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Western Regional Fall Gathering

October 16, 2015 - October 18, 2015


Harvest the Power: Discerning, Deepening and Engaging Leadership

  • Have you wondered about volunteering in your congregation, but aren’t sure where you should put your energy?
  • Are you a Lay Leader ready to take the next step?
  • Do you wonder how we all work together within covenantal communities and our organization’s structure?
  • Would you like to view your service as spiritual practice?
  • Perhaps you’re just looking for a great weekend surrounded by other UUs!

Click here for a poster in PDF format.

Keynote Address

Rev. Stefan Jonasson
Harvest the Power: Leading with Hope, Compassion and Strength
Poetry manages to convey a universe of ideas in relatively few words. In challenging us to “gather the spirit” so that we might “harvest the power” of liberal religion, composer Jim Scott offers a succinct trio of qualities that offer the key to our success: hope, compassion and strength. What is our message of hope for the world? How do we show our compassion? And wherein lies our strength? If we can discern these three qualities, we will be well on the way to fulfilling the promise of Unitarian Universalism.


Saturday Sessions
Viscount Gort Hotel
1670 Portage Ave., Winnipeg
(204) 775-0451 or (800) 665-1122

Friday evening, Sunday & Youth Sessions
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Winnipeg
603 Wellington Crescent, Winnipeg
(204) 474-1261


The following meals are included with registration:

  • Friday: evening reception (snacks)
  • Saturday: lunch,  dinner, and all refreshment breaks
  • Sunday: bagged lunch


  • Adult (18 and older): Early Bird – $135.00 (if received by Sept. 30) / Regular – $150.00 (after Oct. 1)
  • Youth (12-20 and Advisors) – $65.00
  • Young Fun (6-12) – $50.00
  • Infant (5 yr. old) – $50.00

Deadline for online registration, Oct. 13 noon.
On-site registration will only be available on Friday evening.
If you plan on attending Sunday’s bagged lunch, please check that option on the registration form so we know how many lunches to make.

To Register

Adult registration
Young Fun and Infant registration (ages 0-12)
Youth Con registration  (ages 12-20 & Advisors)


A block of rooms has been reserved at the Viscount Gort Hotel until Sept. 25. Please call the hotel directly (204-775-0451 or 1-800-665-1122) to book your room before then. Specify Block ID: 646450 when booking.

Home hosted billeting is very limited and not guaranteed.  If required please forward your request as soon as possible.


Click here to view schedule

Friday, October 16 - UU Church

5:30 - 7:00 pmFoyerRegistration
7:00 pmSanctuaryOpening Ceremony
Conversation and Refreshments
Rev. Nicoline Guerrier (Interim Minister) & Joan Carolyn (CUC) welcome

Saturday, October 17 - Viscount Gort Hotel

8:30 amHotelRegistration
9:00 amOpening & Chalice Lighting
9:15 amKeynote
10:00 amRefreshment Break
10:30 am - 12:00 NoonConcurrent Workshops
12:15 pmLunch
1:00 pmCUC Board - Information Update
2:15 pmRefreshment/Stretch Break
2:30 pmConcurrent Workshops
4:00 - 4:30 pmBreak
4:30 pmOptional Workshop (for Adults & Youth)
Creating AWE-some Worship workshop
6:00 pmCash Bar
6:30 pmRoyal B & CMultigenerational Dinner
8:00 pmEntertainment

Sunday, October 18 - UU Church

9:00 - 10:15 amLiving RoomNetworking
Dining RoomRefreshments
9:00SanctuaryRegional Choir Rehearsal
10:30 amSanctuaryMultigenerational Worship Service
12 noonDining RoomGathering registrants pick up bagged lunch
Noon - 2:00 pmHouse main floorTravelers may wait for rides, eat lunch and visit. (Sanctuary will be in use by renters)

Program Details

Young Fun (Children 6-11 (grades 1-6))

Children’s Programs

Young Fun (ages 6 to 11 (grades 1-6))
Saturday, Oct. 17, 9:00 to 5:00 at the Viscount Gort
Registration includes program, snacks, lunch and dinner on Saturday.

Children get to know each other with games and activities at the hotel, then visit the Assiniboine Zoo for a program on polar bears, their habitat, and concerns surrounding the town of Churchill, Manitoba and the natural environment.

In the afternoon, they’ll participate in Spiritual Practices for Children, an intergenerational workshop led by Director of Religious Exploration Andrea James, and create a skit to be performed* during the evening’s entertainment. (* those who want to!)

Young Fun volunteers have been vetted, including child abuse registry checks. Volunteer drivers have proper passenger restraints and have insurance. Please provide your own car seat if needed.

Childcare (under 6)
Babies and children under 6
Saturday, Oct. 17, 8:30-5:00 at the Winnipeg Church
603 Wellington Crescent
Registration includes care, snacks and lunch on Saturday

Child minders will care for babies and children under six, in a spacious indoor play area complete with games, toys, crafts and RE supplies. Access to backyard, with parental approval.
Registration by October 13 only.

Youth Con (ages 12-20 & Advisors) “Winnie the Puuh Con”

Adult Program Details

Adult Program

Morning Concurrent Workshops

Your Congregation as an Organism
Rev. Stefan Jonason

We commonly think of congregations as organizations, institutions, or social systems – and they are all three. But it may be more helpful to imagine them as organisms, since what we do in one part of the congregational landscape will tend to affect every other part of the landscape. How do congregations commonly function as organisms? How can we nurture their health? And how can we counteract their ills?

PJ and Jane’s Excellent mUUsical Adventure
Music Directors Jane Perry (Calgary) and PJ Buchan (Winnipeg)

Join us for a totally not bogus look at the wonderful music being produced by UU composers from all over Canada and the US such as Catherine Dalton, Jason Shelton, Joyce Poley, Gordon Ritchie, and even your guides, PJ Buchan and Jane Perry. We’ll look at music for a variety of groups, from large choirs to small ensembles to instrumental and solo pieces. Special attention will be paid to “back-pocket” anthems and works suitable for youth and children worship.

Towards Flourishing (Mental Health 3.0)
Laurie McPherson RPN, MSc

Mental health and well-being are precious resources that must be protected and promoted. In 2012, 1 in 3 Canadians met the criteria for a mental illness or substance use disorder at some point in their life and while treating these problems is paramount, there is growing evidence that we can be doing a great deal more to prevent these illnesses and to promote the mental health and wellbeing of the entire population, including those living with a mental illness. This presentation will explore the latest research and practical approaches with regard to what the community, including faith communities, can do to promote mental well-being while respecting the boundaries and limitations of ministers and lay leaders.

Geared to ministers, religious educators, and lay leaders involved in pastoral care.

Tending the Spiritual Lives of Children
Andrea James, Director of Religious Exploration (Winnipeg)

Tending the spiritual lives of UU children involves accompanying them on their journey. As a bonus, we often learn and grow alongside them.  In this workshop we’ll explore ways to nurture children’s search for truth and meaning at home and at church. If you’re interested in volunteering in RE but aren’t sure what it’s all about, we’ll try to demystify, and create a sense of comfort.

Packed with examples and resources!

Open to all; great for parents, guardians, grandparents, and current and future RE volunteers.

Afternoon Concurrent Workshops

Discipling Leaders
Rev. Stefan Jonasson
Effective Unitarian Universalist congregations aren’t just havens for the spiritually hungry, social clubs for the sophisticated, or platforms for proclaiming liberal religious values; effective congregations are organisms that nurture and grow leaders. When it comes to leadership, one word that’s worth reclaiming is the word disciple. It implies devotion, service, and discipline – three qualities that are essential in the well-rounded leader, whether in a congregation or out in the world.

Singing… No Really, Singing… the Journey
Music Directors Jane Perry (Calgary) and PJ Buchan (Winnipeg)
This long-standing joke has its basis in fact: Unitarians don’t sing hymns well because they are too busy looking ahead to see if they agree with the words. In this workshop, we will offer in-class opportunities to practise being inspirational song leaders. We’ll look at hymns from both the standard hymnal and the teal “Singing the Journey”, focusing on familiar and new songs that are guaranteed to get your congregations into the singing spirit!

Towards Flourishing: The Continuing Dialogue (Mental Health 3.0)*
Presenters:  Rev. Lynell Bergen, Nicole Bowles. Facilitator: Joan Carolyn (CUC)

  • Part I: 20 mins: small group discussions from morning sharing questions, ideas/experiences, concerns and resources.
  • Part II: A local minister and social worker share their long term experience and resources engaging with those living with Mental Health challenges from a strengths based approach.
  • Part III: Facilitated conversation drawing on the wisdom gleaned from small group discussion and the two presenters.
  • Closing ritual  

*You must take the Towards Flourishing morning workshop in order to participate in the afternoon one.

Spiritual Practice with Children
Andrea James, Director of Religious Exploration (Winnipeg)
We’ll put theory into practice as the Young Fun group joins us for an intergenerational workshop. Participate in hands-on, school-age appropriate spiritual practices, alongside our young friends. This is part two of the Tending the Spiritual Lives of Children stream, but anyone wishing to participate is welcome.

Multigenerational Workshop for Adults & Youth.

Multigenerational Workshop for Adults & Youth (occurs between end of workshop streams and dinner)
Ariel Hunt-Brondwin, CUC YaYA staff
The Hymn Sandwich. Contemporary Worship. Circle Worship. Have you ever wondered about these terms? Maybe you’ve experienced a youth- or young adult-led worship and would like to know more about how to create worship experiences that feel more like that one did. Or maybe you’d like to know if there are more styles and formats we can use to explore the meaning of our lives and the world around us beyond the form of worship we most often experience on Sunday morning? If so, this worship is for you! We’ll cover the fundamental aspects of UU worship along with alternative forms, contents and rituals you can use. We’ll also practice writing our own words for worship as well as take some time to experience worship together.

Presenter Bios

Rev. Lynell Bergen

Rev. Lynell Bergen

Rev. Lynell Bergen, pastor of Hope Mennonite Church, a small inner-city congregation that shares space with a United Church and 4 other community partners, creating a grand and beautiful chaos. She also has a long history of working with and advocating for people with disabilities, in the community and the church. That passion ‘accidentally’ got her involved in mental health issues, and to working at making the church a safe and welcoming space for all people.

PJ Buchan

PJ Buchan

PJ Buchan is the music director at First Unitarian Universalist Church of Winnipeg, a position he took over in 2008 after working for several years in various Winnipeg churches as a chorister, soloist, and conductor. His choral and church music experience stretches back to his early childhood singing in community and church choirs, he has appeared with most of the choirs and music organizations in Winnipeg and abroad, and he is still active in a number of groups such as Polycoro, Camerata Nova, and Manitoba Opera. He studied voice and conducting at the University of Manitoba and the Reykjavík School of Singing in Iceland, in addition to private lessons with a variety of coaches. During the day, he teaches Icelandic language and literature at the University of Manitoba, and is currently acting head of the Icelandic department there.

Joan Carolyn

Joan Carolyn

Joan Carolyn is celebrating her first year with the CUC staff team, working as a Congregational Development staff person. Joan has been privileged to pursue studies in World Religions and Cultural Anthropology (B.A.) as well as completing a B. Th. and M. Div. (double major, Theology and Peace Studies). Of special note here are training and experience with: Conflict Resolution; Cycles of Violence and Wellness Planning and; Aboriginal Awareness.

Primary areas of work, paid and volunteer, include but are not limited to: senior services; ministry within church and hospital; youth projects; mediation and; violence cessation and wellness planning with those assessed at high risk to re-offend upon release from prison.

Ariel Hunt-Brondwin

Ariel Hunt-Brondwin

Ariel Hunt-Brondwin is the Youth and Young Adult Ministry Development staff for the Canadian Unitarian Council, where she has served since 2010.  Through her work for the CUC, Ariel has had the great joy and privilege of getting to learn about, co-create, and experience transformative and moving worships with youth, young adults, UU clergy and lay leaders from across Canada. Ariel grew up around Vancouver’s lower mainland on un-ceaded Coast Salish territories and currently makes her home in Toronto, traditional territory of the Anishnabe. Ariel is a lifelong UU, a self described church nerd and a young adult who never got the memo that she should stop coming to church once she hit her 20s.

Andrea James

Andrea James

Andrea James is the Director of Religious Exploration at First Unitarian Universalist Church of Winnipeg, ministering to children, youth and families.  Andrea Co-Chairs the Canadian Unitarian Universalist Religious Educators (CUURE) Chapter of the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA).

Rev. Stefan Jonasson

Rev. Stefan Jonasson

Rev. Stefan Jonasson has held a variety of denominational staff positions over the past quarter-century, in addition to serving as a parish minister, earning the respect of Unitarian Universalists across the continent as a trustworthy and visionary leader. He is widely regarded as an expert on congregational governance, organizational development, conflict management, church-size dynamics, church growth, and leadership training.

Stefan was Director of Growth Strategies for the Unitarian Universalist Association from 2011 to 2015, Director for Large Congregations from 1999 to 2011, and the District Executive for Western Canada from 1991 to 2002. He is currently Editor of Lögberg-Heimskringla, a newspaper serving the Icelandic community in North America since 1886, and a candidate for Parliament in the federal election currently underway.

Laurie McPherson

Laurie McPherson

Laurie McPherson RPN, MSc is the Manager of the Mental Health Promotion program of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.  Laurie has worked in several roles in the area of mental health over the last 29 years. While she began her career as a psychiatric nurse, it was her work with the Canadian Mental Health Association that inspired her to continue her education and focus on meaningful ways to promote and protect the mental health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities.

Jane Perry

Jane Perry

Jane Perry is in her fifth year as music director at the Unitarian Church of Calgary, and her sixteenth as a UU church musician in Canada.  After completing a Master of Music degree in piano performance at the University of Ottawa, she morphed into a choir conductor and has been happy as a clam in her chosen field as a director of community and church choirs.  In Calgary, Jane also conducts the Calgary Renaissance Singers & Players and One Voice Chorus, a GLBTQ-and-friends ensemble she co-founded.  Jane still exercises her piano chops; she had the pleasure of being pianist for Jason Shelton and the conference choir at the February 2015 professional conference of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers’ Association in California.


And of course, if you’re coming to Friendly Manitoba, we’re going to spend some time all together!  Let’s gather in a community of all ages for an ingathering and reception on Friday evening; dinner and entertainment on Saturday evening; and to worship on Sunday morning.

We welcome you of all ages to participate as entertainment on Saturday evening.  You’re invited to bring instruments, music (we’ll have a keyboard), poetry, skits, etc. and share your gifts.


October 16, 2015
October 18, 2015
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Canadian Unitarian Council
(888) 568-5723


First Unitarian Universalist Church of Winnipeg
603 Wellington Cres
Winnipeg, MB R3M 0A7 Canada
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