CUC eNews: February 16, 2021 – Issue 128

In This Issue:

Letter From Vyda

“The best ideas start as conversations.”
– Jonathan Ive

As I write this, we recently marked Imbolc (also known as Groundhog Day), and the lunar Year of the Ox has just started. While we’re still clearly in the midst of winter in much of Canada, the days are getting longer, even if the air is not necessarily getting warmer. We look forward to the days when we can once again gather safely in person, but in the meantime, the “virtual coffee hours” following our Sunday services have provided some much-needed opportunities to connect. Indeed, some people have remarked that a benefit of these coffee hours is that we often find ourselves in a Zoom room with people whom we wouldn’t normally talk to. Our national Sunday services have provided such opportunities, most recently at the Sharing Our Faith service on February 7th. After worship and reflections on the topic of “A Faith Worth Failing For,” participants gathered in breakout rooms to talk about which mistakes have been their best teachers.

This trend has also gone beyond our coffee hours. It was the desire to bring together BIPOC —Black, Indigenous, and people of colour — youth and young adults, people who have often felt isolated within UU circles, that inspired our young leaders to create Rising Together, an online gathering for youth and emerging adults of colour. The hope is that this bi-monthly online gathering will nurture a community whose members affirm each other and ensure they have a confident voice in the broader UU community. The first meeting was an unqualified success, and participants are looking forward to connecting again.

The power of conversation will also be on display on February 22nd at Dr. David Wiley Campt’s keynote presentation, “The Power of Dialogue: Talking about racism & difficult topics while building deeper connections, greater understanding, and more empathy,” followed by a two-part workshop on March 6 and 13. These sessions will equip participants to engage in transformative conversations around issues of systemic racism. David offers hands-on and practical training using his R.A.C.E. method that will help all of us feel confident moving forward, even if we have no expertise in this area. His simple but effective approach has shown the ability to change hearts and minds on this sometimes contentious topic.

Events such as virtual coffee hours,  Rising Together, and David’s workshops have been made possible in part by technology. But here’s hoping that even when we are no longer confined to Zoom, these opportunities to engage with a broader segment of our congregations — and beyond —continue. There is so much we can learn from conversations, especially if we are willing to listen more than we talk. Many of the ones we are having within our communities right now aren’t easy, but this doesn’t mean they’re not engaging or should be avoided. Indeed, the opposite is true. It’s by having difficult but necessary conversations that we move closer towards the beloved community we aspire to be.

Be well friends,
Vyda Ng
Executive Director

Important Information for CUC Annual General Meeting Delegates

The Canadian Unitarian Council’s 2021 Annual General Meeting will be held virtually on Saturday, May 8 from 1 – 4:30 pm ET. Motions for the AGM can be accessed here, along with information about providing feedback.

Anyone may attend but only congregationally-approved delegates may vote. Each congregation that is in good standing with the Canadian Unitarian Council is entitled to a specific number of voting delegates, in accordance with CUC bylaws Section 3.1. Delegates must be registered by April 1 in order to vote.

Congregational delegates should have:

  • Knowledge of the proposed motions, and indications from the congregation about how to vote
  •  A level of comfort using online technology
  • A laptop or desktop with a web camera, microphone and speakers
  •  Reliable high-speed internet

A roundtable discussion will be held on February 20 at 12 pm ET to discuss the motions being presented. Please join us for this conversation and share your feedback.

Delegates are encouraged to sign up for the delegates email group, if they are not already a member, by emailing with a request to join. There will be an orientation video for delegates available in March.

The CUC’s National Conference – A Glimpse Ahead

The CUC’s 2021 National Conference is taking place virtually May 14 – 16 and will feature the engaging workshops, music, and social opportunities UUs have come to know and love. Registration is opening March 15, but here are some details in the meantime so that you can save the dates (please note that the CUC’s AGM is a separate event this year, taking place on May 8).


    • The theme for this year’s conference is Sustaining Our Light. The conference will feature a choice of 11 workshops, with topics including Lighting up our Unitarian Communities; reconciliation and dismantling racism; and conversations about death. There will also be many of the usual events, including a dialogue with the board, networking sessions for large and small congregations, and the Sunday morning worship service. A virtual wellness lounge will offer participants the chance to drop in for yoga, quiet meditation, or just to chat and chill over coffee.
    • Rev. Anne Barker’s confluence lecture, entitled “A New Premise” will be released in March, available for viewing ahead of the conference weekend. On Friday, May 14, at the start of the conference, we will offer a short review to refresh your memory and open the floor to questions and conversation with Rev. Anne.
    • We will be honouring our Friends of the CUC with a  “Friends Only”  invitation to an exclusive reception, held via Zoom, for those who donate directly to support the work of the CUC.  It’s not too late to become a  Friend of the CUC! Donate today and receive an invitation to the reception. 
    • The Lighter Side Comedy Open Mic event, Saturday, May 15 at 8 pm ET,  will feature comedy in the form of music, storytelling, poetry, spoken word and jokes from UUs of all ages. Would you like to share a  joke, funny story, magic trick, improv skit, or something that made you laugh?  We are inviting UUs of all ages to sign up by 3 am ET on Saturday, May 1 to share their funny talent (for up to 5  minutes). We’ll have as many participants as time allows. Questions?  Email 

Children/Youth/Young Adults

    • Fun online live and interactive sessions for children and their families will give them a chance to explore how they let their light shine. 
    • CazUUm is the online counterpart to CanUUdle, the beloved annual national conference for Unitarian Universalist youth (ages 14-19) and their adult advisors.  This year’s theme is Finding TreasUUre! Inspired by pirates and others who find treasure in unlikely places, together we will uncover the precious gems that are hiding in these difficult times.CazUUm activities will include 
      • youth-led worship, 
      • connecting in small groups, 
      • imagining the future of Canadian UU youth organizing, 
      • and of course, plenty of fun and games! 

There will also be opportunities for multigenerational connection with junior youth, young adults and others during the traditional Bridging Ceremony and Sunday morning worship. 

    • Ensemble is the virtual counterpart to Chorus, the annual national conference for Unitarian Universalist young adults (ages 18-35).   Ensemble registrants will have access to all offerings of the CUC National Conference, plus special activities just for the YA community. There will also be opportunities to welcome in older youth who are joining the YA community through bridging events.

Call for Singers 

    • Susanne Maziarz,  the Conference’s music director invites you to be a part of this unique, cross-Canada UU virtual choir. We’ll be creating a virtual choir video of Rev. Lynn Harrison’s song ‘Keep it Alight’, written in January 2021 for the conference. Susanne has arranged the song SAB (Soprano, Alto, Baritone) and all are welcome to sing. The video will be the prelude at the Sunday service of the conference. If you’re interested in participating, join us on Saturday, February 20 and February 27, at 2 pm ET via Zoom. After the second rehearsal, reference tracks will be made available to practice with, and you will have a few weeks to record yourself. We are hoping to have a few singers from all of the congregations in Canada participate. You can contact Susanne at for more information.

Share Your Flame!

Come, come, whoever you are. We are creating a collaborative, multigenerational video of – YOU! We want you to share your energy and light by being the flames in our collective chalice, and the compiled video will be debuted at the national conference. Put to music your best moves and statements of how you keep your fire burning!  We invite people of ALL ages to participate in this fun and embodied expression of our faith/light! 

Create a video that shows what your flame looks like in a 10-second clip for each style.  Select 1 or more styles to show us the ways your flame takes shape, through movement. Here’s an example

Show us your… 

    • Smouldering Ember Dance 
    • Flickering Flame Dance
    • Roaring Fire Dance
    • Diversity Dance

Here’s how to create your video:

    • Use your laptop or cell phone camera, in landscape mode  
    • Make sure we can see your full body 
    • Turn on the lights, cue your music, and dance!  
    • Name the file “Firedance_name_fullcongregationname” – make sure not to use short forms like ‘First Unitarian’ or acronyms
    • Upload to Google Drive or email directly to by April 30, subject heading: Fire Dance Video- Full Congregation/Organization Name.

Don’t feel like dancing? Send us a sentence that answers the question, how do you keep your fire burning? 

Registration fees

Registration amounts are offered on a sliding scale, between $5 to $150. There will also be an option to contribute a lower or higher amount, as the sliding scale may not work for all. The lowest amount on the scale may still be too high for some, whereas others may be able to pay more than the highest amount. This option allows participants to decide how much they pay.

Registration for the conference opens on March 15.

Dr. David Wiley Campt on The Power of Dialogue to Dismantle Racism

The Canadian Unitarian Council is excited to be hosting international race relations expert Dr. David Wiley Campt as we mark Black History Month. For more than 25 years, Dr. Campt has helped a diverse array of clients address the challenging topic of racism through the power of conversation, working with organizations ranging from the US Coast Guard to Ford Motors and many others across North America and Europe. He’s also brought his R.A.C.E. method to many Unitarians and revealed its ability to change both hearts and minds. And now he’s offering an opportunity for both experienced anti-racism activists and newcomers to the topic to learn its power with a keynote address and workshop series beginning later this month.

On February 22nd, Dr. Campt’s keynote on “The Power of Dialogue” will allow Unitarian Universalists and others in Canada and abroad to connect in this important work, giving them access to a recognized expert in this field. Erin Horvath, the CUC’s Social Justice lead, is just one of the many people who’ve benefited from David’s approach through her involvement in a “White Ally-Tool Kit” workshop. She believes this chance to learn from him is coming at a valuable time and is excited to share the experience with others. 

“With the increased focus on systemic racism in recent months, many of us are feeling called to be allies but aren’t necessarily sure where to begin,” she says. “David reveals how a willingness to be vulnerable and demonstrate empathy are crucial tools we can start using right away. His approach resonated with me personally and professionally, and I believe it will also have a great impact on others who want to move the needle through conversation about difficult topics like racism. 

The keynote is followed by two workshops on March 6 and 13 on the R.A.C.E method, which uses conversation, compassion and vulnerability as ways to move forward on dismantling racism. 

The keynote and workshops will be eligible for Continuing Education Credits through the Society for Human Resources (relevant for professionals like counsellors, teachers, etc).  The keynote will be eligible for 1.5 credits and the workshop for 4 credits.

Watch Dr. Campt’s invitation

CUC Welcomes Ahna DiFelice as Conference Convener

The CUC is pleased to welcome Ahna DiFelice, our Organizational Administrator, as 2021’s Conference Convener, her first time filling this role. Performing the wide variety of tasks involved is something Ahna enjoys as it draws upon her interests and talents.

“I have the opportunity to interact with Unitarian Universalists across Canada, so I’m making a lot of connections,” she says. “Also, it’s very challenging to manage all the details, from setting up the schedules to understanding some of the technology that we’ll be using. There are many pieces to pull together, and it’s challenging and exciting.”

While her administrative career spans more than 20 years in healthcare and non-profits, Ahna also has a background as an Expressive Arts Facilitator and Therapeutic Clown. She is active in congregational life, currently a Lay Chaplain, and a life-long volunteer who is committed to living the values of inclusivity, contribution, service and bringing people together.

Ahna invites you to the conference and shares some information.

CUC Welcomes Melissa Horvath-Lucid as Canadian Content Curator

The CUC is pleased to welcome Melissa Horvath-Lucid, a member of the Unitarian Congregation of Guelph, to a six-month contract overseeing Canadian content curation and coordination. In this position, Melissa will be taking content the CUC currently has as well as gathering content from other sources and exploring how it can be made available for congregational use. She’s currently focusing on resources for Sunday services and lifespan learning. 

Melissa is trained as a mediator and currently works in post-secondary curriculum creation. Contact Melissa at


Minister profiles: Rev. Patricia Guthmann Haresch and E.N. Hill

Rev. Patricia Guthmann Haresch

The First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa is currently served by Rev. Patricia Guthmann Haresch, completing her third year as the congregation’s developmental minister, and E.N. Hill, a ministerial intern. Patricia grew up UU, and originally planned to be a psychotherapist but ultimately found that ministry was something that appealed to many of her interests and her desire to help people, and after a career as a legal assistant, went on to seminary. She has served as a minister for the past 17 years.

E.N. is a veteran of the US Air Force, who during their 15-year career with the military, experienced a series of pastoral situations that affirmed their calling to be a chaplain. Upon discovering the Church of the Larger Fellowship, they decided that Unitarian Universalism was the faith they wanted to pursue, and is hoping to re-enter the military as a Unitarian chaplain upon completion of the internship.

E.N. Hill

Despite the different paths Patricia and E.N. have taken on their journeys of faith, both share a belief in Unitarian Universalism’s continued relevance as it seeks to engage with the most pressing issues of the day while extending its hospitality to all who seek it.

“If we continue to work towards being the beloved community, the anti-racist, multicultural, anti-oppressive spiritual community that I know so many folks hunger for, if we as a whole keep working at that, at becoming a place of radical welcome and acceptance, I think we’ll stay relevant,” says E.N., “because at this time I still don’t know of any other spiritual denomination that does it like we do and so as we keep being here and growing and evolving, we’ll stay relevant.”



South Fraser Unitarian Congregation Minister Displays Black Lives Matter Sign as a Spiritual Practice

For one hour every Saturday afternoon since last summer, Rev. Samaya Oakley of the South Fraser Unitarian Congregation has been holding a sign reading “Black Lives Matter” in front of the church where her congregation meets. About 140 cars pass by the church every five minutes, and of those motorists, about 30 percent choose to visibly react, the vast majority of which is positive. Although her original commitment to this activism was to the end of December 2020, the response Oakley has received has encouraged her to continue it indefinitely.

“It is truly something that’s been really transformative for me to engage in this,” she says, “and when it came time in December, people were asking are you going to carry it on in the new year, this kind of thing, I thought about it and I went, ‘you know 140 cars in five minutes’, that’s reason enough to carry on.

Oakley finds that taking the hour out of her Saturday every week serves as a reminder of her privilege, in contrast to the racism members of the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of colour) community are subjected to daily.

“It’s a way of reminding me that I can use my privilege in ways that are for the greater good,” she says. “To build beloved community and say it’s important we do this.”

Canadian Unitarian and/or Universalist Women’s Association Marks International Women’s Day

For International Women’s Day, 2021, the CU*UWA invites you to take part in our Worship service and to reflect on the theme at home. We have prepared a package of materials on the theme of Sacred Space for worship, study, reflection, and inspiration. The Canadian Unitarian and/or Universalist Women’s Association (CU*UWA) invites all Unitarian*Universalists and congregations across Canada to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 7 or March 8, 2021.

 March 8 is International Women’s Day, and the CUUWA will be holding an IWD Service on March 7, 2021, at 5 pm ET, 2 pm, PT, on Zoom.

What’s Making Us Smile

These days of Covid have been a time for reaching out to offer connection, care, and comfort. It’s also been a time for creativity!

Ahna DiFelice, affectionately known as The Mailbox Whisperer, has combined these values and has rekindled an old-time love affair with snail mail in the process.  Sending more than 400 pieces of cheery mail art greetings to friends, strangers, and other mail swappers since March, she has brought smiles to all. As a part of this, Ahna’s congregation has recruited her to reach out to congregants and she created a “Postoral Care” initiative. She’s a member of “Mail Me Some Art” and “Letters Against Isolation”. Ahna’s “Mail Art” consists of whimsical collaged greetings, “Tea Parties”, “Memories of a Scented Garden” sachets, “Thank you for being Sew Awesome cards – for mask makers”,  word games, and even personalized word searches!  Her fan base continues to grow as do her offerings and creative ideas. About 80 percent of the materials used are re-purposed, up-cycled, and newly loved and appreciated!

Coming up soon are workshops for mail making, mail for personal growth and reflective practice,  craft kits, and care packages.

Upcoming Events (online via Zoom)

Share what’s going on in your congregation. Contact

Save the date for our National Conference
Join us for an amazing virtual experience at our National Conference May 14 – 16 2021. Registration information coming soon. 

Featured Events

Lay Chaplaincy Question and Answer Session
Thursday, February 18, 2020
4 pm PT|5 pm MT|6 pm CT|7 pm ET|8 pm AT
Please join with members of the National Lay Chaplaincy Committee for an informal information session.
More information

AGM Motions Roundtable
Saturday, February 20 at 9 am PT |10 am MT | 11 am CT |12  pm  ET |1 pm AT
More information

Call for Singers to Join the CUC 2021 Virtual Conference Choir
Saturday, February 20 at 11 am PT |12 pm MT | 1 pm CT |2  pm  ET |3 pm AT
More information

The Power of Dialogue With David Campt
Monday, February 22, 2021 at 4 pm PT|5 pm MT|6 pm CT|7 pm ET|8 pm AT
More information

Elder’s Circle With Stephen Paquette
Wednesday, February 24, 2021, 4:00 pm PT | 5:00 pm MT |  6:00 pm CT | 7:00 pm ET | 8:00 pm AT
More information

Truth, Healing and Reconciliation – Reconciliation Through Film: Six Miles Deep
Saturday, February 27, 9:30 am PT | 10:30 am MT |  11:30 am CT | 12:30 pm ET | 1:30 pm AT
More information 

David Campt Workshop, Parts I and II
Saturdays, March 6 and 13, 11 am PT | 12 pm MT |  1 pm CT | 2 pm ET | 3 pm AT
More information 

Refugee Sponsorship: What’s Involved
Tuesday, March 9,  4 pm PT | 5 pm MT | 6 pm CT | 7 pm ET | 8 pm AT
More information

Regular Online Events

Gathered Here: Young Adult Check-In
March 8 – 8 pm & February 11 – 2 pm ET
More information

Connect and Deepen – Virtual Gathering
Sunday, February 28 & March 14, 1 pm PT |2 pm MT| 3 pm CT| 4 pm ET| 5 pm  AT
More information

Leaders Roundtable, Saturday, February 27, 12:00 pm PT |1:00 pm MT |2:00 pm CT | 3:00 pm ET | 4:00 pm AT
More information