconciliation,​ ​acknowledge​ ​the​ trauma of the Residential​ ​Schools experience​, ​and​ ​affirm​ ​that​ ​Every​ ​Child​ ​Matters.

National​ ​Orange​ ​Shirt​ ​Day,​ ​held​ ​on​ ​September​ ​30 ​annually,​ ​is​ ​a​ ​legacy​ ​of​ ​the​ ​St.​ ​Joseph Mission​ ​(SJM)​ ​Residential​ ​School​ ​commemoration​ ​event​ ​held in​ ​Williams​ ​Lake,​ ​BC,​ ​in​ ​2013.​ ​It​ ​grew​ ​out​ ​of​ ​​Phyllis​ ​Webstad’s account​ ​of​ ​having​ ​her​ ​new​ ​orange​ ​shirt​ ​being​ ​taken​ ​away​ ​on her​ ​first​ ​day​ ​of​ ​school​ ​at​ ​the​ ​Mission.​ ​It​ ​has​ ​become​ ​an​ ​annual discussion​ ​on​ ​all​ ​aspects​ ​of​ ​residential​ ​schools,​ ​and​ ​sets​ ​the stage​ ​for​ ​anti-racism​ ​and​ ​anti-bullying​ ​policies​ ​for​ ​the​ ​coming school/church​ ​year.

Orange​ ​Shirt​ ​Day​​ ​is​ ​an​ ​opportunity​ ​for​ ​Indigenous ​Peoples​ ​(First Nations,​ ​Inuit,​ ​and​ ​Metis),​ ​local​ ​governments,​ ​schools, churches,​ ​and​ ​communities​ ​to​ ​come​ ​together​ ​in​ ​the​ ​spirit​ ​of reconciliation​ ​with​ ​hope​ ​and​ ​begin​ ​to​ ​take​ ​steps​ ​to​ ​make lasting​ ​changes​ ​for​ ​generations​ ​of​ ​children​ ​to​ ​come.

For​ ​more​ ​info,​ visit orangeshirtday.org. ​​You​ ​may​ ​also​​ ​go​ ​to Facebook:​ ​Orange​ ​Shirt​ ​Day-Every​ ​Child​ ​Matters.​ ​Post​ ​pictures, share​ ​your​ ​story,​ ​enjoy​ ​others​ ​sharing​ ​their​ ​experiences,​ ​and​ ​​take action​​ ​by​ ​showing​ ​your​ ​support.

Wear​ ​an​ ​orange​ ​shirt​ ​Saturday,​ ​September​ ​30! Please​ ​post​ ​your​ ​picture​ ​to​ ​the​ ​CUC’s​ ​​Love​ ​and​ ​Justice Facebook​ ​group!

The​ ​CUC’s​ ​Truth,​ ​Healing​ ​and​ ​Reconciliation​ ​Reflection​ ​Guide​ ​Team