CUC eNews: June 20, 2023 – Issue 151

This Issue:

An Update from the Board

Greetings Canadian Unitarian*Universalists from your new President of the CUC Board. As I write this we are well into Indigenous History Month, the launch of Pride season, and anticipating the summer solstice. As a people aspiring to be radically inclusive, we pay attention to marking these days and months, we take an interest in the history, and we show our support; let’s remember not to stop there. 

Personally I approach these commemorations with a mix of feelings. I take an interest in history and heritage; I recognize how important it is to lift up the history of people who have been left out of the Eurocentric, powercentric, heterocentric history that has been taught in North American schools for so long. I also am keenly aware as a queer person when the rainbows proliferate and when they fade into the background again. I imagine there may be similar mixed feelings for people whose history or heritage is acknowledged one month out of the year. Judging by the material my children are learning in school now, I do see that there are changes. I think what they are learning is more well-rounded and of more diverse perspectives than in the 80’s and 90’s. And there is always room for improvement.

I believe most of us U*Us want to live in a world where everyone is afforded the dignity to enter a space and simply be themselves without explanation and detailed analysis. Without needing to assess what assumptions might be held about them by the people in the room. I hold many identities in common with the dominant culture. I am a white, middle-class professional, educated with a graduate degree and I own my home. However, as a neurodivergent, queer woman I notice when I am in a space where I do not have to hide, downplay, gloss over, or represent nobly any of those aspects of myself–and it is a relief. 

This relief to just be yourself with others who recognize you as you are is what we intend in creating safe, radically inclusive, space. And it is work my friends, not something that just happens, because it goes against the grain of the dominant culture. But it should be joyful work that we can all embrace, even if we are at times uncomfortable or unsure of our own place in a changing world. Work that draws in, uplifts, and celebrates the inherent dignity of every person. 

As the Board launches the strategic planning process for the CUC this fall we will be turning to you for input. One of the big guiding questions that I have is “what does Unitarian Universalism need in order to thrive that is best provided by a national organisation with the resources we have?” “If our vision pushes us past our resource capacity, are there untapped sources of income to support it?” There are more questions that will come up through this process and I hope that many of you will participate when the opportunities arise.

Another goal of the Board this year is to keep in touch with member congregations more consistently. I hope you will keep an eye on the leaders list for future opportunities to meet with your regional Board members (most likely virtually). It often feels like the Board is an unknown and disembodied entity to many congregation members. This impersonal aspect of the Board in relation to members does not help an organisation that is meant to be relational. It is hard to trust people making decisions and shaping policy if you do not know them. Each of us on the Board care deeply about Unitarian Universalism and its continued health as a tradition and movement in Canada. I could not be more pleased with the respectful, passionate, and caring individuals from across the country that I get to work with. I hope you will get to know them, and trust them as well. 

May you find in this summer moments of rest, renewal, and hope.

Blessed be,

Kiersten E. Moore, CUC Board President

A Statement on the CUC’s Goals & Strategic Priorities
From Executive Director Vyda Ng and the CUC Board of Trustees

Each year, the Board of Trustees reviews and updates the goals and strategic priorities of the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC). These are sent out in advance of each Annual General Meeting, and member congregations, through their delegates, discuss and vote on these goals and strategic priorities, which then set the direction for the CUC over the next two years. 

At the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Friday, May 19, 2023, the Board presented  a motion that included four goals and three strategic priorities, including one that called on Unitarian Universalists to “live into the 8th Principle of individual and communal action that accountably dismantles racism and systemic barriers to full inclusion in ourselves and our institutions . . .” The motion identified several steps the CUC could take to realize this vision including repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery and consulting with Indigenous organizations. 

Some delegates expressed concern because the motion did not specifically name anti-Black racism as a systemic barrier to full inclusion nor did it include steps to address this form of oppression. This concern was echoed by several ministers and others. A delegate suggested we add the words “anti-Black racism” to the motion. The Parliamentarian advised us this change would comprise a substantive amendment and thus would be out of order.

The Board called a brief recess to discuss the situation. After the break, the Board, in consultation with  the Parliamentarian, proposed a motion to postpone indefinitely* the approval of the strategic priorities and goals to a future meeting. This motion passed.

The President of the CUC Board, Kiersten Moore, affirms the Board’s ongoing commitment to taking action against anti-Black racism. “This conversation is ongoing,” she says, “and critical to our overall strategic planning.” Over the next several months, Board members will consult with delegates and the broader UU community on its vision.  

Moore adds that the CUC will not hold a special meeting to approve a revised motion. Instead, the Board will present new goals and strategic priorities for consideration at the 2024 AGM. In the meantime, the CUC will continue to be guided by the goals and strategic priorities approved at the 2022 AGM, including hiring a full-time staff position. “They are similar in spirit,” Moore says, “and both set us on a path towards justice and equity.” 

*Postpone indefinitely according to Robert’s Rules of Order is a motion that has the effect of dropping the main motion without taking a definite position on the main motion. The original motion cannot be brought up again at the same session (meeting) but can be moved again (in the same or modified form) at a later session. 

CUC Approves Motion to Repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery
From Executive Director Vyda Ng and the Board of Trustees

In its final report, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada called on “all religious denominations and faith groups who have not already done so to repudiate concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous lands and peoples. . .” (Call to Action #49)

On Friday, May 19, 2023, members of the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) heeded that call. Delegates at the Annual General Meeting voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery.

“It is gratifying to see the strong show of support for the motion,” says Kiersten Moore, President of the CUC Board of Trustees, “”but we cannot stop here. This is just one of many steps we must take to effect real change in Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples.”

Executive Director, Vyda Ng, agrees. “In addition to  repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery, and urging member congregations to do the same, the CUC must advocate for legislation to formally enact the repudiation of the Doctrine nationally and within Canada’s legal systems.”

To support this critical objective, Ng will convene and oversee a two-year Action Group on behalf of the CUC Board of Trustees. Its priorities will include:

    • Consulting with the CUC Elders-in-Residence and Indigenous-led organizations on current initiatives and work being undertaken to enact the repudiation of the Doctrine; 
    • Collaborating with other faith communities and organizations to advocate for national legislation to formally repudiate the Doctrine; and 
    • Advocating for federal commitment to a policy of restitution and redress.

Ng will establish the Action Group by July 30, 2023. The group is expected to deliver a progress report to the CUC membership at the Annual General Meeting in 2024. 

If you would like to be engaged in this work, we invite you to express your interest in this form.

If your congregation has formally repudiated the Doctrine of Discovery, we invite you to let us know here.

Meet Lynn Sabourin: Recipient of the 2023 Knight Award

Lynn Sabourin, Director of Family Ministries at North Shore Unitarians for almost 40 years prior to her retirement in 2021, was the recipient of the 2023 Knight Award. Lynn received the award for her work furthering the principles of Unitarian Universalism as a volunteer. Work that went far beyond her staff role.

“I feel like it’s a great honor,” she says. “There are many people who are deserving of an award like this, and I just feel like I’m very lucky to have been chosen.”

Lynn was particularly appreciative of the award because of her background as a religious educator, an area she feels doesn’t always receive the attention it deserves.

“Of course I’m a little prejudiced in supporting religious educators,” she says, “as I’ve known many who would love to have made this their career and just didn’t feel they could. And it isn’t always about the money, which is always pretty poor. But it’s more about the kind of support and affirmation that they get.”

Although retired, Lynn has continued to provide support and affirmation to active religious educators as both a mentor and a good officer. She also brought a religious educator’s perspective to a variety of areas in her past volunteer work. She served on the Shining Lights committee for four years. As Rev. Brian Kiely observed in presenting the award, “in any task you would want Lynn on your team.”

Lynn believes working as part of a team is critical to ensuring the future of Unitarian Universalism. Now is a time when many congregations are grappling with controversy and change.

“The whole Unitarian Universalist face of things is changing,” she says. ” And so I think we’re dependent even more on our ministers and religious educators to work together to navigate where we’re headed. I think it behooves us to pay attention to supporting those people who keep our churches afloat: administrators, music directors, religious educators, and ministers.”

A Reflection on Bridging from Youth to Young Adulthood
By Noella Prescod 

The following reflection was written by Noella Prescod, an emerging young adult from the Unitarian Church of Vancouver. It was read by Noella at the bridging ceremony that took place in Ottawa during the National Symposium, just before the ritual that marks the transition from youth to young adulthood. 

The theme for this year’s CanUUdle was Bee Yourself and I think that is so fitting as a representation of what the youth community has brought to my life in my years as a youth. 

I am someone who has always been willing to change so many parts of myself just to try to “fit in.” So much of my life I have felt the need to try so hard to be likable, to be interesting, to be quiet and to be small. Starting high school out as a previously homeschooled, queer kid, this was definitely a challenge, but one I was dedicated to. There was only one place where I felt like I could be myself without any criticism or judgment, without anyone telling me that I was “too much” or gossiping about me behind my back: Sunday youth group. I began getting through the week of school by reminding myself that in only a few short days I would be back at church with the people I cared about so deeply and who cared about me in the same way.

Since then, I have grown a lot, and also found many genuine people in every avenue of my life, from school to dance to theatre . . . but I will never forget the community that supported every version of myself, and helped me begin to support myself as well. Thank you for being that safe space for me.

I want to give a special thanks to a few people who have made my youth group such a happy place for me ever since I did Coming of Age with them. Dylan, thank you for making me laugh and always making me feel heard. Juliet, thank you for helping me so much and always being my best friend through everything. And Lea, thank you for being one of the brightest and most genuine people I have ever met and for always being an amazing friend. I am so proud of you all and it has been amazing to see you each blossom alongside me as we have grown up together; I truly feel like you all are my second family. And of course thank you to my amazing youth coordinator, Olivia!

I’ve been thinking a lot about my first bridging ceremony, when I bridged from childhood into youth group. I wish I could go back and have a conversation with myself as a Coming of Age-er, not because I want to give myself any type of advice, but because I want to ask my younger self if she’s proud of everything I have done. Would she like my friends? My hair? Would she be excited that I finally get to go see Taylor Swift in a few months? Would she like the new colour of my room or would she find it disappointing that I still can’t keep it clean? Would she be horrified that I no longer live my life just to please other people or would she be relieved? Would she like the person I’ve become? Would she be proud of me for leaving and growing up? 

It feels surreal to be up here, bridging to young adulthood, when it feels like only a few months ago I was nervously anticipating my Coming of Age Bridging Ceremony. Now in a few months I will be heading to a completely new city where I don’t really know anyone, and in a way, although a lot has changed about myself and my life, even more has stayed the same: I started my time as a youth by going to a new school where I knew no one, and I’m ending it in the same way. The other constant in my life since then is the love and support I feel from those around me in this community. Thank you all for that. As I start this new chapter, I think, I hope, that it will turn out alright again this time.

Reflections on Chorus and the National Symposium from Two Young Adults

“Chorus 2023 was my first Young Adult conference, and I found it lived up to all my expectations of reconnecting with people I hadn’t seen since I was a youth, but I also learned that change is a hard process. Sometimes it is easier to simply say that we should change rather than actually taking the steps of tangible change. But I am encouraged and inspired by all the Unitarians who showed up online and in person ready to take those steps home to their congregations and their practices.” – Alex Trefzger

“I had an incredible time attending Chorus and the symposium. It was great to get more connected with the wider Canadian UU community, make friends, and gather this beautiful group of differently minded and radically accepting people together. The part that sticks with me is that the gentle ripples of our  goal of increasing the sum total of love in our community, at the conference, have extended far beyond the time we spent together, into the way I conduct myself at my home congregation and community. Overall, it was a healing time of meeting new friends, giggling unstoppably, learning to lean into both discomfort and joy, feeling embraced in a beloved community, and listening and speaking from the heart.” – Maya Ferguson Klinowski

Survey on Young Adult Programs (with Prizes)!
By Casey Stainsby, Youth and Young Adult Program Manager 

The Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) Youth and Young Adult Office is collecting feedback on all the CUC’s young adult (YA) programs, with hopes to hear from a wide range of 18-35 year olds about their hopes and dreams, desires and needs from the Canadian Unitarian Universalist YA community. This information will help us to set priorities for the coming year and beyond. 

As a thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us, we will be doing a draw to give away three UU meditation manuals (books of poetry, readings, and prayers)! Simply enter your email in the form to be entered. The draw will happen on Monday, July 9th. 

You can fill out the survey here (about 10-30 mins). 

Even if you haven’t participated in any of the CUC’s YA programs in the past year, your input is still super valuable and we’d love to hear from you!

UU Wellspring in Canadian Congregations
By Linnea Nelson, Executive Director UU Wellspring

UU Wellspring provides spiritual deepening programming for UU Congregations. We have had Canadian participants in our online programs from most of your provinces and several Canadian churches run very successful programs. This video features your very own Religious Educator Kiersten Moore from Vancouver Unitarians talking about her experiences with UU Wellspring.


Contact me at or enroll using the links below:

Circle of Congregational Historians and Archivists
By Charlotte Innerd

The Unitarian Universalist Studies Network (previously the UU History and Heritage Society and the UU Collegium) has created a Circle of Congregational Historians and Archivists led by Dan McKanan at Harvard Divinity School. The goal is “to foster a renaissance of congregation histories and a renewed commitment to archival work that is deeply attentive both to the historic presence of marginalized communities within Unitarian Universalism and to the complex ways that our movement has both perpetuated and resisted structures of oppression and marginalization.”  

I have volunteered to start communicating and building connections among Canadian congregations. It is starting by doing an environmental scan and documentation of archives, histories and projects.  

Thanks in advance for any connections and please let me know if you have any questions. I can be reached at


Save the Dates: Decision-making Exploration Team Hosts “Practice” Sessions

Join the Decision Making Exploration Team for two  “practice” sessions this fall. On October 21, we invite you to practice using sociocracy to address a contentious issue. On November 18, you can gain experience using formal consensus. 

The goal of these sessions is to learn by doing, allowing participants to reflect on how each system supports or hinders us in living our values when we make decisions together. 

Register for these sessions:

    • Practicing Together: Sociocracy Decision- Making
      October 21, 2023
      10:00 am PT 11:00 am MT 12:00 pm CT 1:00 pm ET 2:00 pm AT 2:30 NT
    • Practicing Together: Formal Consensus Decision Making
      November 18, 2023
      10:00 am PT 11:00 am MT 12:00 pm CT 1:00 pm ET 2:00 pm AT 2:30 NT

Contact the Decision-making Exploration Team at

Coming Soon: Online Services & Resources for Congregations

Attend Summer Services Online
By Shelley Motz

If your congregation is taking a break over the summer, you can still gather with other Unitarian Universalists (UUs) for worship. Many Canadian UU congregations plan to host services online throughout July and August–and you are welcome to join them. 

The Canadian Unitarian Council is currently compiling a list of these congregations. As they are confirmed, we will add them to our website. Please consult this list for updates. 

Meaning Making in Liminal Times project
By Rev. Anne Barker

In the ‘things we’re excited about’ category, stay tuned for full details of the Meaning Making in Liminal Times project, led by the Saskatoon Unitarians! Starting in October, this project will provide a monthly Sunday Service, along with a related Saturday Religious Education program, led by a variety of ministers addressing “Questions For Our Time.” Your congregation will be able to register for the shared Worship program package (registration opens August 9th, closing September 15th), and the congregation’s members and friends can register for the Religious Education Program (individual registration will close October 8th). Keep an eye out here for the full details, which also will be posted on the CUC Leader’s List email by the end of June.

Apply for a West Trust Grant 

The West Bequest Trust, administered by a board of trustees in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is receiving applications. The bequest funds projects which work towards fulfilling our Unitarian Universalist (UU) principles, and may include:

    1. Publishing books, pamphlets, periodicals or other modern forms of media (such as tapes, DVDs, websites, etc.) as well as programs to attract new UU members;
    2. Providing partial support towards employing a minister (either clergy or lay person); or a religious education director for children and young adults;
    3. Assisting financially weak or small UU congregations or founding new ones; and
    4. By such other methods of UU church extension as the West Trustees shall deem best.

The deadline for receipt of applications this year is Friday, October 6, 2023. You don’t need to use the application form but your submission should include all the required information. (Please read the information through before applying.)

Job Opportunities

Do you love working with elementary school-aged children? Developing creative curricula? Encouraging independent thought and exploring world religions? You might be perfect for the Kingston Unitarian Fellowship (KUF) Religious Exploration Coordinator

Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation (NUUC) is searching for a part-time Director of Lifespan Learning. Apply to work in this “heart-centred” congregation.

We are Taking a Break

The CUC office will be closed July 17-28, 2023, re-opening July 31. The CUC eNews will not be published in July and will resume in August.

What’s Making Us Smile

Many of us will be putting auto-responder messages on our email at some point over the summer. For those looking for something a bit more creative than the norm, here are some ideas.

CUC Events from June 20 to July 16, 2023

Share what’s going on in your congregation. Contact

Rising Together: UU Youth and Emerging Adults of Colour
June 28: 4:30 pm PT | 5:30 pm MT | 6:30 pm CT | 7:30 pm  ET | 8:30 pm AT | 9:30 pm NT (1.5 hours)

July 16: 4:00 pm PT | 5:00 pm MT | 6:00 pm CT | 7:00 pm ET | 8:00  pm AT  | 8:30  pm NT (2 hours)


Enews Prepared and Formatted by Brigitte Twomey, Website Specialist