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

CUC Shining Lights program

Warm Greetings to All Canadian UU groups from your

CUC Congregational Development Staff people:

Rev. Linda Thomson & Joan Carolyn.

Heartfelt gratitude to everyone for great interaction these past few months. In a variety of settings it has been inspiring to hear the many wonderful stories regarding groups and congregations’ creativity and best practices.

Inspiration has been shared regarding lay leadership, multi-gen faith formation, lay chaplaincy, Truth, Healing, and Reconciliation commitments, camping joys, shared learning opportunities, “blue sky” thinking for our futures together, … the list could go on and on.

Now we have an invitation for all of you, congregations or related UU groups, to share your creativity in wider UU circles via the CUC Shining Lights program.

SHINING LIGHTS!

Are you working on a project that engages community, enhances ministries, or develops strategies to make UUism more relevant? Are you proud of your accomplishments and want to tell the world your story? Are you seeking exposure to build momentum, develop the narrative, and connect with others?

The CUC’s Shining Lights program is here to highlight, one per year, innovative and strategic initiatives and programs by Canadian UU groups and/or congregations.

How do you nominate a candidate?

We welcome you to e-mail us at shininglights@cuc.ca and suggest another congregation/ group or yourselves.

For more information, click here.

Please help the CUC share these stories revealing what is possible, networking common interests and celebrating achievements.

Nominations Due December 1, 2017!

Thank You!

Central Region Fall Gathering 2017 – Registration

Hosted by the Unitarian Fellowship of London | 557 Clark Rd, London | Oct 28, 2017

Program Information here.

Western Region Fall Gathering: Envision, Engage, Energize

Calgary, AB: Oct. 13 – 15, 2017

Image result for calgary skyline

Regional gatherings are an optimal and personal way for Canadian Unitarian Universalists to connect with other UUs in their regions, learn and be in community together, and to know that they are on the journey with others.

In October, the Unitarian Church of Calgary hosts the Western Region Fall Gathering, and invites you to join them (whether or not you’re located in the Western region) with these questions – does your congregation need to re-energize itself? Are you looking for ways to refresh your purpose, to position yourself for growth, to become better known in your communities, and to attract a young and energetic demographic?

Join us in Calgary at the 2017 Western Region Fall Gathering to hear strategies for attaining these goals, to take part in an invigorating session on Truth, Healing and Reconciliation, or to enjoy an engaging arts and music stream.

Register HERE if you’ve already decided to go! Early bird deadline ends Sep 15, and registration closes Sep 29.

If you’re still making up your mind, here are a few items to whet your appetites!

Saturday Program highlights include:

  • Congregational Growth & Vitality with Rev. Dr. John Pentland & others. Dr. Pentland (author of the book Fishing Tips) will share some Hillhurst United Church practices as it moved from a sleepy inner city community (60-70 attendance) to a dynamic growing mainline church (450-500). Dr. Pentland invites participants to explore what each can do in their particular location to ensure curious and faithful engagement.    

  • Truth, Healing & Reconciliation with Rev. Samaya Oakley & Jeff Webber. Share in the exploration of reconciliation and decolonization as they are addressed within the framework of our Unitarian Universalist principles. This full- day stream will also be open to the general public along with a welcome for all participants to share in a Blanket Exercise at the end of our day.

  • Singing For Change with Tony Turner (composer of the award-winning protest sing-along Harperman) and Jane Perry, music director at the Unitarian Church of Calgary. Using historical and recent examples, learn that the power of song can unite minds and spirits and aid the cause of social change.

Children and youth

  • A very special children’s program uses the new children’s Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Reflection Guide from the Canadian Unitarian Council’s writing team.
  • Youth Conference for ages 12 to 20. Through theme games we’ll have some serious fun while contemplating what games can teach us about rules, winning & losing and what to do when you keep having to “go fish”.

Sunday networking sessions

  • Chat with CUC Board members, or discuss the joys and challenges of refugee sponsorship, or learn about fundraising strategies.

Full program, schedule and registration details are HERE.

More details will be coming in the following weeks – keep an eye on the CUC website and Facebook for updates.

All are welcome and we look forward to seeing many of you in October!

A Campaign to Fix Canada’s Broken Refugee System

As noted in July 2017 by the Globe and Mail, last year’s Canadian private refugee sponsorship system, exported as a model for the world,  has this year cracked and slowed, frustrating many who are waiting for their applications to be processed. To speak out against the present slow processing of refugees, Victoria Unitarians have joined their local Anglican Cathedral and Diocese and others. They are protesting the broken promises of the government made in March 2016 and before to throw open Canada’s doors to refugees, as well as the lack of transparency about the refugees system and families’ status in the increasingly long waiting system.

There is an estimated backlog of 40,000 cases awaiting processing, with an additional 14,000 who have registered their intent to claim asylum in Canada in the first few months of 2017. The July 2017 Globe and Mail editorial further says, “A government analysis obtained by the Canadian Press forecasts the number of refugee claimants in Canada will hit 36,000 this year, and rise by as much as 20 per cent a year after that. If the current trends hold, the time required to process an application will reach 11 years in 2021, and could cost $3-billion in social support payments. This must not be allowed to happen.”

The CUC is concerned for the estimated 1,000 private sponsorship groups waiting for the Canadian government to process their requests for refugee families. The sponsorship groups have raised the amounts of money ($30-50K per family) required to resettle refugee families. The cost to fix the refugee system is a drop in the bucket compared to the $40 million already raised by private sponsors.

There is concern that the Immigration and Refugee Board has announced working at reduced capacities due to shortages in staffing. There are reports refugees from Lebanon and Jordan were given priority. There is concern that refugees from certain countries have been given priority over others, and a  note from the Turkish Ambassador states that Turkey (which hosts 2.9 million refugees) was not delaying families at all and that long waits are due to Canada.

The CUC, as a Sponsorship Agreement Holder, receives dozens of calls and emails a week from those desperate to come to safety in Canada. All of them are heart-wrenching, like the single mother of 6, or the family of 5 in a refugee camp in Jordan where access to education and medical attention is scarce. Or this email from a young girl: “I am 13 yers old and i am from syria  since i was small i dremed of go to canada my family make up 6 peopel and our financial situation is not good for living i do not want money i want go to canada please help me please.”

The CUC cannot bring any more refugees to Canada in 2017 – our number of allotted spaces are used up.  But politicians say that handwritten letters are worth 200 e-mails; that numbers count, and that popular opinion matters, especially if it comes from across Canada. Help us please, Unitarians from British Columbia to Newfoundland.

So, for maximum effect:

  • Today, please hand write a short, simple, personal, courteous but firm and pointed letter (one page is good)

  • Ask the government to live up to its promise of welcoming refugees by allocating resources to deal with the backlog, to fill staffing positions, and to increase quotas. See a sample letter here

  • Send one letter to the Prime Minister and do NOT cc or copy to anyone.  That is priority #1.

  • Send a similar letter to Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (who is mandated to increase immigration levels)

  • Send more letters to your local Member of Parliament, and to the Leaders of the other parties. Find your MP here. Address is House of Commons, Parliament Buildings, Ottawa, K1A 0A6. NO STAMP is needed for for a letter to Parliament.

Please note that letters have to be non-partisan, ie without targeting or supporting a specific politician or political party, so please write to all parties.