CUC eNews: October 24, 2019 – Issue 101

In This Issue:

“The Ripple Effect”: Fall Update
By Erin Horvath, CUC Social Justice Lead

The Ripple Effect is doing what we had hoped it would do – it’s making ripples across the country. Launched in 2018, the campaign focuses on water, and intersects with climate justice, Indigenous conciliation, and other social issues. 

Staff recently received a somewhat unusual letter, delivered by owl post, from a teacher at an unusual institution:

Hello muggle Unitarian friends! I’m Professor Olivia, Divination teacher and Slytherin Head of House at Hogwarts West. This August, we held our second Hogwarts West Summer Program at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver, working around the theme of water issues. We had students from seven to twelve learn how to use various magical practices – from reading tea leaves to potion-making – to protect water. We dove headfirst into the threatened ocean ecosystems around us, exploring endangered eelgrass beds where young salmon spend their first weeks. We followed plastic waste around our church and learned a lot about plastic in the oceans, and we practiced being conscientious about our water usage in everyday life in our herbology lessons. Best of all, students got to share their experiences with their friends and families on the last day, when they put on a magical roving theatre production taking our audience through Diagon Alley! Many incredible magical discoveries were made – and I hope I see every student back next year to make even more! 

Olivia Hall, Youth Coordinator
Unitarian Church of Vancouver

In future editions of the eNews, look for updates from at least seven other congregations. Is your congregation doing work related to water, or know of other organizations who are? We’d love to hear what you have done, or are planning to do, so we can share the inspiration. Get involved:

Let the ripples become a wave!

Catch Up With the Ripple Effect

CUC’s Pastoral Care Team Continues to Support Young Adults
By Casey Stainsby, Youth and Young Adult Program and Events Coordinatoryouth with phone

Young adults can tap into the Young Adult Pastoral Care Team from anywhere, whether or not they are affiliated with a congregation. 

The three ministers on this team are available to support Canadian Unitarian Universalists ages 18-35 by offering caring conversations and supportive listening – by phone, text, or Zoom video conference.  

The Pastoral Care Team serves the young adult community – especially those young adults who don’t regularly attend a congregation or don’t have a relationship with a minister. Even young adults who are part of a congregation may not think that pastoral care is for them, or they may not know that they can reach out to their minister, if they have one, in times of need. 

Through the Pastoral Care Team, young adults can access support in times of transition, loss, relationship challenges, stress about school and work, decision making and more. If they are seeking connection, the ministers can also provide information about young adult events, like Gathered Here monthly online check-ins, and can make introductions to a nearby young adult group or congregation. 

Casey Stainsby, CUC’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry Program and Events Coordinator, observes, “What we’ve noticed from the first eight months of providing this service is that there is a real need for accessible, spiritual care for young adults.The response we get from young adults when we tell them this exists is one of deep gratitude and relief, a feeling of being seen and loved.”  

Rev. Rodrigo Emilio Solano-Quesnel, Pastoral Care Team member, states, “I’m so glad to see a space where young adults from across Canada can be part of the larger UU community.  It’s always a privilege to hear the stories shared and, as a member of the Pastoral Care Team, I find that it’s a good reminder that no young adult is alone.”

Young adults can contact the Pastoral Care Team by phone or email. One of the members will be in touch within 24 hours to set up a time to meet. The team will try to offer care as soon as possible, and usually within 2-3 days of receiving a request.  

The Pastoral Care Team is not meant to replace congregational pastoral care, but rather complement it. In many cases, the ministers on our team will refer young adults to their local congregations and ministers and seek to help them connect more deeply with face-to-face community.  

Confidential voicemail: 204-900-0150
Adult allies: we welcome your help in spreading the word about this important program. If a Unitarian young adult in your life could use support in this way, please direct them to the Pastoral Care Team web page!

Discover the Pastoral Care Team

Gathered Here is Now More Focused on Getting to Know Each Other
By Casey Stainsby, Youth and Young Adult Program and Events Coordinator

Gathered Here is back! The monthly online gathering for young adults (ages 18-35) will restart on November 4. It will then pick up on the same schedule as last year, with gatherings the second Monday evening of each month. Gatherings begin at 5 p.m. Pacific, 6 p.m. Mountain, 7 p.m. Central, 8 p.m. Eastern, and 9 p.m. Atlantic time, and last for 75 minutes. 

This year we are focusing on getting to know each other. It can be challenging to build trust quickly when there is a different group every month, due to the drop-in nature of Gathered Here. To address this, we will be spending more time on each call doing activities that will help us learn about each other. This change is in response to the feedback of young adults who attended Gathered Here over the past year. 

The feedback we received also confirmed the three main reasons young adults are coming to Gathered Here: 

  • For connection with YA community (to see old friends and meet new people) 
  • For spiritual grounding (rest and reflection)
  • To share what’s going on in my life, be witnessed and held 

Gathered Here also provides an avenue for connecting with the Young Adult Pastoral Care Team, staying in the loop about CUC young adult events and opportunities, and for sharing wisdom with each other based on our life experiences. It is particularly important for young adults who are not connected with a local Unitarian community.  

We hope that you’ll invite the young adults in your life to join an upcoming Gathered Here call. Together, we will find connection and create the opportunity to share what’s on our hearts in a spiritually grounded and loving community. 

Learn About the CUC’s Young Adult Ministry

The Canadian Unitarian Council is Hiring a New CanUUdle Coordinator for 2019-2020!

The CanUUdle Coordinator position is the main staff support for the Canadian Unitarian Council’s annual national youth conference, CanUUdle. This is a 7 month part time contract position, with the option of a second year renewal. The ideal candidate is at least 21 years old, has experience in and commitment to supporting UU youth ministry, is detail-oriented, self-motivated and a strong communicator with reliable access to internet and phone. The CanUUdle Coordinator works primarily from home, and must be on site in Halifax for the duration of CanUUdle (Thursday, May 14 – Monday May 18, 2020). 

View the CanUUdle Coordinator Job Posting on the CUC website for a complete job description and application instructions.

Application deadline: Sunday, November 3, 2019 at midnight PST

View the CanUUdle Job Posting

Become a Friend of the CUCfriend of the CUC logo

Friends of the CUC are crucial in the Canadian Unitarian Council’s mission of building vital Unitarian communities. 

Through youth and young adult gatherings, regional gatherings, webinars and training sessions, the CUC brings Canadian Unitarians together for experiences that remind them of their shared faith. Through supporting congregations that sponsor refugees and engage in Truth, Healing, and Reconciliation, the CUC allows Canadian Unitarians to live out their shared principles. And when UU congregations need to find a new minister or have questions about operating the complex organization that is a congregation, the CUC is there. 

The CUC does all this work with a small but dedicated team of staff and a volunteer board of trustees. Friends of the CUC are critically important to the CUC’s mission. Friends are individuals who’ve chosen to directly support its work by contributing to the Friends of the CUC fund. By making these contributions, the Friends have made it possible to share Unitarianism’s message of inclusive faith, and to fulfill its vision of a world of interdependence, love and justice. With their support, the CUC has shone as a beacon of love and faith in the world. And with your support, it can continue to do so. 

Whether a long-time donor to the Friends or someone who’s more recently discovered the value of what the CUC brings to the table, now is an ideal time to recognize its work in building our liberal faith with a contribution of your own. By donating to the Friends, you can help the CUC fulfill its vision and mission and continue its support of Canadian Unitarians.

Give to the CUC

The Annual Program Contribution: Your Congregation’s Commitment to UU National Faith Community

Membership in an organization has benefits as well as responsibilities. Each year in the fall, the Canadian Unitarian Council requests from congregations the current number of voting members as of September 1st. The membership figures provided are used to determine how many voting delegates each congregation is entitled to for the Annual General Meeting in May 2020, as well as to calculate part of the amount of congregation’s Annual Program Contribution (APC).

The APC funds most of the CUC’s work in “Growing Vital Unitarian Communities” and is the backbone of the budget. In previous years, the APC was calculated on a per member basis; in 2019, delegates at the Annual General Meeting approved a different method of calculating the APC. This move comes after several years of study, consultation and testing.

Starting in 2020, congregations will use a split method of calculation to determine the amount of their APC – a combination of a revenue sharing amount and a per member amount. 

The revenue sharing amount consists of 3.8% of a congregation’s receipted and non-receipted donations to the operating fund, with specific exceptions. The per member amount is equal to the congregation’s total membership count for each class of member (as reported each fall to the CUC) multiplied by the respective per member rate. The adult per member rate will be 50% of the amount set at each Annual General Meeting.   

Earlier in October, CUC staff sent out the requests to congregations for their membership numbers, and the information for calculating the APC. If your president or treasurer did not receive this information, please email

The work of building vital and resilient faith communities is a partnership and joint effort. We are all the CUC – congregations, individuals, ministers, religious exploration professionals, music directors, youth, young adults, other UU organizations and communities, and the CUC Board and staff. We cannot do this work alone, but together, our potential is limitless.

Importance of the APC

Regional Gatherings

Eastern Region Fall Gathering

The Western and Eastern Regions came together the weekend of Oct 18 in Edmonton and in Ottawa. The regional gatherings provide spaces and opportunities for UUs to come together, and the connections and relationships that form are enriching and sustaining. 

In Ottawa, the Eastern Region participants explored a range of topics from racism to mental health, climate justice and spiritual care. There were over 60 registrants from 13 member congregations, including all 8 Eastern Region congregations, and 2 from the US. Huge thanks go to the host team from the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa and the Ottawa Unitarian Fellowship for a splendid event. 

Western Region Fall Gathering Sunday Service

In Edmonton, the focus was on racism, climate justice and music. There were over 80 participants, as well as almost 30 youth and their advisors at the concurrent youth con. Attendees came from 9 congregations, including 2 in British Columbia. The BC and Western region ministers took advantage of the occasion to “broast” (when you roast a bro) retiring colleague Rev. Brian Kiely. Kudos to the host teams from Westwood Unitarian Congregation and the Unitarian Church of Edmonton for an amazing weekend.



Keep an Eye on the Events Calendar for Upcoming Events

Seasons of Change for North Shore Unitarians

Rev. Ron Phares

 By the time the opening gong was struck to begin the September 8th service at North Shore Unitarian Church (NSUC), every seat in the house was taken. A record crowd filled the sanctuary to welcome new minister Rev. Ron Phares on the fall kickoff Sunday. All ages joined in a water communion ritual unique in NSUC history, designed by Rev. Ron in collaboration with staff and volunteers. During the service, Music Director Alison Nixon led the congregation in expressing gratitude to accompanist Toby Aldren, who is moving on to new opportunities after 15 years of brilliance at the chancel piano.

The congregation gathered in a renovated building, with new carpeting on the main floor, upgrades to offices, storage areas, and the parish hall, and new hardwood flooring and upholstered chairs in the sanctuary. Through a combination of volunteer and contract labour, the project was pushed through to completion over the summer, with Sunday services on hold for six weeks.  Daycare tenant Kuddles teamed up on improvements to outdoor spaces and classrooms.

With municipal zoning decisions delaying the long-anticipated move to a new building site, the realization has sunk in that the current property will be “home” to NSUC for an extended period. Exploration of other site options in partnership with a developer continues.  Inspired by a sermon by consulting minister Rev. Barbara ten Hove in March, the congregation began to consider ways to express faith in their mid-term future and welcome a new minister. Rev. Barbara’s leadership during the transition year was recognized at a special farewell ceremony on her last Sunday, June 16.

The Building Enhancement Advisory Task Force (B.E.A.T.) was formed to research options, create a plan, and make it happen. The renovation process was guided by four goals of improving safety, aesthetics, acoustics, and accessibility. The Board approved expenditures of reserve funds donated for specific purposes of building enhancement. Proceeds from the sale of the wooden pews were plowed back into the project. An invitation for donors to dedicate a nameplate on a new upholstered chair raised over $10,000 for the initiative.

One Saturday in July, over 25 volunteers reported for a work party. Many others showed up with willing hands week in and week out over the summer, helping with improvement projects indoors and outdoors. On Rev. Ron’s second “campfire” Sunday August 25, with the last maple floorboards finally in place, the congregation honoured the two years of service of staff member Ariel Hunt-Brondwin, who will be moving to West Seattle, Washington, when her partner Rev. Chris Wulff begins his ministry there.

In the words of Board President Jim Stephenson: “The B.E.A.T. goes on.” The congregation has weathered transitions in staffing, program, building, and grounds, ready for a future that will continue to present the challenge of adapting to constant change.

Explore North Shore Unitarian Church

Visit & like the Canadian Unitarian Council on Facebook!

Upcoming Events 2019 – 2020

Share what’s going on in your congregation. Contact
Deadline: 14th of each prior month

Youth and Young Adult 

Online – Gathered Here: Young Adult Check-In, Nov 4, Dec 9, Jan 13, Feb 10, March 9, April 13, June 8, July 13, August 10  – 8 p.m. ET
Gathered Here is a monthly online check-in and gathering for Canadian Unitarian Universalist young adults.
Zoom (

In-person Training

Refugee Sponsorship: Support and Training for Sponsors, Saturday, October 26, 1 – 5 p.m. ET, Unitarian Church in Mississauga
In this pilot event, the Canadian Unitarian Council and the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP) are jointly offering a half-day of networking, support and training for refugee sponsors and those who are interested in being sponsors. Registration deadline: October 24.

Online Events

Worship as a Beacon for Congregational Growth – Part 2,  November 9, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. ET
Learn how to create and sustain a strong worship program for both clergy and lay led congregations in this online event. Our presenter is the Rev. Dr. Barbara Wells ten Hove. Registration deadline: October 31.

Connect and Deepen – Virtual Gathering, Monthly – November 10, December 8, January 12, February 9, March 8 (2nd Sunday of the month), 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. ET
Join us for the opportunity to discuss matters of spiritual and theological significance in small groups and connect with people across the country.

Serving With Spirit: Stronger Together, Planning for Partnership, November 23, 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. MT
Explore our potential for meaningful, creative congregational networking and partnerships. Together, develop strategies to support and sustain the growing number of small congregations. Rev. Joan Becelaere is the presenter for this event. Registration deadline: November 12.

Rethinking UU Governance, Saturday, December 7, 2019, 12:30 –  2:00 p.m. ET
Many Canadian UU congregations struggle to find ways in which our very governance, style of organization, will reflect our values and resonate with the lives of those who engage within our communities. Join us for a conversation, beginning with two powerful stories and opening for all participants to share their ideas, experiments and questions. Our two presenters will be Mr. Sanford Osler, North Shore Unitarian Church and Rev. Jessica Rodela, Grand River Unitarian. Registration deadline: November 28.


2020 National Annual General Meeting and Conference, May 15 – 17, 2010, Halifax, Nova Scotia – Hosted by the Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax
The theme for Conference 2020 is Making Waves! The call for streams and workshops has been issued. More information coming soon.

CanUUdle XX: Celebrate 20 years of CanUUdle!, May 15 – 17, 2020,  Halifiax, Nova Scotia 
Hosted by the Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax
CanUUdle is the beloved annual youth conference where youth and adult allies from across Canada (and sometimes from the States!) gather to worship, build community, and grow in their Unitarian Universalist identities alongside the multigenerational National Conference. In 2020 CanUUdle will be celebrating its 20th anniversary. Registration will open in winter 2020. More information coming soon.

Chorus 2020: National Young Adult Conference, May 15 – 17, 2020, Halifax, NS
Join UUs from across Canada at the National Conference, where the theme for 2020 is Making Waves. There will be specific programming, worship, and socializing opportunities just for young adults within the multigenerational Conference, as well as the beloved Bridging Ceremony and dinner with the youth of CanUUdle. Registration will open in winter 2020. More information coming soon.


2019 Continental Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA) Fall Conference, November 8 – 10, Baltimore, Maryland
The conference will explore a Unitarian Universalist Theology of Suffering and learn to better understand and embrace our Universalist Theology of Wholeness and will balance going deep into these theologies while also providing concrete tools and skills for religious professionals to use when we encounter suffering and work for collective liberation.

UU-UNO Intergenerational Spring Seminar On Climate Justice, April 15 – 18, 2020, New York, NY

Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly, June 24 – 28 in Providence, RI

International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (ICUU) Meeting & Conference, October 26 – November 1, 2020, Montreal, Canada
Supported by the CUC, this ICUU Conference is an excellent opportunity to meet and get to know UUs from all over the world. Donations from Canadians go to support leadership development for participants from emerging members groups.