CUC eNews: October 13, 2020 – Issue 122

In This Issue:

Letter From Margaret Wanlin, CUC Board President

We gather together in joyful thanksgiving,
Acclaiming creation, whose bounty we share;
Both sorrow and gladness we find now in our living,
We sing a hymn of praise to the life that we bear.

From We Gather Together, Words by Dorothy Caiger Senghas and Robert E. Senghas

As I write this we are looking forward to Thanksgiving. Although it will be different this year, my family will continue with some of our traditions. We’ll gather, via Zoom, to celebrate the earth’s bounty. We’ll plan our meal around our harvest from our garden and then put it to bed for the winter. And I hope we will sing one of my favourite UU hymns, We Gather Together. The line “Both sorrow and gladness we find now in our living”  seems especially poignant this year.

When I count my blessings at our Thanksgiving dinner, one of them will be our CUC board and staff. At the beginning of the month our Board and staff gathered for a virtual retreat to evaluate our progress and plan the work to come. The CUC staff provided excellent reports and I think I speak on behalf of the board when I say that we continue to be impressed by the commitment and energy the staff are bringing to their increasing workload. And the Board is excited to see the new ways that the staff is developing to build our national UU community without the need for travel. I  am so grateful for the opportunity to learn and work together with the staff and Board, and to be surrounded by others who are dedicated to nurturing Unitarian Universalism across the country. We hope to continue some of these conversations with you in November at the National Gathering which will include an update on QUUest and an opportunity for attendees to have a conversation with the Board.

The work of the CUC this year will include a continued focus on Truth, Healing and Reconciliation. This weekend I hope to spend some time outdoors enjoying the beauty that surrounds me, and doing my part, however I can, to recognize that this land we love is not something we own, it is something we must share, honour and care for so that it can be vibrant and healthy and loved for generations.

I am wishing you and yours a healthy and blessed autumn and I look forward to the chance to see you at our National Gathering. 

With gratitude,
Margaret Wallin, CUC Board President 

National Fall Gathering Offers Variety of Interesting Workshops

The Canadian Unitarian Council’s 2020 Fall Gathering November, 13-15 will offer a variety of interesting workshops, a fun coffeehouse, a chance to connect with the CUC board, and an engaging Sunday service. 

The Gathering features a two-step registration process, with participants required first to register for the sessions they would like to attend through the CUC website, and then for each individual session via Zoom (Please note: the registration deadline is November 6).

Events will begin with regional gatherings on Friday evening. Saturday workshops will focus on topics including peer pastoral care, Truth, Healing and Reconciliation, and dismantling racism within Canadian congregations. After the Saturday workshops, you’re invited to join the conversation on “Sustaining Our Light” and what we are learning during this pandemic that will sustain and strengthen us, hosted by the CUC Board of Trustees. The coffeehouse that evening will feature music, storytelling, poetry and fellowship. And the National Sunday Service on November 15, hosted by 5 ministers from across the country,  will examine the theme of “Sustaining Our Light” and how we need each other to create community.

Community is more important than ever during these strange and troubling times. We look forward to you helping us create it by joining what’s sure to be a memorable weekend.

Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Initiative Has Opportunity to Benefit from Challenge Granttruth healing and reconciliation logo

Canadian Unitarian Universalists are committed to the journey toward truth, justice, healing, and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, and to putting into practice the principles set forth in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The CUC’s Truth, Healing and Reconciliation initiative has taken a variety of forms, including the Reflection Guides, film series, and more. This work has been funded in part by two grants from the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Fund For Unitarian Universalist Social Responsibility, established to Increase the direct involvement of UUs in service, advocacy and/or community organizing.

As part of the second and last grant, the Fund has issued a challenge, promising to match donations made to the THR initiative if donors can raise $3000 CDN. Several members of the Canadian Unitarian Council’s board have already contributed to the initiative.

Erin Horwath, the CUC’s Social Justice Lead, affirms the important contribution this funding could make to the Truth, Healing and Reconciliation initiative.

“The Truth, Healing and Reconciliation initiative is central to our values as Canadian Unitarians,” she says. “The relationships we have built with Indigenous people and communities since 2014 have allowed us to live out our principles while engaging in the vital work towards achieving equity and justice. Receiving this grant will give us the opportunity to build further bridges.”

Donations of any amount are gratefully received by October 31. 

Plan to Join Our Virtual National Conference This Spring

Photo: Vincent Gui

Our Spring National Conference will be a virtual event in 2021. We are looking forward to welcoming UUs from across the country to a full program of workshops, gatherings, worship and connection. The final date and full program are still being coordinated and registration information will be available soon. We plan again to offer a sliding scale to make this event available to as many as possible. If you would like to contribute to our program and offer a workshop or presentation, please watch for more information in coming newsletters.

  Watch for more information in the coming weeks. 

CUC Annual General Meeting Calls for Motions

Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held as part of our spring National Conference. As part of the AGM, delegates will consider motions on a variety of topics. These motions must be submitted using our stated process and be received by December 15.  Once resolutions are received they will be distributed to congregations by January 15 to allow for written comments and a final distribution of amended resolutions by March 15.

If your congregation would like to submit a motion for consideration, please review the process outlined on our website.  

Consider submitting a motion only if: 

    1. there is no previous resolution AND it addresses a completely new issue;
    2. it is of national importance; 
    3. it is timely. 

If your resolution meets these requirements, please reach out to us at to discuss the next steps. We welcome the opportunity to discuss this process with your and to answer your questions. 

As details are confirmed about the National Conference we will also be providing congregations with more information about the delegate selection process. Please watch for more information about our AGM!

Time to Register for the HalloUUeen Youth Con

It’s almost scary how fast the HalloUUeen Youth con registration deadline is approaching! Youth ages 12-19 and their advisors (ages 25 and up) need to let us know by October 18 if they will be joining in our silly, spooky and sacred Youth con, happening Saturday, October 24 from 12-8 pm ET. Youth from across the country are invited to join for games, small groups and inspiring youth-led worship. 

Find out all the details, including the registration form on our website. And please share with any youth who might be interested.

Black Lives Matter Roundtable Series Continues with Workshop on Internalized Racism

Photo: Joan Villalon

Canadian Unitarians are invited to participate in a session of guided reflection and small group discussion on October 21. This session will help white people better understand how racism towards People of the Global Majority (People of Colour) looks in their lives, and how to acknowledge it without shame in order to have better, more honest conversations. Our work to dismantle racism must begin with ourselves. As people who care deeply about social justice, Canadian Unitarians can become more conscious of how a racist society has shaped our own thinking, and use this awareness, paired with vulnerability and courage, to address the racism we see in our own lives with compassion and without judgment. 

In preparation for this roundtable, participants are asked to review the extensive resources that have been assembled, including articles, videos, and reflections. As Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana has observed, “change will come if dismantling anti-Black racism is seen for what it is: spiritual work”.


Congregations Take Action Against Racism

Photo: Priscilla Gyamfi

The murder of George Floyd and the resulting increased focus on racism has spurred two Canadian Unitarian congregations to take action, recognizing that while people may be in different places regarding their familiarity and comfort with racial justice work, everyone has a role to play.

“If we’re not working to dismantle racism, we are part of perpetuating it,” says Rev. Debra Faulk of Calgary Unitarians, “and I think that we need to recognize that we perpetuate if we do nothing.”

This recognition has spurred Calgary Unitarians to form an Anti-Racism Team, championed by lay-leader Jocelyn Keith-Asante. The hope is that this group will encourage congregants to reflect on becoming anti-racist and work towards racial justice through readings in the monthly reflection guides, book discussions groups, workshops and other activities, while stressing that the work is still in its early stages.

The South Fraser Unitarian Congregation, meanwhile, is also engaging in a variety of anti-racism activities, including a discussion group on Robin DiAngelo’s book White Fragility, which explores the systemic underpinnings of racism, how white people uphold it, and how they can constructively address it. Rev. Samaya Oakley is also leading a weekly racial justice demonstration outside the church where the congregation would normally gather for services. Regardless of how many people show up for the demonstrations, Oakley says, there’s value in doing something at a time when many people feel helpless and hopeless in the face of injustice.

“We’ve got to change the way that we’re looking at things, and we’ve got to change the way we see the world,” she says, “and we’re being asked to do that right now in these days, and I think as UUs it behooves us to pay attention to that call.”

Minister Profile: Rev. Julie Stoneberg

Rev. Julie Stoneberg has served the Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough since 2007. The daughter of a Baptist minister, she rejected organized religion as an adolescent, but realized in her early 40s that she wanted to deepen her spiritual life. She enrolled in seminary without any interest in becoming a minister. but after completing a ministerial internship, realized this was her calling.

Community has always been the focus of Julie’s ministry, and she’s found that the physical distancing required by the Covid-19 pandemic has deprived people of an essential aspect of community, while at the same time highlighting how important in-person connections are. Although she believes that online connections cannot adequately fill this void, she has gained an added sense of purpose during the pandemic from the realization that doing what she describes as “very mundane and ho-hum things” to make connections can make a big difference in people’s lives.

Anti-racism work has been an important focus in Julie’s ministry, including her role as co-chair of the Canadian Unitarian Council’s Dismantling Racism Study Group. She can’t point to a single experience that has motivated her to engage in this work; it’s simply just a part of who she is. 

And the depth of understanding required motivates her. “If the issue was something I felt like I had mastered and figured out and gotten an A+ on and knew how to do, it wouldn’t matter,” she says, “but it matters to me because I’m aware that I have so much learning to do about it.”

Julie believes that Unitarianism’s core values will ensure its continued relevance, but that there is work to do to ensure that these values are more broadly shared.

“If we believe that those values are needed to create the world or to evolve the world in an ongoing way, then Unitarian Universalism matters,” she says, “and the relevance is in how we are able to draw people into seeing and actually experiencing that those values being lifted up and learned within a UU community.”

 In her spare time, Julie is learning to play the accordion, an instrument that appeals to her in part because of the improbable way its various parts work together to create music.

Standing Together with our American Friends

Photo credit: Kari Sullivan

The US election is just days away and this year because the stakes are so high, we’ve seen a concerted effort to ensure that Americans abroad are taking the opportunity to vote. Organizations like and and numerous mainstream news stories are urging expat Americans living in Canada to exercise their democratic rights.  

Like many of us, members of the South Fraser Unitarian Congregation have been watching the political news from the US with mounting concern and some trepidation. The congregation has decided to organize a public candlelight vigil on Saturday, November 1st at 4 pm Pacific.  

In her sermon on October 4, UUA president Susan Frederick-Gray spoke about the US elections and the power of democratic engagement to create the world we want to live in. She closed with this reminder – an excellent one to keep in mind as we send our hopes for to our American neighbours. “May we remember that we are held by love always. May we remember that we are held by and with one another.

And may we all together, be all in today, tomorrow, next month, next year for justice, for love, for democracy and for a future that is free and thriving for all people. “

Congregations Invited to Learn More about Addressing Conflict

On Saturday, October 17, congregational leaders are invited to an engaging workshop addressing congregational conflict levels and intervention strategies. This workshop is a follow-up to the Fostering Healthy Congregations workshop offered this summer where participants requested a deeper exploration of the topic of conflict. While this session builds on previous work, it is a fully stand-alone program so participants are encouraged to attend even if they did not do the summer workshop. 

In this Congregational Conflict Levels workshop leaders and emerging leaders will learn how to:

– Understand and assess various levels of congregational conflict.
– Manage emotions and responses when conflict arises, using strategies from a Strengths-Based Perspective.
– Develop intervention strategies using insights gained through practice and case studies.
– Determine when and how to seek additional assistance and resources to effectively deal with conflict.

Registration is limited to 30 people and the deadline to register is October 13. More information can be found on our website.

UU@UN Office Celebrates 75th Anniversary of United Nations

75 years after its founding, the United Nations remains Unitarians’ greatest hope for achieving our Sixth Principle, the “goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.” From involvement in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to leading the faith caucus to establish the International Criminal Court, to overcoming UN apathy about sexual orientation & gender identity issues, the Unitarian Universalist Association Office at the United Nations has a long history of providing strong leadership in all aspects of human rights at a policy level. Canadian Unitarians have been a part of this work, whether by holding UN Sunday services, serving as interns at the UU@UN office, or attending the annual Intergenerational Spring Seminars.

In recognition of the UN’s 75th birthday, the UU@UN office will be holding a special virtual event co-sponsored by the NGO Committee on Human Rights: “Our Goal of World Community: the United Nations at 75.” In our current political-, social-, economic-, health-, climate moment, continued involvement with and investment in global cooperation could not be more critical. During this event, we’ll talk about how Unitarian Universalists can make our mark for global justice.

Speakers will include the Canadian Unitarian Council’s Executive Director, Vyda Ng, UUA President Rev. Dr. Susan Gray, and many others. Details on how to register will follow.

Canadian Resources Contract: Work for the CUC

Come work with us!

The CUC is looking for someone to help us locate and curate Canadian content and resources for our website. If you have a solid knowledge of UU principles and programs and a knack for finding interesting content on the web, this contract might be perfect for you. Reporting to the Executive Director, it is estimated that this work will take 3-6 months. A set compensation amount of $6,000 is designated for this work.

If you are interested please check out the job posting to learn more. 

In Memoriam


We are saddened to learn of the passing of Jamie Dunton earlier this month. Jaime served as the CUC’s Parliamentarian and subsequently was a CUC Board member for several years. He was instrumental in updating the CUC bylaws and Jaime’s dedication to his work lives on through the CUC policies and processes he helped create and which continue to serve us well. The CUC Board and staff will miss him and we want to convey our deepest condolences to Sooky, their family and the congregation of UUEstrie in North Hatley QC and the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa. Friends may wish to read the announcement, or leave messages of condolences on the memorial page for Jamie.  


What’s Making Us Smile

Longtime Canadian resident and UU Lynn Harrison wrote this beautiful song  Love Letter to the US about her thoughts as she cast her absentee ballot in the USA election.

Upcoming Events (online via Zoom.)

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Featured Events

The CUC 2020 National Fall and Regional Gathering will take place from Friday, November 13 to Sunday, November 15. Join us for regional conversations, interesting workshops, and a national Sunday Service.
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HalloUUeen Con,  Saturday, October 24, 12 pm – 8 pm ET
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Congregational Conflict Levels & Interventions Strategies, Saturday, October 17, 9 a.m. PT | 10 a.m. MT | 11 a.m. CT | 12 p.m. ET | 1 p.m. AT (6.5 hours)
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Black Lives Matter Roundtable Series: Internalized Racism – How do we recognize and dismantle it?  October 21, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm ET
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Regular Online Events

Gathered Here: Young Adult Check-In 
October 8 – 2 p.m. ET
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Connect and Deepen – Virtual Gathering, Sunday, October 11 & 25, 1 p.m. PT |2 p.m. MT| 3 p.m. CT| 4 p.m. ET| 5 p.m. AT  More information

Leaders Roundtable, Saturday, October 31, 9:00 a.m. PT | 10:00 a.m. MT | 11:00 a.m. CT | 12:00 p.m. ET | 1:00 p.m. AT
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