CUC National & International News – Sep 2017

Feedback to CUC requested from member congregations

The CUC Board is seeking thoughts from members across the country on three main subjects for further discussion this fall. The three subjects are as follows:
a) CUC vision implementation suggestions
Vision – “Our interdependence calls us to love and justice.”
Suggestions: Can we do better at fostering interdependence amongst non-Unitarian organizations or other faith communities that share some of our values (e.g. groups focussing on climate action, environmental protection, civil liberties, affordable housing, global peace, animal rights, democratic practices…)
b) consideration of revising the CUC Sources statement similar to what UUA did and perhaps changing the Principles statements as well.

  • Sources – In Source #2, should we replace “women and men” with “people”?
  • Principles – In Principle #1 should we replace “person” with “being”?
  • What do we think of the proposal to add an eighth principle opposing white supremacy?

c) identification of social justice issues that are inspiring the attention of our congregations.
Does our congregation have a common social justice focus? Do we wish to have one? Do we have the structure, skills, resources, and time to develop a consensus about a common focus, or should we not try to prioritize social justice issues?

Send your thoughts to keith@cuc.ca
________________________________________

Four strategic priorities

In addition to exploring member answers the above questions, the CUC Board is encouraging congregations to work on improving performance in support of the four strategic priorities approved at the 2017 AGM:

1. Financial Sustainability – 

The  CUC raised its annual program contribution (APC) from $93 to $100 per congregant for 2018. This is the first increase in quite a few years and brings us up to the inflation rate for this period. The increase will enable CUC to pay all of its staff at an appropriate level. Investment income, donations to Friends of the CUC, and event fees are the other primary sources of funds for conducting national UU work.

2. Improved Communication Capacity –

A lot of value has arisen in the past two years from video-conferencing using the zoom platform. With zoom we can see and hear each other across the country, talk to each other in a group context, and let others see our documents by sharing our computer or tablet screens. Some special interest groups and individual congregations are using zoom to reduce travel time for meetings.

CUC staff have used zoom for formal webinars and informal roundtable discussions on special topics. The CUC board meets 8 times a year via zoom and some ministers use zoom for their meetings. Individuals can set up their own zoom conversations with local or regional teams, committees, or groups of friends to discuss anything at all. The chief limitation to using zoom seems to be lack of experience in setting up a call. Here are some options about how to set up a zoom meeting.

Create your own zoom account Use one of CUC’s 3 zoom accounts
1.       Google zoom or click here and create your own account. It’s free, but your meeting times are limited to <1 hour. You can upgrade to a more robust service for a fee.

2.       Follow the tutorials on how to use your microphone, speakers, camera, and chat features.

3.       Determine a date and time for your call.

4.       Create a meeting and send the meeting ID number to a friend to chat.

5.       Invite other people using the same process.

6.       Yakety-yak yakety-yak!

1.       Determine a date, time, and duration for your call.

2.       Ask the CUC office to set up a zoom conference for you at that date and time. The office will do that and send you a meeting ID number. Email the CUC office: info@cuc.ca  or phone Ahna DeFelice, the new CUC Organizational Administrator toll free at
1-888-568-5723
(Learn more about Ahna here)

3.       By email invite those you want to participate in your discussion and send them the meeting ID number. All they have to do is click on the ID number and follow the prompts. If they don’t have zoom on their laptop they’ll be prompted to download it. They should do that. They can also join by phone without video, but it’s nice to see friendly faces.

4.       Sign in to your meeting early and study how to use your microphone, speakers, camera, and chat features.

5.       Manage your meeting.

Advantages of your own account:
Set up meetings any time at your convenience – just like using a telephone.The zoom and CUC tutorials are pretty good so if you start small, you may find it isn’t too hard.

 

Disadvantages of this option:
You’re on your own!
You may run out of time in a meeting unless you purchase the upgraded service.

Advantages of using the CUC account:
CUC sets up the meeting link for you.
No fees involved for you.
More time available.
Sessions can be recorded for later access offline. 

Disadvantages of this option:
There may be a time lag between your request and the meeting set-up.
Note that the CUC office is only open from      6:00 am – 1:30 pm Pacific time, Mon-Thu.

 

3. CUC support for truth and reconciliation between indigenous peoples and other Canadians –

One of 18 granite sidewalk medallions by Susan Point on West Broadway. There are another 18 medallions by local Greek artists.

This third priority is likely to be one for a long time. What are the issues and what can we do about them?

When Europeans first came to this continent they did not uniformly treat indigenous peoples with respect. There were many failings — there was blatant racism, indigenous peoples were treated as less than human, and treaties negotiated in good faith between First Nations and European powers were disregarded by successive Canadian (American, British, French, Spanish, and Mexican) governments. In too many situations European actions were directly and intentionally harmful to indigenous people. Indigenous peoples were killed, their land taken, indigenous languages, and cultural and spiritual practices banned, exclusionary racist policies enacted, and children taken from families and put in residential schools where many were abused and neglected. Many Canadians, and the Canadian government, now recognize that these actions were wrong, and that contemporary Canadians have an ethical obligation to do their best to correct these wrongs. This is going to take a lot of effort, by many people, over a long time, so where can we start? Following are some ideas.

 

 

Suggestions for truth and reconciliation work:

  1. Read and discuss with friends the Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and the 94 calls to action (notably #60 regarding the role of churches.)
  2. Listen to what indigenous peoples are saying about land claims, environmental protection, and the impact of residential schools, and respect their views. If you can, follow their lead.
  3. Consider what we may need to do as individuals to give land back to indigenous people.
  4. Study aboriginal spiritual teachings. Talk with aboriginal leaders to learn if any of these can be incorporated into UU services without being considered to be cultural appropriation.
  5. Acknowledge the gifts of knowledge, skill, patience, and sharing of resources that indigenous peoples offered to European settlers and continue to offer in our current multicultural context.
  6. Take part in one of the age-appropriate study sessions about colonialism and residential schools developed by a CUC task force as Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Reflection Guides. The adult course based on these guides is a series of eight, 2.5 hour sessions (20 hours). Sessions for other age groups are under development.  See details of the adult THR program here: Overview of the eight 2.5-hour study sessions for adults
  7. Learn more about other aspects of the CUC’s truth and reconciliation program and fall and winter 2017 training programs here.

Following are a few more resources related to reconciliation:

Horses in the Stein River Valley. Picture from a UCV history field trip by members in 2015. (The trip was arranged as a service auction item.)

The Kairos Blanket Exercise is an experiential learning process developed by Kairos: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives to help non-indigenous people understand the impact of colonization. It is offered independently by a range of sponsors, and as part of CUC’s truth and reconciliation program. Visit the Kairos Blanket Exericise Resource Centre site for information about additional resources.

Land rights – Here are links to an interesting website and related podcast from BBC World Service “South Africa and the Land Question”, released Jun 30, 2017. Audrey Brown’s documentary Give Back the Land tells the story of a white Western Cape vineyard owner attempting to make reparations for the land his family “stole” 6 generations ago. Land rights and reparations remain contentious in South Africa 23 years after the end of apartheid, and are close to the heart of Audrey, whose family come from this area. (Image: Solms winery in South Africa Credit: Solms Delta Estate.)  A similar act of reconciliation in Canada related to The Esk’etemc First Nation (Alkali Lake B.C.) is described here. (Credit: CBC Radio, As it happens, Friday May 12, 2017. ‘Reconciliation in its best form’: B.C. rancher gives land back to his First Nation neighbours.)

 

 

Photo of a community church in Penticton, BC. UCV is also a community church!

4. Encouraging young adult membership in our congregations –

What is UCV doing in this area? Attention to this demographic group isn’t new to the UU movement, but it seems like a realm of chronic uncertainty. In 2016, UCV and CUC both provided special funding to stimulate work for young adult ministry nationally and locally, but proponents have provided limited communication back to the congregation about that work. Can anyone out there bring us up to speed?

Asha Philar is the CUC staff member devoted to youth and young adult programming and is available and eager to talk with congregational leaders and young adults about this area of work in Canada. Contact Asha at 519-900-2995 or asha@cuc.ca .

The CUC website also lists links to some supports for young adult ministry, though many of the links appear to be dated. (The same is the case for web pages at other congregations across Canada.) There is a UU Young Adult Facebook group that appears to be active, but it’s a closed group, so you’ll have to ask to join. Inter-generational work doesn’t appear to be a current focus.

CUC’s international initiatives

Heavy luggage at YVR

Next report I’ll aim to provide some information about CUC’s international initiatives, notably information about work with the UUA’s UU-United Nations Office (UU-UNO) and the International Council of Unitarian Universalists (ICUU).  ICUU is scheduled to meet in northern India 11-15 Feb 2018. If you’d like to go to India or sponsor someone from an emerging UU group in another country to attend, please get in touch with me!

Keith Wilkinson

2017-18 BC Rep to the CUC Board

keith@cuc.ca


Categories:

Communication • Recent News • Social Justice • Young Adults