CUC eNews: September 17, 2019 – Issue 99

In This Issue:

Save These 2019 – 2020 Dates in Your Congregational Calendar

This is a month-by-month guide to national and international UU dates of significance that the CUC would like to highlight for you. We want to make sure that your congregation is informed and doesn’t miss out on participating in the network of the global UU family! Save this list of dates for future reference! Also, check the CUC Events Calendar for ongoing webinars, roundtables and workshops.

September 2019

    • Annual certification of membership numbers request sent by the CUC office to congregations, together with a request for your congregation’s membership information
    • Call for proposals for Conference 2020 streams and workshops



January 2020

    •  Motions for the AGM are circulated to congregations for discussion
    • Confirm, select or recruit your your congregation’s delegates for the CUC Annual General Meeting on May 15. Online delegate participation and voting available.
    • Registration opens for Conference 2020

February – CUC Month

    • Schedule a Sharing Our Faith Sunday service
    • Schedule several hours of discussion time for CUC matters – motions for the AGM, CUC initiatives, etc
    • All feedback for motions due to proposers by February 28




    • CUC Annual General Meeting: May 15, 2020 at University of King’s College, Halifax. 
    • CUC National Conference: Theme – “Making Waves,” May 15 – 17 at the University of King’s College. Registration will open at the end of January, 2020
    • CanUUdle (youth con) and Chorus (young adult con): My 15 – 17 in Halifax, NS. Registration opens at the end of January, 2020


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

Future dates in 2020:

    • October 31 – Nov 4: International Council of Unitarians and Universalists Conference in Montreal QC. 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

Check Out the CUC Events Calendar

Reflections on Conciliation
By Erin Horvath, CUC Social Justice Leadtruth healing and reconciliation logo

In an effort to decolonize our thinking, the staff of the CUC and members of the Truth, Healing and Reconciliation team have been challenging our use of the word “Reconciliation” when referencing our goal of building right relations between non-Indigenous and Indigenous peoples and governments. To say we are seeking to reconcile makes it sound like settlers/governments and Indigenous peoples/governments once had a positive relationship but have since had a falling out. As we learn about our shared colonial history and colonial present, we see ample evidence that this is not true, and challenge ourselves to be accurate in our wording.  Instead of reconciliation, we choose to use conciliation, in acknowledgement that settler peoples and Indigenous peoples have not yet reached a place of understanding, right relations, or friendship.  The following is a reflection on conciliation shared by Mel Horvath-Lucid, Director of Congregational Life and Learning, from the Unitarian Congregation of Guelph

How am I relating to my Indigenous neighbors? When I asked myself that question, earlier this spring I realized that, with the exception of a few Indigenous guest speakers visiting my congregation, I wasn’t doing much. I decided to change that. To invest in relationship. To place priority in knowing my Indigenous neighbors. To attend gatherings, storytelling, and medicine walks. This has opened new doors for relationships and learning, including a profound  experience I had in Jasper Park this summer while I attended an Indigenous plant walk led by Birdie Findley whose traditional family land is within the Park.  

She began with a land acknowledgement, something the Park does on all its tours. This was the first time I had heard an Indigenous person do one. She didn’t finish it the way I was used to.  Instead she chuckled, “Now I’m supposed to tell you that you are on my land. But really, if you acknowledge this, then why not give it back?” Her use of humor in delivery, softened the pain of her words only slightly. “There were five families on this land, including the Findley family, my family. Three other families were kicked off the land, the Smith family got to stay because the husband was white.”

As we walked she shared the wisdom of the Lodgepole pine tree. She spoke about how the tree was meant to be a young tree- not all trees are meant to grow old. She spoke of the many dead old pine trees that are plagued by the Mountain Pine Beetle, careful to point out that it wasn’t the beetle’s fault. She explained that the trees are meant to burn. 

The pine cones spread seeds to replenish the forest when they encounter fire. “If there is no fire, they can’t do what they do. Then there are no checks or balances for the pine beetles. She explained that Parks Canada has begun consulting with Indigenous folks about how to care for the land and, with their guidance, has restored the practice of controlled burns. “Who knew?”, she said with a chuckle, “us Indians might know something about the land.” 

At the end of our time together, which was meaningful on so many levels, we hugged and cried. I thanked her for sharing some of her story and spoke of my hope for change. She whispered in my ear, “Change is happening. You showing up today is a part of that change. Many times, nobody shows up at all.”

Have you had a learning experience that relates to conciliation that you would be willing to share in a future eNews? If so, please send to

Share Your Learning Experience

Hold a UN Sunday Service in October

Founded on October 24, 1945 following World War II, the United Nations (UN) is a global association of governments that facilitates cooperation in international law, security, economic development, and social equality. Since the UN’s founding, October 24 has been recognized as UN Day. 

The Unitarian Universalist Association’s (UUA’s) United Nations Office (UU-UNO) supports the work of the UN in a variety of areas, from advocating for LGBTQ rights to working on the Climate Justice Initiative, a campaign for sustainability involving like-minded organizations at the UN. To further support the UU-UNO’s work, the UUA encourages member congregations to hold a UN Sunday, a service or event to celebrate and support the UN’s work. 

The 2019 Theme is Equity in Action: Gender in an Intersecting World. Ministers and Lay Leaders are encouraged to take advantage of the prepared materials available in the UN Sunday packet and/or develop their own ideas for a UN Sunday service. 

In addition, congregations are encouraged to donate their UN Sunday offering to the UU-UNO, and to inform their members of the benefits of becoming supporters. 

The CUC will send these donations to fund the UU-UNO’s work with the Every Child is Our Child (ECOC) program in Ghana. Congregations are asked to send these funds to the CUC office (NOT the UN office in New York) at 192 Spadina Ave, Suite 302, Toronto ON M5T 2C2 with ‘UU-UNO’ in the cheque memo line.

Read More About UN Sunday

Canadians Encouraged to Participate in 2020 UU-UNO Spring Seminar

Registration for the 2020 UU-UNO Intergenerational Spring Seminar opens in December, and planning for the event is already well underway. Held in New York from April 16 – 18, 2020, the seminar will focus on climate justice.

Allison Hess, the Unitarian Universalist Association’s International Engagement Associate, is eager to see more Canadian participants than in recent years at next year’s seminar, since she believes such participation is important for multiple reasons.

“At the United Nations, the UU-UNO office, represents both Canadian and American Unitarians and Unitarian Universalists, so it’s important to us that our Canadian constituents feel connected to that work and feel like they have some buy in,” she says, “so by coming to the intergenerational spring seminar they can learn more about it hands-on and participate.”

Hess also believes the seminar offers Canadian and American UUs the chance to learn from each other, given that they may have different perspectives on similar issues. 

“It’s important for us to understand, for the American participants to understand, what are the main issues that you’re all talking about because a lot of them are very similar and we should be able to learn from one another,” she says. 

The 2020 seminar will address the theme of climate justice, discussing how participants can work towards individual and structural changes that can transform lifestyles to enhance sustainability. Hess says the theme was an easy choice given the urgency of the issues involved. 

“Every year we try to pick a topic that is a priority of both the United Nations and of Unitarian Universalists, and we realized that obviously climate change is becoming more and more of an urgent, critical issue, like we can’t delay in acting on it,” she says. 

Hess will be appearing at the CUC’s Eastern Region Fall Gathering on October 19, leading a workshop on the UN and Unitarians’ sixth principle. The workshop will explore how Unitarian Universalists of all ages can be involved individually and through their congregations in action to advance United Nations initiatives and move our planet towards the peaceful, liberated, and just world community that our faith calls us to pursue.

Note: In previous years, Canadian youth made up about a third of all seminar participants. Recently, this attendance has decreased significantly. Recognizing that logistics and cost are major factors affecting decisions to attend the Spring Seminar, the CUC offers this primer prepared by Tony Turner when he was a youth advisor at the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa. The primer lays out costs and planning processes for youth groups and youth advisors.

Learn More About the UU-UNO Intergenerational Spring Seminar 

Benefit from the Sharing Our Faith Fund

The Sharing Our Faith program provides funds for congregational initiatives which enhance ministry, aid congregational projects and outreach, and enhance the Unitarian Universalist movement in Canada. Once a year, congregations are encouraged to hold a “Sharing Our Faith” worship service focused on the UU faith in Canada, with a special collection for Sharing Our Faith. The fund consists of these monies, supplemented by a Foundation Fund administered by the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto. The funds are allocated in the form of grants to congregations for growth projects and initiatives.

The Sharing Our Faith recipients for 2019 were announced at the AGM, with five projects receiving grants. The recipients were:

    • Lakehead Unitarian Fellowship was awarded $2,500 for the design, creation, and implementation of a new website.
    • Unitarian Church of Edmonton was awarded $5,000 to launch a community and neighbourhood summer camp program.
    • Unitarian Church of Vancouver was awarded $3,000 for a children’s one-week camp with theatre and social action focus and a Harry Potter theme, “Harry and UU”.  
    • Unicamp of Ontario was awarded $3,000 towards making the camp more physically accessible.
    • Westwood Unitarian Congregation was awarded $1,087 for hardware to increase social media and outreach capability, and to provide better equipment for visiting speakers, congregational meetings, and CUC Annual General Meetings.

The Sharing Our Faith service package for 2020 will be available in December 2019. In the meantime, here are some resources from previous years.

Grant applications are due by March 31 of each year with all required documents. Completed applications can be emailed to Please note that Sharing Our Faith grants are normally under $5,000. For a larger grant, your congregation may want to consider applying for the Northern Lights award (read below).

Explore the Sharing Our Faith Fund

Have a New Project? Check with the CUC’s Northern Lights Program
By Susan Ruttan

If your congregation is starting to plan a new project aimed at innovation, growth and sustainability and needs money, the CUC’s Northern Lights program may be able to help. Each spring, the Northern Lights team chooses one or two projects to support with funding.

But to be a Northern Lights winner, you need to do some preparation. In particular, you must have 20 percent of your members signed up as donors in our program. That can take time, so it’s good to start finding donors well ahead of the March 31 deadline for applications.

Northern Lights doesn’t award grants; instead, it provides a list of Canadian UUs, called Chalice Lighters, who have committed to donating to projects each year. If your project is selected, your group can solicit donations from the Chalice Lighters.

Keeping enough donors on the Chalice Lighter list is the key to Northern Lights, which is why we require winning congregations or groups to find donors for us. Signing up 20 percent of their donors is probably the biggest hurdle that groups have in applying for Northern Lights.

To qualify for Northern Lights, your project should cost at least $5,000. Previous projects have varied – increasing hours of the minister; renovating a barn for use as a youth centre; last year, helping create an online francophone presence for Unitarian Universalism. Northern Lights supports grassroots, transformative initiatives that nurture and support Unitarian Universalism in Canada. Projects have raised between $5,000 and $13,000 from the Chalice Lighter list.

More information on Northern Lights is available on the CUC website.

Sign Up to Become a Chalice Lighter

CUC Parliamentarian Needed

The CUC is looking for its next Parliamentarian. Is this you or someone you know? This individual must have:

– A working knowledge of the current Roberts’ Rules of Order, and of the CUC General ByLaw;
– Experience in chairing formal meetings;

– Expertise in drafting formal parliamentary documents such as resolutions and bylaw amendments;
– Ability to remain impartial;
– Good oral and written communication skills.

Apply with a summary of qualifications and relevant experience by October 31, 2019 to the CUC Board President at

Download the Terms of Reference  for the CUC Parliamentarian (pdf)

Update from Vancouver Unitarians – Fall 2019
Prepared by Keith Wilkinson, CUC-UCV contact and Mary Bennett, UCV Communications Co-Chair

Vancouver Unitarians have been working steadily over the summer to develop many small group options for new and long-time members and friends. We’ve also been studying membership growth strategies, and financial sustainability options including possible site development. Spend some time on our website to explore these! Special points of interest for other CUC congregations might include:

According to the Statistics Canada 2016 Census, 373,000 (15%) of Metro Vancouver’s 2.4 million residents speak Chinese. Globally, 1 in 6 people speak Chinese. The numbers who read Chinese are less clear, but we wanted to let them know what Unitarians in Canada are about! Vancouver Unitarians adopted the Chinese name 寻道会, Xundaohui, “Seekers of the Way”, in 2013.

Visit the Vancouver Unitarians’ Website

In Memoriam

Vancouver Unitarians recently said farewell to Barbara Taylor, longtime member and UU. Barbara passed away on September 5, 2019.

Barbara and husband, John, have been life-long activists and supported CUC’s social justice work and the Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice (CUSJ). They jointly received the CUC Knight Award in 2015 for their outstanding work in furthering the principles of UUism in Canada. We send our condolences and thoughts to John.

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, dates and time to be announced
Gathered Here is a monthly online check-in and gathering for Canadian Unitarian Universalist young adults.

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 19.

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 Deep – 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 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.


Western Region Fall Gathering, October 18 – 20,  Unitarian Church of Edmonton
The Unitarian Church of Edmonton, the Westwood Unitarian Congregation and the CUC welcome you to imagine our Thriving Future! Gather together to explore new avenues to create welcoming spaces, be re-energized with great music and seek better environmental realities with new allies. Registration deadline: October 7

Western Region Youth Con, October 18 – Oct 20, Unitarian Church of Edmonton
Swim on over to the Western Region Youth Con 2019 in Edmonton, Alberta! It will be an amazing weekend filled with fun activities, worship, games, and multigenerational workshops and meals. Join junior youth (12-13), youth (14-20) and advisors (25+) from across the Western Region for this annual youth con, which is part of the larger multigenerational Western Regional Fall Gathering. Registration deadline: October 7

Eastern Region Fall Gathering, October 19, First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa
The Eastern Region Fall Gathering offers participants an opportunity to meet other UUs as we explore some of the ways that we can respond to the challenges we face. Theme: Surviving and Thriving in Turbulent Times
Registration deadline: October 8


2020 National Annual General Meeting and Conference, May 15- 15, 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 will be issued in October. More information coming soon.

CanUUdle XX: Celebrate 20 years of CanUUdle!, May 15-18, 2020,  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.


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