CUC eNews: March 12, 2019 – Issue 81

In This Issue:

CUC in Solidarity with Trans and Nonbinary UUs

A recent article in UU World, “After the L, G, and B” published on March 1, 2019, harmed and further marginalized transgender and nonbinary UUs and leaders, their families and allies. Through one family’s experience, the article was meant to model ways for UU World readers to engage respectfully with transgender and nonbinary people. Instead, it caused pain, and for many, served to increase isolation.

The Canadian Unitarian Council, the Unitarian Universalist Ministers of Canada, and the Canadian Unitarian Universalist Religious Educators wish to express our sadness that transgender and nonbinary UUs have again been marginalized within our faith community spaces. In choosing to commission one of its first feature pieces about trans issues in Unitarian Universalism from a cisgender person, the UU World centred cisgender discomfort and fragility around trans identity, instead of focusing on the enormous contributions that trans and nonbinary UUs have made to our faith. The editorial staff chose to run the piece, despite being advised by a prominent trans UU leader that the article as conceived would cause harm.

In the face of this harm, we wish to reaffirm our commitment to trans and nonbinary UUs in Canada and in our movement at large: to radical inclusion, love and justice. As largely cisgender-led institutions, we strive to continue to be in right relationship with our trans and nonbinary UU siblings and to be honest in our communications with each other, even when (or especially when) we make mistakes that hurt each other. We call on cisgender leaders and people in our community to journey with and lift up the voices and experiences of transgender and nonbinary people in our UU communities, recognizing that in this interdependent web of existence, what affects the one affects the many.

Continue Reading the Statement

Webinar Focuses on Worship as a Beacon for Congregational Growth

The Worship as a Beacon for Congregational Growth webinar, which will include small group discussions, opportunities to ask questions, and practical tips for participants to take back to their congregations, is focused on creating high-quality worship services in congregations of all sizes.

Worship that emerges from the heart, mind and spirit changes lives. When it is led authentically and created with intention and skill, worship has the potential to inspire both inner and outer growth. Rev. Dr. Barbara Wells ten Hove, currently serving as Consulting Minister at North Shore Unitarian Church in West Vancouver, BC, can testify to the importance of worship in congregational growth. She earned her Doctor of Ministry studying worship and has led workshops and taught at UU seminaries on the topic for the past 15 years, and will now be sharing her experience in a webinar on Worship as a Beacon for Congregational Growth.

“I really have a commitment to ensuring when somebody visits any of our congregations on a Sunday morning, they come away feeling that something meaningful and memorable happened,” says Wells ten Hove. “And so the workshop will be helping people explore what that means, and at least begin to give them some tools to make sure their worship works, Sunday after Sunday”.

Even high-quality worship, Wells ten Hove stresses, isn’t a “magic bullet” for congregational growth, but she believes it is a vital component. Worship in and of itself won’t create congregational growth, but congregations that aren’t intentional about worship won’t get visitors to return.

“People will come back if they have a meaningful experience”, she says, “but if the service is sloppy without a spiritual focus and if there isn’t a sense of flow and connectivity, then people might wonder why they should come back. In this day and age when people don’t make church a high priority to begin with, I think we have to focus on how to make worship meaningful week after week”.

Part I of the webinar takes place Saturday, March 30, 9:30 – 12:30 PT (12:30 – 3:30 p.m. ET)

Register for the Webinar by March 26

Roadblocks Remain for Medical Assistance in DyingFaded rose

Since the legalization of medical assistance in dying (MAID) in 2016, more than 5,000 Canadians have undergone the procedure. Nonetheless, roadblocks for some who wish to access MAID remain, among them a provision in the law that has made some people die earlier than they wished.

Audrey Parker was one such person. The Halifax resident chose to die in November of last year, even though she wasn’t ready, because MAID in Canada requires patients to be lucid enough to provide consent again to their death moments before receiving a fatal injection. Parker, who was suffering from terminal cancer that had spread to the lining of her brain, feared that if she waited, she might not be capable of providing this consent at the time she wanted.

Parker thus continued to advocate for changes to the law right up until her death.

“I applaud our lawmakers for making MAID legal in Canada, but the law has to change right away”, she said in a statement a few weeks before she died. “People like me are dying earlier than necessary because of this poorly thought out law. Once someone goes through the rigorous legal and medical consent process this should be enough. Double consent does not protect patients. It hurts us.”

Although Parker failed to receive the death she desired, the fight for “Audrey’s Amendment” carries on in her absence. Dying With Dignity has started a petition to the federal government to remove the late-stage confirmation requirement.

Add Your Signature

The Ripple Effect is Underway!

The CUC’s The Ripple Effect campaign, which focuses on water and all the attendant environmental issues, has launched and congregations are already finding ways to get involved. A shout out to Calgary Unitarians for featuring Water Warriors, a documentary about the public uprising against an American company plans to frack New Brunswick. Kudos as well to Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga for their “Troubled Waters” service on water, workshop about becoming a Blue Community, and their promotion of a bottled water ban.

World Water Day is just around the corner- March 22. What can your congregation do to protect our most precious resource?

For inspiration, ideas, and resources, check out The Ripple Effect Resource Site. We’d love to hear what you have done, or are planning to do, so we can share the inspiration. Let the ripples become a wave!

Join the Ripple Effect Facebook group

Last Chance to Vote on Theme for Conference 2020 AGM delegates voting

The next National Conference is in Halifax NS, hosted by the Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax, and held over the Victoria Day weekend of May 15 – 17, 2020. The conference planning teams would like YOUR input into deciding on the theme for the conference, and they need it by March 17 — only five votes separate the two options right now. If you haven’t already done so, please read the background and framework for potential themes, then make your choice.

Vote on the Theme

Employment Opportunity: Directors of Religious Exploration (DRE)

The Grand River Unitarian Congregation in Kitchener, Ontario is looking to hire two Directors of Religious Exploration.

The Grand River Unitarian Congregation (GRU) is currently looking for two Directors of Religious Exploration (DRE) to bring their energy and enthusiasm to promote Unitarian Universalist philosophy and principles to our children and youth in a dynamic environment where children can explore, learn, and build community. The DRE works with other staff and volunteers to create meaningful programs in a safe environment.

Read the Complete Posting on the Grand River Unitarian Website

Save the Date! BC Spring Gathering, June 14 – 16, Kelowna, BC

Theme: Revolutionary Love: Coming together in Creativity, Solidarity, and Strength
More information and registration will be available soon.

Join the Canadian Unitarian Council on Facebook!

Upcoming Events

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

National Events

CUC 2019 Annual General Meeting (AGM), May 11 from 1:00 – 4:30 p.m. ET / 10:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. PT, The Atrium at Centre for Social Innovation, 192 Spadina Ave (please note change of location).

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. It’s a beautiful weekend where youth and adults create an amazing community, worship together, grow as spiritual beings and join in multigen activities. The theme for CanUUdle XIX is Roots and Wings! We will be diving into our identities as Unitarian Universalists.

Chorus, May 17 – 20, Edge Camp Retreat Centre, AB
Each year, Canadian UU young adults (18-35) gather to build beloved community, deepen our cross-country connections, and grow as spiritual beings. Chorus will be held at River’s Edge Camp & Retreat Centre near Calgary. 

International Events

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.

Equity in Action: Gender in an Intersecting World,  April 11-13, 2019, New York City
The UU United Nations Office is excited to host this year’s Intergenerational Spring Seminar on gender equity in collaboration with the UU College of Social Justice. Programming will be interactive and intergenerational, encouraging participants to challenge their assumptions, connecting their activism with grounding in UU faith, and empowering them with the tools to bring back to their communities to make change locally and globally. Youth participation is encouraged – see the primer for youth and youth advisors to help plan for youth participation.

Regional Events

Workshop: Reconciliation in Our Watershed, Friday, April 26 – Saturday, April 27
Unitarian Church of Mississauga
A one and a half day workshop to renew our relationships with Indigenous Peoples and our local watersheds.
Registration: Eventbrite, call 905-278-5622 or email

Youth and Young Adult 

Gathered Here: Young Adult Check-In, 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.


Worship as a Beacon for Congregational Growth, Saturday, March 30, 9:30 – 12:30 p.m. PT (12:30 – 3:30 p.m. 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. Register by March 26.

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.

Photography and Video 101, April 20, 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. ET
Amber Dawn Bellemare will be covering the basic of photography and video creation in this webinar. Among other topics, Amber will address what equipment and software you need, along with providing links to get you started in editing. General guidance and suggestions will be shared to get you up and running. The presentation will be followed by a question and answer period.

Roundtables and Training

THR: Reconciliation Through Film
Film: Angry Inuk – Registration: March 23 – April 10
Watch the film and read the materials: April 10 – April 24
Reflection Group: Wednesday, April 24, 7:00-8:30 p.m. ET and Saturday, April 27, 12:30-2:00 p.m. ET

Lay Chaplain Basics Training: Designing and Leading Rites of Passage, April 12- 14
Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Toronto, ON
This workshop provides basic guidelines on the management of a congregation’s Lay Chaplaincy program and the training new Lay Chaplains need to begin their work.

THR: Reconciliation Through Film
Film: The Road Forward- Registration: April 27 – May 22
Watch the film and read the materials: March 6 – March 20
Reflection Group: Wednesday, June 5, 7:00-8:30 p.m. ET and Saturday, June 8, 12:30-2:00 p.m. ET