CUC eNews: December 18, 2019 – Issue 104

In This Issue:

Sharing Our Faith Worship Package Invites You to “Make Waves”

Every year the Canadian Unitarian Council offers worship materials to help congregations plan a Sharing Our Faith service to celebrate our faith in Canada. Many congregations organize this service in February, but it can be done at any time.

The 2020 Sharing Our Faith package focuses on the theme of Making Waves. Compiled by Rev. Fran Dearman with contributions from Canadian UU ministers, the material contains an eclectic collection of reflections, art, readings, and sermons for your congregation’s use in planning your 2020 Sharing Our Faith service. We hope that the use of these collective worship materials will strengthen the awareness of interdependence and connections of our congregations across the country.

Making Waves is also the theme for the CUC’s 2020 National Conference held in Halifax NS from May 15-17, 2020.  The theme encourages and challenges UUs to make waves that embody justice, practice radical inclusion, challenge the status quo, and push us to remain relevant into the future.

Download the Sharing our Faith Package 2020 (pdf or Word doc)

Lay Chaplaincy Program Offers Rituals for Any Occasion

By Joy Silver with contributions by Katherine Roback, Louise Bunn and Laureen Stokes

The unique Canadian Lay Chaplaincy (LC) program was born in 1970, inspired by the late Rev. Dr. Phillip Hewett, Minister Emeritus of the Unitarian Church of Vancouver. Ever since, Lay Chaplains across Canada have reported their deepening, growing, and maturing experiences of co-creating sacred, transformative rites of passage. These transitions extend to any passage that is life changing: alcoholism to sobriety; becoming a new driver; death of an unborn/still-born child; death of a beloved pet; the end of unity with a partner; ageing; and holding sacred space for medical assistance in dying.

The Canadian Unitarian Council supports the lay chaplains who perform these rites of passage through the Lay Chaplaincy Committee, currently led by Ellen Newman, Chair (Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga) and Rev. Linda Thompson (CUC Congregational Life Lead, Central and Eastern) as the staff liaison. Experienced lay chaplains and congregational lay chaplaincy committee members — current or retired — representing each of our regional districts form the rest of the committee. The program exists primarily to provide quality rites of passage in a manner consistent with the CUC-endorsed Principles and Sources for members of the public and members of CUC congregations lacking a minister. 

 The program also serves the following secondary purposes: 

    • to promote or showcase Unitarian and Unitarian Universalist values;
    • to assist non-Unitarians in connecting with our Unitarian and Unitarian Universalist congregations;
    • to enhance the spiritual growth and development of lay chaplains. 

In support of these secondary purposes, the Committee has offered enrichment training modules covering topics such as: Challenging weddings and memorials; Understanding Rituals for Queer (LGBTQ) People; Deepening, Maturing, Growing (for experienced lay chaplains) and Outreach. The National CUC LC Committee is currently revising and revamping enrichment models, hoping to offer some of this training online. Watch the CUC Events calendar for upcoming training.

There will be more articles about lay chaplaincy in the coming months. 

Learn More About the Lay Chaplaincy Program

Midwinter Retreat Offers Relaxation and Fun

Get away this winter with Unitarians from Southern Ontario by attending the annual Midwinter Retreat, February 7-9, 2020! Held at the picturesque Cedar Glen YMCA Outdoor Centre in Schomberg, just north of Toronto, this year’s retreat features a variety of intriguing workshops, with indoor and outdoor options: choices may include yoga, charades, tarot, and more. There will also be a meaningful Sunday service featuring a chocolate communion! Cedar Glen has a multitude of trails, a ropes course, and many different outdoor activities. The weekend can be a chance to push boundaries, explore, have fun, relax, and meet new and old friends.

The keynote speaker will be Rev. Peter C. Boullata. His topic is “Envisioning the Emergent Future”, which will explore how Unitarian Universalism can engage the religious liberals of today and tomorrow.

Mail-in registration and online registration are available now. The registration deadline is January 29, 2020.

Learn More About the Retreat

Meet the new CanUUdle Coordinator: Alex Okrainetz!

We are pleased to announce that CanUUdle’s newest Coordinator is Alex Okrainetz! The CanUUdle Coordinator is the main staff support for CanUUdle, the CUC’s annual national youth conference. Alex will be working closely with the CanUUdle volunteer “staff” team of youth and adults and liaising with local host congregation representatives to plan CanUUdle XX in Halifax. 

Alex grew up in North Vancouver, attending the North Shore Unitarian Church. She was introduced to Unitarian Universalism on a “bring a friend” Sunday and it has felt like home ever since! Currently she is an active congregant and youth advisor at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver. Her favourite part of working with youth is how thoughtful, funny, and dynamic they are. 

Alex recently completed her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology at the University of British Columbia (UBC). She spent a lot of her time at UBC in conversations small and large about zero waste, divestment, and community. Through various life experiences, she developed a particular passion for the intersection of social and environmental justice. 

In her spare time you can find her thrifting with her sisters, writing letters to old Con friends, and singing anything and everything that comes to mind. Her favourite meals are red lentil coconut curry, and something called “egg roll in a bowl”. If you ask she would be happy to share recipes!

Alex is thrilled to support a team of wonderful youth and adults as the CanUUdle Coordinator. She found support and strong community in CanUUdle and other Cons when she was a youth and can’t wait to have a part in continuing this tradition!

Learn More About CanUUdle

Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Youth Con Pilot – Unitarian Church of Vancouver, February 28 – March 1, 2020 – Save the Date!

The Unitarian Church of Vancouver and North Shore Unitarian Church are co-hosting the first pilot of the Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Reflection Guide (THRRG) for youth. This THRRG event is a weekend youth con, and will run from 6 p.m. on Friday, February 28 to 10 a.m. on Sunday, March 1, 2020. Youth and advisors from across the BC region are welcome to attend. 

The program uses the CBC’s 8th Fire television series and creative activities to explore the many aspects of reconciliation. There will be an opportunity for participants to brainstorm with their youth groups about reconciliation projects that they could take part in in their home communities. 

Registration will happen through the Vancouver Unitarians’ website and will be open from January 6 until February 17. More information will be available soon on the CUC’s Events Calendar. For now, mark your calendars! 

Learn More About the CUC’s Truth, Healing, and Reconciliation Reflection Guides

In Memoriam

Marilyn Prevost of the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa passed away on December 2, 2019. Marilyn was a well-known and well-loved member of the congregation. Marilyn’s partner, Maury, serves on the CUC’s Nominating Committee.

A celebration of Marilyn’s life will take place on Saturday, January 11th, 2020 at the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa, 30 Cleary Ave, with visitation at 1:00 p.m., the service at 2:00 p.m., and a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Multifaith Housing Initiative or a charity of your choice.

Read the Obituary

CUC Holiday Hours

The CUC office will be closed from Friday, December 20 at noon and re-open on Thursday, January 2.
The next edition of the eNews will be in January 2020.

The CUC staff teams wishes all of you a bright, peaceful and joyous holiday season!

Visit & like the Canadian Unitarian Council on Facebook!

Upcoming Events 2019 – 2020

Share what’s going on in your congregation. Contact

Youth and Young Adults

Online – Gathered Here: Young Adult Check-In, January 13, February 10, March 9, April 13, June 8, July 13, August 10  – 8 p.m. ET
Gathered Here is a monthly online check-in and gathering for Canadian Unitarian Universalist young adults. Zoom (

OWL Young Adult, Adult and Older Adult Facilitator Training, February 9, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. ET
Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga, Trainers: Rev. Christopher Wulff and Monica Bennett
Registration coming soon!

Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Youth Con Pilot, February 28 – March 1, 2020 – Hosted by the Unitarian Church of Vancouver and North Shore Unitarian Church. More information and registration available soon.

Online Events

Connect and Deepen – Virtual Gathering, Monthly – 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 groups and connect with people across the country.

What’s In a Name? – Online roundtable via Zoom,  February 22, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. ET
A recent discussion on the CUC Leaders list focused on the language we use to describe our Unitarian Universalist communities. This Roundtable is an opportunity for us to consider the summary, to review some additional materials and then to share our questions. Registration deadline: February 13.

Mission Statement: Who Are We? What Do We Do?, March 21, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. ET
This webinar will provide some background on mission statements and will also give us an opportunity to practice using one as a decision-making tool. Registration deadline: March 12.


Annual UU Midwinter Retreat – 20/20 Visions,  February 7 – 9, 2020
YMCA Cedar Glen Outdoor Centre, Schomberg, ON
Keynote Speaker: Rev. Peter Boullata, enjoy workshops and outdoor/indoor activities.  Registration is open now!

2020 CUC National Annual General Meeting and Conference, May 15 – 17, 2020, Halifax, Nova Scotia  Hosted by the Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax
The theme for Conference 2020 is Making Waves! More information coming soon.

CanUUdle XX: Celebrate 20 years of CanUUdle!, May 15 – 18, 2020,  Halifax, Nova Scotia 
Hosted by the Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax
CanUUdle is the beloved annual youth conference where youth and adult allies from across Canada (and sometimes from the States!) gather to worship, build community, and grow in their Unitarian Universalist identities alongside the multigenerational National Conference. In 2020 CanUUdle will be celebrating its 20th anniversary. Registration will open in winter 2020. More information coming soon.

Chorus 2020: National Young Adult Conference, May 15 – 17, 2020, Halifax, NS
Join UUs from across Canada at the National Conference, where the theme for 2020 is Making Waves. There will be specific programming, worship, and socializing opportunities just for young adults within the multigenerational Conference, as well as the beloved Bridging Ceremony and dinner with the youth of CanUUdle. Registration will open in winter 2020. More information coming soon.


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

Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly, June 24 – 28, 2020, Providence, RI
Early registration available through March 15.

International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (ICUU) Meeting & Conference, October 26 – November 1, 2020, Montreal, Canada
Supported by the CUC, this ICUU Conference is an excellent opportunity to meet and get to know UUs from all over the world. Donations from Canadians go to support leadership development for participants from emerging members groups.