Getting Involved

Our congregation is run by the volunteer efforts of the congregation, supported by staff. There are many ways to volunteer to support the congregation. The success of our endeavours depends on the involvement of members. You can contribute to this shared ministry by offering your skills and talents to one of our committees or groups. Get to know other like-minded people by joining with them in making music, in taking on small or large tasks, in promoting social justice, and in many other ways.

Our active community offers a variety of interesting opportunities to meet people, share an interest, or to make a difference in the community.

 

Interest Area      Committee/Group
Sunday Support Services

A network of services underlies the flow of Sunday mornings. There are opportunities for newcomers and long-term members to become acquainted with one another through volunteering in one of the areas described below. As a volunteer, you are provided with orientation, training, and support in the area you select.

Religious Education

The Director of Religious Education sets the overall direction of our Children’s and Youth Religious Education programs along with the support of the Youth Advisors, the Children’s and Youth Religious Education Advisory Group and the Parish Minister, any of whom would be happy to discuss our program in more detail with you.

Finances, Governance, and Program Coordinating
Fundraising
Membership Committee

Membership Committee

The Membership Committee has two main purposes:

  • To attract and welcome newcomers to the church and help them  integrate into the life of the church
  • To foster among members a strong sense of ownership of our congregation by using the interests and skills of individuals and groups and acknowledging and celebrating their accomplishments.

The work of the Membership Committee is carried out by several small sub-groups responsible for:

  • Attracting and welcoming visitors and newcomers
  • Planning and conducting new U orientation
  • Integrating/retaining members
  • Membership records management
Art and Music

 

 

Sunday Support Services

A network of services underlies the flow of Sunday mornings. There are opportunities for newcomers and long-term members to become acquainted with one another through volunteering in one of the areas described below. As a volunteer, you are provided with orientation, training, and support in the area you select.

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Worship Services Committee

The Worship Services Committee goal is to enhance the experience of worship and strengthen the church community. We are responsible for serving as a resource to the minister in planning service format and content, and for finding suitable persons to officiate at services in the absence of the minister once a month from September through June and throughout the summer. A liaison person from the committee works with every guest or lay service leader from start to finish.

The committee meets the first Wednesday of every month, holds an annual input planning session with congregational members, and develops a yearly worship services plan. With the minister, we try to ensure that the Sunday worship program offers coherent and thematically connected services throughout the year, representing the many intellectual and spiritual beliefs found in our Unitarian faith. We are committed to encouraging our members to develop and deliver services, and to ensuring all lay- and guest-led services meet the quality expected at our congregation.

   News from the Worship Committee   

Contact: worship@vancouverunitarians.ca

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Sunday Greeters

Greeting visitors is one of the essential volunteer tasks in the church and it is also one of the most rewarding. Sunday Greeters welcome visitors and serve as ushers for worship services. They provide folders of information and orders of service to visitors and church-goers, and oversee the collection. Greeters also maintain pew supplies, manage the Book of Celebrations and Concerns and prepare information folders for visitors. Four or five members are asked to commit to greeting on one of the five Sundays each month, and if they need to be away are able to draw upon someone from the spares list. Contact Margo Elfert or Denise Nereida if you can help keep the roster filled.

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Flower Arranging

This group arranges flowers for Sunday services and also supplies Christmas greenery in the sanctuary. We are looking for both permanent and relief arrangers. We would also like to know of gardeners willing to donate flowers. Contact Chris Pearce.

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Welcome and Information Table

Volunteer members are available following each church service to welcome those who are new to the church and those who would like information on church activities and the wider denomination. The members providing this service are easily recognizable by their yellow name tags. Contact Dianne Crosbie.

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Audiovisual Committee

Members have the critical task of managing the sound system for the Sunday service as well as recording the sermon.

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Beverage Servers Group

Volunteer servers work in teams of two or three to do setup or serve coffee, tea, and juice on Sunday mornings in Hewett Centre after the worship service. For more information or to volunteer, phone Velia Leval, at 604-737-1815.

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Library & Literature Stall Committee

The knowledge of our congregation is enhanced by the excellent collection of books available for borrowing from the library in Hewett Centre, and taped and printed sermons and new Unitarian books for sale at the Literature Stall. Dedicated volunteers who serve one Sunday a month maintain these collections. Volunteers are welcome. Ask the Sunday librarian for information about the committee, or contact the committee chair, Aphrodite Harris.

The library is open every Sunday until 1 pm, offering three-week loans of magazines and fiction and nonfiction books that reflect Unitarian values.

There is also a literature stall that provides copies of sermons and other publications for sale.

Welcoming Bibliophiles: An Introduction to the Library
The library committee meets 1st Mondays at 2 pm in the Fireside Room.

   News from the Library Committee   

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Forum

The Forum provides an opportunity for the exchange of ideas and opinions on issues relevant to Unitarians, led by invited speakers. It is held from 12:30 to 1:30 in the Fireside Room in Hewett Centre. The Environment Committee holds a forum on the 1st Sunday of the month and Social Justice Committee plans the forum on the 2nd Sunday of the month.

 

Religious Education

The Director of Religious Education sets the overall direction of our Children’s and Youth Religious Education programs along with the support of the Youth Advisors, the Children’s and Youth Religious Education Advisory Group and the Parish Minister, any of whom would be happy to discuss our program in more detail with you. Parents and other interested adults assist the program by volunteering to lead classes, direct pageants, make lunches, fund-raise, maintain and improve spaces and resources and much more. The program is offered free of charge, with costs supported by the pledges and financial support of the entire congregation, with some additional fundraising, and targeted donations.

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Director’s Children’s and Youth Religious Education Management Committee

This committee meets regularly to support the administrative and human resources needs of the CYRE programs. This committee, also known as the Director of RE Management Committee (DREMC) serves as the CYRE liaison to the UCV Board of Trustees.

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Children’s and Youth Religious Education Advisory Group

This group meets monthly on issues related to the operation of our children’s Sunday school program and our youth group program. These issues include curricula, special event planning, communication with parents and congregation, safety and special needs issues, budget planning, priority/goal setting, fundraising and much more. To get involved, please contact Kiersten Moore, Director of Religious Education at dre@vancouverunitarians.ca or 604.261.7204.

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Our Whole Lives Committee

This committee meets quarterly to discuss the coordination of lifespan offerings and trainings for our Our Whole Lives sexuality education program. OWL is offered for ages Kindergarten-grade 1, grades 4 to 6, grades 7 to 9, grades 10 to 12, young adult (18 to 35) and adult (also begins at 18 – and up).  To get involved, please contact Kiersten Moore, Director of Religious Education at dre@vancouverunitarians.ca or 604.261.7204.

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Adult Religious Education Committee

This committee meets as required to discuss and plan for our twice yearly offerings of religious education programs. Look for brochures coming out in August/September and December/January. Contact the church office to get involved.

 

Finances, Governance, and Program Coordinating

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Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees is responsible for:

  • caring for church property and finances,
  • approving policies,
  • initiating strategic planning, and
  • employing all church staff.

The board consists of:

  • executive (President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and Secretary)
  • the immediate past-president
  • up to six members-at-large, who are elected by the membership at the Annual General Meeting in the fall

The board meets regularly on the third Tuesday of each month, and the Board Executive meets on the first Tuesday of each month. The executive’s decisions are subject to review and ratification by the full board at the next board meeting. Board and executive meetings are open to members and adherents except where matters of a confidential nature are under discussion.

   News from the Board of Trustees   

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Finance Committee

The Finance Committee coordinates overall church financial matters including:

  • canvass
  • budgeting
  • investing
  • capital campaigns
  • accounting
  • auditing
  • insurance
  • taxation
  • special fundraising,
  • financial policies and procedures
  • financial reporting

The committee recommends policies and procedures to the board on financial matters. It comprises members and adherents interested in finance and staff involved in the church’s financial work.

For information about the church’s special funds, ask for a copy of the document Description of Church Funds.

For information about receipts or expense authorization contact our Congregational Administrator, Hunter MacNiven, by calling the office at 604.261.7204.

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Investment Committee (sub-committee of Finance)

The Investment Committee oversees the investment of church assets in accordance with policy set by the congregation and board. It recommends and provides liaison for church financial advisors and recommends investment policy.

Current investments are in ethically responsible instruments with low risk and high liquidity. The committee comprises church members with interest and expertise in investment.

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Legacy Committee

The committee’s goals are to enhance the church’s financial security by helping interested people in planning legacy gifts and to assist members with their financial planning for death by providing information and consultation about estate planning options.

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Program Coordinating Council

The Program Coordinating Council is responsible for facilitating the planning and coordinating of church programs and activities.

It also ensures the well-being of committees, groups, and services, overseeing the initiation of new committees and groups and their termination when they are no longer useful to church life.

The Council recruits chairpersons when necessary, and convenes chairperson meetings (Council of Chairs) at least twice a year.

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Nominating Committee

Under our bylaws, the Nominating Committee is responsible for nominating persons to stand for election to the Board of Trustees.

The committee is appointed by the board, normally chaired by the past president (who is automatically a member of the board) and may not include any other incumbent board member.

The committee presents its nominations to the general membership prior to the Annual General Meeting, which takes place in the fall (usually November).

Committee members speak with any member who wishes to consider serving on the board, or has thought of members who might be prepared and qualified to take on this role.

Contact the past president.

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Human Resources Committee

An enterprise is a community of human beings, not a collection of ‘human resources’.
– Henry MintzbergThe UCV Human Resources (HR) Committee is a committee of the Board of Trustees tasked with:

  • researching, preparing and recommending HR policies and procedures to the board
  • overseeing the application of these policies and procedures within the congregation
  • providing support and advice to the Congregational Administrator, Staff Management Committees and the Committee on Ministry

In consultation with the senior staff member in each area of work including:

  • administration
  • caretaking
  • music
  • education

the HR committee monitors the conformance of the congregation’s HR policies and procedures to Unitarian principles and to the BC Employment Standards Act.
The committee reviews:

  • job descriptions
  • terms and conditions of employment
  • compensation
  • benefits, reporting relationships
  • performance review processes

Committee members may be called upon to:

  • participate in an employee selection processes
  • provide non-supervisory support for employees on HR issues
  • help mediate conflicts involving employees
  • investigate best practices on specific human resource questions

The committee consists of at least four voting members of the congregation appointed by the board for staggered two-year terms. Members with experience in the HR field in particular are encouraged to contribute to the important work of this committee and others interested in staff welfare are welcome as well.

The committee is typically chaired by the immediate past-president or someone with professional expertise in human resources.

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Buildings & Grounds Committee

The Buildings & Grounds Committee works closely with church administration and the board to maintain and preserve our buildings and grounds. Each year the committee puts together a maintenance budget. The committee, together with the administration and the board, also develops a capital expenditures budget.

Each member of the committee has an area of expertise and leads a subgroup of the committee. The committee is organized into the following work groups:

  • aesthetics
  • buildings maintenance
  • capital & long-range planning
  • grounds maintenance
  • rental & event revenue
  • sound & signage

Members of the committee are appointed by the board in January for a one-year term.

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Archives Committee

The primary responsibility of the Archives Committee is to collect, organize, and preserve church records that have long-term legal, administrative, and historical value dating back to 1909.

Anyone interested in working in this aspect of the church is more than welcome.

 

Fundraising

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Canvass Committee

Our church is supported by voluntary contributions from its members and friends. The majority of these contributions are based on pledging. A yearly canvass is organized every spring for pledges starting the following July 1st.

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Time and Talent Auction

The Time and Talent Auction is usually held annually or bi-annually, depending on the judgment of the organizers. It is a party that comprises dinner or lunch, an auction of services and the fun of bidding and fellowship.
Members and friends of the church offer a service, an instruction, a piece of art, or some article of interest, all of which are auctioned at the Time and Talent Auction party. The highest bidder receives the item or service and the congregation receives the proceeds.

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Book Bashes

Several times a year the Library Committee holds a sale of used books in the alcove of Hewett Centre after the Sunday service. Members of the church donate books for the sale. The Book Bash provides funds for new books and the work of our excellent church library. Watch for notices advertising the sale and asking for donations of books.The library also welcomes donations of books any Sunday.

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Sunday Lunches

Church groups and committees are invited to serve lunch on Sundays after the service. Organizing and serving a lunch promotes fellowship within the church community and within your group through participation in a group activity as it raises funds for your church-related projects. Among the groups who regularly offer fundraising lunches are Environment Committee, Youth group, Refugee committee and “Love soup”.

For more information and to schedule a date, email Ben Hechter.

 

Membership Committee

The Membership Committee has two main purposes:

  • To attract and welcome newcomers to the church and help them  integrate into the life of the church
  • To foster among members a strong sense of ownership of our congregation by using the interests and skills of individuals and groups and acknowledging and celebrating their accomplishments.

The work of the Membership Committee is carried out by several small sub-groups responsible for:

  • Attracting and welcoming visitors and newcomers
  • Planning and conducting new U orientation
  • Integrating/retaining members
  • Membership records management
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Committee members appreciate hearing from congregation members who have suggestions and comments that may help new members to become more involved in the life of the UCV community.

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New U Sub-Committee

The New U sub-committee presents New U-In-A-Day sessions, usually twice a year, on a Saturday from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm. The sessions are intended for:

  • Anyone who wants to learn more about Unitarian Universalism in general and the Unitarian Church of Vancouver in particular
  • Anyone who is interested in becoming a member of our congregation

The sessions include:

  • Unitarian history and theology
  • The story of our own church
  • A tour of the buildings and grounds

It’s a great time to get to know other newcomers and some current church members and to explore your own beliefs and spiritual journey.

Attendees of New U-In-A-Day will be invited to join the congregation by signing the Membership Book during an informational breakfast meeting held 2 or 3 weeks later. Contact Dianne Crosbie.

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Connect and Engage Sub-Committee

The Connect and Engage sub-committee helps new members find the right places to get involved in the congregation. The goals are to:

  • Provide resources and ongoing support for those wishing to be connected to programs or committees
  • Respond to email and phone inquiries from new members
  • Maintain a list of members who have joined in the past five years and sends occasional messages inviting engagement
  • Provide introductions among new members and the individuals and groups that can help them get connected with particular opportunities

Contact Mary Bennett if you’d like to connect and engage.

Current initiatives include: coordinating social dinners, encouraging covenant group development, promoting groups such as men’s and women’s groups. On occasion a leadership mentorship program is offered pairing new members with experienced members.

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Membership Records Sub-Committee

If you have skills and interest in managing data, you’d be welcome to work with this small group that helps to keep our membership records current. Some church programs and expenses are directly related to our official membership numbers, so keeping good records helps to ensure that we are able to meet member needs as well as contain our overall expenses. Contact Patience Towler.

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Chinese language inclusion

In 2012, in an effort to reach out to Metro Vancouver Chinese-speaking residents and visitors who share Unitarian Universalist values and are seeking a supportive community of shared values, the Unitarian Church of Vancouver (UCV) adopted the Chinese name  (pronounced Xun dao hui), a translation meaning Seekers of the Way, which we believe is an accurate description of our worldview.
Although UCV worship services are currently delivered in English only, with the help of a team of interpreters from different parts of the world, we have prepared a Chinese-language brochure (in both simplified and traditional scripts) that describes Unitarian principles and sources, and provides links to Unitarian Universalist materials available in Chinese elsewhere in the world.

Art and Music

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Arts Committee

The Arts Committee is responsible for the visual art exhibitions in the Sanctuary and in the Fireside Room. We seek out artists, most of whom are Unitarian church members or adherents, and arrange exhibition dates for their shows. Each show lasts four weeks. In addition, the Arts Committee sponsors an annual children’s show at the end of the church school year in June, holds an annual UCV group art show in November, and stages an arts and crafts sale each December. Also, the Dorothy Paschal Fund is used to fund a Festival of the Arts every few years.

Exhibiting visual artists may use these spaces in the Sanctuary:

  • six side wall panels: each 7’2″ wide by 5’7″ tall
  • two back wall panels: each 10’6″ wide by 5’6″ tall

The Arts Committee meets 3rd Sundays at 10:30 in Lindsey-Priestley.

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Music Committee

Music is important in the spiritual life of the congregation. Music enhances every worship service, and the Music Committee provides the planning and budgeting for the music programming. Worship services feature piano accompaniment and solo vocal offerings by Elliott Dainow, Music Assistant to the Minister, and musical celebration by invited musicians of all kinds, including acoustic guitar, violin, cello, world music, and much more, in a variety of musical styles.

Meet Elliott Dainow

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Chalice Choir

The Chalice Choir, led by Donna Brown, is a group of approximately 45 people who love to sing. Some are church members and some are not, some have degrees in music and others are learning to read music and sing in harmony.

Rehearsals are Thursday evenings from 7:15 to 9 pm from September to June. The choir sings at two services a month and usually performs two concerts each season.

We are a friendly bunch and welcome new people! We also sing beautifully, showing how great a nonprofessional group can be. If you are interested in joining contact Donna Brown or drop by any Thursday night. For information about joining the choir, email Donna Brown

Meet Donna Brown