CUC eNews: September 30, 2020 – Issue 121

In This Issue:

Letter From Vyda

There is a crack in everything,
That’s how the light gets in.
~Leonard Cohen

There are many things I miss about pre-Covid life. Travel, relaxing in coffee shops, quick conversations that happen in an office setting, and hugs, just to name a few. There are also many things I am grateful for in our current Covid life – regular family Facetime gatherings, opportunities that have opened up to new ways of doing things, a new sense of honesty about how we are all coping in all areas of our life.

I have appreciated that honesty from our CUC ministers and leaders in particular. In recent conversations with members and leaders, our team received the feedback that, in light of persistent uncertainty and increasing Covid case numbers, we might want to reconsider the theme for our National Fall Gathering. And so instead of continuing the sailing metaphor of “Making Waves” from our Spring conference, we are building on the idea of “Sustaining our Light”. How can we, organizationally, spiritually and personally, sustain our light in challenging times and use it to light the way for others? We will explore these ideas throughout the Fall Gathering weekend – in workshops and in the November 14 conversation hosted by the CUC Board of Trustees, and in our Sunday service. I do hope you will join us.

We would also appreciate your input to help us plan future national events. We are currently looking for feedback on our Sunday Summer Services Series. If you attended we would love to hear from you.
Please complete our short survey.

And on a related note, I wanted to let you know that we have made the decision to move our spring National Conference, originally scheduled for May 2021, to an online event. We are working through the details, but we are very excited about the opportunity a virtual conference provides to meet with so many of you again. Watch for more details coming soon.

And please check out our very full list of upcoming events. There are so many ways to get connected and share your light with us. 

Be well friends,
Vyda Ng 

Plan to Attend Our National and Regional Fall Gathering November 13-15

Our team is hard at work coordinating events for our upcoming virtual National Fall Gathering in mid-November. We have a full slate of workshops and events. There’s something for everyone!

The weekend will include regional gatherings on the Friday evening, a conversation on our future hosted by the CUC Board of Trustees, a Coffeehouse, and a national Sunday service. Workshops will include sessions on racial justice and Truth Healing and Reconciliation. Youth and those who support them might enjoy our workshop on creating welcoming online spaces for youth and young adults, and our Congregational Life Team will be offering two workshops including one on Resilient Leadership and the other called What’s going on here?
It may be difficult for leaders and members in our communities to understand why people sometimes act and speak in ways that don’t seem to make sense. Rather than focus on the actions of a person or small group, it is often helpful to consider the bigger picture and ask what is going on in the overall organizational system that supports responses that seem illogical or out of proportion.
This workshop will consider congregations as emotional systems and will help provide leaders with some strategies for moving towards productive responses to sticky situations. aimed at developing awareness and strategies to address racism. 

In future editions of the eNews, we will highlight other sessions being developed, including ones being offered for and by our youth and young adults, and leadership workshops offered by our Social Justice Team. Watch in future eNews and on our website for more info, including registration details.

Join our National Social Justice Team

If you are passionate and well informed about specific areas of social justice and love to share your knowledge and insight, consider joining our National Social Justice Team.  The Team will help the CUC staff and members expand our knowledge base and respond to issues of importance.  We are looking for people who already follow specific issues such as climate justice, economic justice and poverty, gender equality just to name a few, to gather and share information about those issues.

Click here if you are willing to give 5-10 minutes of time each month to share in this way.  Deadline: October 31, 2020.

 Minister Profile: Rev. Fiona Heath

Rev. Fiona Heath has served the Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga since 2014. She attended the Grand River Unitarian congregation for several years prior to becoming a minister, and decided one day ministry was something that she’d like to pursue, believing it matched her skills and gifts and passion for Unitarian Universalism.

The opportunity to share and teach a Unitarian Universalist perspective is what Fiona most values about ministry. 

“Our understanding that the earth is interdependent, that every person has inherent worth, and that justice, equity, and compassion in relationships is essential – these are vital values for a better world,” she says.

Fiona believes that Unitarian values need more amplification as they’re more important than ever in this troubled moment of climate crisis and social divisions; “We must get better at living our principles and sharing our stories beyond our walls.”

A believer in nurturing connections between people and the planet, Fiona’s ministry has been influenced by books such as Starhawk’s The Earth Path and Richard Wagamese’s Embers, both of which focus on the need for respect and humility in humans’ relationships with nature. She enjoys exploring nature in her spare time through camping and kayaking, and particularly enjoyed kayaking around northern Ontario’s Slate Islands.

UU Office at United Nations Unveils New Award

For many years, UU@UN, the UUA’s office at the United Nations, presented a “Blue Ribbon Award” for congregations that were engaged with this office. The office recently reimagined this award, giving it a new name. The new award recognizes “Sixth Principle Congregations” that support the UU@UN and show their commitment to the UU goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all (the 6th Principle).

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. This work is a reflection of the sixth principle, and has relevance for Unitarians around the world, including Canadians, who want to build a more peaceful, just, and sustainable world.

One of the ways Canadian congregations can show their support for UU@UN, and a step they can take towards earning the “Sixth Principle Award” is holding a UN Sunday Service. Although UN Sunday takes place in October, this service can be held any time of the year, and is easily created using resources provided by the UU@UN including readings, a religious education curriculum, a sample order of service and more. Participating congregations are asked to donate their offering from the UN Sunday Service to UU@UN to help support this important work.

Plenty of Youth Events Planned for Fall

Congregations across Canada are collaborating with each other this year to offer programming for youth that is more connected and varied! Check out what’s going on in your region: 

BC Region – Survey for Youth
Several UU congregations in BC are exploring the possibility of hosting a BC-wide youth group. We’d love your feedback about this idea. We’d really appreciate it if you could answer the following questions and submit this form

Western Region – Something for Everyone 
A whole bunch of awesome things are being offered for youth in the Western Region this year, including Popcorn Theology, a Dungeons and Dragons campaign, a shared Minecraft server, hangouts on a shared Discord server, exploration of World Religions, and a Super Group! Check-in with the youth coordinator at your congregation for the full schedule. 

Central and Eastern Regions – MUUlti City YoUUth GroUUp Games Day
Oct 4, 2020, 1:00 PM ET
Join UU Youth from across Ontario and Quebec for a fun afternoon of online games – reconnect with CanUUdle friends and make new connections with UUs from other congregations. Junior and Senior youth are welcome to join us. Hosted by the Unitarian Church of Montreal, Grand River Unitarian Congregation, and First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto.
Join Zoom Meeting – Join by phone-Meeting ID: 879 1786 6498 Passcode: 1842

HalloUUeen Con

Canadian youth from across the country are invited to join our HalloUUeen Con, a one-day online event in the tradition of the Western Regional Fall Gathering Youth Con. The program is open to all Canadian junior and senior youth (ages 12-19) and advisors (ages 25 and up). 

This will be a time for us to dress up, Halloween style, be silly, and find some connection and distraction. And at the same time, we will honour the sacredness of this time of year, when the veil between the worlds is thinnest, and connections with our ancestors and those who have passed on are more present. There will be games, small groups to bond with, and of course, inspiring youth-led worship. Together we will find the perfect balance of acknowledging the times we are living through with plain old fUUn – the kind that UU youth do best! 

Looking forward to seeing you all!

Staff team – Co-Deans: May Elspeth and Eric James
Social Media Coordinator: Sian Kilpatrick
Community Captain: Rowan Fichtner-Jack
Activities Coordinator: Siobhan Fichtner-Jack
Advisors’ Advisor: Alex Okrainetz
Youth Peer Chaplain: Sian Kilpatrick
Small Groups Coordinator: Anthony James Worship Coordinators: Linnea Granberg and Fiona Butler 

Dates/ time: Saturday, October 24, 12 pm-8 pm ET
Fee: $10-$20-$30-$40 sliding scale, with “other” payment option
Registration deadline: Sunday, October 18 (midnight ET) 

Registration notes
Youth must be accompanied by congregationally approved adult advisors at a ratio of 8:1 for senior youth (ages 14-19) and 6:1 for junior youth (ages 12-13). Congregations are responsible for sending vetted adults to accompany their youth. If this is not possible, contact Casey Stainsby ( to make alternate arrangements. 

Register Now for HalloUUeen Con

Unicamp Annual General Meeting

Yvette Salinas, Executive Director of Unicamp of Ontario shares this update about Unicamp’s AGM:

Unicamp’s Annual General Meeting took place on Saturday, September 5th. Responding to the challenges presented by Covid-19, the meeting was a hybrid of both in-person and online participation. Onsite delegates and observers practiced social distancing under Unicamp’s Big Tent, while online participants were welcomed to a Zoom meeting set up brilliantly by Kalvin Drake (First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto). It was definitely an unprecedented setup, but still managed to capture the essence of Unicamp meetings.

Joining the AGM were Vyda Ng and Linda Thompson, representing the CUC and offering their wisdom in governance and proceedings. There were 20 additional delegates, 6 Board members, 3 staff members, and many observers in attendance.

Amidst the Pandemic, Unicampers wondered about Unicamp’s future. Our income took a big hit this year, but the Budget is nearly balanced due to limiting expenses and receiving federal support. Many issues were discussed; there was an overarching theme of needing to create a cohesive community that honored the original intention of Unicamp, creating a space for children and Youth. A committee was struck to continue discussing this and other matters and report to the Board and membership in future meetings.

Thanks to the hard work of the Nominating Committee, with the support of the CUC, Unicamp members found themselves with a full slate of nominees to elect to the Board. An additional nomination occurred from the floor, so there was a hybrid secret ballot vote. We are now happy to announce our 2020 Board of Directors:

President – Terri Marks-Grant
Vice President – Nicole Cormier
Secretary – Helen Iacovino
Treasurer – John R. Jordan
Administration Chair – Anthony Rapoport
Communications/ Publicity Chair – Jordan Fleguel
Long Range Planning Chair – Nicole Cormier
Program Chair – Brendan Zhang
Property Chair – Greg Carter
Seasonal/ Off-season & Rentals/ Governance Chair –  Jeffrey Dickhout
Youth Representative – Anika Rosen

If you need any further information, please get in touch with 

Yvette Salinas, Executive Director, Unicamp of Ontario

What’s Making Us Smile 

two young children kiss

Photo by Andriyko Podilnyk on Unsplash

It’s hard to dispute that we’re living through times where we could all use some more love. But what exactly does that mean? The best answer may be, as is often the case, out of the mouths of babes. Asked what love means to them, a group of 4 to 8 year olds had a surprisingly broad range of answers, from “Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen,” to “Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired”.

Thanks to



Upcoming Events (online via Zoom.)

Share what’s going on in your congregation. Contact

Featured Events

Save the date!

The CUC 2020 National Fall and Regional Gathering will take place from Friday, November 13 to Sunday, November 15.
Join us for regional conversations on Friday evening, interesting workshops on everything from anti-racism and social justice, to peer pastoral care, and leadership and conflict management. There will be an open conversation with the Board and CUC staff about our QUUest vision and we will cap it off with a national Sunday Service.  On Friday our Regional Gatherings will happen at the following times:

    • British Columbia: 7:00-8:30 pm PT
    • Western (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Thunder Bay, ON): 7:00-8:30 CT / 6:00-7:30 pm MT
    • Central (Ontario, except for Kingston, Ottawa and Quebec): 7:00-8:30 pm ET
    • Eastern (Kingston, Ottawa, Quebec, Atlantic provinces) 7:00-8:30 pm AT

Watch for more details and registration information for the Regional and National Gathering coming soon!

Our HalloUUeen Con is being planned for  Saturday, October 24, 12 pm – 8 pm ET  and is open to youth and advisors all over Canada. Fee: $10-$20-$30-$40 sliding scale, with “other” payment option. Registration deadline: October 18, at midnight PT

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) Learn how to understand and assess various levels of congregational conflict, and 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, and determine when and how to seek additional assistance and resources to effectively deal with conflict. Maximum of 30 participants, individual (sliding fee scale $10 – $40) or group registration available. Register now (deadline October 13)!

Internalized Racism: How do we recognize and dismantle it?  October 21, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm ET
Part of the CUC’s ongoing series on anti-racism, this session of guided reflection and small group discussion is designed primarily for white people who want to better understand internalized racism towards People of the Global Majority (People of Color). Together we will explore how racism reveals itself in our lives,  how to acknowledge it without shame, and how to confront and neutralize it. Please visit for more info.

Regular Online Events

Gathered Here: Young Adult Check-In (all times ET)
October 8 – 2 p.m. ET

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 
Please register in advance.

Leaders RoundtableSaturday, 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 Congregational leaders are invited to gather monthly to share ideas and insights with each other and CUC staff. Zoom:

THR – Reconciliation Through Film: The Whale and The Raven
Registration ends Friday, October 2
Watch the film and read the materials: October 3 – October 17
Reflection Group: Saturday, October 17, 12:30-2:00 pm ET