eNews: May 29, 2024 – Issue 161

This Issue:


Letter from Kirsten Moore

I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be finishing six years on the CUC Board and my one and only year as President of the Board. As the first Religious Educator on the CUC Board and as President, I have viewed this leadership work from the perspective of how we grow collectively and individually within this faith movement. How does each of us come to identify as Unitarian or Unitarian Universalist? How do we lean into our commonalities and work through our differences? I have enjoyed immensely my work with ministers, lay leaders, religious professionals, and staff across the country and have learned so much about the national character of Canadian Unitarian Universalism. 

This year I am proud to have worked with a Board so dedicated to collaboration and willingness to give space at our meetings to the conversations that needed to happen. Our beginnings as a newly-formed Board last summer were rocked by the death of Rev. Rodrigo Emilio Solano-Quesnel. I knew he was near the end of his Board term last May and I was happy that we would be completing our time on the Board together. My heart still aches at his loss, as I know all who knew and loved him feel. His voice and measured perspective have been missed. Within that loss we were pleased to welcome James Garland as our second Central rep last November. James was elected by acclamation to his own term at the Annual General Meeting and we are glad to have him at the table.  

 I am thrilled to be bringing a focused Goal and Priorities to the organisation that was developed through Staff and Board conversations. We delved into what clear work we want the national organisation to do in the next two years: what the staff have capacity for; where we may be able to invigorate volunteer participation; how to grow towards our vision of interdependence, love, and justice that builds belonging with radical inclusivity. 

It has been a strange time for all of us across North America as the immediacy of the pandemic and lock-down recedes but the effects and repercussions linger on, often surprising us. Various levels of burn-out are apparent amongst staff and volunteers at the congregational and national level, as well as surges of excitement and new ideas. I think it is critical to remember that we have been through a collective, world-wide, traumatic event that has touched all of us in different ways and intensities.  This visual representation of a community’s phases of collective trauma response feels accurate and I would say we are still in the rebuilding and reconstruction phase on the way to wiser living. 

The Living into the Future, Emergent Sustainability (LIFES) crew that we put together this winter is an effort to look at rebuilding and reconstruction with fresh eyes. It grew out of a need for a strategic plan for the CUC and a desire to look at how to have a sustainable national organisation that connects Unitarian Universalist congregations and individuals with each other, shared services, and resources.

The pandemic both isolated us and connected us virtually.  Many opportunities have grown out of our virtual connections and this continues to benefit us as we wrestle with the climate crisis and rising costs-environmental and financial-of travel. But it also highlights how rich and vital our in-person connections are; and how easy it is to lose sight of our shared purpose when we are reduced to typed words and 2-dimensional boxes that don’t allow for side conversations and amplifies disagreement and unkindness. 

As a BC Representative for six years I have noticed a decline in engagement with the CUC on some levels. A loss of understanding in what it means to be a part of the CUC and a tendency to see the national leadership as far away and separate from congregations. The fact of the matter is that “the CUC” is not a monolith, it consists of all the member congregations as a whole body, CUC staff, CUC Board made up of representatives from congregations, and also collaboration with ministerial leadership through UU Ministers of Canada (UUMOC). So when one asks “what is the CUC?” the short answer is “the national organisation of Unitarian and Unitarian Universalist congregations in Canada.” And it is more than the sum of its parts. 

There continue to be very engaged individuals across the country and I encourage you, who are taking the time to read this, to stay engaged. The national organisation is as strong as the diversity of people who show up to participate and our willingness to bend, listen, and lean into love.  If you have skills with finance or HR management, please consider volunteering some time to support our Board and Staff as treasurer or on our newly envisioned HR or Fundraising Teams. Reach out to Vyda or president-board@cuc.ca and help us thrive together. 

For all who would like to know when opportunities arise, be sure you are signed up for the eNews, and one of the google groups if that’s your thing. Sign up for congregational conversations and regional or online events when you can. Stay in conversation with each other and keep in mind that with the written word our language shapes our interactions–remember to be kind, both in the words you give and with feedback you receive, it matters. We will mess up, it is inevitable, and like our youth say: mess up, own up, apologise, and forgive. We can be a strong voice for love and justice in Canada, let us take action to be so–with each other and as a collective voice in our communities. 

In peace,

Kiersten E. Moore
Board President


Highlights from the CUC AGM

Approximately 126 people – 72  delegates and several observers – attended the Canadian Unitarian Council’s (CUC’s) Annual General Meeting (AGM), held online Saturday, May 25, 2024. A few small changes were made to the process of the AGM, including allowing non-voting observers to speak; offering different gradients of agreement beyond a simple yes/no vote; and conducting periodic “temperature checks” to decide when to extend discussion on an item.

Delegates received reports from CUC staff, various committees, and working groups. Highlights included Executive Director Vyda Ng’s report, which recapped the challenges and successes of the past year. As noted in the report, the 2023 Symposium demonstrated the need to rethink in-person gatherings, even as a wide variety of online events continued to engage UU’s across the country. The work of the CUC, in the form of both events and its less visible but equally vital tasks, will continue to be guided by the organization’s vision; the eight principles; and the newly approved goal and strategic priorities.

The goal and strategic priorities for the 2024-26 period were approved, with 95 percent of delegates expressing full support and qualified support from the remaining five percent.  Two other motions also passed: a motion to add repudiation of the doctrine of Terra Nullius to a motion passed last year repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery, receiving overwhelming support from all the voting delegates; and a motion to encourage personal and congregation divestment from fossil fuel extraction and the big five Canadian banks. This motion received support from 85 percent of voting delegates, with 15 percent expressing some level of opposition/

Margaret Wanlin and Yvette Salinas, the CUC’s Co-Treasurers, presented reports on the audited financial statements and an overview of the CUC’s financial position. The Co-Treasurers noted that the CUC’s financial position had been impacted by factors such as inflation and increased reliance on investments as source of income over Annual Program Contributions (APCs) from member congregations. Motions to approve the 2023 financial statements, 2024 budget and 2025 budget in principle all passed, all receiving support from over 95 percent of delegates.

Attendees also heard from Robbie Brydon, Lead for the Decision Making Exploration Team, who presented the Team’s report, which made three recommendations: Actively work to build connections among delegates to CUC meetings; Encourage non-adversarial deliberation about the essence of a motion, individuals’ or congregations’ perspectives on the motion, and possible amendments to improve the motion; and allow delegates other than the mover of a motion the ability to propose substantive amendments that can be considered by other delegates.

The Team will be sending out a survey to Canadian UUs in the fall, the results of which will inform the Board’s decision on whether or not to propose any changes to the CUC’s decision making processes.

The annual reports and slides used for the 2024 AGM, as well as the approved resolutions, are available in the CUC AGM – Public folder.


Leadership Transitions

Canadian Unitarian Council  Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees works mainly in the background, guiding the Canadian Unitarian Council’s (CUC’s) work of “Growing Vital Unitarian Communities” through policy and governance. They ask, on our behalf, big questions about our collective welfare, and engage in planning for our future. This group is formed by dedicated volunteers from across the country, and they juggle many priorities to serve our faith community – family life, job demands, congregational roles, studies.

The current board  has three trustees from the BC region, one from the Western region, and two each from the Central and Eastern regions, plus a minister observer and two youth observers. 

This year, we are saying goodbye to two members of the Board, both of whom have served the maximum two consecutive terms: 

Margaret Wanlin of the Western Region has been on the Board for six years and has always kept the best interests of the CUC at the forefront. Margaret was a calm President during some challenging times and helped navigate us through the 8th Principle process. Margaret was Co-Treasurer this past year, and has provided reasoned and far-thinking counsel in financial decisions. 

Kiersten Moore of the BC Region has also served two terms of six years, most of those as a diligent Secretary. This past year, Kiersten was a thoughtful, inclusive and calm President, providing leadership rooted in relationship. Kiersten stays on for one year as past-president.

We also say thank two Official Observers who have finished their terms:

Senior Youth Observer Artemisia Frolic Smart who brought curiosity, thoughtfulness and discerning questions to the role. May your future paths be bright and full of discovery. Minister Observer Rev. Shana Lynngood has who held us all calmly, wisely and reminded us we are covenanted together in love and justice.

We offer each of them our sincere thanks for their service to our national faith community.

At the Annual General Meeting, we welcomed two new Board members: Anna Isaacs and Alexandra Okrainetz. Please see the separate article in this issue for their bios.

The 2024-25 Board of Trustees is:

    • Co-Presidents: Margaret Kohr – Toronto, Central Region & Rev. Debra Faulk – Victoria, BC Region 
    • Treasurer: vacant
    • Secretary: Margo Ellis – Montreal, Eastern Region 
    • Alexandra Okrainetz – Vancouver, BC Region
    • Anna Isaacs – Victoria, BC Region
    • Ilara Stefaniuk-Gaudet – Edmonton, Western Region 
    • James Garland – Durham, Central Region 
    • Yvette Salinas – Montreal, Eastern Region
    • Rev. Arran Morton – Minister Observer
    • Lea Bomford Moore – Sr. Youth Observer
    • Daniel LeDuc – Jr. Youth Observer
    • Kiersten Moore – Past President 

Contact: board@cuc.ca 

Nominating Committee

The CUC’s Nominating Committee has the important task of searching for Unitarian Universalists (UUs) with the necessary experience and skill to serve on the Board of Trustees. Their members span the country and possess knowledge of the requirements for Board members, and familiarity with congregations and UUs across Canada.

Maury Prevost (Central/Eastern) is leaving the Nominating Committee after six years of service, including four years as Chair or Co-Chair. Alex Schumacher (Western) is leaving after serving one 3-year term and being Co-Chair with Maury in 2023-2024. We thank Maury and Alex for their dedicated service!

The Board of Trustees will name the new Chair or Co-Chairs of the Nominating Committee subsequent to the CUC AGM.

The Nominating Committee welcomes Cindy Dunning and Lillias Cowper, who were acclaimed at the Annual General Meeting (please see the separate article in this issue for their bios).

The 2024-25 Nominating Committee is:

    • Jamie Struthers, Regina (BC/Western Region)
    • Kim Turner, Halifax (Eastern Region)
    • Carey McDonald, Guelph (Central Region)
    • Lesley Giroday, Comox Valley (BC Region)
    • Lillias Cowper, Calgary (Western Region)
    • Cindy Dunning, Kingston (Eastern Region)

Contact: nominations@cuc.ca 

Unitarian Universalist Ministers of Canada

The professional Unitarian Universalist Ministers of Canada (UUMOC) provide us with spiritual and pastoral guidance, and are an integral and vital part of our national faith community. They covenant together to promote excellence in ministry, within and outside of congregations. Through personal learning, growth and mutual support, they equip themselves to be visionary leaders within the Unitarian Universalist movement in Canada and internationally. 

The 2024 – 2025 UUMOC Executive Committee is:

    • Co-President: Rev. Ben Robins (Halifax beginning August 2024)
    • Co-President: Rev. Samaya Oakley (Calgary)
    • VP: Rev. Karen Fraser Gitlitz (community minister beginning August 2024)
    • Treasurer: Rev. Ren McFadyen (community minister)
    • Secretary: Rev. Rosemary Morrison (Edmonton)
    • Minister Observer to the CUC Board: Rev. Arran Morton

We thank Rev. Shana Lynngood, outgoing Minister Observer to the CUC Board, for her service to our national faith community.

Contact: uumocexec@gmail.com

National Lay Chaplain Committee

The Canadian Unitarian Council’s National Lay Chaplain Committee oversees training coordination for lay chaplains, updates to the Lay Chaplain manual, and changes to policies and practices. It also liaises with congregational lay chaplain committees. 

The 2024 – 2025 National Lay Chaplain Committee is:

    • Lyla Miklos, Central/Eastern Region
    • Guy Belleperche, Central/Eastern Region
    • Anne Coward, Central/Eastern Region
    • Mary-Anna Louise Kovar, BC/Western Region
    • Beth McLin, BC/Western Region

Contact: lcc@cuc.ca


Meet the New members of the CUC Board and Nominating Committee

The CUC is pleased to welcome two new members each to the CUC’s Board and Nominating Committee, all of whom were elected by acclamation at the Annual General Meeting. The new Board members are Alexandra Okrainetz (Vancouver Unitarians) and Anna Isaacs (First Victoria). The new Nominating Committee members are Cindy Dunning (Kingston) and Lillias Cowper (Calgary).

Board of Trustees

Alexandra Okrainetz (BC Region)
Alexandra Okrainetz (she/her) is a member of Vancouver Unitarians. She has been a Youth Advisor since 2019 and previously worked for the CUC as the National Youth Conference (CanUUdle) Coordinator in 2020 and 2024. She was an active youth leader at the North Shore Unitarian Church for many years participating in congregational, provincial, national, and international events. She works in health care- predominantly in Long Term Care. She is passionate about social and environmental justice, decolonization, and building strong communities. In her spare time you can find her catching up with friends, seeing live music, or thrifting.

Anna Isaacs (BC Region)
Anna Isaacs (she/her) is currently in her third year as the Director of Spiritual Exploration and Learning for Children and Youth at the First Unitarian Church of Victoria. Social justice, diversity and inclusion are aspirations of our UU faith movement that capture her heart. She grew up in a small mill town in central BC then moved to Victoria for university. She has been engaged in various paid and volunteer UU capacities since becoming UU in her mid-20s. She is middle-aged, white, a member of the queer community, and a proud bonus mom to her spouse’s kiddo. Yoga has been an important part of her spiritual practice that helps me manage her mood, energy and physical wellbeing.

Nominating Committee

Cindy Dunning (Central/Eastern Region)
Cindy (she/her) has been an active member of the Kingston Unitarian Fellowship since 1989, where she has served in many roles, including RE coordinator, ministerial search committee, president (twice), nominating committee, and caring committee, although her continuing passion is with the youth group as co-advisor and as an OWL instructor.

Cindy has recently started her third career of being self-employed in a business with her daughter to connect people to nature. Her first career was as a chemical engineer, followed by 29 years as an elementary teacher (grade 8). As a new empty nester with her younger of two children recently moving out, Cindy can be found outside in her garden, reading, learning, but mainly being with her new grandson.

Lillias Cowper (Western Region)
Lillias Cowper is a 71 year old woman, retired interior designer and piano teacher. She was brought up in the Unitarian Church of Calgary but brought her children up in the United Church as it was a middle ground for her Catholic-raised husband.

She was divorced in 2008 and joined the Unitarian Church of Edmonton as she was living there for work but retired in Calgary to be close to family and joined the Church here. She is on the Board at the church and is overseeing a renovation in the church presently.


Canadian Unitarian Universalist Recognize Dedication and Innovation with Grants

Each year, the Canadian Unitarian Council recognizes the achievements and aspirations of congregations and individuals dedicated to living out the CUC’s vision, aspirations, and principles. On Saturday, May 25, we were honoured to announce the recipients of the Sharing our Faith grants and Theological Education Fund.

Sharing our Faith Grants

The Sharing Our Faith Grants recognize and support congregational initiatives that enhance ministry, aid congregational projects and outreach, and help grow the Unitarian Universalist movement in Canada. Congregations contribute to a special collection for the Sharing Our Faith fund. 

These funds, with contributions from the Foundation Fund held by the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto, are allocated as grants to congregations who are implementing growth projects and initiatives.

In 2024,  the following Sharing our Faith grant recipients each received $2500:

    • Unicamp: to go towards the repair of the floor of one of its significant meeting spaces which would make the space more accessible.
    • Unitarian Fellowship of Fredericton: to go towards the repair of the RE space and bring it up to health and safety standards.
    • UUEstrie (North Hatley): to go towards repairs needed to the entry doors and wayside pulpit.
    • Emerging congregation UUs of the Salish Sea for start-up costs to acquire some specified AV equipment and other technical items.

Theological Education Funds

While the Sharing Our Faith grants are awarded to groups or projects, the CUC also recognizes and supports individuals. The Theological Education Bursaries consist of monies from the Rouff-Mackie Jenkins fund administered by the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto, the Percy Simpson Bailey fund, and by special collections at ordinations and installations. 

The bursaries support Canadian Unitarian Universalists (UUs) who are studying to become ministers and those who have continuing education expenses.  The bursaries also provide financial support to congregations that wish to hire an intern minister, or provide internships. 

This year, the Theological Education Funds were awarded to Janet Pivnik;  Lori Turner-Ott; Christopher McBain; Ilara Stefaniuk-Gaudet; Casey Stainsby; and Vancouver Unitarians to support an intern ministry. Each recipient will receive $12,000 for a total of $72,000.

Congratulations to all the award recipients, and thank you to those whose generous donations and bequests have made these gifts possible.


CUC Welcomes New Communications Manager

Adeoluwa Atayero recently joined the CUC as its communications manager. Based in Regina, he brings to the position a Master’s in Journalism and extensive experience as a journalist and with a variety of non-governmental organizations. He learned of the position via a member of the Unitarian Fellowship of Regina, a congregation for which he’d done a social media project, and was excited at the opportunity it offered.

“The job description is everything that I’ve spent the last 10 years working at,” he says, “so it was a perfect fit and an opportunity to increase my skills set.” 

As a journalist, Adeoluwa contributed to organizations such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Black House Media. He believes his background in journalism will serve him well at the CUC. 

“At a base level, journalists are storytellers and they are people who we trust to be in charge of communications,” he says. “To be factual and honest and fair and truthful. And honestly, I don’t see too much of a difference between that and the role I’m doing here.”

Adeoluwa is looking forward to building on the systems and processes that are already in place at the CUC and seeing how they can be improved. The fact it’s a values-based organization appeals to him.

“People are here because they want to be here and because they care about the work that we do and finding a way to be sure that work and that energy is vibrant and kept alive through transparent, constant and consistent communication,” he says. “It’s going to be a fun journey to figure out as we grow and learn together.”

In his spare time, Adeoluwa enjoys attending concerts, going for walks, and trying new restaurants.

Welcome, Adeoluwa! 

Contact: deoluwa.atayero@cuc.ca or communications@cuc.ca. Read full bio here.


Have You Heard About Congregational Conversations?

One of the highlights of the past few month’s work for the Congregational Life Leads, Anne and Linda, have been the Congregational Conversations.  There are a few left this year.  You can still RSVP.

During these conversations we have been learning so much:  

    • Exciting things are happening “Have you heard about Lakeshore’s coffee house?” 
    • There are hard things happening in many places, and we are facing challenges.  However, the conversations have been rich and people’s vulnerability will help us as we consider our priorities for responding and resource identification.
    • The spirit of collaboration is high, and possibilities are emerging. We know that working towards useful collaborations takes time, thought, and care.  It is good to think about shared efforts that can increase capacity while easing effort. 

Thank you Liz and Mwibutsa!

We are very appreciative of the work that Liz James and Rev Mwibutsa (Fulgence) Ndagijimana put into the wonderful National service on May 19th. Learn more about Mwibutsa’s work and the Flaming Chalice organization.

 

 


Youth and Young Adults Gather for CanUUdle and Chorus

The CUC’s national youth and young adult conferences, CanUUdle and Chorus, took place in Edmonton over the May long weekend. The Unitarian Church of Edmonton hosted 44 youth and advisors for CanUUdle, and Westwood Unitarian Congregation welcomed 22 young adults attendees of Chorus.

Big thanks to both host congregations and all the volunteers who supported these events! Look for more in-depth reflections from attendees in next month’s eNews. 

 

 

 


Introducing the Unitarians Universalists of the Salish Sea
By catherine strickland, on behalf of the UUSS Planning Team

Hello.  

We are grateful to the CUC for the opportunity to introduce our emerging UU community, the Unitarian Universalists of the Salish Sea (UUSS). For those of you who haven’t heard of UUSS, we are a new UU community located in so-called Vancouver, BC. We are a group of roughly 50 UUs committed to building a radically inclusive, non-hierarchical, and spiritually expansive faith community through experimentation with new ways of being together. We are not your typical “Sunday morning” church.   We’re a “Saturday night pop up interactive worship and potluck dinner” church. 

We are in the midst of discerning collectively all of the core elements of a UU faith community through a process that aims to include all the diverse voices and perspectives within our beloved community. From choosing our community’s name, to deciding on a governance model (Sociocracy), worship offerings, finances, covenant, and accessibility, we decide collectively how to navigate this spiritual journey together.

We embrace and are committed to living deeper and deeper into our eight Unitarian Universalist principles. Most of us left our previous UU congregations, where many of us had been members for decades, because the process to adopt the 8th Principle revealed in them deep divisions in what it means to be UU. We could not find a way to bridge those divisions within those communities.

The silver lining is that by leaving those congregations, we have allowed ourselves to take a more expansive view of what a UU faith community can be. This necessarily means that we are evolving slowly, building the house as we live in it. That said, we have already established a regular monthly worship service, Soul Matters groups, a book club, a “Think Resilience” learning group, Inquiring Souls programming for youth and a task force on Young Adult Ministry. We have hosted a listening circle on Palestine/Israel, a holiday craft making workshop, a town hall on Sociocracy, and a covenant creation workshop. And, we will host our inaugural annual general extravaganza this June!

We are particularly excited about our collaboration with Rev. Danie Webber, the CUC Youth and Young Adult Ministry Specialist. The purpose is to develop a new and different way of creating welcoming, accessible and engaging spaces for folks of all ages, especially younger folks. Unitarian Universalist congregations across Canada are struggling with how to serve the needs of youth and young adults, and we hope this project will offer our wider faith community some inspiration and concrete ideas.

We are grateful to the First Unitarian Church of Victoria (FUCV) for agreeing to be our mentoring congregation. This has been super supportive as we walk the path to becoming a fully established community. We are also blessed to have the encouragement and support of Rev. Anne Barker and the CUC staff on this journey. We are listed under “New Groups” on the CUC “Find a congregation” list on their website and you can also find us here.  Reach out if you want to learn more!


Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough Welcomes Rev. Peter Boullata as Settled Minister

The hall rang out with the resounding cheers of congregants at a special meeting of the Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough when the count was announced with a unanimous “Yes” in favour of inviting Reverend Peter Boullata to become the Fellowship’s Settled Minister. Rev. Boullata’s “Yes” to the invitation resulted in another enthusiastic round of cheers.

This call followed a lengthy process in which the future needs of the Fellowship were assessed and Rev. Boullata’s interests and qualifications were found an excellent match. Speakers at the meeting gave emotional testimonials about how Rev. Boullata has connected to them, to the Fellowship, and to the greater community in the time he has served them since Rev. Julie Stoneberg’s departure. 

“We are all thrilled and excited,” congregational President Aukje Byker said of the vote.

Rev. Boullata feels similarly excited about the decision.

“I’m thrilled to have been chosen as the settled minister in Peterborough,” he said. “I am particularly pleased with the fact that the vote at the congregational meeting to call me was unanimous, because in the contract to call process, a minister’s with the congregation for a year or two years before the vote to call them. So they get a chance to know you and they get a chance to see you make mistakes or decide that there are things about you that they don’t like.  So the fact that the fellowship voted unanimously to call me, it’s a thrill.”

Rev. Boullata particularly appreciates the call to serve Peterborough as he had served them as interim minister prior to Rev. Stoneberg’s tenure.

“It’s a bit of a reunion of sorts,” he says.  “It was a congregation that I continued to care about over the years.”

Rev. Boullata looks forward to continuing to make the congregation more visible within the community and working with it in long-term strategic planning.


Advancements for Unitarian Universalism in the Canadian Armed Forces

We are thrilled to announce two important milestones in our Unitarian Universalist community: First, Rev. Nicole McKay is the first Unitarian Universalist minister to serve as a military chaplain in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). On April 17, 2024, Rev. Nicole McKay met all conditions to become a UU Chaplain in the CAF. She is based at Canadian Forces Borden in Ontario. Ordained by the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto in May 2023, Nicole has been in the military since 2005, transitioning to chaplaincy in 2020.

Raised Catholic, she found her true calling in Unitarian Universalism, inspired by the Canadian Forces’ vision of diverse chaplaincy. Nicole’s work includes providing pastoral care, guiding on ethics, and contributing to policy revisions like transforming public prayer into inclusive public reflections. Her ongoing efforts ensure meaningful chaplaincy access for all military members, embodying the principle of caring for all. We celebrate her pioneering role and look forward to her continued contributions. Of significant note is that Rev. McKay is now authorized to wear a UU tradition identifier on her military uniforms—a patch depicting the flaming chalice.

To our knowledge, this is the first time a UU Military Chaplain in any country’s military service has worn the chalice as their spiritual faith tradition identifier. Read the article about Rev. McKay in the August 2023 eNews. Second, because we now have a Unitarian military chaplain, the Canadian Unitarian Council also gets a seat at the Interfaith Committee on Canadian Military Chaplaincy (ICCMC). Rev. Rebecca (Beckett) Coppola is the first Unitarian representative on the ICCMC. The ICCMC supports the Royal Canadian Chaplain Service (RCChS) in its mission within the unique context of the CAF. It acts as the liaison between Faith Tradition communities in Canada and the RCChS, reflecting their work and supporting CAF Chaplains from various traditions. In 2000, the ICCMC expanded to include faith traditions beyond the Canadian Council of Churches and the Catholic Church.

This inclusion presented an opportunity for Unitarian Universalists to join, which was enthusiastically supported at the May 2023 UU Ministers of Canada Ministry Days gathering. Since then, the UUMOC Executive Committee, in collaboration with the CUC, has been diligently working to advance this initiative throughout the 2023-2024 year. When a CAF Chaplain from an unrepresented faith officially assumes their role, that tradition can then secure a seat on the ICCMC. This was achieved for Unitarian Universalism on April 17, 2024, when Rev. Nicole McKay became the first UU Chaplain in the CAF. Faith traditions only get a seat on the committee when they have active chaplains in the RCChS. While some faith traditions choose not to take their place at the table, those that do must nominate a representative of the ministry from their tradition to the committee.

The UU minister on the ICCMC will serve as the endorsing authority for chaplain candidates in the CAF. They will:

    • Review electronic files from the Chaplain General and respond as necessary.
    • Provide pastoral and other support for UU RCChS chaplains.
    • Participate in committee discussions from the perspective of Unitarian Universalism.
    • Undertake other committee work as necessary.
    • Maintain connections and relationships with the UUA’s Federal Chaplaincies Endorser, the Ministerial Fellowshipping Committee, the CUC Executive Director and Board, and more. All ICCMC members are civilian volunteers who hold a contract with the Canadian Government. There are no salaries for committee members unless they are compensated by their faith tradition.

There are currently about twelve members on the Committee, with Rev. Coppola currently being the only female member.

Rev. Rebecca C. “Beckett” Coppola is a fellowshipped and ordained Unitarian Universalist minister with a Buddhist Master of Divinity from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. She has been serving as the settled minister of the Kingston Unitarian Fellowship, in Kingston, Ontario since 2017. Beckett also: is a Co-Active Training Institute (CTI) certified personal growth and executive leadership coach with ten years of experience in private practice; for over twenty years has been a Yoga and meditation instructor with advanced training around teaching in military settings; and Beckett is a chaplain with four units of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) including military ministry training and experience.

Beckett is inspired by the gifts of the world’s wisdom traditions while being deeply rooted in human relationships, systems theory, intellection, learning, and seeking. She brings a lifelong pursuit of, and profound respect for, spiritual practice to her journey. She is also committed to the work of social justice, embraces radical welcome, and brings a love of humanity’s potential into her ministry. Beckett enjoys a contemplative approach to living in community, and she does her best to embrace growth and transformation with an open heart while aspiring to walk the path of love.


Unitarian Fellowship of Northwest Toronto Has Moved

The Unitarian Fellowship of Northwest Toronto has sold their beloved building on the banks of the Humber River. They are now looking for suitable premises to continue as a congregation.

Meanwhile, their services continue to be held every Sunday at 10:30 until June 30 via Zoom.  Visit their website for information on their services and how to access them.

 


Canadian UU Women’s Association AGM and Guest Speaker

Title: Making it Home: Basic Needs & Creature Comforts for Women (Age 50+) Experiencing Housing Insecurity

Date & Time: June 2nd, 1800 (6pm) Newfoundland, 1730 (5:30pm) Atlantic, 1630 (4:30pm) Eastern, 15:30 Central, 14:30 Mountain, 13:30pm Pacific, for approximately one hour. Guest speaker and Q &A to last approximately 30-45 minutes. For ZOOM Meeting link, please request access by emailing: cuuwa.cuc@gmail.com .

Topic: In Dr. Cloutier’s presentation, she will share insights from her recent research with older women who have experienced housing insecurity, discussing the pathways that have led women to be precariously housed, their simple wishes and basic needs in support of their dignity and humanity, and priority recommendations for system improvements.  

Biosketch: Denise Cloutier, PhD is a Professor in the Department of Geography and a Research Fellow with the Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health at the University of Victoria. Her research focuses on healthy aging and on the broad range of health services and community-based care systems that support quality of life for older adults. Specifically, her research has engaged with rural residents, those who are socially isolated, living with dementia, and women experiencing housing insecurity and homelessness.

Denise S. Cloutier, (she/her), PhD, FCAHS, FGSA, Professor, Dept of Geography & Research Fellow, Institute of Aging and Lifelong Health, University of Victoria

Annual General Meeting to follow – please see AGM package here.


UUA General Assembly: Love Unites, Stories Ignite

In a world filled with division and challenges, the theme for this year’s General Assembly is a powerful reminder of the core principles that unite us as Unitarian Universalists. “Love Unites, Stories Ignite” celebrates the profound impact of love as a binding force that transcends boundaries and fosters connections within our faith community and beyond.

Our faith has always been rooted in the power of storytelling, and this year we’ll explore how our stories can ignite change, inspire compassion, and help us build a more just and equitable world.

Through storytelling, we share our experiences, our dreams, our struggles, and our triumphs. It is through these stories that we can find common ground, deepening our understanding of one another and the world around us.

The 63rd General Assembly will take place virtually Thursday, June 20 through Sunday, June 23, 2024.


Did You Know? The CUC Offers Congregations an Investment Fund Program

The CUC’s Congregational Investment Fund (CIF) program 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  Executive Director Vyda Ng at vyda@cuc.ca


What’s Making Us Smile

A new initiative will see nature recognised as an official artist on major streaming platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music. Artists who use natural sounds in their recordings can choose to list “Nature” as a featured artist – and a share of their profits will be distributed to environmental causes.


CUC Events from May 29, 2024 to November 3, 2024

Share what’s going on in your congregation. Contact communications@cuc.ca

Congregational Conversations: Worship Programming and Leadership Development
Jun. 1: 10:00 am PT | 11:00 am MT | 12:00 pm CT | 1:00 pm ET | 2:00 pm AT | 2:30 pm NT

Gathered Here
Jun. 11: 5:00 pm PT | 6:00 pm MT | 7:00 pm CT | 8:00 pm ET | 9:00 pm AT | 9:30 pm NT

Congregational Conversations: Children and Youth – Presence and Programming
Jun. 15: 10:00 am PT | 11:00 am MT | 12:00 pm CT | 1:00 pm ET | 2:00 pm AT | 2:30 pm NT

Connect and Deepen
Jun. 16: 1:00 pm PT | 2:00 pm MT | 3:00 pm CT | 4:00 pm ET | 5:00 pm AT | 5:30 pm NT

Rising Together: Unitarian Universalists of Colour
Jul. 10: 4:30 pm PT | 5:30 pm MT | 6:30 pm CT | 7:30 pm ET | 8:30 pm AT | 9:00 pm NT (1.5 hours)

Lay Chaplains Chat (Online)
Oct. 7: 4:30 pm PT | 5:30 pm MT | 6:30 pm CT | 7:30 pm ET | 8:30 pm AT | 9:00 pm NT

CUC Co-Lab: Experiences of Transformation (Online)
Nov 1 – 3

Enews Prepared and Formatted by Brigitte Twomey, Website Specialist