Serving With Spirit Leadership Workshop Day
Saturday, October 2, 8:30am – 4:30pm PT/ 9:30 am – 5:30pm MT/ 10:30 am- 6:30 pm CT/ 11:30am – 7:30 pm ET/ 12:30 – 8:30 pm AT

We welcome you to join fellow Canadian UUs as we together explore:

  • identifying leadership gifts and welcoming ways to express them
  • finding creative expression for UU values
  • building skills so that our structures reflect our UU principles

NOTE: This will be an introductory day and in the two years to follow, CUC and hosting partners will offer advanced training regarding topics in which participants have indicated interest. This event is organized by UUs in British Columbia and CUC staff. The organizing team strongly encourages all UUs to participate in this leadership day to strengthen regional networking and connections.” 

Join presenters such as:

Liz James & Joan Carolyn in discerning what makes you come alive and then finding expression within our UU groups.
Arran Liddel & Alex Okrainetz as they welcome you to think outside the box, take risks, and be playful about service design.
Aukje Byker & Ben Wolfe as they share their passion for Sociocracy and its applicability for so many situations/organizations!
Carol Burrows and Kathy Mostardi as they invite us to support each other in advocating for the planet with awareness that “The Eyes of Future Generations are Upon Us”
Jeff & Danielle Webber, father/daughter duo, to discuss governance basics, best practices, meeting structures and spiritual grounding as leaders.
Erin Horvath & Amber Bellemare as they help us with Handling Hard Conversations.
Christina Rivera & Rev. Leia Durland-Jones as they invite you to explore “What do we mean when we say “Family Ministry?”

Workshops, Schedule (all times listed in PT) and Program Outline: 

8:30 – 9:00 am – Worship

9:00 – 9:40 am – Serving with Spirit: A Welcome to Explore What Inspires You

Do you wish that your life as a volunteer and a leader was a joyful expression of your values, not a task on your to-do list? Together we will seek to identify our areas of interest, seek opportunities to share that life-giving energy, allowing us to return to our home communities with stronger networks, fresh perspectives, and a sense of rejuvenation.

Facilitators: Liz James, Rev. Linda Thomson & Joan Carolyn
Liz James- Liz James is a freelance writer and zoom-itinerant preacher, with a passion for creating genuine community and growth in online spaces.  She runs the not-for-profit Mirth and Dignity, a Unitarian Universalist humour organization and community, and co-hosts the UU podcast The Cracked Cup.  Liz believes that laughter is a spiritual practice, which— surprisingly— almost never gets her into trouble at church.  Liz’s home church is Saskatoon.  That’s probably why.


9:40 – 10:20 am – Break Out Rooms

10:20 – 10:30 am – Break

10:30 – 11:15 amLarge Group Sharing & Afternoon Session introduction

11:15 am – 12:15 pm – Break

12:15 – 1:45 pm  – Afternoon Concurrent Sessions: Block 1 

 Session #1:  What do we mean when we say “Family Ministry?”
In 2018, the UUA commissioned the creation of a Family Ministry Training program. Join Christina Rivera and Rev. Leia Durland-Jones (co-author of the training) to learn more about the complete training available through the UUA Renaissance Program. This workshop focuses on what is meant by the term “Family Ministry” and how putting family at the heart of congregational life helps create a paradigm shift for communities. This shift supports a more anti-racist, anti-oppressive, multicultural and welcoming congregational culture for all. We will explore characteristics of both “I” and “We” cultures and what questions do we need to ask in our congregations in order to begin this shift.    

Christina Rivera is part of the Senior Ministry Team for the Church of the Larger Fellowship and Founder of Called to Justice Consultancy. She lives in Augusta County, VA with her husband, Chris. Their twin boys are college Sophomores.


Rev. Leia Durland-Jones is a lifelong UU and currently serves as the Minister of Faith Development for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Charlottesville, Virginia where she lives with her wife, Karen. Their daughter, Annalee, is a college senior.  



Session #2:  Governance, Meetings & Policies … Oh My!
Are you a new Board Member trying to understand what your responsibilities are? Or perhaps a returning Board Member, but wanting to find ways to create structure that is supportive and less chaotic? Join father/daughter team Jeff & Danielle Webber to discuss governance basics, best practices, meeting structures and spiritual grounding as leaders. 

Jeff Webber
grew up in the Unitarian faith. As a young adult, Jeff joined the Regina fellowship, helping to review and rewrite their bylaws. Later, after joining the Calgary Unitarians, Jeff attended CU*UL School in Saskatoon and in 2011, helped as a facilitator in CU*UL School sessions in Nanaimo. Jeff also trained as a facilitator for all levels of Our Whole Lives. Along the way, Jeff held various positions on the Board, including; Treasurer, V.P., President, and Past Pres. Jeff also co-chaired the organizing committee for the CUC’s 2013 ACM in Calgary.
Rev. Danielle Webber  Third generation Unitarian Universalist Minister, Danielle Webber has served congregations in 4 provinces, and now lives and works on the unceded and ancestral territory of the Sylix/Okanangan people (Kelowna, BC). In 2018 Danielle completed a thesis on Community Engagement and Leadership Development, analysing several different systems that can help (and potentially hinder) Unitarian Universalism’s work in the world. [CUC web for bio & pic]

Session #3: The Eyes of the Future Generations are Upon Us
Greta Thunberg delivered the words “The Eyes of Future Generations Are Upon Us” to the U.N. Climate Action Summit in September 2019. How will we, as Unitarians, be viewed by future generations that look back at these times?  Do we have the courage and fortitude, both individually and collectively, to continue shining a light on global warming? What lessons from this pandemic are helpful for our climate justice work? How can we juggle the emotional and physical demands of the current health crisis with the longer-term but equally urgent need to slow global warming and its impacts?  This webinar will try to answer these questions through presentations and discussions. 

Kathy Mostardi
has been an active member of the Grand River Unitarian Congregation for ten years. She has a lifelong interest and involvement in environmental issues. She helped to initiate and currently co-chairs the congregation’s Climate Action Team which has been active in the past year in local community actions, hosting educational events within the congregation including ‘climate parties’, and political action at the federal and provincial level.
Carol Burrows has been an active member of the Grand River Unitarian Congregation (GRU) in Kitchener ON for 18 years, serving as Chair of the Social Action Committee, member of the Refugee Task Force, and co-founder of the Climate Action Group. Currently, she is a member of the GRU board of trustees. She has practiced social activism for most of her life, serving on volunteer boards, organizing conferences, facilitating, planting trees and farming organically. She enjoys discussing the tough questions and greatly values the shared experience of questioning, listening, and talking together. 

1:45 – 2:00 pm – Break

2:00 – 3:30 pm – Afternoon Concurrent Sessions: Block 2 

Session #1: “Alternative” Worship 
Although beloved by many, the familiar Sunday morning protestant-style “sermon sandwich” service format does not work for everyone. Inspired by youth and young adult style worship, which is known for being participatory, experimental and embodied, we hope to expand our horizons regarding what is possible in worship. You will be encouraged to think outside the box, take risks, and be playful. We will provide practical as well as conceptual tools that you can take back to your community, whether that’s a congregation or a youth or young adult group.

Arran Liddel
is the Director of Spiritual Exploration and Learning for Children and Youth at First Unitarian Church of Victoria where he has led many all-ages services. He is a Unitarian Universalist Ministerial Candidate and is studying towards a Masters of Divinity, focusing on earth-based spiritualities, at Cherry Hill Seminary. His work has focused on building community as well as training and facilitation on issues relating to healthy relationships, sexuality, conflict-resolution, and restorative justice/practices. He has experience working with LGBTQ communities, racialized and immigrant communities, people living with HIV, seniors, and people with disabilities in a variety of capacities.
Alex Okrainetz grew up in North Vancouver, attending the North Shore Unitarian Church. She is an active congregant and youth advisor at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver, and was the Coordinator for the CUC’s national youth conference (CanUUdle/CazUUm) for 2019-20. Her favourite part of working with youth is how thoughtful, funny, and dynamic they are. Alex recently completed her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology at UBC. Through various life experiences, she developed a particular passion for the intersection of social and environmental justice. Currently, she is working in Long Term Care and enjoying the new and exciting feelings of safety everyone there has due to recent vaccinations!

 Session #2:  “Discovering Sociocracy: The Meeting and Governance Model UUs Are Looking For”

What if we could transform the way we gather as congregations and committees to discuss and decide what matters?

What if we could begin from love and possibility, give everyone in the room a voice, leave meetings more connected, and widen our circles of leadership?

Aukje and Ben will introduce you to Sociocracy — the governance model Peterborough has been experimenting with over the last three years — and the community dialogue process that led them to discover and choose it. 

Sociocracy makes meetings more connecting, collaborative, inclusive and efficient. Imagine leaving Board meetings saying you feel more energized than when you arrived.


Aukje Byker is a long-time Unitarian and a member of the Peterborough Fellowship (UFP). With Ben, she is part of the Community Conversations Team that has given UFP opportunities to successfully discuss difficult issues using a dialogue process.  She also has training in Sociocracy and as a member of a local cohousing group, she helped them move to a Sociocratic governance model and continues to use Sociocracy in all their meetings.  Aukje is also a Certified Nonviolent Communication (NVC)Trainer and has been excited by how both the dialogue process and Sociocracy fit so well with the principles of NVC.

Ben Wolfe is a community convenor, teacher and communications pro based in Peterborough, Ontario. As one of Canada’s practitioners of the “Art of Hosting” model of participatory, emergent facilitation he has worked locally and internationally to awaken new possibilities and projects in leadership, environment, urban planning, mental health, local economic resilience and regenerative tourism. Ben is an 18-year UU, the Vice President and webmaster and a past DRE of his congregation, and a former CUC Director of Communications. He brought Sociocracy to his UU Board, and worked with Aukje in successfully implementing it in a cohousing project. He is currently co-teaching a course in “Foundations of Regeneration” in the Master of Regenerative Action program at Ubiquity University.

Session #3: Preparing to Engage in Difficult Conversations
Many aspire to create just and inclusive communities and wonder how to approach talking with people about things that feel contentious yet imperative, if we are to transform this aspiration into reality. This workshop will introduce the Responsibility Covenant, a tool created by the CUC to help people better understand and respond to internal discomfort that arises in them when their views, beliefs, principles, protocols, privileges and/or cultural norms are challenged by another’s actions or words.  Through practice dialogue on challenging topics participants will gain experiential awareness of how their internal world is impacting their ability to show up in difficult conversations, and learn how to harness this discomfort to create moments of mutual connection and transformation of all involved.

Erin Horvath & Amber Bellemare

3:30 pm – Transition Break

3:45 – 4:30 pm – Closing: Next Steps & Closing Worship

Registration – Deadline: September 26, midnight PT

Unpublished form