CUC eNews: June 18, 2019 – Issue 95

In This Issue:

Refugee Sponsorship Opportunities for Congregations

The Government of Canada has made funding available to sponsors for two categories of refugees:

    1. The Blended Visa-Office Referred Program (BVOR):
      Under the BVOR program, refugees are referred to Canadian visa offices abroad directly by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Most of the refugees sponsored under this program are travel-ready, meaning screening has already happened, and individuals usually arrive in Canada within 1-4 months of submitting the application. BVOR is a cost-sharing program with the government. Sponsoring groups, however, are NOT able to identify refugees to be sponsored under the BVOR program.
    2. The Rainbow Refugee Assistance Project (RRAP)
      The RRAP program resettles those who are persecuted because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or HIV status. IRCC supports LGBTQ+ sponsorships by providing partial funding, working with community partners, and increasing the number of spaces for these sponsorships.

Typically, under these programs, the government provides six months of income support, with the sponsors providing the remaining six months of income support. Until August 31, 2019, the government is providing full funding for one year for the BVOR category. The RRAP sponsorships continue to receive six months of government funding.

Time is short to apply for these fully funded sponsorships. If your congregation is interested, please email  

In 2018, twenty-eight individuals from seven different countries arrived under CUC and congregational sponsorship. They settled in Mississauga, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Ottawa, New Westminster BC, Guelph, Oakville, and Hamilton. In addition, the CUC works directly with Capital Rainbow Refuge in Ottawa, and in 2018, helped seven individuals who were persecuted because of their gender identity, find a home in Canada. More applications from 2018 and 2019 are in process, with the arrivals anticipated for this year.  

The CUC would like to thank everyone who responded to our request in April 2019 to hear from you on ways we could improve CUC’s refugee sponsorship work. We have developed a communications strategy to respond to your requests.

Learn More About the CUC and Refugee Sponsorship

Comox Valley Fellowship Calls for Declaration of Climate Emergency

Four municipalities in British Columbia’s Comox Valley have agreed to declare a climate crisis, spurred in part by actions taken by the Comox Valley Unitarian Fellowship (CVUF).

The municipalities’ declarations followed a letter issued by the CVUF’s social and environmental justice group, which was sent to all the councils in the area. Two Unitarians, Mike Bell, and Steve Faraher-Amidon, subsequently made a presentation to the Comox Council. Another Unitarian, May Partridge, presented to the Courtenay Council and made the case for the declaration.

CVUF’s letter began by recognizing municipalities in the region for efforts they had already made at climate change mitigation and adaptation. It went on to state that further action is needed to address what is clearly a worsening situation. The letter cited deepening summer droughts, increasingly violent winter storms, and severe flooding as evidence of climate change’s impacts on the region. These examples were backed up by the recent report indicating Canada is warming at twice the global rate.

The letter went on to ask the four councils to formally declare a state of climate emergency, which “will enable the necessary planning and measures required to meet the kinds of potential disasters which may occur and to move proactively to prevent them.”

CVUF called on the municipalities to undertake a series of measures as part of the declaration, including an initial approach to plan how communities can meet extreme climate events such as storms, fires, and floods; the establishment of a standing committee on the climate emergency; and a commitment that staff will keep the community continually informed on its progress in meeting the climate emergency.

Members of the fellowship were pleased with the outcome of both presentations, with the Comox and Courtenay councils subsequently approving motions to declare a “climate crisis” (the councils’ preferred terminology). The fellowship is awaiting news on what the next steps will be.

Learn About the Climate Emergency Campaign

The Association for UU Music Ministries Conference

On July 24 – 28, the Association for UU Music Ministries (AUUMM, formerly the UU Musicians Network) will hold its first conference under its new name and with its new mission in Denver, CO.

From the AUUMM website: This year’s conference is designed to get us outside our heads; to release our inner creative energy; color outside the lines and bring a fresh approach to the sacred work we do, how we do it and why. Conference attendees will experience a paperless delivery system for all materials and will read repertoire by Composers of Color. This summer’s event will also feature the first-ever Songleaders Convergence, a special track of programming focused on nurturing a deeper culture of singing in our congregations and the wider community.

“Anyone interested in serving the souls, not just the spirits of their congregations, should invest in their music program and music-leaders”, says Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation. She continues, “The conference brings together UU musicians to share their experiences and skills with the hope of making UU congregations music programs vital and relevant. I personally have begun many initiatives at Neighbourhood that I learned about at the conferences eg. Spirit Band, Morning Chant, Singing Meditation, Neighbourhood Concert Series, Comfort Choir… There is a strong community there because you see the same folks year after year and develop relationships with other UU musicians. It is a lonely job, there are only 3 of us in all of Toronto, for example.”  

Maziarz continued, “I personally have been moved by the daily worship services at the conference where I truly feel supported, loved, cared for, appreciated, and served. A congregation full of professional musicians singing and witnessing each other is my church.”

Check out the AUUMM conference programming information, and clinician bios. Registration is now open!.

Read More About the AUUMM Conference

Seeking Youth and Adult Staff for the Western Region Youth Con in Edmonton

The Western Region Fall Gathering (WRFG) will take place at the Unitarian Church of Edmonton, October 18-20, 2019. We need both youth and adult advisors from all over the Western Region to help us plan it!

For more information on what being on staff involves, and to apply, check out this simple form. Applications must be in by Wednesday, June 26,  at midnight CST.

Questions: Casey Stainsby,

Fill Out the Youth Con Staff Application

Serving With Spirit Workshops – Have You Registered?

The CUC is offering three regional Serving With Spirit Workshops coming up in July and August. Please note the deadlines for registration:

Serving With Spirit Nurturing UU Leaders – EAST, 3-day retreat, July 26 – 28, Carleton University, ON
Registration deadline: June 24

Serving With Spirit Nurturing UU Leaders – WEST, 3-day retreat, August 9 – 11, Providence Renewal Centre, Edmonton, AB
Registration deadline: July 10

Online & In-person (West) – Serving With Spirit: Stronger Together, Planning for Partnership, 1-day workshop, August 10, Providence Renewal Centre, Edmonton, AB 
Registration deadline: July 10

Register Today!

Summer eNews Schedule

Please note that the eNews will not be published in July. In August, two editions will be published. The publication will return to its weekly schedule the first week in September.

Like the Canadian Unitarian Council on Facebook!

Upcoming Events 2019

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

Youth and Young Adult 

Online – Gathered Here: Young Adult Check-In, July 8, August 12, 8 p.m. ET
Gathered Here is a monthly online check-in and gathering for Canadian Unitarian Universalist young adults.

Serving With Spirit: Leadership Development

Serving With Spirit Nurturing UU Leaders – EAST, 3-day retreat, Friday, July 26 – 28
Carleton University, ON, Registration deadline: June 24

We invite you to a weekend to explore where you find the “springs” which fill your life’s well of energy, and how you can live out of that rich resource.
Facilitators: Revs. Peter Boullata and Linda Thomson

Serving With Spirit Nurturing UU Leaders – WEST, 3-day retreat, August 9 – 11
Providence Renewal Centre, Edmonton, AB, Registration deadline: July 10
Facilitators: Revs. Anne Barker and Chris Wulff

Online & In-person – Serving With Spirit: Stronger Together, Planning for Partnership, 1-day workshop, August 10
Providence Renewal Centre, Edmonton, AB, Registration deadline: July 10

Facilitator: Rev. Joan Van Becelaer


Eastern Region Fall Gathering, October 19, First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa
More information and registration coming soon.

Western Region Fall Gathering, October 18 – 20,  Unitarian Church of Edmonton
Hosted by the Unitarian Church of Edmonton and the Westwood Unitarian Congregation, Theme: Towards A Thriving Future.
More information and registration coming soon.

Western Region Youth Con, October 18 –  Oct 20, Unitarian Church of Edmonton
Youth and their adult advisors from across the Western Region will gather in Edmonton to strengthen their community, find spiritual sustenance and look towards the future. More information and registration coming soon.


UUA General Assembly 2019: June 19-23, Spokane, WA
General Assembly (GA) is the annual meeting of our Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Attendees worship, witness, learn, connect, and make policy for the Association through democratic process.

Association for UU Music Ministries Conference, July 24-28, Denver, CO.

UU-UNO Intergenerational Spring Seminar On Climate Justice, April 15-18, 2020, New York, NY

International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (ICUU) Meeting & Conference, October 26 – November 1, 2020, Montreal, Canada
More information coming soon.