CUC eNews: March 5, 2019 – Issue 80

In This Issue:

Rev. Mark D. Morrison-Reed, Revisiting the Empowerment Controversy:  Black Power and Unitarian Universalism

Book Review by Ellen Campbell, First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto
Former CUC Executive Director, Former Member of the CUC Board of Trustees

Even as a small child, Mark Morrison-Reed was bothered that there were so few people in the Unitarian church he and his parents attended who looked like him. He felt at home and warmly loved in the church school, the Chicago Children’s Choir, and later the Youth Group.  But there were very few people in families like his. This question has been a theme through Mark’s life and has directed the work he has done as a historian of Unitarian Universalism.

Revisiting the Empowerment Controversy: Black Power and Unitarian Universalism (Skinner House, 2018) is the fourth book Mark has written on the history of African American participation in the Unitarian Universalist community, and it deals with the explosive crisis in our denomination in the late 1960s and early 70s.

A number of Unitarians, particularly a new generation of young ministers, had become committed to the civil rights movement through their participation in the march in 1965 from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, and were working in their communities with civil rights organizations. Some congregations, mostly in urban areas, were beginning to develop racially integrated congregations, although the numbers were small. The membership in most congregations, however, particularly in suburban locations and in New England (and Canada), was totally white. Like the society around them, they displayed a full range of attitudes to racial integration, from very open and accepting to uncomfortable, and even racist.

Continue Reading the Book Review

Get Involved in Theme Decision for Conference 2020 

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. We’d like input from everyone who is invested in our national UU community, whether or not you’re planning to be at the conference. A national conference should have effects that impact our national community, and participants will leave with takeaways to share with their UU communities.

How to choose the theme – March 17 deadline:
Read the background and framework for themes (3-4 minutes)
Make your choice in the poll (1 minute). One person, one vote
Fill in the volunteer survey if you’d like to help with the conference (2-3 minutes)
Share widely with your congregation and UU friends
Vote by MARCH 17

Questions or comments about the conference? Email

Vote on the Theme

CUC Month Wrap-up

CUC staff had fun digging into Canadian UU history to come up with interesting tidbits for February’s CUC Month. We hope that this piqued your interest in UU info and facts, and offered you nuggets of information that were new to you, or let you share UU lore with others.

CUC Month takes place annually in February, and the idea was first proposed by Rev. Frances Deverell at an Annual General Meeting (AGM). She suggested that it was a way to focus attention on all matters related to the CUC in a concentrated way. Since then, leading up to each CUC Month, staff has recommended that congregations hold Sharing Our Faith services with worship packages compiled by the UU Ministers of Canada, organize congregational discussion sessions on motions for the upcoming AGM, and shared interesting UU facts with you via Facebook.

We’ve compiled the answers to the questions we asked in February 2019, and if there are questions or info you’d like posted for future CUC Months, please send these to

Read the CUC Facts Answers

Gathered Here Provides Online Fellowship for Young Adults

By Casey Stainsby, Youth and Young Adult Ministry Program and Events Coordinator

Started in November 2018, Gathered Here is a new monthly online check-in and gathering for Canadian Unitarian Universalist young adults. Each gathering is hosted by one of the CUC’s youth and young adult ministry staff – Casey Stainsby and Asha Philar. Gathered Here is an opportunity to make connections with others in the young adult community, to experience moments of quiet and reflection, and to share personal joys and sorrows. These spaces aren’t always easy to find, especially for young adults who aren’t connected with their local congregation, or who live far from a UU community. We are thrilled that Gathered Here offers a way for young adults to connect and participate in community wherever they are. 

Four monthly gatherings have been held since our first one in November, with young adult participants from Victoria to Halifax, and everywhere in between. We partner with a minister from the newly-created Pastoral Care Team, who helps hold sacred space, reflect on the joys and sorrows that are shared, and facilitates one of the breakout discussion groups. It has been wonderful to have a ministerial presence on the calls, and it helps young adults get to know members of the Pastoral Care Team so they can feel more comfortable reaching out for support.

These gatherings fit with the CUC’s approach to young adult ministry: adapting to changing times, meeting people where they are at, and using all the tools we have to provide accessible inclusive programming. Above all, we strive to create spaces where young adults can find spiritual grounding and meaningful connections, especially as they age out of youth programs and into young adulthood.

If you are a young adult (18-35), join us at the next Gathered Here: March 11 at 5 p.m. Pacific/ 6 p.m Mountain/ 7 p.m. Central/ 8 p.m. Eastern/ 9 p.m. Atlantic. You can also sign up for text reminders – see details below.

Gathered Here will generally take place on the second Monday evening of each month. Dates for 2019: March 11, April 8, May 6, June 10, July 8, and August 12. Fall 2019 dates are to be confirmed.

New: Text reminder service for young adult events!

Are you excited about young adults events, but want to be reminded about what’s coming up? Sign up for our new text reminder service! We will send monthly reminders about Gathered Here, as well as other important event notices such as registration deadlines. Here are instructions for how to sign up for text reminders using a service called Remind:

1) By text:  Text @cucya to (502) 694-1142 and you will be signed up for reminders. You should receive a confirmation from Remind right away.*

2) Online: Visit to sign up for text, smartphone notifications and/or email reminders. By creating an account, you can change your settings or unsubscribe at any time.
* Remind was designed for classrooms, so you’ll get a prompt asking whether you’re a teacher, student, parent, etc. Just choose “student” to move to the next page.

3) By email: Send an email to and request to be added to the reminder group. Please include your cell phone number in the message.

[Thank you and credit to BLUU for the text notification idea and instructions! Visit to learn more about their incredible work]

* Customers with Rogers Wireless may not receive text notifications from Remind. We recommend signing up for push notifications and/or email reminders instead.

View the Young Adults Events Page 

UUA General Assembly is Coming To Spokane

Although the CUC isn’t holding a conference this year, Canadians UUs can connect with their counterparts in the US at the Unitarian Universalist Association’s annual General Assembly (GA) in Spokane, Washington, June 19-23. Attendees worship, witness, learn, connect, and delegates make policy for the Association through democratic process. Anyone may attend, even those not serving as delegates, and many UUs in the Western and BC regions are planning to travel to the event.

This year’s theme is The Power of We, which will explore the power, possibility, purpose, struggle and joy of finding the path forward together as Unitarian Universalists. Attendees will leave inspired, with the tools needed to carry on the work into their own congregations and communities. The 2019 Ware Lecture, given each year at GA by a distinguished guest, will be delivered by Richard Blanco, the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. history, and the youngest and first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve in such a role.

A preliminary schedule of GA tracks and workshops will be made available in late March. Other highlights include:

    • Synergy Bridging Worship, a transformative multigenerational worship
    • The GA Dance
    • The closing concert
    • The Sunday morning worship, the largest annual gathering of UUs joining in worship

Registration  for the GA is now open. Rates increase May 1. Information on travel and housing is available here.

Read More About the GA

Reminder: Shining Lights Nominations

Shining Lights is an award that grew out of the CUC staff team’s desire to recognize and showcase congregations’ good news stories and best work. The Shining Lights Award celebrates innovation and sustainability in congregational initiatives and programming, and the winning congregation will share their successful processes with other congregations to imagine how they might do similar work in their own settings. The Shining Lights award is presented yearly.

Nominations are being accepted up to March 14.

Download the Shining Lights Nomination Form

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.

Youth and Young Adult 

Gathered Here: Young Adult Check-In, 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.


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.

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, Virtual Gatherings, and Training

THR: Reconciliation Through Film
Film: Trick or Treaty – Registration (ends March 5)
Watch the film and read the materials: March 6 – March 20
Reflection Group: Wednesday, March 20, 7-8:30 ET and Saturday, March 23, 12:30-2:00 ET

Virtual Gathering: Hope in Hard Times, Wednesday, March 6, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. ET  OR
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.

CRA Policy Guidance, Monday, March 11, 7:30 p.m. ET
The discussion will focus on the CRA’s draft guidance on changes to the Income Tax Act, a significant one being the removal of the 10% limit on political activities for charities. The CUC is gathering feedback on this guidance to send to CRA by April 23, 2019.

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