CUC eNews: April 9, 2019 – Issue 85

In This Issue:

Important Documents for the AGM

Each year, the Canadian Unitarian Council holds its Annual General Meeting (AGM) to elect members for the CUC’s Board of Trustees, vote on resolutions, and to attend to the business of the Council. The CUC’s member congregations choose delegates from among their own membership to represent their congregations and to vote on business matters.

Two critical documents for participating in the 2019 AGM are now available: the Nominating Committee report and the updated motions for this year. Please ensure that your congregation’s delegates review both documents in advance of the AGM and know how your congregation wants to vote.

Quorum has been achieved and delegate registration is now closed. If your delegates or online voting manager are new to the Google voting platform, please sign up for one of the two remaining orientation sessions, on April 20th or 23rd. Staff will not be able to do any orientation on the morning of the AGM, and we would like the AGM to run as smoothly as possible.

On Friday evening, May 10 from 7 – 9 p.m., the CUC Board will host an informal plenary to discuss the motions for the AGM and other matters of national impact. Participants are welcome at 192 Spadina; online participants can join via Zoom link, or call toll-free 855-703-8985 Canada, Meeting ID: 222 224 722. No prior registration is necessary.

Learn More About the 2019 AGM

AIM Program Supports Inclusion of People With Disabilities

The Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry (AIM) Program engages congregations deeply in understanding the meaning and experience of disability, in the congregation and in our world. AIM recognizes the inherent worth and dignity of every person and calls on Unitarian Universalists to act for love and justice.

If that’s not reason enough for Canadian congregations to “do AIM”, it might help to know that accessible, welcoming spaces based on universal design are good for everyone, and can potentially increase attendance at Sunday services and engagement in church programming, tapping into untold potential.

AIM is a partnership between the Unitarian Universalist Association and EqUUal Access, a member group of people with disabilities, their families, and allies.  In the tradition of the Welcoming Congregation and Green Sanctuary programs on which it was modeled, AIM certifies congregations as committed and engaged in becoming accessible and inclusive religious communities.

AIM program piloted in 2013 with eight field test congregations in the United States. Five UU congregations have certified to date. Currently, 15 congregations in the United States and one in Canada are active in the program, each aspiring to become AIM certified. In March, the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Winnipeg was accepted into AIM, and Canadian Unitarians suddenly claimed a place in this continental program.

The AIM program is designed to meet congregations where they are, regardless of size, church building/site, location, congregation demographics, or available resources. Each congregation sets its own pace for obtaining AIM certification, a process that usually takes 2 to 3 years. A congregation’s AIM team must have significant member representation with disability identity; this team initiates and steers their church’s process in the program, incrementally drawing in the participation of the whole congregation.

The AIM program has three phases. It begins when a local AIM team forms, gets their church leadership’s approval and applies. The local AIM team is assigned an Advisory Group immediately upon entering the program, which mentors them throughout, provides feedback and support toward successfully meeting the criteria needed for certification. The local AIM team conducts assessments using program tools. This reveals priorities and helps in settings goals that shape the AIM Action Plan. The team then begins to effect a required number of accessibility and inclusion workshops and projects, disability-themed worship, and a disability social justice project.

The AIM Program has no brick and mortar office. Four dedicated people serve the AIM Coordinating Committee and oversee the program with AIM’s part-time Administrator. AIM also has four Advisory Groups, each consisting of a few knowledgeable volunteers. While geographically dispersed, email and Zoom video meetings allow them to provide on-going, one-to-one virtual support and guidance to individual congregation AIM teams.

The AIM Spring News is available here. If you have questions about the AIM Program, phone or e-mail Rev. Helen McFadyen, AIM Program Administrator.  Email: telephone (Canada) 250-572-2018.

Learn How to Apply for AIM

Staff Profile: Asha PhilarAsha Philar

Asha has been the CUC’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry Development staff since February 2016. In 2017, she briefly shared the “YaYA” portfolio with Ariel Hunt-Brondwin, her predecessor in the job. And last August she gained a part time colleague, Casey Stainsby, with whom she gladly shares the important work of youth and young adult ministry.

Within the YaYA portfolio, Asha most enjoys consulting with congregations, developing resources and leading groups and workshops. She also loves speaking to congregations, and setting up a good spreadsheet!

Asha grew up Unitarian and was inspired by the love and acceptance she found in youth community as a teenager. She is motivated to help youth and young adults create their own versions of beloved community, within and beyond our congregations. She also believes that UUs have a wealth of energy, resources and passion that can change lives and change the world – and that needs to be unleashed. Working to meet our potential as an inclusive, multigenerational faith is a priority for all of Asha’s YaYA work.

Asha’s favourite season is spring, but she tolerates winter and stays warm by cross-country skiing, skating and curling up with a blanket and Netflix. In the summer, she loves camping and treasures quiet time in the wilderness. Although Kitchener doesn’t have a lot of natural spaces, Asha makes it a priority to spend time in the forest as often as possible. You can probably guess that Asha’s favourite source is #1: the direct experience of transcending mystery and wonder.

In addition to walking in nature, Asha’s spiritual practices include time with friends, singing in her church’s choir, reading UU meditation manuals, lighting personal joys and sorrows candles, going for long walks, and fitting small moments of mindfulness into the day.

Things you might not know about Asha:

    • She’s an avid cook, and even makes her own yogurt
    • She has been growing garlic for 6 years, saving seeds each year
    • CBC Radio is almost always on at her house, and she can tell the time by the show that’s on
    • She loves playing ultimate frisbee, and can be a bit competitive when a frisbee’s around
    • Asha and her partner Joseph were married at the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa, where she was raised
    • Her parents and sister live in Ottawa, and she also has family in B.C., India, and on Manitoulin Island

Learn More About Asha

One Month Left to Register for Chorus, the National Young Adult Gathering

By Casey Stainsby, CUC Youth and Young Adult Program and Events Coordinator

Each year, Canadian UU young adults (18-35) gather to build beloved community, deepen our cross-country connections, and grow as spiritual beings. This gathering, called Chorus, is a weekend-long conference which happens in conjunction with its sibling youth event, CanUUdle, over the May long weekend.

The theme for Chorus 2019 is Roots and Wings! We will be diving into our identities as Unitarian Universalists, asking “what grounds us in our faith, and in ourselves?” And, “how do we share what we’re proud of with our communities?” We’ll explore our roots through special workshops on UU history and theology, and we’ll stretch our wings with new skills in worship and personal spiritual practices. Sunday, we’ll travel into town to join up with the youth of CanUUdle for workshops and bridging activities.

This year’s event is happening at River’s Edge Camp & Retreat Centre. The Camp boasts 320 acres of beautiful, serene land, open prairie skies, and the majesty of the Rocky Mountains and Banff National Park in the distance. It’s a landscape that’s sure to inspire reverence and reflection. It’s situated within Treaty 7 territory, Métis Region 3. We’ll be occupying the Chalet at River’s Edge, a newly renovated building separate from the main camp, which has 33 beds, a fully equipped kitchen, and open loft space. The camp is located near Cremona, Alberta, one hour’s drive north-west from Calgary. Transportation from Calgary Unitarians and the airport will be provided.

Whether you’re needing a meditative walk by yourself, meaningful conversation in a small group, or to be filled up with joyful community silliness, you’re sure to have access to all of these over the weekend. You can also count on nourishing food, campfires under the stars, and lots of singing!

Registration closes April 30. Find more information and the registration form on the CUC Events Calendar, and RSVP to the Facebook event for updates.

Chorus is more financially accessible than ever! Registration is on a sliding scale from $100-$200. You can now apply a subsidy to your registration fee directly on the form. Additional funding is available to help with travel costs – simply apply for a Dawning Future Subsidy before the end of the month.

Contact: Casey Stainsby,

Register for Chorus

Upcoming Webinar: Photography & Video 101

Photo by Rev. Helen MacFayden

Photos and video are critical in getting information about your congregation out there in the world, both for your website and your social media efforts. This is particularly important in terms of giving newcomers and visitors a rich introduction to your congregation and reducing the time it takes for them to physically visit you.

Amber Dawn Bellemare will be covering the basic of photography and video creation in this webinar. Among other topics, Amber will address what equipment you need and software, 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.

Amber Dawn Bellmare is a professional videographer who was on the Truth, Healing, and Reconciliation task force and is now the Administrator for the THR Reflection Guides. Her involvement developed the Young Adult “Reconciliation Through Film” initiative and is responsible for the THR Film Screenings throughout the year. Among other CUC related media projects, Amber created the promotional video “We Are Canadian Unitarian Universalists” found on the front page of our website. She is a documentary filmmaker whose work primarily supports stories of contemporary living in the North.

Register for the Webinar

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
Plenary discussion hosted by the CUC Board
Participants are welcome at 192 Spadina; online participants can join via Zoom link, or call toll-free 855 703 8985 Canada, Meeting ID: 222 224 722. No prior registration is necessary.

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, 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 basic 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

Leadership Development

Serving With Spirit Nurturing UU Leaders – EAST – 3-day retreat, Friday, July 26 – 28
Carleton University, ON
Facilitators: Revs. Peter Boullata and Linda Thomson
More information and registration coming soon!

Serving With Spirit Nurturing UU Leaders – WEST – 3-day retreat, August 9 – 11
Providence Retreat Centre, Edmonton, AB
Facilitators: Revs. Anne Barker and Chris Wulff
More information and registration coming soon!

Serving With Spirit: Stronger Together, Planning for Partnership, 1-day workshop, August 10
Providence Retreat Centre, Edmonton, AB
Facilitator: Joan Carolyn, CUC Congregational Life Lead, West and BC
Registration Available Soon!