CUC eNews: August 27, 2019 – Issue 97

In This Issue:

“We arrive out of many singular rooms…”
 Rev. Steven Epperson, President, UU Ministers of Canada

Rev. Steven Epperson

On behalf of the UU Ministers of Canada, I extend a heart-felt welcome back (!) to all of us as we begin the 2019-20 program year in our congregations. I deeply appreciate the vision, values, ministry and service we share. 

There’s a reading in our hymnal by Rev. Kenneth Patton: “We arrive…”  that ends with these words: “It is good to be with one another.”  In this reading, Patton holds up for our attention the value of our religion as a communal, experiential faith. That is, we set aside time and place to step outside of self “to be assured that sisters and brothers surround us;” we gather out of our “solitudes,” out of the stream of mundane, secular life, to “reclaim” our vision of sacred time and place—“to enlarge our voices” and “seek out our hidden reckonings.”  “The warmth of hands” clasped in welcome, solace and encouragement, the hearing of our names spoken–these “restore us in our eyes” and assure us with “gladness” that we are not alone in our vision of a “world in which our interdependence calls us to love and justice.” (CUC Vision Statement) 

Some years ago at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver, our grade 5 and 6 children were asked what they thought about their congregation. One wrote: “no changes necessary;” another said: “frogs will soon rule the earth.” While I appreciated those replies, it was this one that stood out: “Church should be a life-changing experience.”  

In a fragmented, “digital world,” we shouldn’t underestimate the strength and power of our tactile, multi-generational, “analog” religion—one that’s made real and meaningful as we gather, worship, learn, serve and play together. One of our eleven year olds reminds us, challenges us: “Church should be a life-changing experience.”  I think she’s on to something. 

“It is good to be with one another.”

Learn More About UU Ministry

Musings and Message from the CUC Board President
Margaret Wanlin

Margaret Wanlin

Isn’t Canada’s summer wonderful! I hope you have enjoyed the right mix of adventure, relaxation and contemplation to go into the fall rejuvenated.

Thus rejuvenated, we launch into start-up time in our Unitarian Universalist communities. Together, we make them vital, welcoming, meaning-making places.

The CUC has plans and events for the fall, which you will see announced in upcoming editions of the eNews. Do try to take in the webinars and regional fall gatherings. These provide a way to be in touch with people in other congregations and to get to know them and share experiences. We all do UUism differently. And the CUC staff is at the ready to support congregations with transitions and challenges as well as sharing ideas and best practices.

This fall the CUC Board will be trying something new (and cheaper!). Rather than an in-person fall retreat as has been customary, the Board will gather online over Zoom for several extended sessions in October to think and plan together for the coming years. Some ideas are germinating. There will be a story to tell after the sessions.

These musings come from my summer readings which included catching up on magazines, and attending services at Lakehead Unitarian Fellowship (LUF).

From Macleans, February 2019
The Portsmouth, New Hampshire Unitarian Universalist Church hosted a meeting for Kamala Harris, a US senator seeking the Democratic nomination. They described UUism as based on “the wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life.” I wonder if, in our focus on our principles, we sometimes overlook our sources. Something to ponder and an unexpected pleasure to read about Unitarian Universalism in Macleans!

From UU World, Spring, 2019. “Moved to Serve” by Rev. Heather Beasley Doyle is about how we engage to support our communities. She quotes Rev. Michael Hogue from Meadville Lombard Theological School. “What do your UU values tell you to do? But not in a renegade kind of fashion. Listen first. This can be a real challenge for progressives and liberals, and UUs in particular.” In addressing community needs he urges us to “set aside progressive exceptionalism in favour of relationship building.” That struck a chord with me.

And closer to home, the Lakehead Unitarian Fellowship (my home congregation) had Rev. Hugh Walker speak at a summer service. He spoke about two operations of the soul, “the twins – freedom and responsibility.” He talked about how the soul is generated by hope, a spiritual hybrid of courage and trust in life. He challenged us to reclaim and reawaken the twins and thereby set ourselves on a spiritual path of inquiry and dissent. There is work for us to do as individuals and as UU communities to be the kind of places that help us to reclaim and reawaken the twins.

Another LUF service was about what we are looking for in Ministry following the retirement of our consulting minister Rev. Suzanne Wascilczuk at the end of 2019. I found inspiration in this quote from a Society of Friends (Quaker) reading by T. Edmund Harvey in 1913 on priesthood as a shared responsibility. “But it is not easy to summarise in a sentence a work which is in truth as wide as human life; wherever a man interprets in terms of his own day the unseen and enduring realities, and helps those about him to view things in their true relations, he is performing a priestly function; whenever he takes up their disadvantage as their own, in fellowship with suffering, and shares with others willingly the result of their own wrong-doing, then he is doing a part of the priest’s divinest work.”

I have always liked the quote “Democracy is not how you vote, it’s how you live your life.” A lot of truth in that. This fall we have the opportunity to participate in the process leading up to election day on October 21. As an organization, the CUC has signed on to the Green New Deal. It is a broad statement that is well aligned with our principles and values. Which candidate and which party are most aligned with the Green New Deal, from your point of view? Let’s get engaged to build the Canada that we want for ourselves and all Canadians today and into the future.

As we launch into the 2019-2020 church year, let’s find inspiration and meaning for ourselves and others, and reach out to build that better world that we all aspire to, and recognize that we are all in this together.

Learn More About the CUC Board

CUC Liaison Role

What is the CUC Liaison role? Previously called the Denominational Affairs role, this person is your congregation’s vital link to the CUC, its events and news. As the church year kicks in, make sure you have this important person in place to strengthen the bridge between your congregation and the CUC. Who is fulfilling this role in your congregation?

Their main role is to make sure your congregation is informed about, and connected to, national and regional news and events. They fulfill this by:
• Subscribing to the CUC monthly eNews, CUC-Leaders and CUC-Delegates lists and staying informed about national and regional news and events
• Sharing relevant information with your newsletter editor, webweaver, communications coordinator, etc., to ensure that your congregation is informed and aware of national matters and news of interest
• Attending, where possible, CUC gatherings, events, conferences and Annual General Meetings, either online or in-person
• Updating the CUC ( with congregational contact information (in collaboration with your congregation’s administrator) so that information about your board and leadership is current
• Orienting the next CUC Liaison from your congregation

We suggest that your CUC Liaison remain in the position for at least two years to maximize learning and connections.

Who is your CUC Liaison? Let us know by emailing

Professional Church Staff Milestones 2019

Each year, at its annual General Assembly, the Unitarian Universalist Association recognizes milestones for ministers and religious educators. In the summer each year, the Canadian Unitarian Council honours and notes the significant transitions of Canadians, from September 1 to August 31 annually.

Preliminary Fellowship

Ministers in Preliminary Fellowship are evaluated by the Ministerial Fellowship Committee (MFC), which has jurisdiction over all phases of ministerial credentialing, and are judged to have met specific qualifications.
Canadian ministers receiving Preliminary Fellowship in 2019:
Rosemary Smith-Morrison, Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana, Patricia Trudeau, Danielle Webber, and Rev. Christopher Wulff.  

Full Fellowship:

To be considered for Full Fellowship, a minister must have been in Preliminary Fellowship for at least three years, received three satisfactory renewals, and be deemed by the Ministerial Fellowship Committee to be an appropriate candidate for Full Fellowship.
Canadian ministers receiving Full Fellowship in 2019:
Rev. George Buchanan and Rev. Linda Thomson.  

Leavings – Ministers completing service at Canadian congregations:
Rev. Debra Thorne from Beacon Unitarian Church, BC
Rev. Barbara Wells ten Hove from North Shore Unitarian Church, BC

Retirements – Canadian ministers retiring from service:
Rev. Fran Dearman, Rev. Carole Martignacco,  and Rev. Donna Morrision-Reed

New Ministries:
Rev. Ron Phares, North Shore Unitarian Church
Rev. Meg Roberts, Beacon Unitarian Church in BC
Rev. Debra Thorne, First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo
Rev. Christopher Wulff, Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Seattle WA

Religious Educator Leavings:
Pamela Smith-Loeters from the Unitarian Church in Mississauga
Ariel Hunt-Brondwin from North Shore Unitarian Church
Birgitta MacLeod from Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Durham
Kate Huband from the Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough
Julie Taylor from the Grand River Unitarian Congregation

Religious Educator Starts:
Ben Robins at the Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough
Marie-Claude Leroux at Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax
Kate Urquhart and Cecilia Macdonald at Grand River Unitarian Congregation
David Chandross at Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation

Fill Your Tank for Fall – Unicamp Young Adult Retreat
 Casey Stainsby, Youth and Young Adult Ministry Program and Events Coordinator

Join other UU young adults (18-35 year olds) September 13-16 for a weekend of community building, spiritual grounding, and basking in the glory of the changing seasons at Unicamp. This retreat is the highlight of the year for many UU YAs – a time to relax and recharge before fall really gets going. You’ll have the option of staying for all three nights (Friday-Monday), or leaving on Sunday if you need to.

We aim for the retreat to be as financially accessible as possible – registration is sliding scale, childcare is available upon request, and programming is light and mostly determined by those who show up. Hiking the Bruce Trail, swimming in the pond, stargazing and campfires are all possible. There will be a group worship each evening planned by participants, and plenty of opportunities to grow and deepen new and old friendships over crafts, shared meals, games and workshops.

Unicamp is near Honeywood, Ontario, about a two hour drive from Toronto. To be added to the rideshare board, just indicate whether you need or can provide a ride when you complete the registration form.

Visit the event page on the CUC’s website for more information and links to the registration and payment forms.

I hope to see you at Unicamp!

Register for the Unicamp Young Adult Retreat

Gathered Here Update for September

Gathered Here is taking a break for September – Our monthly young adult check-ins will resume in October. If you have attended Gathered Here this past year, we’d love to hear from you. Please fill out this brief feedback form by September 16. 

Contact: Casey Stainsby, Youth and Young Adult Ministry Program and Events Coordinator

 Learn More About the CUC’s Young Adult Programming

The Canadian U*U Feminist Book Club
Jo-Anne Elder Gomes

The Canadian U*U Feminist Book Club is a low-stress, low-maintenance, open, intentionally queer-positive and intersectional, feminist-in-its-broadest-definition book and chat club. We explore books by feminists and about feminism and, perhaps even more importantly, share our experiences as feminists.

You are free to join us whenever you can, whether or not you have read the book selection, whether you want to talk or listen. We meet for an hour each month, generally on the second Sunday at 8 p.m. Atlantic, 7 p.m. Eastern, 6 p.m. Central, 5 p.m. Mountain, and 4 p.m. Pacific time.

Our selection for the September 8 discussion will be That Time I Loved You by Carrianne Leung which won the 2019 Daunta Gleed Literary Award for short fiction. We will be talking about places where we’ve lived, being an outsider, different types of communities (geographical, political, spiritual), and more.

For more information, subscribe to the Google group by sending an email to:

World Accord’s Construction Expeditions 2020

Members and friends of the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto have been participating in World Accord’s Construction Expeditions since 2000, helping to build schools and other community facilities in the mountains of Honduras and Guatemala. They have found these moving and rewarding experiences and World Accord a knowledgeable and reliable provider. This is a hands-on opportunity to make a difference in the lives of subsistence farmers and their families. 

Please join a two-week trip, beginning: January 11, February 8 or March 7, 2020.  Construction and Spanish language skills are not required but would be welcomed.  

For more information about World Accord and these trips, including how to join, please visit the World Accord website. 

For more information, contact Richard Kirsh (416-767-5837 or

Unicamp Board of Directors Looking for UUs

Unicamp is a Unitarian Universalist camp located in the Mulmur Hills near Honeywood, Ontario. Unicamp is  committed to providing a safe and welcoming seasonal camp and spiritual retreat to our diverse community. Programs and activities are designed to grow awareness and practice of the UU values in which the camp is rooted.

Unicamp is looking for UUs to serve on its Board of Directors. This might be you:

    • You treasure this beautiful property where UUs can gather.
    • You want to help in the conservation of this natural resource.
    • You want to help manage camp operations and shape its future.

If you have leadership skills to share and time to contribute, consider serving. Unicamp is looking for people with strengths such as: knowledge of how nonprofits are managed, experience making and monitoring a budget, UU leadership experience, experience as camp staff, property management, human resources, marketing and business skills.

For more information, contact: Tracy Galvin, Unicamp Nominating Committee Chair:

Learn More About Unicamp

Visit & like the Canadian Unitarian Council on Facebook!

Upcoming Events 2019

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

Youth and Young Adult 

Online – Gathered Here: Young Adult Check-In, – date and time to be announced
Gathered Here is a monthly online check-in and gathering for Canadian Unitarian Universalist young adults.

Online Events

Worship as a Beacon for Congregational Growth – Part 2,  November 9, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. ET
Learn how to create and sustain a strong worship program for both clergy and lay led congregations in this online event. Our presenter is the Rev. Dr. Barbara Wells ten Hove. Registration available soon!

Connecting and Deepening – Virtual Gathering, November 10, December 8, January 12, February 9, March 8 (2nd Sunday of the month), 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. ET
Join us for the opportunity to discuss matters of spiritual and theological significance in small and connect with people across the country.

Serving With Spirit: Stronger Together, Planning for Partnership, November 23, 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. MT
Explore our potential for meaningful, creative congregational networking and partnerships. Together, develop strategies to support and sustain the growing number of small congregations. Rev. Joan Becelaere is the presenter for this event.
Registration available soon!

Rethinking UU Governance, Saturday, December 7, 2019, 12:30 –  2:00 p.m. ET
Many Canadian UU congregations struggle to find ways in which our very governance, style of organization, will reflect our values and resonate with the lives of those who engage within our communities. Join us for a conversation, beginning with two powerful stories and opening for all participants to share their ideas, experiments and questions. Our two presenters will be Mr. Sanford Osler, North Shore Unitarian Church and Rev. Jessica Rodela, Grand River Unitarian.
Registration available soon!


2019 Unicamp Young Adult Retreat, September 13 – 16, Unicamp
Join UU young adults (18 – 35) for a wonderful weekend of community, conversation and outdoor adventures  amidst the fall colours. Unicamp provides the perfect setting for a relaxing and rejuvenating retreat with new and old UU friends.
Registration deadline: September 9

Western Region Fall Gathering, October 18 – 20,  Unitarian Church of Edmonton
The Unitarian Church of Edmonton, the Westwood Unitarian Congregation and the CUC welcome you to imagine our Thriving Future! Gather together to explore new avenues to create welcoming spaces, be re-energized with great music and seek better environmental realities with new allies. Registration deadline: October 7

Western Region Youth Con, October 18 – Oct 20, Unitarian Church of Edmonton
Swim on over to the Western Region Youth Con 2019 in Edmonton, Alberta! It will be an amazing weekend filled with fun activities, worship, games, and multigenerational workshops and meals. Join junior youth (12-12), youth (14-20) and advisors (25+) from across the Western Region for this annual youth con, which is part of the larger multigenerational Western Regional Fall Gathering.
Registration deadline: October 7

Eastern Region Fall Gathering, October 19, First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa
The Eastern Region Fall Gathering offers participants an opportunity to meet other UUs as we explore some of the ways that we can respond to the challenges we face. Theme: Surviving and Thriving in Turbulent Times
Registration deadline: October 8


UU-UNO Intergenerational Spring Seminar On Climate Justice, April 15-18, 2020, New York, NY

International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (ICUU) Meeting & Conference, October 26 – November 1, 2020, Montreal, Canada. More information coming soon)