CUC eNews: January 20, 2022 – Issue 135

In This Issue:

Letter From Vyda

“We are learning
That though we weren’t ready for this,
We have been readied by it.
We steadily vow that no matter
How we are weighed down,
We must always pave a way forward.”

~New Day’s Lyric, Amanda Gorman

“We must always pave a way forward.” 

As we approach the second anniversary of the pandemic’s onset, we are not where many of us hoped we would be at this point in time. We find ourselves getting wearier, a little shorter of patience, and being more anxious about our daily lives and the future. 

And yet it’s still possible, indeed necessary, to feel gratitude for vaccines, for our frontline workers, for the farm and grocery store workers, for transit workers, for scientists and researchers, for teachers, bus drivers and crossing guards – all those who mostly work unrecognized and behind the scenes to keep us going during these difficult times.

As we enter a new year, we need to dig deeper for resiliency and strength so that we can pave a way forward.

We can all find energy and possibility, whether by reading or jogging, by dancing or meditating, by talking or reflecting, by listening to music or being in silence, and by leaning on each other and going beyond ourselves. We cannot wish away our present circumstances, but we are able to handle them in new and different ways.

Resilience is something we have all needed over the past two years – we’ve adapted to the repeated imposition and lifting of restrictions, to changes in our work or our studies, and in general to a sense of near-constant uncertainty. None of this has been easy, but we have still, to paraphrase Amanda Gorman, paved a way forward.

We bring this same flexibility and adaptability to the issues confronting our congregations and the wider world. While there’s no disputing that the challenges we face are many, we know that we are always stronger together and can accomplish many things together that we can’t do alone.

Read and view Amanda Gorman’s performance of her poem “New Day’s Lyric.”

Be well friends,
Vyda Ng
Executive Director

NEW! CUC Inclusivity Forums

As part of the CUC’s commitment to enacting the 8th Principle on dismantling systemic barriers to full inclusion, the Social Justice Team has planned three Inclusivity Forums, a FREE learning series that will focus on:

    • Becoming more conscious of privilege, power, and biases
    • Practice noticing our own discomfort that arises when our beliefs, opinions, biases are challenged, and our responses to it
    • How to shift our UU culture and communities to be more aware and intentionally inclusive

The three forums will focus on:

All three forums will feature a caucus group for, respectively, those in diverse relationships/families, those with different dis/abilities, and those who feel they’ve experienced classism, should they prefer to discuss together.

Commenting on the first forum, CUC Social Justice Lead Erin Horvath notes: “In discussing what needs to shift, within ourselves and our UU culture, in order to be more inclusive of diverse families and relationship styles, this is one opportunity to do the work the 8th Principle calls us to do.”

Amber Dawn Bellemare, the CUC’s Truth, Healing, and Reconciliation Initiative and Special Events Programming Coordinator, adds that holding these forums is important because “We cannot hold the world outside our communities accountable for a way of being that we are not willing to model within. These forums are about putting into action ‘dismantling systemic barriers to full inclusion.’ We will use the Responsibility Covenant along with materials and interviews with community members to support conversations where people’s sense of privilege may feel threatened.

By reframing assumptions and transmuting resistance, we learn to be in relationship with our members and guests knowing their diverse life experiences enrich rather than challenge ourselves and dominant UU culture.”

Meet a Minister: Rev. Shana Lynngood

Rev. Shana Lynngood has served as co-minister of the First Unitarian Church of Victoria since 2010, and also serves as Minister Observer to the CUC’s board. 

A lifelong UU, she grew up in suburban Philadelphia and found participating in her congregation’s youth group to be meaningful during a challenging part of her adolescence. Her experience leading worship and programs ultimately spurred her to consider whether ministry might be worth pursuing.

“At some point in doing all of that I thought, hmm: of all the things I’ve considered doing with my life, ministry feels like it could be a combination of all the things I love the most. it’s justice-oriented, it’s relationship-oriented and it’s all of that with an undercurrent of spirituality, like what does it all mean? I’ve always loved the big questions of human existence. And so, I felt like, hmm, maybe ministry.”

In the years since becoming a minister, Shana has found it’s everything she thought it would be but also involves a lot of work that isn’t visible from the outside, such as participating in committee meetings, reviewing budgets, and writing newsletter columns. Officiating at memorial services is one aspect of ministry she’s found particularly meaningful, and she also appreciated the chance to participate in a pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago in Spain with a group from her previous congregation.

Shana believes that if Unitarian Universalism is to remain relevant, it must be able to better reflect the demographics of the communities it serves, noting that most UUs remain white and middle class in contrast to society at large. 

“We have to be speaking to what matters most to people,” she says. “We have to be open to change. And we have to be willing to do things in ways that may involve us getting out in the world a little more often than we’ve been accustomed to.”

In her spare time, Shana enjoys listening to music, especially jazz, and poetry; staying connected with friends and family using FaceTime and Zoom, and exercising.

CUC Month

February is designated as CUC Month when congregations are asked to focus on all things CUC and to allocate time to discuss matters coming up at the CUC’s May Annual General Meeting.

This year, we are inviting you to send us your favourite UU tidbits, jokes, facts, learnings, poems, drawings, etc to share with our wider faith community. Email these to right through January and February.

Sharing Our Faith Sunday

As part of CUC Month, we offer a national Sunday Service on February 6th as the Sharing Our Faith service. Coordinated by Revs. Victoria Ingram and Meghann Robern, the service takes place at 10 am PT / 1 pm ET. 

The service is titled “Celebration and Contemplation: The Path of an 8th Principle” – Unitarians and Universalists have been on the forefront of social change and justice-seeking for hundreds of years. In November 2021, congregations of the Canadian Unitarian Council once again stepped forward, this time to commit ourselves to dismantling racism and systemic barriers to full inclusion for all people. Be part of celebrating this commitment to foundational social change as we contemplate the steps we take to move forward in our commitment to justice in ourselves, our denomination, and our larger society.

Join us live on Zoom or the CUC’s Youtube channel; the service will be made available early the following week for your congregation’s use if you are unable to attend.

Leaders’ Roundtable: After the 8th Principle Vote: Let’s Talk Next Steps Saturday, January 29, 12 pm ET

Now that we have added an 8th Principle – what’s next? Bring your thoughts to share with the CUC Board about how we can go forward together to “accountably dismantling racism and systemic barriers to full inclusion in ourselves and our institutions”. What would this involve for you personally? For your congregation/community? For the CUC as a national faith association?

Join us on Zoom

Removing Financial Barriers to CUC Events

The CUC is working on removing financial barriers to online events (we’re working on multiplatform events, should the day come when we can gather safely again!)

For every event that has a registration fee, we offer a sliding scale whenever possible to remove financial barriers, and we only charge a fee for those events where we compensate facilitators for their expertise and time. This option allows participants to decide how much they pay. However, we realize that the sliding scale may not work for all – each person is on a different place on the financial continuum – so we offer an option to pay $0 as well. There may be events when the sliding scale cannot be utilized, for example when the material is created by another organization or when the event is held in partnership with an outside partner, and there is a set fee that is levied. In these instances, grants will be made available.

This “Green Bottle Chartis a useful tool to figure out your position on the sliding scale.

A user of the sliding scale reflects, “When I pay more, I know that I am helping others to access the event. When I pay in the middle, I know I am helping the organizers cover costs. And when I pay at the bottom, I know I am letting my community hold me and support me. All of these are wonderful and acceptable ways of participating.”

Check out events on the CUC’s Calendar for upcoming events.

Meet the New Ministers on the Young Adult Pastoral Care Team

The Young Adult Pastoral Care Team is welcoming two new members and saying farewell to two members as well. 

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

We are welcoming Rev. Lynn Harrison (she/her), who currently serves as Associate Minister at First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto, where pastoral care is one of the most significant and enriching aspects of her ministry. Arran Morton (he/him/they/them) will also be joining the team. Arran is Director of Spiritual Exploration and Learning for Children and Youth at First Unitarian Church of Victoria (currently on parental leave) and is a Unitarian Universalist Ministerial Candidate, currently doing a Masters of Divinity, focusing on earth-based spirituality, at Cherry Hill Seminary. 

The CUC has continued its partnership with the Emerging Adult Task Force of the Pacific Western Region (PWR) in the United States. Rev. Marcia Stanard from the PWR will continue to collaborate with Canadian young adults and the emerging adults (18-24 year olds) from Washington, Oregon and California are invited to seek support through this network. 

We’d like to thank Revs. Ben Robins and Rod Solano-Quesnel who have been serving as pastoral care providers for the last three years with the CUC. Your support to Young Adults across the country (and continent) has been invaluable, and your collaboration in building up the Pastoral Care Team has been hugely important in the success of the program. Thank you! 

You can get to know more about Rev. Lynn and Arran, as well as continuing team member Rev. Marcia by reading their full bios. Young adults are also encouraged to drop in to Gathered Here to meet them face to face! 

UU@UN Office Seeks Summer Intern

The Unitarian Universalist Office at the United Nations (UU@UN)  invites interns to serve as active participants and collaborators in its work. The UU@UN is currently seeking summer interns to serve from the end of May to early September in a virtual capacity. 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, and encourages youth and young adults 18 years of age and over to apply.

Interns are encouraged to choose one of the office’s program areas to focus on during their time at the UU@UN. While interns may focus on one particular issue area, they are expected to collaborate with their colleagues on programs and intersecting issues of concern. To note, interns are not required to be enrolled in any academic program when applying to work at the UU@UN. 

Applicants who meet the position’s requirements are encouraged to apply by March 14, 2022. A small stipend will be provided to the successful applicant. Please direct all inquiries to the UUA,

What’s Making Us Smile

 Wiebke Schmidt-Kochan and her husband agreed to use their animals in a publicity stunt to boost vaccine uptake in Germany, lining up more than 700 sheep and goats in a field to form the shape of a 100-metre-long syringe. 

Upcoming Events (online via Zoom)

Share what’s going on in your congregation. Contact

The MyceliUUm Youth Network of Canada
Saturday, January 22, 11 am PT | 12 pm MT | 1 pm CT | 2 pm ET | 3 pm AT
More information

Connect and Deepen – Virtual Gathering
Sunday, January 23, 1 pm PT | 2 pm MT | 3 pm CT| 4 pm ET | 5 pm  AT
More information

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
More information

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
More information

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
More information

Inclusivity Forums – Responsibility Covenant Focus Groups
Session 1 – Welcoming Alternative Relationships and Families
Wednesday, February 2 – 4 pm PT | 5 pm MT | 6 pm CT | 7 pm ET | 8 pm AT
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
More information

Gathered Here
Thursday, February 10, 11 am PT | 12 pm MT | 1 pm CT | 2 pm ET | 3 pm AT
More information

Rising Together – For Youth (14-19) and emerging adults (18-24) of colour
Saturday, February 19, 1:30 pm PT | 2:30 pm MT | 3:30 pm CT | 4:30 pm  ET | 5:30 pm AT
More information

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
More information