Shining Lights Award

All that we are is story… What comes to matter then is the creation of the best possible story we can while we’re here; you, me, us, together. When we can do that and we take the time to share those stories with each other, we get bigger inside, we see each other, we recognize our kinship – we change the world, one story at a time…”
~ Richard Wagamese

The Sharing Our Faith grants recognize and support congregational initiatives that enhance ministry, aid congregational projects and outreach, and help grow the Unitarian Universalist movement in Canada. Congregations contribute to a special collection for the Sharing Our Faith fund.

These funds, with contributions from the Foundation Fund held by the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto, are allocated as grants to congregations who are implementing growth projects and initiatives.

In 2023, Sharing our Faith grants were given to the Unitarian Congregation of Niagara and Mirth and Dignity.

The Unitarian Congregation of Niagara (UCN) will be celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2024. In anticipation of that event, UCN will receive a grant of $5000 to help improve the safety, appearance, and rental prospects of its sanctuary.

Mirth and Dignity will receive a grant of $4300 to produce a second season of the podcast, the Cracked Cup, but as a part of a larger project called the “Changing Our Stories” project, which aims to facilitate new types of connection for UUs.

IMPORTANT NOTICE OF CHANGE: Effective 2023, the Shining Lights program will no longer present only one award. CUC has decided to celebrate all the noteworthy nominees with a Celebration of Innovation webinar once a year. Each group/ congregation will receive a Shining Lights certificate honoring their contribution to Canadian UUism. With this move, it is our desire to share the innovation and inspiration more broadly.

2024 Shining Lights Program Seeks Nominations

Do you have a story to share? We invite you to submit a nomination to the 2024 Shining Lights Program. You may submit a nomination for a project that you or your organization led. You also may submit a nomination on behalf of another group if you have their permission to do so.

There are two steps to the nomination process.

  1. Submit your story to the Shining Lights Team by January 31, 2024. Please include:
    • Name of your group, its members and your contact information
    • The story of your group’s innovation including:
      • Early beginnings: Please share what led you to develop this idea and what needs it addressed.
      • Development: Explain how you implemented your program and who was involved.
      • Impact: Tell us about the success of your project. What are some of the impacts of your program for participants,  organizers and your community?
  1. In the second step of the process, a member of the Shining Lights team will contact you to gather more information for our selection process. Alternately, you are welcome to complete this phase independently and submit it directly to by February 28, 2024.

When submissions are finalized, a Shining Lights committee will review the nominations and connect with each group to share plans for the Canadian UU Innovation Celebration webinar.  (Nominees must agree to work with the CUC and the Shining Lights team to share their story.)

The first Shining Lights Award was presented to the First Unitarian Church of Hamilton for their social justice work focusing on affordable housing; sexual and gender justice; and empowering those living in poverty to fulfill their potential.

Previous Shining Lights Nominees