CUC eNews: May 5, 2020 – Issue 113

In This Issue:

Letter From Vyda: Our National Gathering in May

The May gatherings (aka National Conference) are almost upon us. With the postponement of the in-person conference in Halifax to 2021, we are offering online gatherings instead. I want to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the Halifax Host Team, who is not only helping to plan the 2020 online events, but has also signed on to continue the work and welcome us all in 2021.

I will admit our team is a bit wistful as we let go of our original plans. But we are also feeling grateful for the opportunities that this shift brings. One of the hallmarks of Unitarianism is a focus on inclusion and equity, and our modified online conference gives us an opportunity to connect in a truly national and inclusive way. On behalf of the entire organizing team I want to invite you to join UUs from across the country in this unique opportunity to gather together.

On Saturday, May 9, we celebrate the outstanding and inspiring work of our Shining Lights Award nominees. Our National Gathering service will take place on Friday evening May 15, to open our conference and celebrate our faith. Saturday, May 16 is the Annual General Meeting, where observers are welcome and encouraged to attend. The business aspect of our work is an important pillar and allows us to grow and nurture our priorities. A highlight of the weekend, our first Cross Canada Sunday Service joins UUs from across the country as we worship together. This will be a powerful experience as we come together to speak the same intentions, hear the same songs and contemplate the same messages with UUs across the country. 

Wherever you are, you are welcome here,
Vyda Ng

National Gatherings and Annual General Meeting

Early May brings you some of the events that normally take place in person over the May long weekend. Here’s what’s in store; all details for participating can be found in the Upcoming Events section at the end of this eNews:

  • May 9: Shining Lights: Shining Lights Award Webinar
    10:00 am PDT | 11:00 pm MDT| 12:00 pm CDT | 1:00 pm EDT | 2:00 pm ADT (2 hours)
  • May 14: Business Plenary
    3:30 pm PDT | 4:30 pm MDT | 5:30 pm CDT | 6:30 pm EDT | 7:30 pm ADT (1.5 hrs)
  • May 15: National Gathering Ceremony
    3:30 pm PDT | 4:30 pm MDT | 5:30 pm CDT | 6:30 pm EDT | 7:30 pm ADT  (1.5 hours)
  • May 15 – 17: Ensemble: A Collection of Young Adult Gatherings
  • May 15 – 18: CazUUM – the online version of CanUUdle
  • May 16: Annual General Meeting (3.5 hours) 9 am PDT| 10 am MDT | 11 am CDT | 12 pm EDT | 1 pm ADT (3.5 hours)
  • May 17: Cross-Canada Sunday Service
    9:30 am PDT | 10:30 am MDT | 11:30 am CDT | 12:30 pm EDT | 1:30 pm ADT | 2:00 pm NL (1.5 hours)

Further Information About the AGM

Pipelines and Pandemics by Erin Horvath

Months before Covid-19 began to dominate the news, and require so much of our government’s focus, the CUC invited Dr. Niigaan Sinclair to join us in May for a discussion about Pipelines, Democracy and Aboriginal Title. Unsurprisingly, Covid-19 is impacting social and environmental issues like the pipelines, and further exacerbating inequities in our society, particularly those of First Nations.

While Canadians were warned to remain at home and take precautions due to Covid-19, the oil and gas industry is continuing work along pipeline routes, putting already vulnerable communities with limited health care resources and potential supply shortages at greater risk. The hard work and solidarity actions in February led the Federal Government to begin negotiations with the Wet’suwet’en. However, this was put on hold due to Covid-19, and yet, the work on the pipeline continues.  Furthermore, the company is not following court orders to complete a hydrogeological study about the aquifer that runs beneath and around Coldwater First Nation.  The Nation has proposed a route change to avoid the aquifer all together, and has been advocating for this at the Federal Supreme Court of Appeal.

I want to personally invite you to participate in our Pipelines, Democracy and Aboriginal Title online discussion to learn more. Dr. Sinclair, a leading voice on Indigenous-Canadian politics, natural storyteller, and son of Senator Murray Sinclair, conveys his thorough and nuanced understanding of very complex issues in a way that is thought-provoking and accessible. This event is hosted by the CUC but is open to everyone.  Consider inviting your neighbours, colleagues and friends to join you to learn more about these issues and how we can all support a more equitable and environmentally responsible approach.

May 24: Pipelines, Democracy and Aboriginal Title: A Conversation with Dr. Niigaan Sinclair
An online event:  4:00 pm PDT | 5:00 pm MDT| 6:00 pm CDT | 7:00 pm EDT | 8:00 pm ADT | 9:30 pm NL   

Tickets Available on Eventbrite

Celebrating Our Shining Lightsshining light award

The Shining Lights Award recognizes innovation and sustainability in Unitarian Universalist initiatives. Typically awarded at the CUC National conference, one of the goals for the award is to encourage recipients to share their inspirational stories so that others may imagine how they might do similar work. In 2018, the inaugural Shining Lights award was presented to the First Unitarian Church of Hamilton for their project: Embedding Social Justice into the Fabric of Our Church Community, and we are looking forward to an update from their team when we present the 2020 award this May.

In our last eNews we introduced you to two of the nominated groups – The Unitarian Congregation in Guelph and the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Winnipeg (FUUCW). In advance of our Shining Lights Award webinar on May 9, 1- 3 pm EDT we would like to introduce you to the remaining three nominees and their projects:

Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax

Born of their desire to expand their reach in enabling families and individuals facing danger to start a new life in Canada, the Universalist Unitarian Church in Halifax, determined to become a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) in order to become a local hub to spark and support refugee sponsorships in the wider community.  SAHs are organizations that have signed agreements with Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to support refugees from abroad when they resettle in Canada.

One UUCH goal was to assist, encourage and connect with the community beyond their membership to be involved with refugee sponsorship in order to raise the number of refugees going to Nova Scotia.  This 80 member congregation wants to share their experience with you.

First Unitarian Church of Winnipeg

Believing they had something to offer the larger community, the First Unitarian Church of Winnipeg considered ways they could engage the congregation and community in dialogue and learning on topics that are relevant, meaningful and sometimes difficult.  

Their ‘Inquiring Minds’ project saw them host an intensive week of events, presentations and workshops on the topics of death, dying and grief – all open to the public and mostly free of charge. At the Shining Lights Webinar, they’ll tell us more about what they did and their hope that future events will lead to them being known as a community that offers opportunities to engage.

Unitarian Church of Edmonton

Like many congregations, the Unitarian Church of Edmonton asked themselves how they could build a multi-generational community where children and youth felt connected.  They determined that they wanted to increase the interaction between age groups, and implemented some concrete changes to make this happen.  Learn more about the changes in Edmonton and how they, through a series of focused services, have begun to strengthen the cross-generational connections. 

We invite you to join us to hear from all 5 of the nominees before we announce our winner at our Shining Lights Award ceremony on May 9 from 2-4 pm AT.  All are welcome. Come, be inspired and help us celebrate UU successes from across the country.

Read More About the Shining Lights Award

Update on CUC COVID-19 Response

Decision on CUC Events for 2020

The CUC has made the difficult decision that, for everyone’s safety, all in-person CUC events, including all Regional Gatherings in the fall and the Unicamp Young Adult Retreat in September, will be canceled for the remainder of 2020. In addition, CUC staff will not be traveling for CUC work for the remainder of 2020. We know that this may have an impact on congregational plans, but the decision was made after careful consideration and review of current information from reputable health sources, and in acknowledgment of our vulnerable populations and concerns about a second wave. 

CUC staff will, of course, be available to support congregations online, through virtual meetings and phone consultations. We will do our best to minimize the impact of our decision on our work and yours.

CUC staff will, of course, be available to support congregations online, through virtual meetings and phone consultations. We will do our best to minimize the impact of our decision on our work and yours.

Check Out all the Online Events on the CUC  Calendar

Annual Congregational Meetings During COVID-19

There has been some uncertainty about how to conduct annual meetings during this time of physical distancing. The majority of provinces have issued guidance on this; a summary of societies’ acts can be found in the Resources for Congregations During Covid-19 folder – Annual Meetings During Covid-19

We have put together some resources for your congregation’s annual meetings within the Virtual Meeting Resources folder:

Questions about annual meetings? Contact

What Is Making Us Smile This Week

What is red, white and blue? A sad candy cane.

What could be any better than a 6 year-old who wants to make the world a better place by alleviating stress using humour? Callaghan McLaughlin is cheering people up by sharing his jokes, at a free, physically distant joke stand outside his home in Saanich, B.C.  His delivery is guaranteed to make us smile.

Read the CBC Article

Visit & Like the Canadian Unitarian Council on Facebook!

Upcoming Events – Until further notice, all CUC events will be held online via Zoom.

Share what’s going on in your congregation. Contact

Featured Events

Serving with Spirit: Stronger Together, Planning for PartnershipOnline
Saturday, May 23, 10 am PDT | 11 am MDT | Noon CDT | 1:00 pm EDT | 2 pm AT– 4 hours duration
Rev. Joan Van Becelaere, Joan Carolyn & Rev. Linda Thomson

Registration deadline: May 15, 2020
Explore congregations and communities’ potential for meaningful, creative networking and partnerships. Together, we will learn how all congregations can come together, regardless of size, and gain strength from shared wisdom.
Of interest to  Ministers, Religious Education professionals, musicians, board members, committee leads and others interested in exploring cross congregational networking and support opportunities.
Cost: Sliding fee:  $30 – $40 – $50 (individual) | Group rate:  $35 per person (groups of three or more)

Pipelines, Democracy and Aboriginal Title: A Conversation with Dr. Niigaan Sinclair
Sunday, May 24,  4 pm PDT  | 5 pm MDT  | 6 pm CDT  |  7 pm EDT  | 8 pm ADT
Join Dr. Niigaan Sinclair in a conversation about how non-Indigenous people can be in solidarity with Indigenous Nations when they are divided. This session will explore issues around Aboriginal land title, hereditary vs. colonial leadership, consent, consultation, and the various layers of justice to be considered when addressing issues such as climate action.
Purchase tickets at Eventbrite

Coping During COVID-19 Events

CUC COVID-19 Leaders’ Update Sessions
May 9, May 30, 9 am PDT  | 10 am MDT  | 11 am CDT  | 12 noon EDT  | 1 pm PDT
A roundtable for congregational leaders to connect: these weekly sessions invite leaders to share, learn, inform and muse together, with CUC staff, on coping and resiliency during COVID-19 Join us on Zoom at

CUC Coffeehouse Connections, Saturdays, 3 pm PDT  | 4 pm MDT  | 5 pm CDT  | 6 pm D|  7 pm ADT
These online gatherings bring us together virtually to connect across the country. Each gathering will have a different theme, such as music, social get-together, multigenerational storytelling times, online activities, or high tea.

May 9 – StorytellingStorytellers will spin tales for all ages, with some music in between. Join us on Zoom at
May 30 – Multigen Music, Music by, for, and with kids and youth. Join us on Zoom at 8

National Gathering and Annual General Meeting Online Events

CUC AGM Online Voting Orientation, Tuesday, May 5, 4 pm PDT  |  5 pm MDT  | 6 pm CDT  |  7 pm EDT  | 8 pm ADT  The 2020 AGM will be held entirely online. Delegates need to attend an orientation session – sign up here. This is necessary as the voting process will differ from that used in previous years; the orientation will focus on how to use Zoom as a participant and using the online voting system.

Shining Lights Award WebinarSaturday, May 9, 10 am PDT  | 11 am MDT  |12 noon CDT  | 1 pm EDT  | 2 pm ADT Celebrate with us as we hear from five awe-inspiring nominations for the Shining Lights award. Learn about their projects, how they were implemented, and about the differences these projects made to their communities. All welcome! Join the event on Zoom:

AGM Plenary DiscussionThursday, May 14, Online via Zoom, 3:30 pm PDT  | 4:30 pm MDT  | 5:30 pm CDT  |  6:30 pm EDT  | 7:30 pm ADT Prior to the AGM on May 16, the CUC Board invites you to an informal dialogue amongst congregational delegates, leaders, board members, and CUC staff to discuss issues of importance to congregations, in support of the CUC’s visiongoals, and strategic priorities. All are welcome. Join at

CUC’s National Online Gathering Ceremony, Friday, May 15, 3:30 pm PDT | 4:30 pm MDT | 5:30 pm CDT | 6:30 pm EDT | 7:30 pm ADT
We will gather across the country, virtually, on the Friday of what was to have been the start of the National Conference. Come, we will join together to celebrate our connections and our faith. All welcome! Join at

Ensemble: A Collection of  Young Adult Gatherings, May 15 – 17, 2020
In the midst of this pandemic, young adults (18 – 35 years) will find new ways to build intentional and beloved community during Ensemble. Registration deadline May 5.

CanUUdle presents: CazUUm!, May 15 – 18, 2020
UU youth (14-19) and their adult advisors (25+) from across Canada will connect with each other in new and creative ways via Zoom. Registration deadline May 5

CUC National Annual General Meeting, Saturday, May 16, 9 am PT  | 10 am MT  | 11 am CT  | 12 noon ET  | 1 pm AT This year’s Annual General Meeting motions include a change to the bylaw for Board of Trustees terms, and an update to strategic priorities. Delegates will hear reports about key areas of work including finances, Truth Healing and Reconciliation, Dismantling Racism, as well as from the Polyamory and CUC QUUest (envisioning the future) task forces. All AGM information, including the agenda and financial statements, are available on our website.
Delegates should have been registered and attended an orientation session prior to the AGM. Observers are welcome. Join at

Cross-Canada Sunday Service, Sunday, May 17, 9:30 am PDT | 10:30 am MDT |11:30 am CDT | 12:30 pm EDT | 1:30 pm ADT Join UUs from across Canada for a unique opportunity to celebrate in a national Sunday Service together. Rev. Norm Horofker from the Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax, with his ministerial colleagues, will lead a worship service for Canadians across the country and worldwide. Let’s come together virtually to celebrate our national connection and our national conference. We welcome you, wherever you are. Join us online: 1) watch on the CUC’s YouTube channel; or 2) via Zoom at

Regular Online Events

Gathered Here: Young Adult Check-In, May 25 – 2 pm EDT, June 8, July 13, August 10 – 8 pm EDT
Join other UU 18-35-year-olds on Zoom for sharing joys and concerns, deeper check-ins, prayerful reflections, and an opportunity to process current events with a spiritually grounded community. Join the events at

Connect and Deepen – Virtual Gathering, May 10 & 24, June 14, July 12, August 9, September 13, October 11, November 8, 5 pm ADT | 4 pm EDT| 3 pm CDT| 2 pm MDT| 1 pm PDT (90 minutes) Connect and Deepen is a monthly online small group ministry and gathering for those seeking Canadian Unitarian Universalist connections. Register and access Zoom information here

THR: Reconciliation Through Film, Saturday, June 6, 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. EDT Film: Freedom Road, registration on the THR film page – deadline May 22

International Events

Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly, June 24 – 28, 2020,
The UUA General Assembly will be a virtual event this year. The CUC will be presenting an online workshop on Truth, Healing and Reconciliation on Thursday, June 25.