CUC eNews: January 1, 2019 – Issue 71

In This Issue:

Welcome to the New CUC eNews

The CUC eNews has moved to a new weekly format for 2019. Starting with this issue, subscribers will receive a short weekly email from the CUC featuring introductions to a limited number of articles linked to a CUC website page for more in-depth information (like this page you are currently reading). The goal is to provide you with news and information that is timely, engaging and easier to read. The eNews will be mailed from a new email, so you can easily recognize it’s from the CUC.

The Canadian Unitarian (CanU), the longer CUC twice-a-year publication, will no longer be produced. The CUC eNews will be the vehicle for delivering news and issues of interest to Canadian Unitarian Universalists.

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Message from the CUC Board President 

The Canadian Unitarian Council is well positioned for a memorable year in 2019. We have expanded our CUC staff positions, creating a strong team. Much was accomplished in 2018. The wonderful new website is getting rave reviews from users. Communications is being revamped, which includes the new look and focus for the CUC eNews, and more emphasis on social media. Online connections are an area of focus, with national webinars being offered on a regular basis to assist our members in areas of congregational life, including stewardship, financial management, social media, and growth. Young adults now have monthly online Gathered Here gatherings.  The Truth, Healing and Reconciliation (THR) Team is moving into Phase II of this initiative, looking at how to embed THR into the DNA of the CUC, and its member congregations. I feel that we are now in a position to live up to our CUC vision of a world where our interdependence calls us to love and justice.

Our seven principles guide our work and lives, and for me personally, 2019 is also a great time for all of us to remember that in our fifth principle, Unitarians promise to affirm and promote the use of the democratic process in our congregations and the world at large. Canada has far too few citizens who bother voting, and as a Unitarian, I am committed to the democratic process and will look at 2019 as the year to help increase the vote. I will look for ways in 2019 to reach out to others, particularly youth, who aren’t voting in our elections. Yes, our first-past-the-post process is far from ideal but we should be using what we have to express our vote, instead of not voting. To not vote because we don’t like the options or the voting system is a cop-out. I will be working with others to ensure that we have record voter turnout for our upcoming fall 2019 federal election. I hope you will join me in putting our fifth principle into action.

Jane Ebbern
President, CUC Board

Learn more about UU Principles

Reaching Out Beyond the Holiday Season: A Message from the UU Ministers of Canada

When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone, when the kings and princes are home, when the shepherds are back with their flocks, the work of Christmas begins:

To find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to rebuild the nations, to bring peace among the people, to make music in the heart. – The Rev. Howard Thurman

In the mythic storytelling that many of our congregations do in our services on Christmas Eve, we include the part about the Magi traveling across the land, following a star. What’s glossed over in our worship celebrations is that in the original scripture, it doesn’t happen the same night that Mary gives birth. The Magi arrive twelve days later, giving us the twelve days of Christmas and the celebration of Epiphany in early January. For those of us who also use the Orthodox calendar, the entire holiday of Christmas and Epiphany is happening right now in the month of January.

It is during this time that the major players of our story, the characters from whom we glean our lessons, are in states of liminality; both in the stable and on the roads. Mary is still recovering from giving birth, and learning her new role as a mother. Jesus is getting a crash course in what it means to be out of the womb, where there’s things like hunger and cold. Joseph is figuring out his place in this family that has grown from two to three. The Magi put their faith in their learning, risking days of travel entirely on the appearance of a star in the sky. They encounter Herod, and are wary enough of his abuse of institutional power and privilege to return home “by another road.” They are changed by this experience as much as the holy family in Bethlehem.

What, then, does this time of year offer us as Unitarian Universalists? I would offer up January as a time for us to experience the stable and the roads. In the stable, we can contemplate ourselves, our roles in our families and communities, our fears and anxieties. On the roads, we can turn ourselves outward, to take stock of where our reason and values intersect with the work of justice. We can reach out to those for whom the holiday season is anything but joyous – be it for grief or injustice or any reason – and let them know that they are supported.

In gratitude and faith,
The Rev. Meghann Robern
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Sharing Our Faith 2019

The Sharing Our Faith program provides funds for congregational initiatives which enhance ministry, aid congregational projects and outreach, and enhance the Unitarian Universalist movement in Canada. Every year the CUC 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.

We ask that congregations take up a special offering for the CUC Sharing Our Faith Fund at the service, to support fellow UU congregations. For further information, contact the CUC office or send an email to

The 2019 Sharing our Faith package, compiled by Ben Robins and Danielle Webber, focuses on the theme of water. Our seventh principle calls us to respect the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. The worship materials in the package offer ways for UU congregations to live into that aspiration.

Download the Sharing Our Faith Service materials for 2019

Water: The CUC’s Call to Action for 2019-2020

Plunge into 2019 with the CUC as we explore issues surrounding water, our interconnections with it, and our responsibilities to it!  Join other Unitarians and water activists across the country as we start ripples of change! We’re calling this campaign The Ripple Effect, and we’re encouraging UU groups and congregations to identify a water-related issue they want to learn more about.

We’ve created resources for you to host a kick-off event in your area which includes a film and some questions to guide you through the process. You are invited to share those answers with the CUC so we can help you connect with resources, campaigns, movements, and activists working on similar issues within other congregations and organizations throughout the country.  We have pulled together a great list of resources which we hope will continue to grow as people like yourselves add to it. Through our Love & Justice Facebook page, you can share a water issue of high importance for your area and highlight actions you are taking using photos or video. We truly hope that through our connections the actions taken in one region will have a ripple effect, supporting education and change across the country!

You may be wondering, why make water the focus of this campaign rather than one of the many other issues making headlines these days?  When our National Social Justice Team looked at issues such as climate change, missing and murdered Indigenous women, privatization of essential services, pipelines, and pollution from plastic, we found water was interwoven within all these. As water is the lifeblood of the earth, if we shift our values, perspectives, and behaviours to protect our water, and ensure access to clean water, the impacts will be far reaching.  In taking action for water, we simultaneously take action on all these things.

We hope you will join us!

Erin Horvath, Social Justice Lead
Canadian Unitarian Council

Learn more about The Ripple Effect. Visits our Love & Justice Facebook page.
to share resources, ask questions or to let us know your group/organization will be joining us.

Reminder: February Congregational Meetings

In preparation for the Annual General Meeting (AGM), motions for the AGM will be sent to congregations in early January.
Congregations are asked to set aside time before the end of February to meet and discuss these motions (there will be several), decide how delegates will vote, and provide feedback to the proposers of motions by February 28.

Set the date for your congregational meeting!

Canadian Unitarian Book Club

Starting in January, there will be a cross-country book group initiated by Mary Maler of the Montreal congregation. Mary noticed that the European Unitarian Universalists have a book group and so proposed it.

Vote on which books we will discuss. Each online Zoom meeting will be one hour and be limited to eight participants. To join the google group and get notifications, send a blank email to

Learn more at the Vancouver Unitarians website

Share what’s going on in your congregation. Contact
Deadline: the 14th of each prior month.

Join the Canadian Unitarian Council on Facebook!

Upcoming Events

National Events

CUC 2019 Annual General Meeting (AGM), May 11 from 1:00 – 4:30 pm ET / 10:00 am – 1:30 p.m. PT
Our host will be the Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga. More information will be available soon.

CanUUdle XIX, May 17 – 20 – Hosted by the Unitarian Church of Calgary
CanUUdle is the annual national conference for Canadian UU youth and their adult advisors.
Registration will be available soon.

Chorus, May 17 – 20, Location TBA
Each year, Canadian UU young adults (18-35) gather to build beloved community, deepen our cross-country connections, and grow as spiritual beings. Registration will be available soon

Regional Events

30th Annual Southern Ontario Midwinter Retreat, February 1 – 3
All UU’s are welcome to this retreat, organized by Southern Ontario UUs, at the YMCA Cedar Glen Retreat Centre in Bolton, ON.

OWL Training

Owl Facilitator Training – Grades 7-9 and 10- 12, January 11- 13. Hosted by the Unitarian Church of Vancouver.
Become a facilitator for Our Whole Lives sexuality education – junior high and high school levels (grades 7-9 and 10-12).

Youth and Young Adult 

Gathered Here: Young Adult Check-In, 1-14, 2-11, 3-11, 4-8, 5-6, 6-10, 7-8, 8-12, 8 p.m. ET
Gathered Here is a monthly online check-in and gathering for Canadian Unitarian Universalist young adults.

Peterborough Self Care UU Youth Con, Friday, January 22 – Sunday, February 24
Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough, Ontario


Financial Webinar with Clyde Harris – Part 3, January 23, 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. ET
Discussion: should charities rent out their property, why this should or should not happen, and the pros and cons of property rental.

Worship as a Beacon for Congregational Growth, Saturday, March 30, 9:30 – 12:30 p.m. PT (6:30 – 9:30 ET)
Part one of two, we’ll explore ways to create meaningful worship that engages minds, hearts, and spirits. Our presenter is the Rev. Dr. Barbara Wells ten Hove.

Connecting Across the Generations, April 13, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m, ET
Churches are one of the few places (outside of our own families) where we can make friends across the generations. How can we use that niche to build a sense of community, trust, connection, and care? Facilitated by Asha Philar,  CUC’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry Specialist.

Roundtables and Virtual Gatherings

Board Legal Considerations 101, January 26, 12:30 p.m.m ET
We’ll discuss insights and questions arising from the  “Serving on a UU board in Canada: legal and practical perspectives” video which was prepared for UU congregations.

Practical Applications of Social Media, February 9, 12:30 p.m. ET
A followup to the December webinar with Peter Bowden. How is your congregation using social media?

Virtual Gathering: Hope in Hard Times, Wednesday, March 6, 7 – 8:30 p.m. ET 0r Saturday, March 9, 12:30-2:00 p.m. ET 
Arising out of common concern, voiced by religious professionals, we invite people to join in this time of reflection and sharing – looking at the ways we find Hope in Hard Times.