CUC eNews: May 25, 2023 – Issue 150

This Issue:

Letter from Vyda: Reflecting on the 2023 Symposium

Last weekend, from May 19 to 21, close to 200 Canadian Unitarian Universalists (UU) gathered in Ottawa, Ontario and online for the Canadian Unitarian Council’s National Symposium. We came together in worship, in celebration,  and  in deep, meaningful conversations about what it means to live into the 8th Principle. 

In her Confluence Lecture, Rev. Julie Stoneberg challenged us to become “storm clouds of love” to renew and revitalize our faith and our communities. Our keynote speaker, Albert Dumont, invited us to carry the burden of colonialism and white supremacy until Indigenous people have been released from its weight.  And, in the national worship service on Sunday, Revs. Eric Meter, Diane Rollert, and Fulgence Ndagijimana reminded us that the 8th Principle–which calls for “individual and communal action that accountably dismantles racism and systemic barriers to full inclusion in ourselves and in our institutions”–is a promise worthy of this time and the fullness of our creative energies. 

Bringing this promise to life will not be easy but, as Rev. Julie Stoneberg reminded us, we can do hard things. On Saturday, May 20, UUs from across Canada gathered in four streams to identify concrete actions we can take to address the challenges and opportunities associated with widening the circle of concern; conflict and covenant; environmental justice; and music and worship. As follow up, staff will be planning for ways to  evolve our collective next steps  from these important discussions. 

There were moments of celebration as well. The Canadian Unitarian Council elected a new Board of Trustees. We collected offerings for two charities Tungasuvvingat Inuit and Causeway Work Centre, presented grants and awards, sang songs, and shared our talents at the Open Mic night. 

The youth (ages 14 to 18) had a fantastic time Bee-ing themselves at CanUUdle, which  was held at the same time as the symposium.  I would like to thank the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa for opening their doors to the youth conference, and for the team of dedicated volunteers who made this a success. 

As well, young adults (18 to 35) appreciated the dual experience of attending the symposium in addition to having some dedicated time together. I am grateful for  the insights they brought to the larger gathering.  (Look for more detailed reports from the youth and young adults in the June issue of the eNews.)

This was our first multiplatform symposium and our first national in-person gathering since 2018. Your CUC staff team, together with the Ottawa Host Team, worked extremely hard to pull all the pieces together, as we were short-staffed in the weeks leading up to the Symposium. My special thanks goes to Ahna DiFelice, Organizational Administrator and Conference Convenor, who brought a joyous spirit to the Symposium, held multiple details together, coordinated all the logistics, and who magically seemed to be everywhere all at once during the weekend.

As I reflect on the past few days, I am deeply grateful for the experience of being together–online and in person. It was very good indeed to chat and catch up, and watch your faces light up when something pleased you. It was deeply moving to be in community with all of you.

Aha. Alleluia. Amen. 

Be well,

Vyda Ng

Thank You to the 2023 Symposium Volunteers
By Vyda Ng

A national gathering like the symposium takes heaps of people to pull together. Some start working months in advance, like Host Team volunteers, and more join on as the symposium nears, and during the event itself. My thanks to Maury Prevost, Host Team Lead, and to each and every one of you for pitching in with enthusiasm, goodwill, and smiles.

Host team
Maury Prevost (Host Team Lead), Rev. Eric Meter (Lead Minister), Kathy Yach (Volunteer Coordinator), Brandon Milk, Lisa Sharp, David Hudson, Lisa Boulay,  Mary Ella Keblusek, Andrew Drake, Chase McGowan, Frank Bowick, Pat Lucey, Jane Lindsay, Carl Sonnen, and home hospitality hosts, ticket takers, floaters, ushers, registration and welcome tables, tech support, and doing-everything-that-was-asked volunteers.

Confluence Lecturer
Rev. Julie Stoneberg

Sunday Service
Rev. Diane Rollert, Rev. Ndagijimana Fulgence, Rev. Eric Meter, Eleuthera Diconca-Lippert, Camellia Jahanshahi, Katharine Childs, Sandra Hunt, Gary Russell

Music Co-Directors
Susanne Maziarz, Joe McDonald

Children’s Program
Sarah Baxter, Brigit McFadden

Multigen Time
Camellia Jahanshahi

Stream Facilitators
Rev. Samaya Oakley, Diana Smith, Kiersten Moore, Beverly Horton, Rev. Shana Lynngood

Jessica Bayne

Tech Team Leads
Ryan Bayne, Kalvin Drake

CanUUdle Team
Carter Mahoney (CanUUdle Coordinator), Lisa Sharp (CanUUdle Liaison), Amy Berube and Jodi McIntosh (Food Coordinators), Guy Belleperche, Meghan Dunn, Alison Harvey, Caycee Price (youth advisors), Victoria Higgins, Carl Sonnen, Mike Fletcher, David Hudson, Brent Nicolle, Sharen Bowen, Peter Smolka, Tess Frost, Elisabeth Morrison, Carmen Contreras, Susan Mellor, Lars C, Nancy Cloutier (overnight supervisors and kitchen helpers). 

Chorus Team
Andrew Pollock (Chorus Coordinator), Brigit McFadden, Denis Ashby, Rory Brimacombe, Taz Trefzger, Alex Trefzger, Brenagh Rapoport, Maya Ferguson Klinowski, Arielle Canning, Ren Martin-Doike, Linnie McGuire (facilitators, photography, driving) 

All the Unis: you know who you are!

Highlights from the 2023 Annual General Meeting
By Kenzie Love

Approximately 120 people–75 delegates and several observers–attended the Canadian Unitarian Council’s (CUC’s) Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Friday, May 19 in person and online.  

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, and reports from both the Decision-making Exploration Team and the Bylaw Review Committee. Summaries of the work performed by the Board, staff, ministers, committees, and CUC Affiliates can be found in the 2022 Annual Report

Joanne Green, the CUC’s Treasurer, presented reports on the audited financial statements and an overview of the CUC’s financial position. The Treasurer noted that the CUC’s financial position had been impacted by factors such as inflation, rising interest rates, and war, and that some congregations had thus experienced challenges making their Annual Program Contributions (APCs), a key source of CUC revenue. Our Executive Director presented a budget in principle for 2024, which  was approved.

Delegates also voted on  three key motions. The first motion proposed some minor changes to the CUC’s bylaws. It passed. The second motion contained the CUC’s strategic priorities and goals for 2023-24. During the discussion of this motion, some delegates expressed concern about the CUC’s omission of anti-Black racism as a systemic barrier to full inclusion, a concern echoed by several ministers. There was a suggestion that this wording could be added to the strategic priorities; however, the Parliamentarian advised this would be out of order as it would be a substantive amendment.

After a brief recess, the meeting resumed and President Chuck Shields  affirmed the Board’s ongoing commitment to taking action against anti-Black racism. Accordingly, the Board proposed, on the advice of the Parliamentarian,  a motion to postpone indefinitely* the approval of the strategic priorities and goals to a future meeting, as more time was needed. This motion passed. A motion to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery also passed.

You may read the approved resolutions on the CUC website. 

*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. This motion must be seconded and is not in order when another has the floor. 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. A motion to postpone indefinitely is debatable and requires a majority vote. As well, debate on the motion to postpone indefinitely can go fully into the merits of the main question. In the event the motion to postpone indefinitely is defeated, the motion to postpone indefinitely cannot be moved in regards to the same main question again.

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. This group is formed by dedicated volunteers from across the country. There are two trustees from each region plus a minister observer and two youth observers. 

This year, we are saying good-bye to three members of the Board: Chuck Shields (Eastern), who decided not to seek re-election after serving a total of five years, including as President for the past year; Joanne Green (Western) who served four years as a Trustee and Treasurer, and decided to step down; and Eric James, the outgoing senior youth observer. 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: Ilara Stefaniuk-Gaudet and Margo Ellis.

The 2023 – 2024 Board of Trustees is:

    • President: Kiersten Moore (BC Region)
    • Vice-President: Margaret Kohr (Central Region)
    • Co-Treasurers: Yvette Salinas (Eastern Region) and Margaret Wanlin (Western Region)
    • Secretary: Rev. Rod Solano-Quesnel (Central Region)
    • Margo Ellis (Eastern Region)
    • Ilara Stefaniuk-Gaudet (Western Region)
    • Rev. Debra Faulk (BC Region)
    • Minister Observer: Rev. Shana Lynngood, Victoria
    • Senior Youth Observer: Artemisia Frolic-Smart (Mississauga, ON)


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.

Michael Dailly (BC/Western) decided not to seek a second term on the Nominating Committee. We thank Michael for his  service on the Nominating Committee, and wish him well in his next adventures. 

The Nominating Committee welcomes Jamie Struthers, who was acclaimed at the Annual General Meeting.

The 2023– 2024 Nominating Committee is:

    • Co-chair: Maury Prevost, Ottawa (Eastern Region)
    • Co-chair: Alex Schumacher, Calgary (Western Region)
    • Jamie Struthers, Regina (BC/Western Region)
    • Kim Turner, Halifax (Eastern Region)
    • Carey McDonald, Guelph (Central Region)
    • Lesley Giroday, Comox Valley (B.C Region)


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. 

We thank Rev. Norm Horofker, outgoing UUMOC Treasurer, for his service to our national faith community, and wish him well in his future endeavours.

The 2023 – 2024 UUMOC Executive Committee is:

    • President: Rev. Samaya Oakley (Calgary)
    • VP: Rev. Karen Fraser-Gitlitz (Saskatoon)
    • Treasurer: Rev. Ren McFadyen (community minister)
    • Secretary: Rev. Rosemary Morrison (Edmonton)
    • Minister Observer to the CUC Board: Rev. Shana Lynngood (Victoria)


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 2023 – 2024 National Lay Chaplain Committee is:

    • Yvette Roberts, Central Region
    • Bob Armstrong, Eastern Region
    • Anne Coward, Eastern Region
    • Rob Van Wyck, Western Region
    • Mary-Anna Louise Kovar, Western Region
    • Beth McLin, Central Region
    • Minister representative- TBC


Canadian Unitarian Universalist Recognize Dedication and Innovation with Awards

Each year, the Canadian Unitarian Council recognizes the achievements and aspirations of those who will help us get where we want to go. On Sunday, May 21, we were honoured to announce the recipients of the 2023 Knight Award, Sharing our Faith grants, and Theological Education Funds.

Knight Award

The Victor and Nancy Knight Living Tribute Award honours the ideals exemplified by the lives and work of Nancy and Victor Knight in furthering the principles of Unitarianism in Canada, and is presented to a living person who has, as a volunteer, contributed at the national level towards furthering these ideals. As an encouragement for others to follow the Knights’ example, an award is made annually from the income of the fund to the recipient.

We are pleased to announce that the 2023 recipient of the Knight Award is Lynn Sabourin. An exemplary Director of Family Ministries at North Shore Unitarian Church for almost 40 years, Lynn has made a significant contribution to the furthering of Unitarianism in Canada as a volunteer, the reaches of which go far beyond her congregational staff role. Lynn is also the recipient of the Angus H. MacLean Award for Excellence in Religious Education from the Unitarian Universalist Association. 

Watch for an interview with Lynn Sabourin in the June issue of the CUC eNews, and check out previous recipients of the Knight Award here. You can read the citation by Rev. Brian Kiehly and Jim Stephenson online. 

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 2023, Sharing our Faith grants were given to the Unitarian Congregation of Niagara and Mirth and Dignity.

The Unitarian Congregation of Niagara (UCN) will be celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2024. In anticipation of that event, UCN will receive a grant of $5000 to help improve the safety, appearance, and rental prospects of its sanctuary.

Mirth and Dignity will receive a grant of $4300 to produce a second season of the podcast, the Cracked Cup, but as a part of a larger project called the “Changing Our Stories” project, which aims to facilitate new types of connection for UUs. 

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 Rev. Meghann Robern, Janet Pivnik, and Lori Turner-Ott, who will each receive $12,500, for a total of $37,500. 

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

Introducing… Rev. Anne Barker! 

We are delighted to announce that Rev. Anne Barker joins the CUC staff team as the Congregational Life Lead for the British Columbia and Western Regions. Anne will work with her counterpart, Rev. Linda Thomson who is the Congregational Life Lead for the Central and Eastern regions, and the CUC staff team. 

Anne comes to us with solid credentials and vast experience as a minister and leader.  Anne is a UU minister living in Saskatoon SK, after serving 14 years with Westwood in Edmonton, AB. She is completing her term as President of the UU Ministers of Canada, which includes being 1/3 of the CUC National Voice Team, this May. Anne presented the 15th Confluence Lecture online in 2021, entitled A New Premise

Anne is a graduate of Meadville Lombard Theological School, the UU seminary in Chicago. Within our broader CUC community, she has also been minister advisor to the National Lay Chaplaincy Committee, a ‘Basics’ Trainer for the Lay Chaplaincy Program, and a member of the Pastoral Care Team for Young Adults. She co-designed and co-led the first “Serving with Spirit: Nurturing UU Leaders” program, and has enjoyed participating in collaborative national services, programs, and workshops.

She is also a partner in The Cracked Cup podcast with Liz James, working on her first non-fiction book, and co-creating an entrepreneurial ministry project with her wife Lori. In their 16th year of marriage, Anne is grateful for Lori’s love, wisdom, and support – which she says, “makes me a better minister, a happier person, and hopefully the kind of partner she deserves”. They have an abundance of beloved family, both birth and chosen, and love every minute they get to spend together. 

Welcome, Anne! You can reach Anne at

Meet a DRE: Sheila MacMaster
By Kenzie Love

Sheila MacMaster has served as the Director Religious Education (DRE)  for Calgary Unitarians since 2017. She applied for the position on an interim basis after other members of the congregation encouraged her to do so. She was later hired for a permanent position.

Sheila was attracted to the position by the opportunity it offered to work with children and youth. She draws upon her prior experience, including her studies in drama at the University of Calgary. And her work interacting with students and parents in her previous job at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.

During the pandemic, Sheila began offering a weekly story and mini-sermon on Zoom during Sunday services. It was so enjoyable that she continued doing it once in-person services resumed. Other highlights in recent years include the intergenerational activities she’s organized. These have included Easter egg hunts and the annual summer camping weekend.

Having paid religious education teachers for Sunday school classes is important for the Calgary RE program’s success. It allows parents to volunteer when they want to but also provides them with a break on Sunday mornings. Sheila also works hard to ensure connections between families within the congregation. She’s heard that church is something children in the RE program look forward to every week as a result.

“We dedicate time to connection and creating those friendships and community for both parents and kids,” she says. “And I think that is the top reason that they keep coming back.”

How we Make Decisions Together
By Robbie Brydon

If you were able to attend the AGM this year, we hope you had some moments to reflect on the process we currently use. Here are two video overviews of Robert’s Rules of Order, touching on why it’s used and how it operates: a very short one (2 mins) and a somewhat more comprehensive one (18 mins). Our team has curated some resources in this folder with “cheat sheets” of varying levels of detail you can use in a meeting operating by Robert’s Rules. The folder also contains two files that consider Democratic Rules of Order, a system similar to Robert’s but simplified.

Here are the events with resources; details are being confirmed for the fall and winter events:

    • February 4: Uncolonizing Democratic Processes (resources)
    • May 19: CUC’s Annual General Meeting (resources)
    • June 10 (rescheduled from April!): How We Make Decisions Together
    • October 21: Practicing Together: Sociocracy Decision-Making
    • November 18: Practicing Together: Formal Consensus
    • January 13, 2024: Culminating Workshop – Developing a Proposal

We strongly encourage you to attend the How We Make Decisions Together workshop on June 10. Come discuss what principles in a decision-making process are most important and how we build relationships with the people we need to make decisions with, given the challenges of geography, time, and scale. As a reminder, the results of last year’s survey are available here and may be helpful in informing how we approach some of these questions.

If you are able to attend the AGM this year, we encourage you to take a moment to reflect on the process we currently use. Here are two video overviews of Robert’s Rules of Order, touching on why it’s used and how it operates: a very short one (2 mins) and a somewhat more comprehensive one (18 mins). Our team has curated some resources in this folder with “cheat sheets” of varying levels of detail you can use in a meeting operating by Robert’s Rules. The folder also contains two files that consider Democratic Rules of Order, a system similar to Robert’s but simplified.

We look forward to seeing you at the AGM or on June 10. If you have any questions, please get in touch with us at The members of the team are Robbie Brydon, Juensung Kim, Rev. Danielle Webber, and Eric James.

Unanimous! Shawn Gauthier is Unitarian Church of Vancouver’s New Settled Minister
By Vancouver Unitarians

By the unanimous decision of those in the sanctuary and online, Unitarian Church of Vancouver (UCV) members voted on April 30 to call Rev. Shawn Gauthier as our next settled minister. Sunday was a joyful culmination of the work of so many in the ministerial transition and search process. We look forward to Rev. Shawn starting at UCV this August! 

The vote took place at a special meeting held right after Sunday service. Once the results were announced, Rev. Shawn returned to the pulpit to accept the call, and to thank the search committee, the Board, Rev. Lara, and all those who made this ministerial transition happen. He then signed his contract and shared brief remarks about his hopes for the congregation and our work together in the coming years, concluding with the words of Mark Belletini:

“Go in peace. Live simply at home in yourself. Be just in your word and just in your deed. Remember the depth of your own compassion. Forget not your power, in the days of your powerlessness. Practice forbearance in all that you do. Speak the truth, or speak not. Take care your body, for it is a good gift. Crave peace for all peoples in the world, beginning with yourselves and go that you go with the dream of that peace set firm in your heart.”

In addition to the Board and the Search committees, we’re grateful for the work of our Interim Minister Rev. Lara Cowtan in helping steer us through the transition years following the retirement of Rev. Steven Epperson. Rev. Lara’s term isn’t over just yet. Thankfully, she will be here with us for May and June.

What’s Making Us Smile

The pandemic left many of us with a case of Zoom fatigue–with the exception of some pet parrots who’ve learned to “video conference” with other parrots when they’re feeling lonely.

CUC Events from June 5 to July 16, 2023

Share what’s going on in your congregation. Contact

Lay Chaplains Chat (online)
June 5:  4:30 pm PT | 5:30 pm MT | 6:30 pm CT | 7:30 pm  ET | 8:30 pm AT | 9:30 pm NT (90 minutes)

Inclusivity Action Groups: Managing Resistance
June 7: 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)

Decision Making Exploration Team: Practicing Together: Sociocracy Decision Making
June 10: 10:00 am PT | 11:00 am MT | 12:00 pm CT | 1:00pm ET | 2:00pm AT | 2:30pm NT (2 hours)

Gathered Here: A Monthly Check-in for UU Young Adults (18-35)
June 12: 5:00 pm PT | 6:00 pm MT | 7:00 pm CT | 8:00 pm ET | 9:00 pm AT | 9:30 pm NT 

June 18: 4:00 pm PT | 5:00 pm MT | 6:00 pm CT | 7:00 pm ET | 8:00  pm AT  | 8:30  pm NT (1.5 hours)

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