CUC eNews: December 15, 2021 – Issue 134
In This Issue:
- Letter From Vyda
- After the 8th Principle Vote: What’s Ahead?
- Widening the Circle – Canadian Edition: Save the dates!
- Meet a Minister: Rev. Samaya Oakley
- Update on the UU@UN 2022 Intergenerational Spring Seminar
- Call for 2022 Programming at Unicamp
- News from the CUC National Lay Chaplaincy Committee
- Canadian UUs Changing Lives in East Africa
- Bring the Zaki Family to Canada: Peterborough Seeks Your Help
- Update on National Sunday Services
- Communications Manager: A Crucial Position for the CUC
- The International UU Community Is Evolving
- What’s Making Us Smile
- Upcoming Events
Season’s greetings from the CUC.
Our office will close at noon on December 22 and reopen on January 4.
Wishing you a peaceful and blessed holiday season.
Letter From Vyda
“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change their future by merely changing their attitude.” Oprah Winfrey
With the CUC’s recent adoption of an eighth principle for “individual and communal action to accountably dismantle racism and systemic barriers to full inclusion in ourselves and our institutions,” we asked some UUs about what they were feeling after the vote and as they turn their attention ahead. They shared that they were hopeful, excited, curious, and determined. As well, being scared, worried, and tired also surfaced, while some felt re-energized and affirmed.
The process has brought up strong feelings for many of us. These conversations have stretched us beyond our comfort zones, and engaged us in ways that demanded participation – there was no fence-sitting in this process. In recognizing the continuum of emotions and positions, we celebrate this moment as an act of good faith, an intentional step toward this aspirational future.
Adopting an 8th principle is hardly the first time that our UU faith community has grappled with change, nor will it be the last. As Rev. Anne Barker observed in her remarks at the young adult-led service on November 28, we have made changes in response to inequities, and when the need was there. Art Brewer of the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto led the movement to introduce and implement the Welcoming Congregations program in our congregations, and there have been changes to the principles themselves, including the adoption of the seventh principle. As well, the CUC’s transition away from the Unitarian Universalist Association in the early 2000s generated very strong feelings and contrasting opinions. We have weathered change, and we will continue to do so.
Mahatma Gandhi reflected that “We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”
The work is ongoing, and often challenging, in fulfilling our vision of a world in which our interdependence calls us to engage in love and justice. To do this work, we need to be willing to change and to remain in relationship with each other.
Access the video message from Rev. Anne Barker, President of the UU Ministers of Canada, after the vote.
Be well friends,
After the 8th Principle Vote: What’s Ahead?
In response to the adoption of the eighth principle, many are probably wondering what is next. Right now, let us take a deep breath. We need time to rest and reflect, particularly as we head into a second holiday season amidst the pandemic. This has been a challenging and exhausting process in many ways on multiple levels. We recognize the commitment so many showed to this process by attending and participating in forums, roundtables, the special meeting, by facilitating conversations in congregations, and we acknowledge what we have accomplished as a result.
There is, of course, much more work to be done. The CUC Board invites you to a leaders’ roundtable on January 29, 2022, to share your thoughts about how we can go forward together.
CUC staff will be hosting a series of forums on inclusivity starting in February 2022, as part of the mandate to dismantle systemic barriers to full inclusion. The initial series of three Inclusivity forums will focus on alternative relationships and families, disabilities, and classicism (watch for details in future editions of the eNews). Other resources, readings and tools are planned and in process. The CUC Board has voted to implement the Dismantling Racism Study Group’s recommendations, which will mean an additional commitment in human and financial resources, and the updated 2022 budget will reflect this.
In the meantime, we invite congregations to imagine what the future holds for our national faith community: what does Unitarian Universalism look like in 10 years? What are your wildest imaginings? What resources and tools will you need to move forward? Engage in reflection and conversation on these questions, and bring your answers (or further questions) back to our gatherings.
Widening the Circle – Canadian Edition: Save the Dates!
The 2022 Widening the Circle of Concern: Canadian Edition reimagines the original sessions which were scheduled in the fall of 2021. Leaders and changemakers are invited in the spring of 2022 to participate in a Canadian UU learning and exploration experience on deepening and living out our values of social justice and equity. The sessions are based on the Unitarian Universalist Association’s “Widening the Circle of Concern” Study Guide, which we have adapted to our Canadian context.
We invite your congregation/community to send a team of lay and professional leaders and aspiring change-makers – those who have a demonstrated commitment to dismantling racism, systemic barriers to full inclusion, justice, and equity, and who are interested in changing systems. We aim to equip these participants with the tools to be facilitators of change in their congregations and communities.
There will be four dates, with two 90-minutes sessions on each date:
March 12, March 26, April 9, and April 23, 2022
Session I: 9:30am PT / 10:30am MT / 11:30am CT / 12:30pm ET / 1:30pm AT (1.5 hours)
Session II: 11:45am PT / 12:45pm MT / 1:45pm CT / 2:45pm ET / 3:45pm AT (1.5 hours)
Meet a Minister: Rev. Samaya Oakley
Rev. Samaya Oakley has served as the minister for the South Fraser Unitarian Congregation since 2016. She was first introduced to Unitarian Universalism 25 years ago by Lynn Sabourin, the then-Director of Religious Education at North Shore Unitarian Church. Rev. Samaya got started on the ministerial path during a visit to Murray Grove, New Jersey, considered by many to be the birthplace of Unitarian Universalism in North America. She realized there that this was the denomination she wanted to pursue ministry in and began saying “yes” to anything that would further that goal.
Samaya finds many different aspects of ministry rewarding, knowing people have taken away something from her words. She relishes when people have “aha” moments in their faith journey, and the opportunities Unitarian Universalism offers for lifelong learning. An especially meaningful area of ministry for Samaya is her involvement with the Our Whole Lives (OWL) sexuality education. She is a trainer for the elementary and youth levels as well as a facilitator for the young adult, adult, and older adult levels, the last of which she found particularly revealing.
“To see couples coming and taking that program I know it fundamentally shifted their relationship,” she says, “and that is the cool thing about ministry, we’re privileged to witness some phenomenal changes in people’s lives.”
Samaya was one of the drivers that launched the CUC’s Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Reflection Guides, as a commitment to fulfilling some of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation recommendations. As a way of furthering equity and inclusion in our predominantly white congregations, Samaya believes Canadian congregations can remain relevant by engaging with the recommendations of UUA’s Commission on Institutional Change, the Widening the Circle report on racial justice.
Update on the UU@UN Intergenerational Spring Seminar
The UU@UN’s 2022 Intergenerational Spring Seminar will address the theme of “Displacement and Human Rights: All In for Climate Justice.” Reports from the United Nations and other experts have made it clear that climate change has already begun inflicting irreversible damage on communities and ecosystems, and the seminar will focus on climate-forced displacement.
The online seminar takes place from April 22 – May 1, 2022. The UU@UN is excited to be partnering with the Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth and UUSC (Unitarian Universalist Service Committee) on this event. Registration for the Seminar will open in January 2022. In the coming weeks, a tentative schedule will be shared online with additional details about what to expect.
“Our call to action is all in for climate justice,” says Allison Hess, the UUA’s International Engagement Associate. “We expect the programming to lift up experiences, speakers, and presenters and folks who are most directly impacted by climate-forced displacement and climate injustice and affirming the rights of those who are affected to self-determination.”
The intergenerational seminar is an opportunity to collaborate with others while learning how to be a global activist. Although this year’s programming will be fully online, organizers are also encouraging participants to gather together on the weekends to share their experiences.
“All the programs for the seminar are going to take place online,” says Hess, “and then we’re hoping to work with congregations around the US and Canada to host local gatherings so that attendees of the seminar who are located close to each other can come together for a few hours to connect on the things they’re learning about.”
Hess believes that the greater accessibility of this year’s seminar makes it a great opportunity for congregations to involve multiple participants, instead of fundraising to send one or two people to New York City as in years past. And the virtual format, she believes, will still allow for the sharing that has made past seminars so meaningful.
“After attending those small group discussions, people share just how much more meaningful the whole experience really is,” she says, “being able to have a connection with the attendees and just seeing what you are sharing in the group caused someone else’s eyes to light up, and sparking inspiration or ideas that they then share with the whole group. I think that’s one of the things the seminar is all about, bringing people together intergenerationally to learn with and from each other.”
Call for 2022 Programming at Unicamp
By Yvette Salinas, Unicamp Executive Director
Would you like to facilitate a program or event at Unicamp during the summer of 2022? We’re looking for leaders in spirituality, creativity, recreation, self-care, education, activism, nature connection, and more! BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ facilitators are particularly welcome!
Programs can be free (Unicamp will provide the facilitator’s room and board) or paid (the facilitator receives all participant fees and pays for their own accommodation). Events should be free and all-ages.
We have a variety of indoor and outdoor venues.
For more info, to discuss an idea, or to submit your proposal, contact Brendon at email@example.com
News from the CUC National Lay Chaplaincy Committee
The CUC National Lay Chaplaincy Committee – Training Development Team is asking current Lay Chaplains and those thinking about becoming Lay Chaplains to please pencil in the following dates and to stay tuned for more information on these upcoming training events and opportunities:
Basics Training – Designing And Leading Rights Of Passage
February 26 & 27 and March 5 & 6, 2022: Two Weekends / 6-8 Sessions
*The “Basics” course is mandatory training for anyone seeking to be approved as a CUC Lay Chaplain.
Online Q&A Session for new and prospective Lay Chaplains
Tuesday, January 25, 2022, at 7 pm ET
Facilitated by Anne Coward and Yvette Roberts
Your CUC National Lay Chaplain Committee is here to support you and answer any questions you may have as a Lay Chaplain, a Lay Chaplaincy Committee member, or a congregational member interested in exploring Lay Chaplaincy. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Canadian UUs Changing Lives in East Africa
In 2015, Unitarian Universalist Minister Rev. Fulgence Ndagijiimana was put in prison in Burundi, Africa for the work of his congregation there. He was arrested, beaten and threatened, and was forced to flee Burundi. Canadian UUs were part of a global movement that worked together to get him released, and he was able to come to Canada. Keenly aware of how he was helped by people here when he was in need, Fulgence didn’t forget those that were left behind.
He founded a nonprofit named Flaming Chalice International (FCI), a Canadian-recognized charity that works with refugees to sponsor them, and which supports work in Burundi. Most recently, Canadian UUs responded to a more personal request—a project which pays tribute to Fulgence’s mother by transforming the community in which he grew up. It is a water project that will benefit several villages and a school and serve a total of more than 1600 people. The project is underway and will mean women will not have to walk long distances to get water, and diseases related to unsafe water will be eliminated. It will be life-changing for many people.
In the past several years, UU donations have enabled FCI to:
- Provide shelter and help with other basic needs for 30 Burundian refugees living in Rwanda
- Offer occasional financial/business support to over 100 refugee families living in East Africa
- Sponsor a supportive gathering place for over 350 refugees
- Subsidize educational expenses for 35 university students
- Develop a community center serving 1000 people and 8 villages in central Burundi
In the development and humanitarian work of Flaming Chalice International, UU values are enacted when voices of communities are listened to and provided with what they say they need in the ways that they say they need it. Flaming Chalice’s leadership model involves the majority of its leaders being from the communities that they serve, which creates a different way of functioning. Underlying the work of FCI is a focus on relationships—both in East Africa and here in Canada. “The relationships we have built doing this work have put us in a precious position of trust, where we can make long term and truly transformative investments”, says Fulgence.
According to Rev. Fulgence, to make the most of this opportunity, a strong monthly donor base is crucial. Canadian UUs from across the country have stepped up to meet this challenge. One of them is Jane Ebbern of the Calgary Unitarians and a former CUC Board President, who writes, “Flaming Chalice International is doing some great and very needed work in East Africa and, as a result, I have recently doubled my monthly donation.” Rev. Fulgence continues, “Knowing that we can count on regular donations will give FCI the flexibility to respond quickly to unpredictable situations, as well as to plan for the future.”
Canadian UUs have worked side by side with FCI with the people who face challenges but want to move past them into the world that they envision for themselves and their families. UU individuals and communities from across this country are “giving hope when hope is hard to find.” Donate at Flaming Chalice International.
Bring the Zaki Family to Canada: Peterborough Seeks Your Help
The members of the Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough, Ontario are experienced refugee sponsors. Working with the Canadian Unitarian Council, UFP is helping newcomers from Syria and Afghanistan to make new lives in Canada.
They have responded to an urgent plea to sponsor and fund the Zaki family after Saba Sahar survived an assassination attempt.
Ms. Sahar was acting Deputy Commander of Security and Director of Human Rights at the Ministry of Interior of Afghanistan, a well-known figure in the field of cinema, and an activist for the protection of womens’ rights. Shortly after leaving her home for work on the morning of August 25, 2020, with her 4-year-old daughter beside her, her car was attacked by several gunmen, who wounded 2 of her bodyguards and shot her four times in the abdomen. Ms. Sahar was severely wounded but survived her injuries following multiple operations.
The UFP team has been active since 2014 and has successfully raised all the necessary funds for previous resettlements. Their congregation of just 120 members settled 3 refugee families in Peterborough. Arthur Herold, Chair of the Refugee Sponsorship Committee said, “When our sponsorship team heard the Zaki family’s story, we could not say “no” to this family’s needs. Sponsorship involves supporting the family financially for one year and helping them get established in Canada in numerous ways, such as learning English, preparing for employment, receiving needed medical care, supporting the children’s education, understanding Canadian culture, etc.”
A separate fundraiser has raised 3/4 of the funds necessary for the family, and Arthur said, “We still need another $15,000 U.S. to carry off the sponsorship. Here we have set our goal for $10,000 U.S. In today’s world, it is easy to feel helpless in the face of so much need. This sponsorship is for us a way to do something personal. We hope you feel moved to be a part of it.”
The application was approved by the Refugee, Immigration and Citizenship Canada in June 2021; help UFP bring the family to Canada and help fulfill one of the CUC’s strategic priorities relating to refugee sponsorship. Donate at Faithify, a US-based UU crowdfunding platform.
Update on National Sunday Services
The CUC’s national Sunday services, which were launched in 2020 amidst the pandemic as a way for UUs to connect nationally, have become much-anticipated events. The most recent service on November 28th, “Change is Nature,” coordinated by youth and young adults, was a smash hit. One participant wrote, “This is such a fresh, profound, moving, delighting service. I’m so glad I signed on – I almost didn’t!”
As a result of the wide appeal, the CUC is committed to hosting three online national services a year, with the collaboration of the UU Ministers of Canada. The services will take place in February, May, and November. The service on February 6th, 2022 is the Sharing Our Faith service, and the spring service is on May 15, both at 1 pm ET. Congregations are invited to join us live for these services or to use them in place of their regular Sunday service. The services will be posted to the CUC”s YouTube channel in the week following the service.
Communications Manager: A Crucial Position for the CUC
There might have been a teeny, small, barely-noticeable gap in the eNews monthly publication schedule. All right, we confess – this is the first edition we’ve published since August.
Why? Because we are sorely missing a Communications Manager. Our Comms person is responsible for coordinating all the CUC’s communications, needs a solid background in communications, is equally comfortable with details and big picture strategic thinking, loves to be in the centre of the action, and understands the nuances of our faith. The CM is also social media savvy, an excellent writer and storyteller, and knows how to develop and work a communications plan.
This is a full-time position with benefits. Read the full job description and apply by January 10, 2022.
The International UU Community Is Evolving
The International Council of Unitarians and Universalists was a network of Unitarian, Universalist and Unitarian Universalist organizations, which comprised 22 national full member groups and provisional and emerging groups representing Unitarians from more than a dozen more countries.
The Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Council was an organization created to foster and support partner relationships between UU congregations and individuals in the United States and Canada with Unitarian and Unitarian Universalist congregations, orphanages, schools, and students in all other countries where partnering was sought and welcomed.
In looking to the future and realizing the current models and organizations were not completely serving the needs of global UUS, these two organizations decided to imagine a different future. In early 2020, the two groups convened the International U/U Collaboration Group to envision a new future for global collaboration based on their shared values.
Upon concluding its work, the Collaboration Group released a report, “A New Vision”, in September 2021, which recommended the dissolution of both organizations, and the creation of a new framework for global Unitarian/Universalist relationships.
In its report, the Collaboration Group recommends that the new framework starts with a Leadership and Design Team, composed of up to 12 members, convened and facilitated by a Transitional Director for International U/U Collaboration. This framework will emphasize equity, mutuality, inclusion, active listening, and respect for differences and commonalities.
Upon dissolution, in accordance with the Articles of Incorporation and the Memos of Understanding with the Unitarian Universalist Association, all assets of those two organisations will go to the UUA. The UUA has agreed to use those assets to support the transitional emergence of a new system of international U/U relationships. The UUA has committed to continue funding this international work at the same level they were the UUPCC and ICUU, and the CUC will continue to submit dues to the UUA for the creation of the new framework.
What’s Making Us Smile
“On the Nature of Daylight,” performed by That Cello Guy, was featured with permission at the young adult-led service in November. We invite you to enjoy it again at your leisure.
Upcoming Events (online via Zoom)
Share what’s going on in your congregation. Contact email@example.com
Celebrons ensemble – une célébration mensuelle en français pour les jeunes adultes canadiens UU
le mercredi 15 décembre à 20 h (heure de l’Est) et 19 janvier
UU BIPOC Space
Saturday, December 18, 9 pm PT |10 pm MT |11 pm CT | 12 pm ET | 1 pm AT
Rising Together – For Youth (14-19) and emerging adults (18-24) of colour
December 18 & January 15, 1:30 pm PT | 2:30 pm MT | 3:30 pm CT | 4:30 pm ET | 5:30 pm AT
Elder’s Circle No 2: Sharon Jinkerson-Brass
January 5, 4 pm PT | 5 pm MT | 6 pm CT | 7 pm ET | 8 pm AT
Connect and Deepen – Virtual Gathering
Sunday, January 9 & 23, 1 pm PT |2 pm MT| 3 pm CT| 4 pm ET| 5 pm AT
Monday, January 10, 5 pm PT | 6 pm MT | 7 pm CT | 8 pm ET | 9 pm AT
The MyceliUUm Youth Network of Canada
Saturday, January 22, 11 am PT | 12 pm MT | 1 pm CT | 2 pm ET | 3 pm AT
Serving with Spirit: Nurturing UU Leaders
Online Mini-series: January 23 & 30, February 6, 13 & 20, 2022
1 – 3 pm PT | 2 – 4 pm MT| 3- 5 pm CT| 4- 6 pm ET |5- 7 pm AT
Ask Us Anything – Lay Chaplaincy Edition
Tuesday, January 25, 4:00 pm PT | 5:00 pm MT | 6:00 pm CT | 7:00 pm ET | 8:00 pm AT
Leaders Roundtable – After the 8th Principle Vote: Let’s Talk Next Steps
Saturday, January 29, 2022, 9:00 am PT | 10 am MT | 11 am CT | Noon ET | 1:00 pm AT
Inclusivity Forum – Welcoming Alternative Relationships and Families
Responsibility Covenant Focus Group Session 1 – Alternative Relationships and Families
Wednesday, February 2 – 4 pm PT | 5 pm MT | 6 pm CT | 7 pm ET | 8 pm AT