CUC Shining Lights Program


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?  If so you might be interested in the Canadian Unitarian Council’s Shining Lights program.

The Shining Lights program will highlight excellent and successful initiatives and programing by Canadian Unitarian Universalist communities.  Through the Shining Lights program, congregations and communities can share their achievements and best practices as well as learn about the successful work of others.  

The CUC’s Shining Lights program will highlight, one per year, innovative and strategic initiatives and programs by Canadian UU congregations.  Not just about inspiration, projects will also be selected for their ability to be replicated.

A Shining Lights committee, supported by staff, will review nominations and make the selection. Once selected, CUC staff and volunteers will help communities develop their story in a medium appropriate to the project and distribute it through CUC communications channels in a way that is easy for others to access and share.  The Shining Lights program will bring awareness to UUs across Canada and create networks for innovative practitioners.

Nominees must indicate a willingness, if selected, to commit to developing a complete and compelling story of their achievement (with support from the CUC and volunteers) and to sharing the story with a national audience.  They will partner in the consideration of the best methods to tell their story while remaining flexible to a variety of media: video, spoken word, images, drawings.

Nominations must be received at the CUC office by December 1, each year, preferably in electronic format. Nominees will usually be a current member congregation, an emerging groups, or other Canadian UU community. Examples of innovation that the program might highlight include:

  • A significant and successful push for numeric growth;
  • A strategy that revitalizes the children’s and intergenerational ministry;
  • An outreach strategy which raises the community’s profile and which builds community partnerships;
  • New approaches to congregational music;
  • social Justice efforts;
  • Other innovations and reimagination of past practices which supports congregational vitality and profile.

Nominees may be received from UU communities or may be made (with permission) on their behalf. Nominated communities agree and understand that they, if selected as the annual shining light community, are expected to work with the CUC staff and the Shining Lights team to developing a compelling “community story”, making their innovation available to others.  It is very important that nominated communities understand that in accepting a nomination they are agreeing to “show and tell” their story.

The nomination should include:

  1. A clear description of the innovation the community has made,
  2. A description of the impact (including the challenges and how they were addressed) of the innovation,
  3. A clear commitment to engage with others, so that the innovation can be understood and adapted in other settings.  The nominated community is encouraged to provide ideas of how they would share their experience with other UU congregations.   This commitment should include approvals by the nominated community’s appropriate leaders (Board President/Minister/Executive Director etc.).

The Shining Lights team will review nominations and will decide on the community to highlight in February of each year. Following their selection they will work with the selected community to develop a “story” for sharing. The announcement, highlighting the community’s innovation, will be made in May.

Please send completed nomination forms to  

Download posters for your congregation here.