CUC eNews: February 22, 2022 – Issue 136
In This Issue:
- Letter From Vyda
- The CUC’s Communications Team
- Meet a Minister: Rev. Melora Lynngood
- CanUUdle and Chorus
- CUC Offers Youth Advisor Training
- 8th Principle News
- Margaret Wanlin Article on Desmond Tutu
- End of February Roundtable
- What’s Making Us Smile
- Upcoming Events
Letter From Vyda
The Year of the Tiger was ushered in on February 1. According to Chinese astrology, there are 12 animal signs; each animal sign lasts for approximately one year, according to the lunar cycle, and begins on Chinese New Year (CNY) also known as Lunar New Year, not on January 1. The tiger symbolizes courage and leadership.
Celebrated by over two billion people globally, the festival centres on hopes for prosperity, good health and good luck, so growing up in Malaysia, CNY was a big deal for my family. CNY lasts for 15 days, and within the Chinese community, preparations would begin weeks before. My mother would make sure the house was scrubbed, that we all had new clothes (primarily in red to signify good luck), and traditional food and desserts were made. On the eve of the new year, our family (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents) would gather for a huge meal, and then on the first day of the new year, rounds of visiting would begin. Ang pows (red envelopes with money) were given to children to bring them good luck and good fortune, and mandarins, pomelos and cookies would be exchanged. The Chinese are great believers in symbolism and tokens of good fortune!
I’ve carried much of those early traditions and beliefs with me, unconsciously. When I came to Canada as an 18 year old student many years ago, I was straddling eastern and western cultures and struggled to find my identity. I had grown up in a traditionally Chinese home, but attended a Methodist church, while my relatives were also Catholics and Buddhists. My friends were Sikh, Muslim, Hindu and Chinese, and I attended a Catholic school. When I arrived in Canada, I went to a Catholic high school, and then on to university. I struggled to assimilate and to find acceptance, and thought that in order to do so and to minimize experiences of racism, I had to push away my Chinese identity.
Almost ten years later, as a first-time mother, I attended my first Unitarian service in Saskatoon. I immediately felt that I had found a spiritual community, one where questions were welcome and there weren’t necessarily pat answers (I asked a lot of questions in Sunday School). I did notice, when I lived variously in Winnipeg, St. John’s, Niagara Falls and now in Toronto, that while Unitarian Universalist communities are more spiritually diverse than other faith traditions, there weren’t many people who looked like me.
Fast forward to 2021, and the journey to the 8th Principle. It has not been an easy time, professionally and personally. I have been disappointed by some of the comments and behaviours I’ve witnessed, and continued experiences of microaggressions and racism. I know that some of this comes out of confusion and fear of change, and as UUs, I hope we can lift ourselves out of this. When the 8th Principle was approved at the November 2021 Special Meeting, I felt relief that delegates and congregations had showed up to affirm that dismantling racism and systemic barriers to full inclusion IS a priority.
We, the member congregations of the Canadian Unitarian Council, covenant to affirm and promote
individual and communal action that accountably dismantles racism and systemic barriers
to full inclusion in ourselves and our institutions.
We are only on the beginning stages of this journey, my friends. We have experienced shifts in the foundation of our congregations, and we’ve had time to examine ourselves and our attitudes. It’s time to create that radically inclusive community we aspire to, and to truly live into the interdependence that calls us to love and justice. In time, I hope, in the words of Rev. Jessica Rodela, “We’re gonna need a bigger boat!”
Be well friends,
The CUC’s Communications Team
Behind every eNews, Facebook post and CUC statement – there is a team. Meet the people who get CUC news and information to you.
Kenzie Love has been the CUC’s writer for several years. An active member of the Calgary Unitarians, Kenzie writes the CUC’s eNews, many Facebook posts, and sends information on upcoming events. Kenzie enjoys interviewing and profiling ministers for the eNews and says that it allows him to witness the diversity and skill within our UU community.
Brigitte Twomey is our Web Specialist and joined the CUC team in December 2021. Brigitte is a member at the Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga, and is responsible for the website and all the behind-the-scenes tech that makes it run, including creating event pages and registration forms. Brigitte also lays out the eNews on the website and Mailchimp. She grew up in France and has personal experience of refugees, resettlement and immigration.
Margo Ellis is transitioning out of a web role into a project-based initiative. Based in Montreal, Margo is responsible for the creation of the CUC’s website, and has been instrumental in ensuring that communications and events information gets out to UUs. Margo will now be responsible for the LearnDash project, a platform that the CUC will use to share resources, learning and training.
Shelley Motz is the new Communications Manager and joined the team on Valentine’s Day! Shelley is a member of the First Unitarian Church of Victoria, and is a certified change management professional (CCMP) with more than 20 years’ experience leading communications projects and events in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. In her role, Shelley will be responsible for all aspects of the CUC’s communications, including strategy and events publicity.
Meet a Minister: Rev. Melora Lynngood
Rev. Melora Lynngood has served as co-minister of the First Unitarian Church of Victoria with her wife, Rev. Shana Lynngood, since 2010. Raised in a progressive Presbyterian congregation, Melora found she appreciated the sense of community it offered but didn’t agree with its theology. Upon entering high school she learned about Emerson and Thoreau and the concept of the Over-Soul, which appealed to her instantly, but she remained unaware of Unitarian Universalism. She discovered the faith while in university, however, and knew right away it was a fit, a realization that ultimately spurred her to pursue a career in ministry.
“I read the seven principles and thought, ‘this is the place for me,” she says. “I absolutely believe all these things (unlike the creed of my childhood church) AND (like my childhood church) it’s an intergenerational community doing good in the world.”
Melora knows that life is hard, and has appreciated the opportunity ministry offers to help people through the ups and downs of life on both a personal and a global level.
“I feel drawn to that work of helping us all do the kind of spiritual care we need to do to get ourselves in that grounded, centered place from which our gifts can emerge,” she says. “And then we combine our gifts to care for one another and care for the planet.”
Melora believes that the CUC’s recent adoption of an eighth principle is an important step in living our Unitarian Universalist values. She’s excited about the upcoming Widening the Circle program and the opportunity it offers to affirm and enact this principle.
“Now with the eighth principle, we have the extra focus of the directive to look at the ways in which all of the interconnected oppressions are operating in ourselves, in our culture, and in our institutions, including our UU congregations,” she says. “And our project now is to dismantle those oppressions, and thereby work toward the vision of radical inclusion and beloved community.”
CanUUdle and Chorus: Coming Together In-Person
By Casey Stainsby and Danielle Webber, Youth and Young Adult Ministry Team
CanUUdle and Chorus, the CUC’s youth and young adult cons, will take place in-person from May 20-23, 2022, in Vancouver, BC.
For Youth ages 14-19 and their Adult Advisors (25+)
Friday, May 20, 5:00 pm – Monday, May 23, 12:00 pm PST
Hosted by the Vancouver Unitarians – 949 W 49th Ave, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
More information here (and eventually, registration)
For Young Adults ages 18-35
Friday, May 20, 5:00 p.m. – Monday, May 23, 12:00 p.m. PST
Hosted by the North Shore Unitarians – 370 Mathers Ave, West Vancouver, BC, Canada.
More information here (and eventually, registration
What factors led to the decision to hold in-person youth and young adult cons?
A significant source of input was the survey “How Shall We Gather?,” which was circulated among youth, adult allies (including parent/guardians, advisors and religious educators) and young adults in November 2021. Responses highlighted that youth especially (14-19 year olds) are not engaged in online programming and desperately miss their con community. Two+ years is a significant part of a teenager’s life. Frankly, we are concerned about the mental health of our youth and believe that an in-person CanUUdle will bring a huge benefit to their lives, and to the vitality of both national and local youth programs.
While, generally speaking, young adults are more well-served by online programming than youth are, this is not true for all young adults. We want to offer Chorus as one option for engaging in the national UUYA community, among our wide offering of ongoing virtual events.
What about COVID? Aren’t we still in a pandemic?
Yes, yes we are. Offering these in-person events doesn’t mean that we believe the pandemic is over, or that everything should “go back to normal.” We believe there is wisdom in continuing to offer many opportunities virtually, and we will continue to do that.
Data from the last two years shows that case numbers have tended to decline significantly by mid-April. Even so, we take the safety of our communities and those we intersect with very seriously. See the following question for more details.
What safety measures will be in place?
The CUC has developed COVID-19 Safety Guidance for in-person visits and events. Detailed safety plans, especially for CanUUdle and Chorus, will also be in place. The full plans are in development, and will include measures such as:
- Requiring proof of full vaccination for all eligible onsite participants, staff and volunteers
- Registration limits to ensure adequate spacing indoors is possible
- Rapid testing available onsite and required on arrival
- Plans in place should isolation be necessary for any participant
- Masks, physical distancing, focus on outdoor activities, air circulation, hygiene, and special care in preparing and serving food
Is it likely to get canceled at the last minute? What about travel?
Because of the amount of work and all the commitments (including purchasing travel tickets) that go into planning these conferences, they are very unlikely to be canceled at the last minute. That said, we always recommend purchasing refundable tickets whenever possible.
What about online participation?
We feel it is important to be clear that these are not fully “hybrid”/”multi-platform” events. Both CanUUdle and Chorus will be primarily based on in-person activities, with some limited opportunities for online participation as well. Exactly what those virtual connection points will be is being worked out, but it is likely that you will be able to stream certain activities and interact on the protected youth and young adult Discord servers.
The CUC continues to offer a variety of community-building spaces online for both youth and young adults throughout the year. These include MyceliUUm Youth Network Gatherings and Discord server, Ensemble YA Discord, Gathered Here Young Adult Drop-Ins (monthly), Rising Together for youth and emerging adults of colour (monthly), and Célébrons ensemble (espace mensuel francophone pour jeunes adultes).
How much does it cost? Are there any subsidies available?
Both CanUUdle and Chorus have a sliding scale, and $0 is always an option, no questions asked. Exact registration amounts will be determined, but they are always extremely low when compared to similar events by other organizations. All CUC events operate on a break-even basis, so we appreciate your financial contributions when you are able to make them.
Fundraising together as a youth or YA group is a great way to help subsidize your costs and build excitement. We also encourage congregations to support youth, YAs and advisors financially to attend denominational events as these experiences ultimately enrich your local community.
The Dawning Future Youth and Young Adult Subsidy Fund is also available to help cover costs associated with travel to YaYA events.
How can I help make it happen?
CanUUdle Staff Applications are now closed. To help out with Chorus, contact Micaela at email@example.com.
CUC Offers Youth Advisor Training
The CUC has partnered with Rev. Samaya Oakley & Carter Mahoney to host a Youth Advisor Training for Canadian UU Communities, taking place on Sundays March 27, April 3, and April 10 at 4 pm ET.
Pulling together a youth advising team for a congregation takes intentionality, balance, and creativity. Adapting to the changing, dynamic needs of our youth is a central principle of any effective youth program that we can offer, and the organizers strongly suggest congregations send teams of youth and adults to this training. During this workshop we’ll have an opportunity to:
- look at the foundations of good programming;
- reflect on the role of advisors in a youth group;
- consider what youth empowerment means;
- examine the characteristics of a healthy youth group;
- consider the importance of youth group in the congregation; and lastly,
- discuss the challenges that face youth, including challenges that the pandemic has placed on our congregations.
Registration for this event is now live, and will be open until March 20.
The UU@UN (Unitarian Universalist Association at the United Nations office) is seeking summer interns, and strongly encourages Canadian youth and young adults who are 18 years and over to apply. A stipend is available, paid by the CUC. The CUC supports leadership development opportunities through the UU@UN, with a specific focus for Black, Indigenous, people of colour, and those living with disabilities and mental health challenges. There is a priority application deadline of March 1, with applications being accepted through March 14.
Congregations: Host a Local Gathering for April Climate Justice Seminar!
Coming up this Spring: a chance to connect global context with local action – and build relationships within and beyond your community. The 2022 Intergenerational Spring Seminar hosted by the UUA Office at the UN in partnership with UU Ministry for Earth, UU Service Committee, and Side With Love will take place online April 22 – May 1, 2022. In addition to the virtual programming, it includes an opportunity for congregations to host local gatherings, allowing Seminar attendees to connect in person with others who live nearby. Addressing the theme “Displacement and Human Rights: All In for Climate Justice,” this event aims to instill in UU youth and adults a commitment to global engagement and the skills to take action locally for climate and migration justice. Be part of the excitement! Learn more about the 2022 Seminar and the local gatherings. Registration (with flexible rates!) is open through April 10, 2022.
Reflections on the Intergenerational Spring Seminar
Lisa Sharp, President of the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa, has participated in the seminar several times in person as well as online in 2021. Participating in the seminar, she says, is just one of the ways in which her congregation has affirmed its commitment to the UN, including hosting a UN Sunday service in October and sending an envoy to participate in UU@UN meetings.
“For our group, it’s the ‘think globally, act locally’ slogan,” she says, “and so we want our society, we want people in Ottawa to know about worldwide issues. It’s important to not just worry about your own backyard, and to know what’s going on in the world is a good idea, and the UN is the link to that.”
Ottawa First sent about 19 delegates to last year’s seminar, with the congregation also organizing two pre-conference events which other Canadian congregations participated in. The congregation is hoping to organize similar events during or prior to this year’s seminar, which will be shared on the CUC Leaders’ List.
The youth and young adult-led nature of last year’s seminar, Sharp says, made it particularly meaningful, and will be important this year as well.
“The seminar last spring was very much young-adult led, it was planned and led by young adults and some older youth,” she says. “They were really involved in prominent roles in speaking and that was very exciting. And for congregations that are struggling to retain youth and young adults, which I think is common in Canada, this is a wonderful experience to show it’s possible.”
Will you achieve the UU@UN’s Sixth Principle Congregation Award? Qualify by March 31
Each year, the UUA Office at the United Nations grants the Sixth Principle Congregation Award. This award recognizes congregations that show their support of the UU@UN and their commitment to our Sixth Principle’s “goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all” through their actions and financial giving. These “Sixth Principle Congregations” must have completed at least three of the following activities between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022 and submitted a brief report. At least one of the three activities must be from the Donation category; any number may be from the Action Category.
- Donation Category:
- Congregational Gift: Minimum donation of $100 or $2/member to the UU@UN
- Supporters: At least 5% of members or 15 individuals become UU@UN Supporters
- Action Category:
- UN Sunday: Host a United Nations Sunday worship service
- Intergenerational Spring Seminar: Send congregants to attend the Intergenerational Spring Seminar
- Discussion Group: Host a UU@UN-related film screening and/or discussion group
- Action Event: Organize and lead a global justice action event in your congregation
- Donation Category:
Through this award, the UU@UN hopes to form closer ties with congregations throughout the U.S. and Canada who value international engagement and local action on global issues relating to human rights, peace, and climate justice. Read the detailed information about the Sixth Principle Award and find how to qualify; contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about how your congregation can get more deeply involved.
8th Principle and Dismantling Racism News
Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga Presents Mark DeWolfe Social Action Award
Charmaine Ferworn and Pamela Smith-Loeters, members of the Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga (UCM) and the CUC’s Dismantling Racism Study Group received UCM’s 2021 Mark DeWolfe Social Action Award in December 2021 for their work with the study group. The recommendations of the Study Group ultimately led to the adoption of the CUC’s 8th principle. Given annually to a member of UCM, the award recognizes significant contributions to the cause of social justice.
Award recipients are given the opportunity to choose the organization which receives the funds from UCM’s Christmas Eve collection. This year’s recipients chose the United Achievers Community Services. The Brampton-based UACS, as it is regularly known, primarily serves Peel Region’s Caribbean and Black communities and they work to improve the quality of life of families and individuals by providing culturally sensitive programs and support.
Commenting on the award, Ferworn said: “I, along with Pamela Smith-Loeters, appreciate the support of my fellow members of the Dismantling Racism Study Group, including co-leaders, Rev, Julie Stoneberg and Beverly Horton, CUC leadership inspired by Vyda Ng, and the support of my UCM congregation, lead by Rev. Fiona Heath and co-presidents Collette Dowhaniuk and Mara Bullock. With this CUC leadership and congregation support, we have adopted the 8th principle and taken the first steps towards dismantling racism in ourselves, institutions and community.”
Donovan Hayden Is Available as a Guest Speaker on the 8th Principle
The CUC and many congregations have adopted the 8th principle that calls on Unitarians “to individual and communal action that accountably dismantles racism and systemic barriers to full inclusion in ourselves and our institutions.” Great, but how does that translate into action? How do congregations reconcile with systemic barriers, take action in our communities, and be in solidarity with others to dismantle racism? Donovan Hayden is a young adult who will address the challenges of doing anti-racist work and provide insight on how Unitarians can live the 8th principle; and has spoken at several UU congregations.
Donovan Hayden is a Black activist, storyteller, and artist. Last year he finished a Master of Arts in Theatre & Performance Studies at York University in Toronto. Donovan has had the opportunity to engage with Unitarians and anti-racism work in both Canada and the US. He blends activism and art for the goal of liberation and the dismantling of White supremacy. Contact Donovan at email@example.com
Vancouver Unitarians IBPOC Caucus Creates Video
The Butterfly Language Project is an initiative of the Indigenous, Black, People of Colour Caucus of the Vancouver Unitarians. This video highlights our shared principles, including the 8th principle recently adopted by the Canadian Unitarian Council. The IBPOC Caucus is one of the newest groups at Vancouver Unitarians.
What started as a question by Tamiko Suzuki, who asked how many IBPOC members were at VU, resulted in an affinity group of about 20 members, and includes people from the North Shore and Calgary churches. The gatherings are joyously supportive and bubbling with the creative energy of a group of congregants who up to now have been silent. Please watch and share this video. If you’re interested in getting involved in the Butterfly Language Project, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Archbishop Desmond Tutu – a life that made a difference
By Margaret Wanlin, President, CUC Board of Trustees
In 1975 I was an impressionable young person enroute to Lesotho with Canadian Crossroads International. I was to assist in a Red Cross Clinic, and later taught school in Thaba Bosiu. The route to Lesotho was via Johannesburg, South Africa. From the airport I travelled to the train station. I still remember the visceral feeling at seeing, in large white letters on the front of the station “Slegs Blankes,” – Whites Only. The much less stately entrance around the side said “Slegs Nie Blankes” – Non-whites Only.
I travelled by train to the South Africa/Lesotho border where there was a customs checkpoint. With a heavy pack on my back, I walked over to a line of jovial people – women with babies on their backs and parcels on their heads. They started to laugh and pointed to another wicket where there were no people and told me that was the line for whites.
Of course, I had heard and read about apartheid but seeing it first-hand and being a part of it was chilling. In conversations in Lesotho, people would acknowledge the poverty of their country but say with pride “but we don’t have apartheid.”
At that time Nelson Mandela was jailed at Robben Island. Desmond Tutu had just returned from Britain and was named as the head of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Johannesburg, the first black person to ever hold that post. And so, his journey as an agent for change on a broader political stage began. Throughout the 1980s Tutu was a major figure in the struggle against apartheid. In 1984 Tutu became the Bishop of Johannesburg and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
A common refrain for him was “Do not hate, let us choose the peaceful way to freedom.” Soon he became the Archbishop of Cape Town, becoming the head of the Anglican Church in South Africa, the first black person in that role. From then on, he was fondly known as “Arch.”
When the new (non-apartheid) government was elected in 1994, Archbishop Tutu was called upon to Chair the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. At the end of the process the Deputy Chairman commented, “I don’t think the commission could have survived without the presence and person and leadership of Desmond Tutu.” I think the same could be said of the Chair of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Justice Murray Sinclair.
Tutu’s vision for South Africa was of a “Rainbow Nation” with acceptance for all races. His acceptance of everyone also extended to people of all sexual orientations, a radical stand in South Africa at that time.
Here are a few quotes and thoughts from this exceptional man, Desmond Tutu:
“A person is a person through other persons.” – the spirit of ubuntu.
“I’m coming to believe more and more in the truth that everything I do has consequences. A good deed doesn’t just evaporate and disappear.”
“To forgive is not just to be altruistic.”
“None of us comes into the world fully formed. We would not know how to think, or walk or speak, or behave as human beings unless we learned it from other beings. We need other human beings in order to be human. I am because other people are.”
This photo was taken in 2013 in Capetown, South Africa with (l. to r.) Reverend Fulgence Ndagijimana, now a Unitarian Universalist community minister in Ottawa, then a minister in Burundi; Archbishop Tutu; and two former ministers of Capetown Unitarians, Roux Malan and Gordon Oliver. Oliver became a Unitarian minister after being the Mayor of Capetown from 1989 to 1991.
Leader’s Roundtable – Let’s Discuss Money: With CUC Board and Staff
Saturday, February 26, 2022 – 9am PT, 10am MT, 11am CT, 12pm ET, 1pm AT (90 mins)
The CUC Board and Executive Director host a roundtable conversation on the CUC’s 2022 – 2023 budget, and will share the rationale and decision-making process behind creating the budget. We’ll also discuss the CUC’s Congregational Investment Fund program for congregations and the opportunity this provides for congregations to invest ethically. Come with your thoughts, questions and ideas about the budget, and financial development and sustainability for your congregations and the CUC.
Join us on Zoom
What’s Making Us Smile
Dillon Helbig, an eight-year-old boy from Boise, Idaho has a hit on his hands after secretly placing his handwritten novel on a shelf in the local library. Now, there’s a waitlist to read it.
Upcoming Events (online via Zoom)
Share what’s going on in your congregation. Contact email@example.com
Designing and Leading Rites of Passage: Basic Training for Lay Chaplains
Saturday, February 26, 9 am PT | 10 am MT | 11 am CT | 12 pm ET | 1 pm AT
Sunday, February 27, 11:30 am PT | 12:30 pm MT | 1:30 pm CT | 2:30 pm ET | 3:30 pm AT
Saturday, March 5, 9 am PT | 10 am MT | 11 am CT | 12 pm ET | 1 pm AT
Leaders Roundtable – Let’s Discuss Money: With CUC Board and Staff
Saturday, February 26, 9 am PT | 10 am MT | 11 am CT | 12 pm ET | 1 pm AT
Inclusivity Forums – Responsibility Covenant Focus Groups
Session 2 – Inclusivity Forum Session II – Welcoming People of All Dis/Abilities
Wednesday, March 2, 4 pm PT | 5 pm MT | 6 pm CT | 7 pm ET | 8 pm AT
Session 3 – Inclusivity Forum Session III – Welcoming People of All Classes
Wednesday, April 6, 4 pm PT | 5 pm MT | 6 pm CT | 7 pm ET | 8 pm AT
Gathered Here – Young Adults
Monday, March 14, 5 pm PT | 6 pm MT | 7 pm CT| 8 pm ET | 9 pm AT
Le mercredi 16 mars, 11h00 PT | 12h00 MT | 13h00 CT | 14h00 HE | 15h00 AT
The MyceliUUm Youth Network of Canada,
Saturday, March 26, 11 am PT | 12 pm MT | 1 pm CT | 2 pm ET | 3 pm AT
Youth Advisor Training
Sundays, March 27, April 3, April 10, 1 pm PT | 2 pm MT | 3 pm CT | 4 pm ET | 5 pm AT
Unitarian Universalist Theology: A Renaissance Module
Thursdays, March 31, April 14, April 28, May 12, May 26, June 9, 10 am PT | 11 am MT | 12 pm CT | 1 pm ET | 2 pm AT