eNews: April 17, 2024 – Issue 160 

This Issue:

Letter from Rev. Samaya Oakley
President, Unitarian Universalist Ministers of Canada

March 29, 2024, marks ten years since I was ordained by the good people of First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo (FUFON), North Shore Unitarian Church, and the UUs of the Salish Sea. In that time, I’ve had the privilege of serving both FUFON and South Fraser Unitarians, before moving to Calgary to serve Calgary Unitarians. I’m delighted to share that on March 17, 2024, they voted unanimously to call me as their settled minister. 

I’m also privileged to serve as the President of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers of Canada (UUMoC) for the second time. We are a chapter of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers’ Association (UUMA) and our purpose as a chapter is to embody and advance the UUMA’s mission to “call forth courageous and transformative ministries empowered by love, committed to collective liberation … because we need one another.” And we are the only chapter that holds a national focus. 

When we gathered as a chapter in May 2023, we began a larger conversation of what the future of Canadian Unitarian*Universalism could be. We are not the only ones having this conversation. It’s happening globally, as well as continentally. As we begin to live in an endemic world, some might say that we are being asked to face more honestly the fissures that have erupted from the cracks of broken ways of being in the world. As Rebecca Parker says in Blessing the World: What Can Save Us Now, “the task is to walk among the ruins, find what can be saved, and gather up materials to rebuild.”*

The UUMoC Executive was then charged with creating a way in which we could continue this conversation throughout the year so that when we gather in May 2024, we can delve into the conversation even more. In addition to our yearly gathering, it is our practice to engage in regular online collegial conversations throughout the year. It’s one of the ways we have of remaining connected with each other, because we need one another.

We took the opportunity to use our collegial conversations on this very question – first from the global perspective.  In October 2023, the Czech Unitarians, the Unitarian College in the United Kingdom, and the Unitarian Universalist Association gathered in Prague, Czech Republic to share about their lives in a post pandemic landscape and to discuss what is needed in the future. The event was entitled “Leading to the Future”. We were lucky in that both the Revs. Diane Rollert and Mwibutsawineza Ndagijimanayiburundi attended this gathering of leaders and dreamers and were able to share with us their reflections. 

Our second collegial conversation was held with the Executive Team of the UUMA, Melissa Carvil Zeimer and Janette Lallier. The UUMA has been reflecting on this question as well and that will be the focus of conversation when the UUMA meets for its annual gathering in June 2024. Our third collegial conversation will happen with members of the CUC’s LIFES team who are looking at this question nationally. 

We don’t know where these conversations are going to take us. We also know from lived experience that we are living in times where the unprecedented has become the new normal. One thing is certain though, is that it’s going to take all of us working together to make our way through the rubble. 

As we move forward let us do what we can to hold love at the core of all our decisions, ways of being, and knowing. 

*Rebecca Parker, Blessing the World: What Can Save Us, p. 22

Meet a Knight: Kim Turner

Kim Turner, a member of the Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax, received the CUC’s Knight Award in 2011. The award honours the ideals exemplified by the lives and work of Nancy and Victor Knight, who were also Turner’s grandparents, in furthering the principles of Unitarianism in Canada. The Knight Award is presented to a volunteer who has contributed at the national level towards furthering these ideals. 

A fourth-generation UU, Kim has served in a variety of volunteer positions over the years, and is currently a member of the CUC’s nominating committee. She was also President of the CUC board in 2000, when the organization voted to transition away from belonging to the Unitarian Universalist Association, and describes the moment as a highlight of her involvement in the faith community.

“That vote was very emotional for a lot of people,”  she says. “And I was chairing at the time and so there were people who believed deep in their hearts that moving away from our relationship with the UUA was wrong. And they were upset, visibly upset during the meeting and yet we also had people who were joyful and dancing. And the vote was very heavily in favor of what we were doing, but it was still a very meaningful moment in terms of what you could tell is people’s commitment to the religion, whether or not it was in connection with the UUA in the old relationship or going into the new one.”

Kim sees her continued involvement in Unitarian Universalism at a national level as a means of continuing her family’s legacy, as well as ensuring the CUC maintains its relevance.

“The key thing is to ensure that the organization is there on an ongoing basis for the people who need it,” she says. “And to make sure that it’s vibrant and that it continues to be available. We’ve never achieved the numbers we wanted to achieve. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t touched so many lives along the way by the fact that we’re here. And I think sometimes we lose sight of that when we talk about how we have to grow, we have to do this, we have to do that. Well the people who are involved now are finding meaning and support, and connection through the organization. And I think it’s important to make sure that that continues into the future.”

Getting Ready for the CUC’s AGM

Updated motions for the CUC’s Annual General Meeting on May 25 are available for you to read in this folder.

We thank all those who provided feedback on the motions; any changes made to the motions are highlighted in a different colour in the documents or otherwise noted. There are no changes to First Toronto’s Terra Nullius motion.   

Register your delegates! Please register your delegates – your congregation’s delegates need to be registered by May 1, 2024 in order for your congregation to vote. To date, only seven congregations have registered their delegates – this could be a short AGM! Find out more about delegates on our website. 

A delegate orientation session will be held – this will be useful for new delegates and those wanting a refresher.

Thursday, May 9 – 4:30 pm PT | 7:30 pm ET

Plenaries: Prior to the AGM, two plenary sessions will take place to discuss the updated motions. While no substantive changes (those which alter the scope or intent of the motion) will be made at this time, this is an opportunity for discussion and to ask questions. 

Saturday, May 11 – 10:00 am PT | 1:00 pm ET (1.5 hours)
Wednesday, May 15 – 4:00 pm PT | 7:00 pm ET (1.5 hours)

The AGM agenda, financial and other information will be provided prior to the AGM.

To register your delegates, please fill in this form.
To participate in the online AGM on May 25th, please check out the information on the CUC’s website. 

National Service May 19, 2024: “My Muzungu Eyes Are Improving”

Join us for a CUC National Service on Sunday May 19, 2024 at 10:00 am PT | 1:00 pm ET: “My Muzungu Eyes Are Improving,” featuring Liz James.

The service will be livestreamed, and is also available for download ahead of time. More information is available here.



Congregational Conversations 

The “CUC Congregational Conversations Series” has recently launched and will continue through the spring season. Preliminary queries identified topics of priority for congregations and we’re delighted with the enthusiastic response. Please see below for details. While the focus of this series is primarily congregational, all are welcome. We appreciate your RSVP for planning purposes.

Our first conversation topics, Thriving, Surviving, & Sustainability and Volunteer Bandwidth, Burnout, & Reimagining, have been very rich and well attended. There are at least two date and time options for each remaining topic, the content will be the same for both, so select the one that works best for you. 

Next up is:

 Financial Planning and Income Streams

 Ministry Options: Types, availability, & creative alternatives

Worship Programming and Leadership Development 

Children and Youth – Presence and Programming

Please take a moment to fill out this short RSVP form.

The form will ask for your name/email / congregation/UU community / & which sessions and dates you plan to attend. If you need to switch sessions, please come to whichever one works. The form simply gives us a general idea of numbers, but you are welcome to switch.

The purpose of this program is 3-fold:

    1. Connecting Congregations to build relationships & share concerns, needs, ideas, & inspirations. We are better together!
    2. Sharing Resources we’ll bring some & we welcome your contributions. Collections will be assembled & shared (with attendees & online) after the event. 
    3. Inviting Collaboration congregations working together … groups sharing tools & resources … support in challenging times … so many options! 

We look forward to gathering with you soon. Please feel free to share this information with anyone you think would benefit, & everyone you hope will attend. 

Your Congregational Life Team,
Anne Barker & Linda Thomson

Calgary Unitarians Hosts “Drag Me to Church” Service

Calgary Unitarians played host to a packed audience on Sunday, March 31 as it held a “Drag Me to Church” service. The service combined Trans Day of Visibility and Easter Sunday in what the congregation’s minister, Rev. Samaya Oakley, described as a “sacred act of protest.”

The idea for the service came from the congregation’s office administrator, Chris McBain, who noted the presence of other “Drag Me to ______” events in the community and suggested the congregation could fill this role. The idea received an enthusiastic response from the other staff, the worship arts committee, and the board, and McBain reached out to some drag performers he knew to appear at the event. Oakley took the opportunity to fold her message around the pieces the drag performers chose.

“I talked about the fact that we are a pluralistic tradition and we know what to do when it comes to Christmas because the birth of a child is a sacred and a holy event. We understand Good Friday because it’s about death but resurrection for us as Unitarian Universalists is difficult for us. I invited people to reframe the idea of resurrection to that of transformation. With the idea that resurrection means continual transformation as well as living into new ways of thinking and feeling and living, and in order to be authentic and believable, resurrection must be reflected in ordinary human lives. And I linked that in with the story. What better human story do we have than the fight for trans-identified folks to be celebrated for who they are?”

While the congregation’s reaction to the event was overwhelmingly positive, Oakley organized a couple of open Zoom calls for people to come and reflect on their experience, believing that a bold event of this kind deserves reflection. The congregation may also host additional drag performances in the future, and will be the setting for this year’s Calgary Interfaith Pride Service in August. Oakley is keeping an open mind about where else the congregation goes from here.

“This work is all about relationships,” she says. “And holding space. And just because I want it to be so, it does not make it so. So we’ll just see what the relationships bring and what the next steps are.”

Chorus 2024: Navigating our Cosmic ComUUnity

Join us from May 17th to 20th in Edmonton for an extraordinary journey with the Chorus team at our conference: “Navigating our Cosmic ComUUnity”! 

Calling all young adults aged 18-35 who identify with Unitarian Universalism – this is your chance to embark on a weekend filled with connection, creativity, and exploration.

Inspired by the boundless spirit of Star Trek, we’ll delve into interactive worships, engaging games, and hands-on crafts that ignite our imaginations and deepen our bonds. But this isn’t just about fun and games – it’s about charting a course toward collective liberation.

Imagine if our collective liberation became our final frontier. How could we traverse this vast expanse together, making space for each other and exploring new horizons with compassion and community as our guiding stars?

This year we’ll tackle these questions head-on, diving into discussions and activities that challenge us to see the world through an intersectional and anti-oppressive lens. Together, we’ll forge connections, break down barriers, and boldly go where no conference has gone before.

Don’t miss this chance to be part of something truly cosmic. Join us as we navigate the cosmos of compassion and community, one starship at a time. Register on the CUC website today

CanUUdle 2024: Exploring the UUniverse

Join us for blast-off in T minus 5 weeks! The stars have aligned and Canadian youth from across the country will be gathering in Edmonton May 17th to 20th for CanUUdle: Exploring the UUniverse. 

This event is open to all Unitarian Universalist youth ages 14-19.  This year our community is coming together to enjoy meaningful worship, engaging games, and letting our imaginations explore the edges of our UUniverse. You can expect to form out-of-this-world connections and witness the beautiful constellation of stars that is the UU Youth community!

Space may go on for lightyears, but CanUUdle is only one weekend! So be sure to register on the CUC website.


Sponsor a Young Adult

We invite you to sponsor a young adult to attend Chorus, the national young adult con. This life-giving event is where many UUs in their 20s and 30s reconnect with their community and their faith, and scheme together for our collective liberation! $145 covers one registration, and $400 is what we hope to provide to each person that needs help with their travel costs.

Any amount is helpful, as is spreading the word to others! Thank you for all the ways you support our Dawning Future!

You can donate here.

Did You Know?

Margaret Wanlin is concluding a six-year tenure as a member of the CUC’s Board in May 2024, a period during which served respectively as Vice President, President, and Co-treasurer. A member of the Lakehead Unitarian Fellowship, she initially attended multiple CUC national conferences due to her son’s participation in CanUUdle, and was motivated to become part of something bigger than her own congregation.

“I have quite a bit of different board and governance experience,” she says, “and I thought I could contribute that to the organization and also continue to learn more in those areas of interest.”

Margaret found the support the CUC provided to congregations following the outbreak of the pandemic rewarding, as well as the 2021 passage of the eighth principle, while acknowledging the ongoing challenges the relatively small contingent of Canadian UUs face in ensuring the faith’s sustainability. She encourages others to consider serving on the board as part of their faith journey.

“I think being a part of the bigger picture of Unitarian Universalism in Canada is really exciting,” she says. “And so it’s an opportunity to contribute to that. And I think it also can be part of a person’s lifelong journey in Unitarian Universalism as far as it being a movement that calls on us to be in tune with the world.”

In a world that’s changing rapidly, Margaret believes that Unitarian Universalism can play a vital role.

“I really believe that we have something very important here to share,” she says. “As a denomination we have something to share that’s relevant in this time. And we need to continue to do that. Find new people interested in joining us on this journey.”

What’s Making Us Smile

Congrats to the five people who correctly identified “Growing Into the Future” as the fund replacing “Friends of the CUC”! They will each be receiving a swag bag of CUC goodies.

And while this year’s contest may be over, you can still read the 2024 issue of ScandaloUUs if you missed the initial send.






CUC Events from April 17, 2024  to October 7, 2024

Share what’s going on in your congregation. Contact communications@cuc.ca

Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act – Invitation to a Zoom How-To Clinic
Apr. 20: 7:30 am PT | 8:30 am MT | 9:30 am CT | 10:30 am ET | 11:30 am AT | 12:00 pm NT (2 hrs)

Congregational Conversations: Financial Planning and Income
April 20: 10:00 am PT | 11:00 am MT | 12:00 pm CT | 1:00 pm ET | 2:00 pm AT | 2:30 pm NT
May 27: 10:00 am PT | 11:00 am MT| 12:00 pm CT| 1:00 pm ET| 2:00 pm AT | 2:30 pm NT

Connect and Deepen
Apr. 21: 1:00 pm PT | 2:00 pm MT | 3:00 pm CT | 4:00 pm ET | 5:00 pm AT | 5:30 pm NT

Congregational Conversations: Ministry Options – Types, availability, & creative alternatives
May 1: 10:00 am PT | 11:00 am MT | 12:00 pm CT | 1:00 pm ET | 2:00 pm AT | 2:30 pm NT
May 10: 3:00 pm PT | 4:00 pm MT | 5:00 pm CT | 6:00 pm ET | 7:00 pm AT | 7:30 pm NT

Lay Chaplains Chat (Online)
May 6: 4:30 pm PT
| 5:30 pm MT | 6:30 pm CT | 7:30 pm ET | 8:30 pm AT | 9:00 pm NT 

AGM Delegate Orientation
May 9: 4:30 pm PT | 5:30 pm MT | 6:30 pm CT | 7:30 pm ET | 8:30 pm AT | 9:00 pm NT (1.5 hours)

CUC Annual General Meeting 2024 Plenary (online)
May 11: 10:00 am PT | 11:00 am MT | 12:00 pm CT | 1:00 pm ET | 2:00 pm AT | 2:30 pm NT (1.5 hours)
May 15: 4:00 pm PT | 5:00 pm MT | 6:00 pm CT | 7:00 pm ET | 8:00 pm AT | 8:30 pm NT (1.5 hours)

CanUUdle XXIV: CONstellations ~ Exploring the UUniverse
May 17 – May 20: Starting at 6:00 pm MT

Chorus 2024: Navigating Our Cosmic CommUUnity
May 17 – May 20: Starting at 6:00 pm MT

Connect and Deepen
May 19: 1:00 pm PT | 2:00 pm MT | 3:00 pm CT | 4:00 pm ET | 5:00 pm AT | 5:30 pm NT

National Worship Sunday Service
May 19: 10:00 am PT | 11:00 am MT | 12:00 pm CT | 1:00 pm  ET | 2:00 pm AT | 2:30 pm NT

CUC Annual General Meeting 2024
May 25: 9:30 am PT | 10:30 am MT | 11:30 am CT | 12:30 pm ET | 1:30 pm AT | 2:00 pm NT

Congregational Conversations: Worship Programming and Leadership Development
Jun. 1:
10:00 am PT | 11:00 am MT | 12:00 pm CT | 1:00 pm ET | 2:00 pm AT | 2:30 pm NT

Gathered Here
Jun. 11: 5:00 pm PT | 6:00 pm MT | 7:00 pm CT | 8:00 pm ET | 9:00 pm AT | 9:30 pm NT

Congregational Conversations: Children and Youth – Presence and Programming
Jun. 15: 10:00 am PT | 11:00 am MT | 12:00 pm CT | 1:00 pm ET | 2:00 pm AT | 2:30 pm NT

Connect and Deepen
Jun. 16: 1:00 pm PT | 2:00 pm MT | 3:00 pm CT | 4:00 pm ET | 5:00 pm AT | 5:30 pm NT

Rising Together: Unitarian Universalists of Colour
Jul. 10: 4:30 pm PT | 5:30 pm MT | 6:30 pm CT | 7:30 pm ET | 8:30 pm AT | 9:00 pm NT (1.5 hours)

Lay Chaplains Chat (Online)
Oct. 7: 4:30 pm PT 
5:30 pm MT | 6:30 pm CT | 7:30 pm ET | 8:30 pm AT | 9:00 pm NT 

Enews Prepared and Formatted by Brigitte Twomey, Website Specialist