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

We want to celebrate the stories of how you are changing your communities and congregations by living out your UU values in creative and innovative ways. Whether you are working on a project that engages your community or developing strategies to make Unitarian Universalism more relevant in Canada and beyond, we want to know! 

By sharing your projects and what you have learned you can inform and inspire others, and help us establish best practices for future projects. And sharing allows all of us to celebrate together and develop a lasting network of creative thinkers and program experts. 

2021 Shining Lights Award

This year we had three worthy and very different nominations.  Rev. Audrey Brooks and the Unitarian Church of Edmonton submitted information about Audrey’s work, specifically her efforts to raise awareness of genocide, through services and a peace garden. The First Unitarian Church of Hamilton, through their religious educator, Tim Versteeg, and a lead volunteer Pat Dickinson, shared information about their efforts to foster multigenerational community.  The Shining Lights award for 2021 was presented to the Mirth and Dignity group, known to many by the Facebook group, the UU Hysterical Society. Liz James and Kathy Smith were the leads for the team that built an online community of over 60,000 people. They have created and shared material that is both lighthearted and meaningful content.

How to participate in the Shining Lights Program

The Shining Lights story nomination is a two-part process. 

First, submit your story to the Shining Lights Team by January 31. Please include:
1. Name of your group, its members and your contact information
2. 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?

In the next phase, a Shining Lights team member will contact you to gather more information for our selection process. Alternately, you are also welcome to complete this phase independently and submit it directly to by February 28. 

When submissions are finalized, a Shining Lights committee will review the nominations and select the award recipient. Once selected, CUC staff and volunteers will help all nominees develop their story in a medium appropriate to their project and easy for others to access and share.

Please note: Stories may be received from UU communities or, with their permission, may be made on their behalf. If a nominated community is selected as the annual Shining Light Award recipient, they must agree to work with the CUC staff and the Shining Lights team to develop a compelling ‘community story’ to make their innovation available to others.