The Deep Well of Appreciation

To rise, to rise each morning with the faint glow of starlight on our backs as we head into the joys, the surprises, the challenges of each day sometimes with awe and wonder, perhaps expectation, perhaps dread…

To rise, to rise each day peering over waterlines, sandbags, walls, garbage, bunkers… in windswept deserts and streets lined with sweet smelling olive trees alike.

What a gift we are given when we can rise in freedom, of some sort, to some degree.

This year, for once, for one honest moment, let us forgive our ancestors for the real and true roots from which the Thanksgiving ritual emerged. Let us acknowledge the less than honorable circumstances that created the “original” table of abundance that North Americans attempt to re-create each year. Let us acknowledge and forgive, each other and ourselves for perpetuating inaccurate history.

For how can we be truly grateful if we do not?

We rise with you, Spirit of Truth and Justice, to stroll through all the many gardens of gratitude, inhaling the crystal clear air of freedoms attained, through rough and tumble avenues of debate and destruction.

This year, in solidarity, let the hands across North America reach toward each others’ hearts to feel the pulse that has longed for centuries to beat as one: Whole, spirit-filled and grace-full, swimming in the river of thankfulness for the clarity such intentions provide.

This year let us give not until it hurts, but until we can look in the mirror and know that we are reaching profoundly into the wells of gratitude, know that we are sitting in the pure joy of it, tearfully acknowledging the gift to rise each day and make bread or beds, give smiles, elicit laughter, cross the line that is personal space to meet in the circle that is a hug.

Spirit of Compassion, you know that if we were never to give thanks, these gifts would still abound.

You know, we would rise and walk in the dark of emptiness, missing completely the air of humanity the being-ness that is grounded in the awareness, the age-old knowledge that we are all one, and together create the One.

This year, let us commit to always rise above wherever it is we find ourselves.

Let us give thanks for the interdependent web that brought food to our tables, for the spirits that gave of themselves so that we might eat, for the bended backs that labored in the hot sun and all the carriers that reached their destinations.

In this rich well of appreciation, let us stretch our hand across the table of abundance, pressing lifeline against lifeline, giving thanks that we can do so, and gently holding in our hearts those who cannot, and could not from the beginning.

Spirit of Our Deepest Desires, this year, let us commit to truly rising as One Unitarian Universalist voice working for and loving all of humanity.

Que asi sea. So may it be. Blessed Be.

Amen. Ashe. Ho! As Salaam Alaikum. Shalom.

Namaste. Paz.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marta I Valentín

With thanks to the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Worship Web.

What Activities Are Allowed Or Prohibited Under Canada Revenue Agency Guidelines For Charities?

Confusion continues when it comes to which political activities charities are allowed to undertake under Canada Revenue Agency guidelines. Many also have questions about what the 2016 federal consultation on political activities might mean for the future of charities and political activities. For now, current guidelines continue to apply. Here’s a summary of what’s allowable and what’s not, with some examples:

Allowed without Limit:

Activities covered by your charitable purpose and which further these purposes are allowed with no limit. For example, worship services, religious exploration programming, and all activities directly related to the sustaining and fulfillment of the purposes can be carried out with no limit.

Allowed up to 10% of a charity’s total resources:

Political activity is allowed under very specific conditions, which are:

  • The activity is subsidiary or incidental to the charity’s purposes, ie it is in service of fulfilling the purposes and not an end in itself;
  • The activity is non-partisan, ie any political action cannot be in support or opposition to a specific political party or candidate.

Prohibited activities:

These are activities which are not allowed under any circumstances. Charities cannot take part in illegal or partisan political activities. A partisan political activity is defined as “one that involves direct or indirect support of, or opposition to, any political party or candidate for public office.” See a full description at CRA Policy Statement CPS-022

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Want to Zoom?

The CUC is offering the use of web meeting technology for congregations – when your committee or board members aren’t able to gather together or if your members live far apart, you can access the on-line web meeting platform called Zoom. This has web camera, video and phone capabilities. If you would like to have a meeting set up* or for more information, please email

*Zoom’s capability only allows one meeting at a time. Although CUC has two accounts for congregational use, it may be possible that you might not get the time slot of your choice if other meetings are already scheduled.

Licensing Movie Nights

Movies-B&WDoes your congregation want to host movie nights, but worries about the copyright limitations of showing films in public? All presentations of commercially available movies in public organizations such as churches must be licensed with a rights representative. This applies in all cases, even if films are obtained from personal collections, obtained from commercial retail stores, shown freely or for non-profit reasons.

Attaining the licensing rights to show movies can be tricky, since it involves receiving permission (and paying a fee) to the license holder. And every film you may wish to show may have a different copyright holder! Licensing companies offer some simplicity to this barrier, selling licenses to all the films in their catalogue (those produced by the production companies they cover.) Continue reading

CUC Congregations, the Canada Copyright Act & Broadcasting Sunday Services

copyrightCopyright law is complicated. With the wisdom of CUC Board member, Jaime Dunton (retired advocate) and research by staff, we have come up with some guidelines for how congregations can understand Canadian copyright questions. Please note that this is some information we’ve pulled together, and while Jaime has a legal background, this should not be taken as legal advice.

For religious communities, the process of dealing with copyright questions is made infinitely simpler by the religious exemption, which states in section 32.2(3) Miscellaneous of the Canada Copyright Act:

  • (3) No religious organization or institution, educational institution and no charitable or fraternal organization shall be held liable to pay any compensation for doing any of the following acts in furtherance of a religious, educational or charitable object:
    • (a) the live performance in public of a musical work;
    • (b) the performance in public of a sound recording embodying a musical work or a performer’s performance of a musical work; or
    • (c) the performance in public of a communication signal carrying
      • (i) the live performance in public of a musical work, or
      • (ii) a sound recording embodying a musical work or a performer’s performance of a musical work.

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