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Write for Rights Success Stories

Thank you to everyone who came to write letters  on December 11th.  We wrote 52 letters!

The main goal was to use the power of letter-writing to influence world leaders to protect individuals or communities whose human rights have been denied. The messages help convince government officials to release people imprisoned for expressing their opinion, stop the use of torture and end other human rights abuses.

 

Please click on links below or scroll down the page to read about  successful cases:

41 Human Rights Wins to Celebrate – Amnesty International

More Write for Rights Success Stories

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doctrine of Discovery & Terra Nullius Forum Recording

Thank you to everyone who came on Nov 20th to attend our first forum on the topic of the Doctrine of Discovery and Terra Nullius.

Members of the IPA, Environment, Social Justice and Truth and Reconciliation teams joined together to organize and facilitate this forum. They were inspired by Bruce McIvor’s talk, and his book, Standoff: Why Reconciliation Fails Indigenous People and How to Fix It,  to educate themselves about The Doctrine of Discovery and Terra Nullius.

They discovered that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission called on all religious denominations and faith groups to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery and Terra Nullius, and that the UUA and many Canadian churches had repudiated this doctrine – including the Anglican Church of Canada and the Catholic Bishops.  They planned this forum to start the the important conversation as to whether UCV might want to  join in denouncing this doctrine.

 

Q&A transcript – Forum held on Nov 20

 

 

Please contact any of these UCV members if you would like to be involved in future discussions: yvonnemarcus@gmail.com, lesliekemp76@gmail.com, emdunn3@gmail.com

Please donate socks, hats, mittens for Carnegie Sock Drive

Please consider donating new socks, hats, mittens and scarves to Carnegie Community Centre Sock Drive to support Downtown Eastside community members. The Social Justice Team has placed a SOCKS DONATION BOX in the entrance to Hewett Hall. Store bought or handmade items are most welcome.

  • New socks are the most requested item by people whose lives include homelessness and/or being under housed.
  • They walk often, keep their shoes on almost 24 hours a day, and do not have regular access to laundry facilities.
  • New socks prevent infections, diseases, and provide comfort and relief.  
  • Wool socks can keep feet warm even when wet, so please consider donating wool socks.
Lily Ha has knitted some beautiful toques!
The box is emptied each week and the items are taken to the Carnegie Centre. 
We are taking photos of the donated items and posting them here.
We will add more photos every week!

Overdose Prevention Society: Our Outreach Opportunities Fund recipient

Our OOF recipient for the months November 2022-February 2023 is the Overdose Prevention Society.

The mandate of the Overdose Prevention Society (OPS) is to be leaders in the harm reduction movement with a continual push for change and justice, offer employment and advancement opportunities for members of the Downtown Eastside community, and continually work to break the stigma of addiction through  empowering drug users and fighting against preconceptions of substance use.

OPS continues to challenge the normalization of the opioid crisis every day. We are a community driven, grassroots initiative that bring people in from the alley and provide a safe and welcoming place to use drugs.

Please watch this informative interview with Sarah Blyth, Executive Director and other OPS staff. 

Services offered by OPS:

  • Safe clean environment for people to use drugs
  • Drug testing
  • Harm reduction supplies
  • Jobs for DTES community members
  • Housing support
  • Food distribution
  • Clean and safe washroom for homeless

We are also home to MYSAFE

Contact for those interested in volunteering: vanops.volunteer@gmail.com

History of the Overdose Prevention Society:

OPS was founded in September 2016 by three women who were concerned about how little was being done about the growing fentanyl crisis in Vancouver. In potential violation of the law, they set up a drug injection site in an alley in Vancouver’s downtown Eastside to combat the many overdose deaths and have saved hundreds of lives. Their peer-based services are beneficial to the health authority, to the community, and to the participants themselves and ensure access to health and welfare services to excluded, vulnerable and marginalized people.

Challenging Racist British Columbia

July 20, 2021 is the 150 year anniversary of so-called British Columbia and a recent publication by CCPA provides sobering history.

The Social Justice Committee plans to host a book study group over the summer to discuss this important publication. Please email socialjustice@vancouverunitarians.ca if you are interested in joining us. Click here to download this 80 page booklet.

Below is the description of Challenging Racist “British Columbia” .. 150 Years and Counting provided by the CCPA:
“This booklet dives into the long history of racist policies that have impacted Indigenous, Black and racialized communities in the province over the last 150 years since BC joined Canada. The illustrated booklet, co-published by the CCPA-BC Office, ties the histories of racism and resistance to present day anti-racist movements.

Co-authored by Nicholas XEMŦOLTW̱ Claxton, Denise Fong, Fran Morrison, Christine O’Bonsawin, Maryka Omatsu, John Price and Sharanjit Kaur Sandhra, the 80-page, illustrated booklet is being released in advance of the 150th anniversary, which is on July 20, 2021. This engaging resource has been designed to assist anti-racist educators, teachers, scholars, policymakers and individuals doing anti-racism work to help pierce the silences that too often have let racism grow in our communities, corporations and governments.”

Note from the Board Chair – Jan 1, 2021

Dear Unitarian friends,

I hope you had a rejuvenating winter break. It is a new year, a fresh start, and a lot of exciting work lies ahead. I have two invitations for you to consider in the coming weeks which both further the mission and the vision of our church.

Because we as Unitarians are committed to creating a more inclusive, compassionate and equitable world, I am organizing a Decolonizing Practices Workshop for staff, board, and members that will be run by professional Indigenous consultants.

I would like us all to have the opportunity to get better informed on decolonizing our practices and how to diversify our organization’s membership and board to include more Indigenous people and persons of colour. We need to identify the barriers to our organization and to develop the solutions. This one-day workshop will also include a half-day on the history and ongoing colonization in Canada.

The Decolonizing Practices Workshop will be in early spring and hopefully live and in person. If Covid prevails, we will pursue an online format. If you are interested in this, please let me know so I have an idea of interest and numbers. If the numbers are high, I may have to organize two workshops. president@vancouverunitarians.ca.

Secondly, I would like to invite you all to an Ideas Forum for the Upgraded Sanctuary to generate ideas together for how the new space could be used and be more productive.

This Ideas Forum will be on Sunday Jan. 17th at 12:30 on zoom. Galen Elfert and Dianne Crosbie will be on hand to answer any questions about the lighting/sound upgrades and the new chairs.

The seed behind the Sanctuary Upgrades was planted by Steven, and furthered by a generous donor. Then we asked ourselves, could our beautiful Sanctuary become a cultural and spiritual destination, a hub for various performance and spiritual groups to meet, worship, rehearse, perform, share ideas?  In this way, could we attract a younger and more diverse demographic to our Church, boosting accessibility by allowing for more varied and inclusive styles of music/art/worship?

We as a congregation are welcoming and wish to diversify our membership. So let us be pro-active and create a space that is inviting to various creative interests, ages and spiritual practices. Let us not only create that space, let us intentionally seek out and invite communities into our space. Our new Membership and Outreach staff person will definitely help with the marketing and outreach end of things, but what else can we envision for this space and how can we fill it?

Come with your ideas and let’s imagine together! I look forward to seeing many of you there and sharing our thoughts.

Best wishes for the New Year,

Diane Brown, UCV Board President.

Have you noticed – The Swamp Has Been Cleared!

Yes, it is true. Take a look at the entrance to the pre-school. Impressive new flagstones and underneath, a new drainage system. And no more alligator sightings! We also have new tenants, Vancouver Child Study Centre which precipitated major upgrades in the pre-school area of Hewett Centre and the Memorial Society (founded here at the church) is now renting from us. Both represent the kind of community organizations consistent with our mission as well as providing desirable revenue to UCV.

 

 

A Gift for Steven

To mark this, his final year as minister of the Unitarian Church of Vancouver, members of the congregation have created a book for Steven Epperson.  It contains a selection of sermons from the more than 300 Steven has delivered over his 17 years at UCV.  When one reads the book one quickly realizes it is as much a gift to us as it is to Steven.  Ah, but there’s even more to it.  Think of that loved-one or friend who asked you what Unitarian Universalism was all about.  Perhaps you gave them our famous ‘bookmark’.  Well “Life and Transcendence” is the book for the bookmark.

The cost of a copy is $20.00 and it is available from the library stall in Hewett Hall.  The proceeds go to UCV.

 

 

If you are unable to pick one up from the library, you can order your copy by clicking here.

The cost of ordering a copy is $30.00 since it includes a shipping fee.

“Red Paper” published by the Yellowhead Institute

Please join the Reconciliation Working Group’s monthly meeting on Wednesday, January 29th at 10:30 in the Family Room. . We’ll be discussing the new “Red Paper” published by the Yellowhead Institute in Oct ’19. All are welcome. For info and to RSVP, please contact Lynn Armstrong lynnbea@gmail.com or 778-835-2546.

More info about the “Red Paper”

1) Preface: https://yellowheadinstitute.org/2019/10/24/preface-landback-redpaper/
2) Full report: https://redpaper.yellowheadinstitute.org/
3) Royal Proclamation of 1763: https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/royal-proclamation-of-1763

UCV Directory of Small Groups and Committees

UCV Directory of Small Groups and Committees

Wanting to get involved with a group but not sure what’s available?  Our newly updated Directory will help you navigate our complex Unitarian community. You can find hard copies on the Welcome Tables or in the office.

If you’d like an electronic version, please contact Sheila at sresels@gmail.com