CUC eNews: March 22, 2022 – Issue 137
In This Issue:
- Letter from Vyda
- Meet a Minister: Rev. Wendy Luella Perkins
- Meaningful Ways to Support Ukraine
- Investing with the CUC
- CUC Grants’ Deadlines Approaching
- 2022 UU Intergenerational Spring Seminar: “Displacement and Human Rights: All In for Climate Justice”
- Putting the 8th Principle into Practice: A Profile of the Inclusivity Forums
- Update on CanUUdle and Chorus
- Mark Your Calendars
- CUC Annual General Meeting
- Job Opportunity in Mississauga: Family Life Coordinator
- What’s Making Us Smile
- Upcoming Events
Letter From Vyda
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
As we mark the second anniversary of the pandemic’s onset, this quote feels fitting. When the pandemic first emerged in early 2020, we suddenly found ourselves spending most of our time alone (or at least with those with whom we shared our homes). And yet paradoxically, there was also a sense of increased unity, that we were “all in this together”. The empty streets were eerie, but as a meme that circulated at that time stated, that so many people were isolating out of concern for others might be the most powerful act of social solidarity most of us would ever witness.
Two years later, of course, things are very different. We are now experienced, on both a national and congregational level, at hosting events online, and many have indicated that, regardless of the precautions that may remain in place, they want multiplatform delivery to continue. But the sense of solidarity that seemed to exist in those early days is harder to identify today. The pandemic and the resulting disruptions have left many of us exhausted and short-tempered, and while vaccines may have given us the opportunity to gather more safely in person, it is clear that even if we can come closer together physically, many wide ideological distances remain within our society.
Navigating such differences isn’t new for us as UUs. John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement, asked “Though we cannot think alike, can we not love alike?” The process that led up to the adoption of our eighth principle showed disagreements and challenges within our faith community, but the results of the vote revealed that there is overwhelming support for dismantling racism and systemic barriers to full inclusion.
We are on that journey of individual and communal action to accountably dismantle these barriers. While we are all on different stages of the journey, this is a process all of us can commit to. Indeed, we must commit to this covenant and stay in relationship with one another, for we are stronger together.
Be well friends,
Meet a Minister: Rev. Wendy Luella Perkins
The Rev. Wendy Luella Perkins has served as an affiliated community minister with the Kingston Unitarian Fellowship since 2015. She was first introduced to Unitarian Universalism (UU) when she attended a service while a graduate student at the University of Waterloo.
“The music is the part that really went into the centre of my being,” she says. “I think it was the opening song, I started singing, and then I just started weeping, and I was like ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I haven’t been singing in community for so long’ and being reminded how moving congregational singing is. That first Unitarian Universalist service I attended was really powerful for me.”
Spurred to pursue a career in ministry, Wendy Luella was ordained in 1999 and worked for the Canadian Unitarian Council for four years as its first program staff person. In 2002 she began offering Soulful Singing gatherings — a joyful approach to singing as a spiritual practice. This fall she will be celebrating twenty years of Soulful Singing. She turned to offering online sessions at the onset of the pandemic. At a time when people were having to physically distance themselves, Wendy Luella knew it was important to maintain community, and that singing together was a way of doing this.
“At the start of the pandemic I switched our weekly Soulful Singing gatherings online and also started a daily soulful singing Zoom gathering which has happened every single day since then. We gather every morning at 9 a.m. Eastern,” she says, “and that has been utterly transformational in my ministry and made a real difference in the lives of many people. It has been such an honour to journey with people from across Canada and the world these last 700+ days.”
Although the size and composition varies day to day, the group is always a place where all voices are welcome and no previous singing experience is necessary. While some participants are connected with Unitarian Universalist congregations, most are not. Wendy Luella believes the way the group recognizes everyone’s inherent worth and dignity, and the content of songs they sing together, reflect UU values.
“I think it’s very basic,” she says. “It’s an acceptance that whoever you are, wherever you are, wherever you come from, you’re welcome here, and your voice is beautiful, and is welcome.”
Meaningful Ways to Support Ukraine
The attack on Ukraine poses a global threat to democracy and a direct threat to the lives of people in Ukraine. Unitarian Universalists throughout the world are coming together to respond in peaceful, meaningful ways.
We invite you and your congregation to consider supporting one or more of the following campaigns in solidarity with Ukraine. As you do, we encourage you to consider this advice from Charity Intelligence Canada:
- Donate money over stuff
- Prioritize charities with strong ties to Ukraine
- Be aware of scams
- Find creative ways to help
- Sponsor refugees personally
Canadian Organizations Recommended by Charity Intelligence Canada
- Canada Ukraine Foundation Appeal is raising money to provide food, blankets, medicine, and shelter to people from Ukraine who have been displaced. They have already distributed more than CDN$1.6 million in aid, but hope to raise CDN$25 million. Funds you donate today will be dispersed within seven days.
- Doctors Without Borders/MSF Canada is currently on the ground in Lviv, working with hospitals throughout Ukraine to assess their needs and restock medical supplies, especially surgical supplies needed to respond to mass casualties. The organization is well-regarded for the speed and effectiveness of its campaigns.
- The Canadian Red Cross historically supports prisoners of war by providing them with letters and food parcels and ensuring international codes of conduct are upheld. To date, the Canadian Red Cross has raised more than CDN$56 million for its Ukraine appeal. (This includes the Government of Canada’s match of $10 million.) These and any additional funds will be used to support immediate and ongoing relief efforts, long-term recovery, resiliency, and other critical humanitarian activities in Ukraine and surrounding countries.
- Save the Children Canada is raising funds to provide children and their families with warm clothing and blankets; cash transfers and voucher assistance to purchase food, medicine and other essentials; psychosocial support and child-friendly spaces; water, sanitation and hygiene programs; access to primary healthcare; and education.
- Help Age Canada works in partnership with others to improve and maintain the quality of life of vulnerable older persons and their communities in Canada and around the world. Last year, they distributed aid to 1,000 vulnerable and isolated seniors in Eastern Ukraine.
- World Vision Canada has an office in Romania and established partnerships with local organizations working in Ukraine. They are providing relief to children and families fleeing Ukraine, including food, essential items, temporary shelter, and child-friendly spaces.
Creative Ways to Help Refugees with Airbnb
As the crisis in Ukraine unfolded, people worldwide began to book stays in Ukrainian Airbnbs as a way to financially support Airbnb hosts in Ukraine. In the first two days of the grassroots initiative, more than 61,000 bookings had been made, including 3,000 by Canadians.
Airbnb.org offers two additional ways to lend your support to refugees fleeing Ukraine and other countries:
Sponsor or Support Refuges with the CUC
Canada allows citizens to sponsor and personally resettle refugees, and Canadians across the country have expressed their desire to welcome refugees from Ukraine and other nations–including many Unitarians and Unitarian Universalists.
The Canadian Unitarian Council is a sponsorship agreement holder (SAH) with the federal government, which means that we can authorize congregations to sponsor refugees under our agreement. This lets us streamline the application process and support a congregation or group of individuals who want to sponsor refugees to Canada.
It costs about $10,000 to bring just one person to Canada. If you’re not able to sponsor someone yourself, consider making a tax-deductible donation to the CUC’s Refugee Fund. Every dollar helps the efforts of sponsoring groups around the country.
For congregations who are willing to sponsor refugees, whether from Ukraine or other threatened countries, please contact email@example.com for more information.
To learn more about these and other campaigns, please read the full article on our website.
Investing with the CUC
On Saturday, February 26, Executive Director Vyda Ng and Treasurer Joanne Green hosted a roundtable conversation about the Congregational Investment Fund (CIF) program, which allows congregations to participate in the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) professionally managed, ethical investment fund at a low cost.
Here’s how it works. Participating congregations deposit funds to be invested on their behalf as part of the CUC’s Investment Fund. Each year, they receive a prorated share of the increase or decrease in its value. (Annual statements are issued in the Spring.)
If your congregation is reconsidering its investment strategy, we invite you to learn more about the CIF program and what it offers, including:
- Flexibility: Congregations can choose whether to invest some or all of their funds into the program.
- Access to capital: Congregations may ask to withdraw the net annual return and/or capital at any time. (Conditions apply.)
- Security: Two signatures are required to authorize any changes to the CUC’s portfolio.
- Commitment to social justice and adherence to ethical investing criteria: ScotiaMacleod, which manages the investment fund on our behalf, uses Sustainalytics to ensure investments meet strict environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards.
- Capital appreciation and income generation: The average rate of return of the CUC Investment Fund since inception is 10%, and the rate of return over the past 10 years is just over 9%.
Every congregation has a unique financial profile and needs. To find out if the CIF program is a good fit for your organization, contact CUC Board Treasurer Joanne Green at firstname.lastname@example.org or Executive Director Vyda Ng at email@example.com
CUC Grants’ Deadlines Approaching
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. The fund consists of monies donated to the Sharing Our Faith fund, supplemented by a Foundation Fund administered by the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto. The funds are allocated in the form of grants to congregations for growth projects and initiatives.
The Theological Education Fund bursaries are intended to further the cause of Unitarian and Universalist (UU) theological education in Canada by supporting:
- UUs in Canada with expenses incurred annually by studying for the Ministry;
- Canadian UU ministers with continuing education expenses; and
- Canadian UU congregations who wish to support an intern minister.
Bursaries are awarded based on financial need. An individual may receive a bursary up to three times in each category (three times for a student and three times for a minister).
2022 Intergenerational Spring Seminar: “Displacement and Human Rights: All In for Climate Justice”
Coming up this Spring: a chance to connect global context with local action – and build relationships within and beyond your community. The 2022 Intergenerational Spring Seminar hosted by the Unitarian Universalist Association Office at the UN (UU@UN) in partnership with Unitarian Universalist (UU) Ministry for Earth, UU Service Committee, and Side With Love will take place online April 22 – May 1, 2022.
- In addition to the virtual programming, it includes an opportunity for congregations to host local gatherings, allowing Seminar attendees to connect in person with others who live nearby. Would your congregation consider hosting a local gathering? https://www.uua.org/international-justice/un/spring-seminar/preparing-seminar/local-gathering
- Addressing the theme “Displacement and Human Rights: All In for Climate Justice”, this event examines climate-forced migration and aims to instill in UU youth and adults a commitment to global engagement and the skills to take action locally for climate and migration justice.
- What to expect? Short blocks of programing most days, with lots of chances to connect with others to process your learnings and feelings and to build community. Check out the tentative schedule.
Lisa Sharp, a member of the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa who’s attended past seminars in person and virtually, believes participating in the seminar is a critical way of staying connected to global issues.
“It’s important to not just worry about your own backyard,” she says, “and to know what’s going on in the world is a good idea and the UN is the link to that.”
Taz, a young adult from the Kingston Unitarian Fellowship who participated in the seminar as a youth, agrees.
“Often it’s hard for youth — like it’s hard for everybody to really feel like they’re changing the world — but especially youth ‘cause they have less life experience”, they say. “But it’s really cool to be in a space where everyone feels empowered and it feels like they can do something about the world.”
Be part of the excitement. Learn more about the 2022 Seminar and the local gatherings at www.uua.org/unspringseminar. Registration (with flexible rates) is open through April 10, 2022.
Putting the 8th Principle into Practice: A Profile of the Inclusivity Forums
On Saturday, November 27th, 2021, Canadian Unitarian Universalists (UUs) voted to add an eighth principle to the existing seven principles that guide our faith. It states that:
“We, the member congregations of the Canadian Unitarian Council, covenant to affirm and promote: Individual and communal action that accountably dismantles racism and systemic barriers to full inclusion in ourselves and our institutions.”
Soon after, the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) launched a series of forums on inclusivity, which Erin Horvath, the CUC’s Social Justice Lead, describes as a way to bring UUs together to figure out how “to embrace this opportunity that is ahead of us, this aspiration to be truly and radically inclusive.”
Unlike traditional webinars, where participants show up online in order to be “taught,” the inclusivity forums are places for informed conversation, not passive learning. Participants are provided materials in advance to explore (to whatever extent they need) in order to come to the forums prepared to listen and contribute to meaningful, compassionate discussions. The onus of educating is on those with relative privilege to ensure that those experiencing this form of exclusion do not have to educate their oppressors or endure expressions of ignorance. In this way, participants are challenged to:
- Become more conscious of privilege, power, and biases;
- Notice the discomfort that arises when their beliefs, opinions, and biases are challenged–and their response to it; and, ultimately,
- Explore how to shift UU culture to be more inclusive, and aware.
Two forums have been held to date. Session 1 – Welcoming All Family and Relationship Styles explored our tendency to hold biases that favor monogamy, and cis-gendered, and heteronormative partnerships. Participants considered their own relationship orientation(s) and identified any discomfort, fear, or other feelings that arose for them. They then met in small groups to discuss their responses to various questions, including: In what ways can those with privilege dismantle some of our ways of thinking and being together in order to make more room for diverse expressions of relationships, sex, and family?
Session II – Welcoming Disabled People focused on the experiences of UUs with various dis/abilities within UU groups and congregations. Guest speakers Shelly Rohe, Administrator of AIM (Accessible and Inclusion Ministry), a joint program with the UUA and EqUUal Access, and Rev. Barbara F. Meyers, a UUA Minister and author with a passion for mental health ministry, were among those who shared their experiences, and offered some solutions. In small groups, participants considered more deeply how those with privilege can dismantle barriers to inclusion for disabled people in our congregations and in the broader UU community.
Session III – Welcoming People of all Classes will take place on April 6. In this forum, we will listen to the stories of people with lived experiences of classism in UU groups and congregations, including Frances Koziar, a UU young adult living in poverty who recently published an essay titled “Why people still don’t care about poverty, despite the pandemic’s hardships” on the CBC website.
In her essay, Koziar argues that society needs to pay attention to those who live below the poverty line (approximately $17,000 per year), and urges us to acknowledge how class and ability intersect to make it more likely that some people will live in indefinite poverty.
She writes: “Until voices like mine become centred, and the financial struggles of students, minimum-wage workers, and the middle class are moved to the periphery in order to let those truly dealing with oppression speak, that will never change.”
Join us April 6 to listen, share your experiences, and consider how we can shift our organizational cultures to be more aware of how we privilege those with more socio-economic wealth over those who have less. There will be caucus groups as an option for people with lived experience to ensure that it feels like a safe place for all who attend.
Update on CanUUdle and Chorus
CanUUdle is the annual conference (“con”) for Canadian Unitarian Universalist youth ages 14-19 and their adult advisors (ages 25+). It’s a youth-led con where youth and adults create an amazing community, worship together, attend workshops, play and grow as spiritual beings.
After two years of CazUUm (an all-virtual youth con in the spirit of CanUUdle) due to the pandemic, we are hosting an in-person national youth conference in May 2022 at Vancouver Unitarians. Although the con will be primarily based on in-person activities, there will be some opportunities for online participation as well.
After two years of Ensemble (all-virtual young adult (YA) con in the spirit of Chorus) due to the pandemic, we are hosting an in-person national YA conference in May 2022 at North Shore Unitarians. At Chorus, Canadian Unitarian Universalist young adults (18-35) gather to build beloved community, deepen our cross-country connections, and grow as spiritual beings.
Subsidies are available to help with travel costs to and from these events. Learn more about the Dawning Future Youth and Young Adult Subsidy Fund. Applications must be received by April 18th.
Mark Your Calendars
Please note there will be no Leaders’ Roundtable this March 26 as the date conflicts with Widening the Circle.
The April 30 (12pm ET) roundtable on “Political Activities & Charitable Purposes: What Congregations Need to Know” offers information on two areas of interest to charities:
Canada Revenue Agency guidance on Public Policy Dialogue and Development Activities (PPDDAs); and Reviewing and Updating Charitable Purposes.
The first section is on PPDDAs, which used to be called political activity. It will be of interest to board members, leaders and social justice advocates. The information will help your congregation make decisions about how to engage in social justice and advocacy work.
The second section is for board members and leaders who need to ensure their congregation’s charitable purposes are current and in compliance with CRA requirements. If your charitable purposes have not been reviewed and updated within the last 10 years, this is for you!
CUC Annual General Meeting
The CUC’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) takes place in May. Once again, we will be meeting virtually on Zoom to attend to the business of the Council. We look forward to reconnecting with congregations, their delegates, and members to make decisions that will shape our national faith community.
The 2022 AGM is on Saturday, May 14 from 1:00 – 4:30 pm ET
Please refer to the Annual General Meeting page for more information, including delegate registration information.
Job Opportunity in Mississauga: Family Life Coordinator
The Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga is seeking a Family Life Coordinator. UCM is a vibrant spiritual community rooted in the values of interdependence, love, and justice, with about 130 members and 20 children and youth.
This is a part-time renewable yearly contract. The Family Life Coordinator (FLC) is a position of 20 hours per week (including Sundays), 4 weeks of vacation and 4 weeks of paid study time; 8 Sundays off between September and June. Salary range $22,000 – 26,000 and benefits.
The successful candidate will create a welcoming community that provides each child, youth and family with a sense of belonging, offering UU based experiences that honour the inherent worth and dignity of each person. They will lead Spiritual Exploration for children and youth.
What’s Making Us Smile
Aaron Jackson, founder of the charity organization Planting Peace, is helping Ukrainian refugee families stay together with their pets.
Upcoming Events (online via Zoom)
Share what’s going on in your congregation. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The MyceliUUm Youth Network of Canada,
Saturday, March 26, 11 am PT | 12 pm MT | 1 pm CT | 2 pm ET | 3 pm AT
Youth Advisor Training
Event has been postponed
Unitarian Universalist Theology: A Renaissance Module
Thursdays, March 31, April 14, April 28, May 12, May 26, June 9, 10 am PT | 11 am MT | 12 pm CT | 1 pm ET | 2 pm AT
Rising Together: UU Youth and Emerging Adults of Colour,
Saturday, April 2, 1 pm PT | 2 pm MT | 3 pm CT | 4 pm ET | 5 pm AT
Ceremonies for the End of Life
Saturday, April 2, 10 am PT | 11 am MT | 12 pm CT | 1 pm ET | 2 pm AT
Inclusivity Forums – Responsibility Covenant Focus Groups
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
Gathered Here – Young Adults
Monday, April 14, 11 am PT | 12 pm MT | 1 pm CT| 2 pm ET | 3 pm AT
UU IBPOC Space – Ages 18 and up
Saturday, April 16, 9 am PT | 10 am MT | 11 am CT | 12 pm ET | 1 pm AT
Le mercredi 20 avril, 11h00 PT | 12h00 MT | 13h00 CT | 14h00 HE | 15h00 AT
Leaders’ Roundtable: Political Activities & Charitable Purposes: What Congregations Need to Know
Saturday, April 30, 9:00 am PT | 10:00 am MT | 11:00 am CT | 12:00 pm ET | 1:00 pm AT
Shining Lights Award Webinar: Canadian UU Groups Keeping Our Lights Alive!
Saturday, April 30, 11 am PT | 12 pm MT | 1 pm CT | 2 pm ET | 3 pm AT
Elder’s Circle No 3: Sharon Jinkerson-Brass
Wednesday, May 4, 4 pm PT | 5 pm MT | 6 pm CT | 7 pm ET | 8 pm AT