CUC Awards

Shining Lights

Shining Lights is an award that grew out of the CUC staff team’s desire to recognize and congregations’ good news stories and best work of Canadain UU congregations and groups. The Shining Lights Award celebrates innovation and sustainability in UU group initiatives and programming, and the winning congregation The award recipients will be supported in sharing their inspirational story so that others may imagine how they might do similar work in their own settings. All Canadian UUs are welcomed to share their stories of inspiration, from the smallest project to the largest program, as we seek to inspire growing vitality and awareness.

The beautiful Shining Lights Chalice created by Jo’Anne Kelly of Winnipeg, with base by Flatland Carpentry, will be awarded to each winning community. For more information, contact

The Shining Lights award was presented for the first time in 2018 to the First Unitarian Church of Hamilton. The award recognized the congregation’s efforts in moving towards a more focused social justice effort with meaningful community impact in three areas: i) affordable housing; ii) sexual and gender justice; iii) empowering those living in poverty to fulfill their potential. These three areas were selected from more than one hundred suggestions through a selection process led by Rev. Carly Gaylor, previous Assistant Minister.

Download the Shining Lights Nomination Information (pdf)

Social Justice Recognition Award

Unitarians and Universalists have a proud history in the forefront of many movements for social change. The Social Justice Recognition Award is granted to an individual for their outstanding contribution locally and nationally in an area of social justice work. This individual is nominated by their peers for making notable contributions to a single initiative or for their overall commitment to social action.

In 2018, the SJ Award was presented to Philip Symon for his unflagging commitment to working through domestic and global issues, and for being the editor of JustNews, the newsletter of the Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice for twelve years.

Awarded to posthumously to Bruce Schwartzentruber (First Toronto), 2015.

Victor and Nancy Knight Living Tribute Award

The Victor and Nancy Knight Living Tribute Award is presented at the CUC National Conference. Funds were received in 1996 for the purpose of establishing a perpetual fund to honour the ideals exemplified by the lives and work of Nancy and Victor Knight in furthering the principles of Unitarianism in Canada. As an encouragement for others to follow their example, an award is made annually from the income of the fund to a living person, who has made a notable contribution to the furthering of liberal religious principles in Canada.

In 2020, the award was presented by Betty Donaldson to Rev. Frances Deverell.

Rev. Frances Deverell

In her remarks at the AGM, Betty recognized Frances’ many volunteer contributions at the national level including authorship of “Finding Common Voice”, the CUC handbook for Social Responsibility, and, later, leadership of the Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice (CUSJ). Frances has also been influential at the international level including organizational duties when the International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF) was held in Vancouver (1999), facilitating the participation of First Nations representatives and the women’s service. She also was a member of the Canadian group at the UU-United Nations Office, helping to establish our position with respect to human rights and lobbying for attention to environmental issues. From 2009 – 2014, Frances served as president of CUSJ and is credited with rebuilding it into a stronger and vital associate organization. In 2015, she received the CUC Social Action Award. She now serves as the lead on CUC Criminal Justice actions, which addresses crime prevention and aboriginal justice issues.

2019Rev. Frances DeverellFirst Unitarian Fellowship on Nanaimo
2018E. Lisbeth DonaldsonComox Valley Unitarian Fellowship
2016Ellen CampbellFirst Unitarian Congregation of Toronto
2015Barbara TaylorUnitarian Church of Vancouver
2015John TaylorUnitarian Church of Vancouver
2014Christine JohnstonFirst Unitarian Church of Victoria
2013Rev. Brian KielyUnitarian Church of Edmonton
2012Leroy DickeyFirst Unitarian Congregation of Waterloo
2011Kim TurnerUniversalist Unitarian Church of Halifax
2010Ralph GreerUnitarian Church of Vancouver
2009Art BrewerFirst Unitarian Congregation of Toronto
2008Stan CalderUnitarian Church of Edmonton
2007John SlatteryBeacon Unitarian Church
2006Heather WattsUniversalist Unitarian Church of Halifax
2005Bert ChristensenFirst Unitarian Congregation of Toronto
2005Anna MacIverFirst Unitarian Congregation of Toronto
2004Ruth Patrick Unitarian Church of Edmonton
2003John HopewellFirst Unitarian Church of Victoria
2002Bernie KeelerUnitarian Church of Edmonton
2001Herman BoermaUnitarian Congregation of Saskatoon
2000Helen BackhouseUnitarian Church of Calgary
1999Ed RatcliffeKingston Unitarian Fellowship
1998Jack WallaceUnitarian Church of Vancouver
1997Mary Lu MacdonaldUniversalist Unitarian Church of Halifax
1996John MayDon Heights Unitarian Fellowship
1995Charles EddisUnitarian Church of Montreal
Phillip HewettUnitarian Church of Vancouver