CUC eNews: April 2, 2019 – Issue 84

In This Issue:

New Member Welcome to the Canadian Unitarian Council

The CUC has created a New Member Welcome to the Canadian Unitarian Council New Member Welcome document available to all congregations. The document can easily be added to materials shared with new members joining a UU community. Its purpose is to welcome new members to the CUC and its various roles and activities.

From the welcome document, “Your local congregation is part of a wider family of Canadian Unitarian and Universalist congregations and communities in Canada. These make up the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC), the national association of member congregations. The CUC, as the national office, is a voice for our vibrant, liberal faith community, within the interfaith community in Canada, and within the international UU community.

As a member of your congregation, by extension, you also have a relationship with the CUC.”

Find out more about what it means to live your deepest values out loud in our “We Are Canadian Unitarian Universalists” video.” 

Download the CUC New Member Welcome

Unitarian Ministry for Earth Takes Action for the Environment

Unitarian Universalism has a long history of leadership among faith communities committed to caring for our Earth and taking action on our commitments. UUs across North America and the world have played a prominent role in environmental and climate justice movements for decades, serving as organizers through GreenFaith,, Greenpeace, and other organizations; as leaders of Interfaith Power & Light chapters; as activists in direct action campaigns and demonstrations (for example, at the landmark 2014 People’s Climate March in New York City, UUs made up the second-largest faith group present, after the Catholic contingent), and much more.

For the past five years, UU Ministry for Earth (UUMFE) has carried on this work with the release of “Climate Justice Month” resources celebrating action for climate justice from World Water Day (March 22) through Earth Day (April 22). This year, UU Ministry for Earth is taking things to a new level and celebrating a whole Spring season of sacred activism!

Spring for Change is the theme for this Spring Season of Sacred Activism, as well as for UUMFE’s Earth Day Sunday resources. The page will be updated regularly through late May with resources for worship, activism, and more.

Prepare to Spring for Change by making sure you are on UUMFE’s mailing list so that you will receive all of the resources and messages throughout the season.

Join the Mailing List

Creating Communities of All Ages Is Hard Work – But It’s Our Work to Do

By Asha Philar, CUC Youth and Young Adult Ministry SpecialistAsha Philar

In my work with congregations, I often get asked questions like “how can we get more young adults to attend?” or “how do we recruit more young families?”. These are good questions, and ones being asked by churches from most denominations these days.  

But with my upcoming webinar, Connecting Across the Generations,  I’m looking into the quality of our intergenerational relationships, instead of focusing on the number of young people in our buildings. There aren’t many places where children and elders, youth and young adults, and people of all ages can be together in intentional community – but our congregations offer such spaces. In an increasingly age-segregated world, we are different, and we have a different mission.

Multigenerational community isn’t a program we offer; it’s who we are, or who we aspire to be as Unitarian Universalists. Building that type of community is wonderful, but it often takes practice and hard work. It’s helpful to know that your congregation isn’t alone, and that many congregations are journeying with you, along with your CUC staff team.

Join me in my upcoming webinar on April 13, Connecting Across the Generations, where we’ll be discussing important questions like:

    • How can we create meaningful intergenerational relationships in our congregations?
    • What might ministry to and with our young people look like beyond our doors?
    • What positive role can our adults and elders play in the lives of young people?
    • How can we extend membership, belonging and leadership to people of all ages?

I don’t have all the answers (or even most of them), but I will share the wisdom I’ve learned from others, from our own Canadian congregations, and highlight the stories of special guests. To me, there is nothing more beautiful than a caring community where people of all ages are valued, appreciated and held dear. I hope you’ll join me in dreaming and strategizing together.

There are still a few spots left for the April 13 webinar – make sure to register by April 6.

Register for the Webinar

Trans Author Publishes Memoir

For Vancouver author Lorimer Shenher, writing This One Looks Like A Boy only took a few months. Preparing for it took 50 years.

Shenher, a member of the Unitarian Church of Vancouver, had known he was trans since age three or four, but only began the process of transitioning a few years ago. The author had previously written That Lonely Section of Hell, an acclaimed 2015 memoir which chronicled the Vancouver Police Department’s investigation into the missing women of Vancouver’s East Side, and his role as a detective assigned to the case.  

Shenher had long had the idea for his next book, the story of his gender journey, on his mind.  And after a positive response to an excerpt he read at a writers’ festival, decided to bring it to life.

“I just thought that this was a story that I would have wanted to read as a younger person questioning my gender and struggling with those issues”, he says. “So I wanted to write that kind of book for the people who might be struggling”.

Shenher’s struggle wasn’t so much about accepting who he was, having come to the conclusion that he was male quite early in life, but whether others would accept his true identity. Given the way trans people have been treated historically, he knew transitioning — and life thereafter — wasn’t going to be an easy process.

“I knew that it was something that the idea of it was very very appealing to me but I was terrified”, he says. “I was afraid of losing my family. I was afraid of losing my friends. I was afraid of losing my job, you know, all those most practical things that come with it”.

Although he might have wished to read a similar book as a younger person, Shenher stresses This One Looks Like A Boy isn’t only for a younger audience, nor for a trans audience.  Instead, he believes the struggles he details, and the ultimately positive resolution of them, have broad appeal.

“I think there’s even a lot of crossover among lots of different issues”, he says. “You know, where we feel different or marginalized and we are trying to make the right decision to kind of save our whole lives”.

Read an Excerpt from This One Looks Like A Boy

Unitarian Organization Offers Summer Pilgrimage on a Budget

Registration closes: May 7, 2019 – 11:00pm

Price: $1,195 (double occupancy) + $150 non-refundable registration fee

For the first time, the Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Council (UUPCC) is offering a summertime pilgrimage for cost-conscious North Americans who wish to travel in the summer to visit the homeland of our Unitarian faith and spend time with partners in their villages.  Although airfare isn’t quite as cheap as is the case with its fall Thanksgiving Pilgrimage, the trip will have more modest accommodations to help keep costs down.

The pilgrimage begins in Bucharest on Wednesday, July 31, and ends back in Bucharest Tuesday, August 13, 2019, and includes a stay in your partner village to share the warm and loving hospitality of Transylvanian Unitarian families.  Other highlights include visiting historic Unitarian sites and places of general interest.

Since 1993, the UUPCC, an independent affiliate of the Unitarian Universalist Association, has encouraged and supported almost 200 congregational partnerships between American and Canadian Unitarian Universalists and Unitarians and Unitarian Universalists around the world. These relationships weave together the lives and stories of people who share our fundamental affirmations of freedom of conscience in matters of religion, tolerance for those with different beliefs, a reasoned approach to religious ideas, and a willingness to grow and change in our religious understandings. Read Rev. C. Leon Hopper’s history from 1998 for more on its beginnings.

Read the Complete Itinerary

Join the Canadian Unitarian Council on Facebook!

Upcoming Events

Share what’s going on in your congregation. Contact
Deadline: 14th of each previous month.

National Events

CUC 2019 Annual General Meeting (AGM), May 11 from 1:00 – 4:30 p.m. ET / 10:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. PT, The Atrium at Centre for Social Innovation, 192 Spadina Ave (please note change of location).

CanUUdle XIX, May 17 – 20 – Hosted by the Unitarian Church of Calgary
CanUUdle is the annual national conference for Canadian UU youth and their adult advisors. It’s a beautiful weekend where youth and adults create an amazing community, worship together, grow as spiritual beings and join in multigen activities. The theme for CanUUdle XIX is Roots and Wings! We will be diving into our identities as Unitarian Universalists.

Chorus, May 17 – 20, Edge Camp Retreat Centre, AB
Each year, Canadian UU young adults (18-35) gather to build beloved community, deepen our cross-country connections, and grow as spiritual beings. Chorus will be held at River’s Edge Camp & Retreat Centre near Calgary. 

International Events

UUA General Assembly 2019: June 19-23, Spokane, WA
General Assembly (GA) is the annual meeting of our Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Attendees worship, witness, learn, connect, and make policy for the Association through democratic process.

Equity in Action: Gender in an Intersecting World,  April 11-13, 2019, New York City
The UU United Nations Office is excited to host this year’s Intergenerational Spring Seminar on gender equity in collaboration with the UU College of Social Justice. Programming will be interactive and intergenerational, encouraging participants to challenge their assumptions, connecting their activism with grounding in UU faith, and empowering them with the tools to bring back to their communities to make change locally and globally.

Regional Events

Workshop: Reconciliation in Our Watershed, Friday, April 26 – Saturday, April 27
Unitarian Church of Mississauga
A one and a half day workshop to renew our relationships with Indigenous Peoples and our local watersheds.
Registration: Eventbrite, call 905-278-5622 or email

Youth and Young Adult 

Gathered Here: Young Adult Check-In, 4-8, 5-6, 6-10, 7-8, 8-12, 8 p.m. ET
Gathered Here is a monthly online check-in and gathering for Canadian Unitarian Universalist young adults.


Connecting Across the Generations, April 13, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m ET
Churches are one of the few places (outside of our own families) where we can make friends across the generations. How can we use that niche to build a sense of community, trust, connection, and care? Facilitated by Asha Philar,  CUC’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry Specialist.

Photography and Video 101, April 20, 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. ET
Amber Dawn Bellemare will be covering the basics of photography and video creation in this webinar. Among other topics, Amber will address what equipment and software you need, along with providing links to get you started in editing. General guidance and suggestions will be shared to get you up and running. The presentation will be followed by a question and answer period.

Roundtables and Training

THR: Reconciliation Through Film
Film: Angry Inuk – Registration: March 23 – April 10
Watch the film and read the materials: April 10 – April 24
Reflection Group: Wednesday, April 24, 7:00-8:30 p.m. ET and Saturday, April 27, 12:30-2:00 p.m. ET

Lay Chaplain Basics Training: Designing and Leading Rites of Passage, April 12- 14
Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Toronto, ON
This workshop provides basic guidelines on the management of a congregation’s Lay Chaplaincy program and the training new Lay Chaplains need to begin their work.

THR: Reconciliation Through Film
Film: The Road Forward- Registration: April 27 – May 22
Watch the film and read the materials: March 6 – March 20
Reflection Group: Wednesday, June 5, 7:00-8:30 p.m. ET and Saturday, June 8, 12:30-2:00 p.m. ET