CUC eNews: April 19, 2022 – Issue 138
In This Issue:
- Letter from Vyda
- Shape our Faith at 2022 AGM
- Meet a Minister: Rev. Eric Meter
- Meet Shelley Motz, CUC Communications Manager
- UU@UN Says Good-bye to Allison Hess
- CUC Refugee Program Responds to Global Crisis
- Earth Day Celebration and Worship Service
- Shining Lights Award Webinar
- CanUUdle XXII is Back
- Chorus, with Love
- Canada Revenue Agency Guidelines for Charities
- May National Service
- A Call to Conscience: Defending Freedom and Human Rights
- What’s Making Us Smile
- Upcoming Events
Letter From Vyda
It’s that time again. The Canadian Unitarian Council’s Board of Trustees, staff, committees and working groups are busy preparing for the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on May 14, 2022. Last year, 203 people–97 delegates and 106 observers–were in attendance. This year, I hope even more of you will join us.
I know AGMs have a reputation for being long and boring, but ours is not. Really. The AGM is where we come together to set strategic priorities and make decisions that will shape the future of our faith. Priorities and decisions that will shape the experience of Unitarians and Unitarian Universalists (UUs) in Canada. We come together in relationship and in covenant to tend to the business of the council and, at the same time, we are connected to the broader UU community.
When we gather on May 14, we will be using Robert’s Rules of Order as defined in our bylaws. For those who may not know, Robert’s Rules is a manual of parliamentary procedure that dates back to 1876. Since then, it has been used extensively by organizations like the CUC to conduct orderly meetings and accomplish goals fairly.
But it is not without its detractors. Critics, including many Canadian UUs, have complained that it is overly complex, confusing, and–at close to 700 pages–cumbersome. Others believe it is outdated, and leads to divisiveness and polarization instead of consensus and collaboration.
While we will be using Robert’s Rules at the 2022 AGM (because that is the rules of procedure currently specified in our bylaws), that may not always be so. Robert’s Rules is not the only decision-making framework available, and it may not be the best one for the CUC. But we can’t know that unless we take the time to assess our current model and viable alternatives.
To that end, I am really pleased to say that we’ve assembled a task force led by young adults (aged 18 to 35ish) to help us think outside the box. How well does our current process serve us? Are there other models that would work effectively at the national level? The research they are doing is comprehensive, will include consultations with UUs, and will result in sound recommendations. (Watch for an interview with Robbie Brydon, lead of the task force, on the status of this project in the May issue of eNews.)
Any recommendations will be presented to member congregations, who will be fully informed and consulted before they are asked to approve any changes to our decision-making process. That’s the beauty of our bylaws. They bind and protect us, ensuring that we do not make any significant changes without you.
Be well friends,
Shape our Faith at the 2022 AGM
Join us on Saturday, May 14 for the CUC’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).
10am PT | 11 am MT | 12 pm CT | 1 pm ET | 2 pm AT (3.5 hours)
We look forward to reconnecting with congregations, their delegates, members–and you. Together we will tend to business and make decisions that will shape our national faith community.
All are welcome at this free event.
To attend the AGM, everyone (delegates and observers) will need to fill in the registration form on the website. You will then be sent a Zoom link to access the AGM (you’ll need to fill in this form too).
Congregations must register their delegates by May 1 on this form. We recommend that a Board member (president or treasurer) or minister fill in the form.
We encourage you to review the information for the AGM that is in the CUC AGM 2022 – Public folder. This includes:
- Delegate Registration, Voting and Participation Instructions.
- Annual Meeting Rules of Procedure. We adhere to Robert’s Rules of Order (12th edition) and have also added our own procedures.
- Updated 2022 budget, preliminary 2023 budget, and an explanatory budget narrative.
- Proposed motions.
Meet a Minister: Rev. Eric Meter
Rev. Eric Meter has served the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa since the fall of 2021. An avid cyclist, he looks forward to exploring local trails this spring and summer.
Eric was raised Unitarian, and first considered the idea of ministry in his late teens. As an undergrad, however, he decided to wait five years. During that time, he witnessed his father’s death from cancer. This made him realize there was no time to waste in making up his mind.
Initially, Eric was not certain parish ministry would be a fit. But his parish internship convinced him otherwise. He went on to serve four congregations in Livermore, California; Rochester, New York; Columbus, Ohio; and Racine, Wisconsin, before arriving in Ottawa.
Eric finds ministry rewarding. He believes a congregation offers people a place where they are supported and loved. At the same time, they are challenged to do and be more than they are.
“I’m a better person because of the churches I’ve served,” he says, “and that’s what keeps me doing this work.”
Eric believes Unitarian Universalism can remain relevant. “But,” he says, “Unitarian Universalists must stop assuming we have all the answers. We must do a better job of listening to others.” His participation in the CUC’s Widening the Circle of Concern program (along with a group from his congregation) has given him hope for the future.
“I’m very, very, pleased that we’ve got such a strong group doing that together,” he says. “None of us knows how to live this out, but we’re encouraging each other to think a little more boldly. And that can only be good if we continue it.”
Meet Shelley Motz, CUC Communications Manager
Shelley Motz joined the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) as Communications Manager in February. A member of the First Unitarian Church of Victoria she is a certified change management professional (CCMP) with more than 20 years’ experience leading communications projects and events in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.
Before joining the CUC, Shelley worked for the British Columbia public service. After 12 years, she decided it was time to return to the nonprofit sector where she had begun her career.
“As much as I loved the work that I had been doing and appreciated it, it was no longer a good fit,” she says. “I wanted to return to working for a nonprofit, and I wanted to be more hands-on with communications.”
After leaving her public sector job, Shelley took time off to determine what she wanted to do next. She was inspired by the work of Simon Sinek, who helps individuals and organizations identify their “why”. Communications ended up being very central to her “why.” She realized she is most excited and engaged when she is doing three things.
“Sifting through information or sifting fact from fiction,” she says. “Shifting narratives. (Using stories and storytelling to help people perceive something from a different perspective.) Then lifting up people and organizations who are bringing about change. I realized those three things were going to be important to me in my next venture. Whatever job I took.”
As Communications Manager, Shelley looks forward to engaging and supporting congregations and individuals in the work that’s required to live into our Unitarian Universalist (UU) principles. Updating the CUC website. Growing the readership of the eNews. Taking a more active role on social media. Providing clear and focused messages. These are some of the ways the CUC Communications team can support UUs in this work.
“We have a great opportunity to help people make sense of the world and their place in it,” she says. “To connect people to other people. To resources and information. To programs and services.”
As a member of her congregation, Shelley has served as a worship associate, co-facilitator of a Soul Matters discussion group, and a member of the committee on ministry. In her spare time, she is writing a novel set in Ukraine in 1933. She also enjoys reading, gardening, and spending time with her wife, twin boys, and their dog, Boris.
UU@UN Says Good-bye to Allison Hess
The Unitarian Universalist Office at the United Nations (UU@UN) said good-bye to Allison Hess on April 8, 2022. Many of those interested in the UU@UN’s activities are familiar with Allison and her work as the International Engagement Associate. For more than seven years, she has collaborated with congregations and communities to protect human rights and address climate change through programs and events like the annual Intergenerational Spring Seminar.
This year, the Spring Seminar takes place from April 22 to May 1, 2022. Its theme? Displacement and Human Rights: All in for Climate Justice. Allison won’t be there, but she is still “all in for climate justice”. Her new job is with the National Climate Action team at World Resources Institute.
CUC Refugee Program Responds to Global Crisis
We are in the midst of a people displacement crisis. Over the past 10 years, the global refugee population has more than doubled. As of March 13, 2022, there were more than 26 million refugees in the world. A number that grows daily due to persecution, violence, conflict, and natural disasters.
More than 60 percent of these refugees came from five countries: Syria (6.7 million); Ukraine (3 million); Afghanistan (2.6 million); South Sudan (2.6 million); and from among the Rohingya population in Myanmar (1.1 million). Children make up 30% of the world’s population, but account for 42% of all forcibly displaced people.
Today, the situation in Ukraine is top of mind for many of us. It is the largest displacement of people in Europe since World War II. And it is dominating news headlines and political debates. As critical as it is to respond to the needs of refugees in Ukraine, we cannot neglect refugees in other nations.
“Focus on one population is unsettling,” says Samia Tecle, the Refugee Support Staff at the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC). “Resources are finite. When we prioritize some groups, we deprioritize others.”
Since 2015, the CUC has helped congregations welcome hundreds of refugees from more than a dozen countries. Canada allows citizens to sponsor and resettle refugees. The Canadian Unitarian Council has a sponsorship agreement with the federal government. Under that agreement, we can streamline the application process for congregations who want to sponsor refugees to Canada.
Each year the federal government gives us an allocation. This is the maximum number of refugee “spaces” we can apply for in a given year. Once we have our quota in place, we need congregations to come forward as sponsoring groups, working together with the CUC. We need to balance the number of refugee spaces we have with the number of groups that are willing and able to sponsor a refugee.
Finding this balance can be tricky. In 2020 and 2021, we thought we wouldn’t meet our quota. Congregations, understandably, were pivoting in response to the Covid pandemic. Their priorities shifted, and they continued to place value on refugee sponsorship, enabling us to fill all our allocated spaces.
This year, we have seen a significant increase in requests to sponsor refugees. Yet, we have not yet received our 2022 allocation from the federal government. For the first time, Samia worries we may need to turn some potential sponsors away. (Or, at least, ask them to come back next year.)
We expect to receive our 2022 allocation soon. We also are looking forward to the federal government’s launch of a new digital intake tool. This should reduce the time it takes to submit and process applications. It has, however, resulted in some short-term delays. Until the tool is launched later this spring, the CUC cannot submit any new applications.
Earth Day Celebration and Worship Service
Unitarian Universalist (UU) Ministry for Earth
Friday, April 22, 9 am PT | 10 am MT | 11 am CT | 12 pm ET | 1 pm AT
UU Ministry for Earth is holding a special celebratory worship service on Earth Day, April 22. This event is open to the public, and launches 10 days of engagement with the theme “Displacement & Human Rights: All In for Climate Justice” as part of “Spring for Change – Get Rooted, Get Ready!” and the 2022 Intergenerational Seminar.
For more information, visit the UU Ministry for the Earth website.
Shining Lights Award Webinar
Saturday, April 30, 11 am PT | 12 pm MT | 1 pm CT | 2 pm ET | 3 pm AT (2 hours)
Online via Zoom
The First Unitarian Church of Hamilton received the inaugural Shining Lights Award in 2018. The event has since become a much-loved celebration of Unitarian Universalist (UU) innovation. Over the years, it has been a rich source of stories that reflect the diversity of our UU community. From choirs singing to patients in palliative care to organizations launching community conversations. And more.
This year is no exception. The Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) is honouring four exceptional nominees:
- Vancouver Unitarian’s IBPOC (Indigenous, Black and People of Colour) Caucus;
- The Ajashki Food Security Project from First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa;
- The You’ve Got Mail group from First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto; and
- Unicamp of Ontario‘s 2021 programming for children and youth.
Joan Carolyn, from the CUC, is excited to give them a forum for sharing their stories. “Our whole Shining Lights team is inspired by the great work being done across the country. Especially in the face of Covid challenges.”
Each of the nominees will deliver a presentation on their successes and breakthroughs, followed by a question and answer session. At the end of the webinar, the recipient of the 2022 Shining Lights Award will be announced!
Register today to attend the live Shining Lights Award webinar on April 30. It’s free.
CanUUdle XXII is Back
Calling all UU Youth! CanUUdle returns this year and is happening May 20 to 23. CanUUdle XXII takes place IN-PERSON on the Vancouver Unitarians campus, and is graciously hosted by the congregation.
CanUUdle is a four-day long conference for youth ages 14 to 19 and their adult advisors. It is full of laughter, late-night epiphanies, and life bonding. There will be Chalice Circles to promote small-group connections, worship time for spiritual growth, workshops for fun and lightheartedness, amazing chaplains for emotional and spiritual support, and new people from across the country.
This is the first time CanUUdle is being held in person after two years of online programming. Extra care and precautions are being taken to support the health and well-being of our Unitarian Universalist community. All those in attendance – participants, staff and volunteers – will need to be fully vaccinated and receive Covid testing upon arrival. Other precautions include increased cleaning of shared spaces, limited overall capacity, and proper air circulation.
The theme is Mystery and Magic with an emphasis on seeking the mystery and magic within our own lives. Unpack your wands, wings and capes – a magical weekend of being together in community again after all this time awaits! Get ready for the mystery of CanUUdle and the magic of creating lifelong memories.
This is a tremendous introduction into UU spirituality fueled by staff who are dedicated to making sure you have a great time, so don’t miss out! Registration is open on the CUC website until May 1st and uses sliding scale pricing. The website also includes information about subsidies and youth group fundraising.
Chorus, with Love
This year when young adults (Unitarian Universalists aged 18 to 35) gather at Chorus, we will do so IN-PERSON and “with love.” The North Shore Unitarians will host Chorus at their West Vancouver congregational home from May 20 to 23.
The “with love” theme resonated with our community for two reasons: First, young adults (YAs) remain deeply committed to challenging barriers to equity in our faith. In our churches, our workplaces, and our relationships, YAs are leading the way in calling for change. Workshops focused on privilege, accessibility, and our call to loving justice embody this leadership.
Second, after three years apart, we are all in need of some love!
While beloved traditions like worship and “warm fuzzy” mailbags will still anchor our community, this event is designed to feel more like a retreat than a conference. Our programming will actively cultivate opportunities for self care, spiritual rejuvenation, and rest. Sorry super friends, YAs only!
Canada Revenue Agency Guidelines for Charities Webinar
Saturday, April 30, 9 am PT | 10 am MT | 11 am CT | 12 pm ET | 1 pm AT
Calling all leaders, board members, and social justice advocates. We invite you to join us at the Leaders’ Roundtable on April 30 to discuss two areas of interest to charities.
First, we will review guidance from Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on Public Policy Dialogue and Development Activities (PPDDAs). We used to call these “political activities”. This discussion could inform your congregation’s approach to social justice and advocacy work.
Next, we will discuss CRA requirements related to charitable purposes. Leaders and board members must ensure their organizations meet these guidelines. Has your congregation updated its charitable purposes within the last 10 years? If not, this discussion is for you!
Come for either section of the roundtable or both. (It’s anticipated that the first section will take about 45 minutes.) Please note that this is not legal advice and is provided as information and discussion purposes only.
Register for the Leaders’ Roundtable by April 30.
May National Service
Sunday, May 15, 10 am PT | 11 am MT | 12 pm CT | 1 pm ET | 2 pm AT
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh, Stepping into Freedom: Rules of Monastic Practice for Novices
Watch for details in the weekly Upcoming Events summary, and on our Events Calendar.
A Call to Conscience: Defending Freedom and Human Rights
Parliament of the World’s Religions August 14 – 18, 2023 Chicago, Illinois
The world’s largest interfaith community is gathering! Registration is now open for the 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions convening.
People of faith and conscience are invited to gather in Chicago, Illinois in August 2023. Together, in all their diversity, they will explore opportunities to defend freedom, human rights, and democracy. In between breakout sessions, they can attend art exhibits, cultural performances, and a film festival.
Visit the website of the Parliament of the World’s Religions to register or find out more. (Register before July 1, 2022 to save US$500.)
What’s Making Us Smile
B.C. filmmaker Farhan Umedaly is developing the next generation of Indigenous storytellers with a free, travelling film school he’s offering in British Columbia and Alberta.
Upcoming Events (online via Zoom)
Share what’s going on in your congregation. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Widening the Circle of Concern: Canadian Perspective (registration is closed as sessions are in progress)
Saturdays, April 23, 9:30 am PT | 10:30 am MT | 11:30 am CT | 12:30 pm ET | 1:30 pm AT
Unitarian Universalist Theology: A Renaissance Module (registration is closed as sessions are in progress)
Thursdays, April 28, May 12, May 26, June 9, 10 am PT | 11 am MT | 12 pm CT | 1 pm ET | 2 pm AT
Leaders’ Roundtable: Political Activities & Charitable Purposes: What Congregations Need to Know
Saturday, April 30, 9:00 am PT | 10:00 am MT | 11:00 am CT | 12:00 pm ET | 1:00 pm AT
Shining Lights Award Webinar: Canadian UU Groups Keeping Our Lights Alive!
Saturday, April 30, 11 am PT | 12 pm MT | 1 pm CT | 2 pm ET | 3 pm AT
Elder’s Circle No 3: Sharon Jinkerson-Brass
Wednesday, May 4, 4 pm PT | 5 pm MT | 6 pm CT | 7 pm ET | 8 pm AT
Rising Together: UU Youth and Emerging Adults of Colour,
Saturday, May 7, 1 pm PT | 2 pm MT | 3 pm CT | 4 pm ET | 5 pm AT
CUC Annual General Meeting 2022
Saturday, May 14, 10 am PT | 11 am MT | 12 pm CT | 1 pm ET | 2 pm AT
National Worship Sunday Service
Sunday, May 15, 10 am PT | 11 am MT | 12 pm CT | 1 pm ET | 2 pm AT
Friday, May 20, 5:00 pm– Monday, May 23, 12:00 pm PST
UU IBPOC Space
Saturday, May 21, 9 am PT | 10 am MT | 11 am CT | 12 pm ET | 1 pm AT
Saturday, May 28, 9:00 am PT | 10:00 am MT | 11:00 am CT | 12:00 pm ET | 1:00 pm AT