CUC eNews: January 19, 2021 – Issue 127

In This Issue:

Letter From VydaVyda Ng

“Change is the end result of all true learning.”
~ Leo Buscaglia

In the early days of this new year, I have been pondering our principles, grateful for the guidance and the grounding they offer as we do our work.  And as we schedule some interesting learning opportunities, I’ve been wondering if our founders, in their wisdom, intentionally placed our responsibility to search for truth and meaning at the centre of our principles. As Oliver Wendell Holmes said once a mind is stretched by a new idea, it never regains its original dimension. Our curiosity and willingness to wrestle with new ideas serves us well. All around us we can see evidence, that as the saying goes, once we know better, we can do better. Even our What Makes Us Smile segment this month illustrates what happens when people commit to understanding more about their world – more love, more compassion, more connection. 

One of our goals through this pandemic has to been to offer opportunities to come together to explore new ideas and engage in important connections. In the coming weeks and months, we have amazing opportunities to learn together. Our Elder’s Circle on Jan 20 is an opportunity to open ourselves to the wisdom of Sharon Jinkerson-Brass. On February 22 we are so excited to welcome David Campt. David’s work is to encourage and equip those who wish to be allies to have authentic conversations that challenge racism through connection and compassion. David will offer both a keynote presentation and two workshops and I urge you to consider joining us for all three. His White Ally Toolkit has been used by congregations across Canada and US and his work is highly sought after by organizations and communities. 

And our upcoming Sharing our Faith service will give us the opportunity to examine how we can take risks and learn from past experiences and mistakes to become the transformational faith we aspire to be. 

Please watch for more information about these and other opportunities in future communications. Our eNews will be shifting to one edition each month for the coming months and we will be forwarding more targeted information by email so please watch for those. And consider connecting with us on Facebook for information and some beautiful reflections. 

Be well friends,

Join Us at Our Sharing Our Faith National Service

Each year UU congregations mark CUC month in February with a Sharing Our Faith Service. The original intention was that congregations across the country would be speaking on the same topic and reflecting on the same theme. In the days of Covid, we can gather more easily virtually for a national service. We invite you to join our Sharing Our Faith Service Sunday, February 7,
10am PT | 11am MT | 12pm CT | 1pm ET | 2pm AT.

The theme for the service is A Faith Worth Failing For and will be hosted by Reverends Shana Lynngood and Samaya Oakley. Through the service we explore how we can take risks, learn from past mistakes and widen our circle to become the transformational faith we aspire to be.

During the service, a special collection will be taken for the CUC’s Sharing Our Faith Fund. This fund is administered by the CUC and is returned to congregations in the form of grants of up to $5,000 which support innovative congregational projects. Previous recipients have used the funds for everything from community outreach to religious exploration programs, to improving accessibility.

Grant applications are due March 31, and more information can be found on the CUC website.

“How to Have Difficult Conversations” with Dr. David Wiley Campt

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that facts don’t necessarily win arguments or change minds. In fact, it can be very difficult to change someone’s mind, including our own. So how can we, who aspire to be allies, address racism we see to effect real, meaningful change? Science suggests the best way is through relationships, connection and compassion. 

Dr. David Wiley Campt has 25 years professional experience helping others develop skills and craft conversations to bring about a more inclusive, equitable society. The CUC has invited David to offer a keynote and workshop series in February and March. David, author of the White Ally Toolkit, is sought after by organizations and corporations around the world. He will be sharing with us his R.A.C.E method which equips participants with the skills we need to have difficult conversations about racism that are transformative for all involved, and move the needle on issues we care most about.

Erin Horvath, our CUC Social Justice Lead, participated in David’s recent White Ally Bootcamp and said the experience was enlightening. “He teaches how to use our personal experiences to have conversations centered in vulnerability and storytelling versus anger or arguments. His tools have so many applications in my own life as I interact with people from all walks of life and discuss all sorts of issues, not only racism.  His friendly and accessible way of approaching difficult conversations has certainly influenced the way I want to talk with people moving forward in my personal life and work. I think the program will be invaluable to those of us who want to learn practical skills to be allies and it’s an important piece of our own Reconciliation and Dismantling Racism work.” 

Register now through our Eventbrite. Please consider sharing this important event widely within your circles. This is important work.

The Wisdom of Elders

On January 20 we will gather together, in a virtual circle, to hear the wisdom of Sharon Jinkerson-Brass, one of the two Elders working with the CUC this year. Recently Amber Bellemare, one of the CUC staff working on the Truth, Healing and Reconciliation programs,  had the opportunity to speak with Sharon about the coming Elders Circle, and captured part of their conversation on video. 

In their chat, Sharon said “Reconciliation should be exciting. We’re waiting to become whole again. It’s about learning the medicines of humility. We all don’t have the answers but if we connect and create a sacred space to be ourselves with each other we are going to find the common ground to move forward.” 

Amber Bellmare, “It is such a privilege to sit in a room with you. Every time I do  I just feel like I grow…. This approach to reconciliation is a breath of fresh air.”

Watch their conversation and plan to come to this unique opportunity to learn and connect with Truth and with one another. Wednesday, January 20.  

Register now for this event coming up on Wednesday, January 20.

Rising Together Creates Supportive Space for Young UUs of Colour

We are celebrating a new initiative by our young leaders to create a support community for Black, Indigenous youth and young adults of colour. The initial meeting happened in December and was led by Camellia Jahanshahi, a youth advisor of colour at the Unitarian Church of Montreal. The goal for the group is to offer a chance for BIPOC Unitarian Universalists across Canada to meet and nurture a community with the aim of affirming each other and ensuring they have a confident voice in the broader UU community. The initial meeting was an unqualified success. Camellia says “To me our first session came with both a small sense of relief similar to what you feel when someone picks up the phone after you’ve been on hold so long you wonder if you’ve been forgotten, and the sense of excitement that comes with starting new adventures. I know for myself the impact was rewarding and heartwarming and I hope everyone in our group felt a similar way, I can’t wait for our next meeting and the projects ahead!”

The group will meet bi-monthly for themed worship, discussions, and workshop-style activities.

Beverly Horton a longtime UU and adult advisor to the group shared her experience after the first meeting. “I’m so grateful to Camellia for inviting me to be part of ‘Rising Together,’ a group that holds great possibilities for ministry and community building for youth and young adults. Scanning the screen and seeing young people I already knew from CanUUdle and from my home congregation was a very pleasant surprise. Having this means for youth and young adults from across Canada to be together, dream together, and work together is a wonderful COVID blessing. I very much look forward to seeing how this group evolves as a spiritually animated group with the potential to have a meaningful impact on the broader Canadian UU community.”

The next meeting of Rising Together will be Saturday, February 13, 2021. For more information or to register please contact Camellia at or Casey at

New Members Join Our Pastoral Care Team

Rev. Marcia Stanard

The Pastoral Care Team is welcoming two new members and saying farewell to Rev. Anne Barker, who has just completed her term. 

The Pastoral Care Team has been providing flexible and accessible pastoral care to young adults (ages 18-35, or thereabouts) since the beginning of 2019. Through the team, young adults are able to get connected with professional, age-appropriate support, whether or not they are currently connected to a UU congregation. The inspiration for this kind of pastoral care service came from BLUUMin, the Black Lives of UU Ministerial Network. 

This year, the CUC has partnered with the Emerging Adult Task Force of the Pacific Western Region (PWR) in the United States. A minister from the PWR is joining the CUC’s team, and emerging adults (18-24 year olds) from Washington, Oregon and California are invited to seek support through this network. 

That minister is Rev. Marcia Stanard of the UU Congregation at Willamette Falls in Oregon City, OR. Rev. Marcia has experience as an Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education facilitator, youth advisor, and parent of young adults. She is looking forward to providing a listening ear, and helping UU young adults access the support and resources they need to thrive in spiritual communities. 

We are also welcoming Rev. Danielle Webber. Rev. Danielle is a 3rd generation Unitarian Universalist, a young adult, and now serves the Kelowna Unitarians. She has offered pastoral care to both the youth community in her home congregation, and at CanUUdle, as well as for young adults at the Opus retreats. One of her passions is seeking to make the expansiveness of Unitarian Universalism actually big enough for the people who are already here!

As she completes her term, we’d like to thank Rev. Anne Barker for her warmth, insight and support over the past two years. You can keep up with Rev. Anne by listening to the hilarious and spiritually nourishing podcast The Cracked Cup, which she creates with Liz James of the UU Hysterical Society/Mirth and Dignity. 

You can get to know more about Revs. Marcia and Danielle, as well as continuing team members Revs. Rod Solano-Quesnel and Ben Robins by reading their full bios.  Young adults are also encouraged to drop-in to Gathered Here to meet them face to face! 

Minister Profile: Rev. Lara Cowtan

Rev. Lara Cowtan is currently serving as the interim minister with Vancouver Unitarians. The daughter of a Unitarian minister, her path to ministry began when she was living in Basel, Switzerland and helped establish a liberal religious fellowship for members of the city’s English-speaking community. She ultimately helped connect the fellowship with the European Unitarians, and became involved with the International Council of Unitarian Universalists before deciding to pursue ministry herself. Upon graduating from seminary, she returned to Canada in 2019 and worked as a chaplain for six months at St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg before beginning her stint in Vancouver in August of last year.

Although the pandemic has forced Lara’s ministry to be mostly at a distance, the level of community she has found at Vancouver Unitarians has impressed her.

“It has been really rewarding for me to feel real connections with people and community here, that that’s truly possible,” she says,  “and the depth of commitment that people have to serve at Vancouver Unitarians. It really feels like the church is a lifeline. So that’s been rewarding and affirming.”

Lara believes Unitarian Universalism can remain relevant by continuing to evolve with and adapt to the times, while maintaining the same welcoming community it has always offered.

“That kind of possibility, that kind of imagining is always going to be needed,” she says. “Unitarian Universalism has the ability to heal wounds and to bridge gaps and divides in a way that I think will always keep us relevant.”

In her spare time, Laura has enjoyed the opportunity to explore her luscious, green surroundings in Vancouver with her dog and looks forward to continuing this in the coming months.

Sermon Competition Highlights Need for Climate Justice

The UUA Office at the United Nations invites you to submit a sermon to the 2020-2021 Dana McLean Greeley Sermon Competition. This year’s competition theme is “All In for Climate Justice: People, Power, Planet.” Beyond an analysis of the dangers of the climate crisis, sermons should address what it means for people of faith to be all in for climate justice, looking toward the ways power can be leveraged to help people and planet achieve justice and liberation. Submissions that draw on the work of the UN and our UUA Office at the UN will receive priority consideration. The selected winner will receive a $500 honorarium prize and a video of their sermon will be featured on the UU@UN website. 

Please send submissions to by February 23, 2021. Learn more about submission requirements at

QUUest Conversations Discuss Future of Our Faith

Photo by Greg Rakozy

In 2032 we will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the first Unitarian sermon preached in Canada. In recognition of this milestone, the CUC Board initiated a task force to embark on a visioning exercise to imagine who we are and who we can be as a faith movement entering into our third century together. The QUUest Task Force was established in May 2019, but as with many things, Covid has shifted our perspective and our needs. 

The task force had hoped to launch the work with congregations at the 2020 CUC Conference in Halifax, to ask you all big questions about the future of UUism in Canada, and to soak up all your brilliant answers.  In this moment, however, the task force knows that you are asking different questions: about what congregations need in the short term, in order to survive and thrive through a time when so little is known.

As part of the national fall gathering held in November 2020, members of the CUC Board and task force hosted small groups to discuss some of those questions, focusing on: What can we do as a national faith community to help ourselves, each other, and our communities through the pandemic? What makes you feel most connected to your faith? and What do you need from the community of the CUC to stay connected?

Several participants expressed appreciation for the national online services the CUC had held during the pandemic. Opportunities to gather on Zoom with individual congregations also came up, with many noting how this had opened the door to newcomers to the congregation, people unable to attend in-person services, and people from across the country. But people also noted that not everyone can access Zoom, and emphasized the importance of ensuring no one is left behind due to lack of access to technology.

In terms of maintaining connections to their faith, many participants cited the importance of personal connections with other Unitarians, as well as the importance of our principles and activities grounded in these. The ongoing commitment to social justice came up as a particular focus. There was also expressed desire to share resources, notably music.

Finally, participants stressed the importance of the national conferences in staying connected to the CUC, and without the ability to gather in person, expressed the desire for more virtual gatherings. Several suggested new online activities, with multiple participants mentioning a book club as something they’d be interested in.

The hope in holding these conversations was to offer participants an interesting, lively, and engaging experience while informing the work of the QUUest Task Force.  Over the winter and spring of 2021, the Task Force hopes to continue to engage you in conversations about the future of Unitarian Universalism in Canada: who your faith calls you to be, what tools we have to share with one another, where our congregations and communities can make a difference, and how we build the Beloved Community, together.  Stay tuned!

Call for Nominations for Knight Award

Rev. Frances Deverell, 2020 Knight award recipient

At each National Conference of the CUC, the Knight Award is presented to a living person who has, as a volunteer, contributed at the national level to furthering the principles of Unitarian Universalism in Canada. The award honours the ideals exemplified by the lives and work of Victor and Nancy Knight. Past recipients include the late Rev. Phillip Hewett, Canadian Unitarian icon and author of Unitarians in Canada, and the late Stan Calder, the CUC’s first openly gay president. Last year’s award went to Rev. Frances Deverell. 

Nominations may be submitted by any member or friend of a Canadian UU congregation and must be accompanied by a citation describing what the nominee has done at the national level to promote liberal religious principles in Canada and why they should be considered for the award. Retiring members of the CUC board and CUC employees are not eligible for nomination until a minimum of five years after their departure. The citation should be at least 200 words in length and may be submitted to John Hopewell by email to or by mail to him at 101-847 Dunsmuir Rd., Victoria BC, V9A 0A5.

Nominations must be received by February 28th, 2021.

Theological Education Fund Open for Applications

The CUC’s Theological Education Fund awards bursaries are funded by the Percy Simpson Bailey and Rouff/Mackie-Jenkins funds, and by special collections at ordinations and installations, to further the cause of Unitarian and Universalist (UU) theological education in Canada by supporting Ministerial aspirants/candidates; Ministers pursuing continuing education; and Congregations seeking to support an intern minister. The annual deadline for applications is now January 31.

Please note that individuals will receive priority in consideration if there are more applications than available funds. In recent years, typical awards have been in the range of $3,000-$10,000, but smaller awards may be available, if requested (especially for ministers pursuing continuing education). 

After reviewing the application form, prospective applicants are welcome to send any questions to the committee at

We’re Hiring a New Communications Manager

If you have a solid background in communications management, are equally comfortable with details and big picture strategic thinking, love to be in the centre of the action and understand the nuances of our faith, and you are interested in a new opportunity, we would like to talk with you.

After 12 months with us, Karen, our current Communications Manager is moving on. “I’ve loved working with the CUC. The work is interesting and varied, the team is great to work with and there’s always something new to learn. I am leaving for personal and educational reasons but I will miss my work with the CUC very much. It has been a pleasure and an honour to work within a movement that is close to my heart and holds such potential and power for positive change in our lives and communities.  “

Our ideal candidate has a degree in marketing or communications with 3-5 years relevant experience, is social media savvy, an excellent writer and storyteller, and knows how to develop and work a communications plan. This part-time position requires a commitment of 25 hours a week in a work from home environment. Salary commensurate with experience. Please see the full job description: CUC Communications Manager 

Deadline for applications is February 9th. 

CUC Delegates to Consider Two Motions at May AGM

At the CUC’s 2021 Annual General Meeting on May 8, delegates will consider two proposed motions.  Congregations are encouraged to allow time for their members and delegates to discuss the motions, and how their delegates will vote,  perhaps by setting aside some time after a Sunday service or during a coffee hour. Please provide feedback to the proposers by February 28th using the Resolutions Feedback Form, using a separate form for each motion. According to the CUC’s Resolutions Process, no substantive amendments are allowed after this date or at the AGM.

There are two proposed motions for the CUC’s 2020 Annual General Meeting: Changes to the method of calculating Annual Program Contribution; and CUC Goals and Strategic Priorities.

The complete text for both motions, along with more information on delegate accreditation and quorum requirements, is available here.

What’s Making Us Smile

Isabella Kulak

When Isabella Kulak, a young girl from Cote First Nation in eastern Saskatchewan, wore her ribbon skirt to school, an uneducated comment from one of the school staff made her feel ashamed. Fortunately, the story didn’t stop there. People heard the story and began posting photos and videos of themselves wearing ribbon skirts and shirts to support and encourage Isabella. And the school board offered an apology and their commitment to make things right, through consultation, education and most wonderfully, celebration. There are plans to hold a Ribbon Skirt Day at the school. 

To learn more about the CUC’s efforts towards reconciliation, join us at our Elders Circle on January 20. 

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

Elder’s Circle with Sharon Jinkerson-Brass
Wednesday, January 20, 2021, 4 pm PT |5 pm MT |6 pm CT |7  pm  ET |8 pm AT (90 minutes)
More Information

Caring for One Another
Saturday, February 6, 2020, 1:30 pm AT|12:30 pm ET|11:30 am CT|10:30 am MT|9:30 am PT| (90 minutes)
 Join us for an open conversation concerning the pastoral care needs of our congregations. Free event! Online via Zoom
More information

Sharing Our Faith National Service
Sunday, February 7, 2021,
10 am PT | 11 am MT | 12 pm CT | 1 pm ET | 2 pm AT
 A Faith Worth Failing For – Join Revs. Shana Lynngood and Samaya Oakley for a service that explores mistakes we’ve made and how we can learn from them to become the transformational faith we proclaim to be.Free event! No registration is required.  More information

Self-Care for Lay Chaplains Webinar
Thursday, February 11, 2021, 4:00 pm PT | 5:00 pm MT |  6:00 pm CT | 7:00 pm ET | 8:00 pm AT (90 minutes)
Join us to discuss how and why we as Lay Chaplains need to prioritize self-care. More information

Rising Together: UU Youth and Emerging Adults of Colour
Saturday, February 13, 2021; 1:30 pm PT |2:30 pm MT |3:30 pm CT |4:30 pm  ET |5:30 pm AT (90 minutes)
Join us for Rising Together – a welcoming space especially for Black, Indigenous and other people of colour (BIPOC) – For Youth (14-19) and emerging adults (18-24) of colour. More information

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

Regular Online Events

Gathered Here: Young Adult Check-In
January 10 – 8 pm & February 11 – 2 pm ET
More information

Connect and Deepen – Virtual Gathering
Sunday,  January 24 and February 14, 1 pm PT |2 pm MT| 3 pm CT| 4 pm ET| 5 pm  AT
More information

Leaders Roundtable, Saturday, January 30, 9:00 am PT | 10:00 am MT | 11:00am CT | 12:00 pm ET | 1:00 pm AT  More information