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Mark your calendar: Candidating Week at UCV April 23-30

Candidating Week at UCV: April 23 to 30

This is an opportunity for everyone to meet our Candidate for Settled Ministry, and to have conversations in various contexts. Guided by our Covenant, please enjoy and engage with each other and Rev. Shawn, exercising curiousity, active listening, and the expression of concerns, hopes and dreams! Some events are online and some events are live on campus to maximize accessibility. We invite you all to be a part of these important conversations about our future, and to do so with open hearts and minds. This is our time, UCV, so let’s come together and celebrate, share, and commune as the multi-faceted and deeply committed community that we are.

What are we voting on come April 30?

During candidating week, members are voting on:

  • what is best for the whole congregation
  • They are not voting on:
    • whether individuals think they would have chosen the candidate who was identified by the search committee on their own, given what they know about the congregation;
    • whether individuals think, based on two sermons, every sermon the candidate preaches will or will not speak perfectly to the hearts and minds of every single member every single time;
    • whether there might be a better match out there somewhere;
    • whether the candidate is the perfect minister. Ministers come with different skills in worship arts, pastoral care, administrative/organizational work, and social witness presence. No minister will have a high level of skill or interest in ALL of those elements of the ministry. The shared ministry of the congregation will and should shift with the skills and interests of the new minister;
    • what is best for a particular individual within the congregation.

IPA Corner: A blossoming of cultural connections this Spring!

IPA stands for IBPOC Plus ALLIES while IBPOC stands for Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour. Welcome to IPA Corner, a new regular feature written by the IPA team which will appear on our website and in UCV’s monthly E-Bulletin with updates about our events and the work we are doing at UCV. 

March was a very busy month for the IPA team with several great events which helped foster cultural connections, leading to greater understanding of IBPOC experiences and promotion of healthy relations. 


Appreciating IBPOC visual cultures with IPA with Gerta Moray

On March 2, a group from UCV visited two shows that revealed the continuities in First Nations cultures in BC. The Bill Reid Gallery show ranged from recordings of Kwakwaka-wakw ceremonial songs made in the 1940s, to Bill Reid’s renewal of carving techniques, and a selection of paintings by a new generation of Indigenous artists who combine contemporary art approaches with their traditional roots.

At the VAG we saw the retrospective of Robert Davidson, who started by studying with Bill Reid and then transformed stylized Haida forms into contemplative abstract paintings laced with humour and ecological comment. Future art tours will continue to link us to the vibrant production of BIPOC artists showcased in Vancouver.


IPA takes part in Hobiyee

Hoobiyee is an annual event celebrating the Nisga’a New Year held at Vancouver’s PNE Forum featuring Indigenous dance groups from across BC.

The Lower Mainland version of the event is put on by the Nisga’a Ts’amiks Vancouver Society. A similar event takes place in northern BC around the same time of the year, in the Nisga’a Nation’s traditional territory.

First Nations from across the province attend Hoobiyee. Participating dancers in recent years included groups from the Gitxsan Nation (in the Skeena region of Northern BC), the local Skwxwu7mesh (Squamish) Nation, Ts’msyen (from northern coastal BC), Lil’wat (from just north of Whistler) and Xaadas (from Haida Gwaii).

Members of the IPA attended and took in the numerous dance performances as well as drumming and singing, and the market area where dozens of community organizations and vendors had informational literature and beautiful Indigenous art, jewellery, clothing and other artisan goods for sale. We also sampled dishes from the numerous food trucks serving delicious food including bannock or fry bread “tacos”! 

The event was greatly enjoyed by all and we were very grateful to have this opportunity to witness the generosity and cultural pride of the Nisga’a people. We plan to make this an annual event going forward so plan to join us next year!


Saturday March 4: Messy Church Coffeehouse-style Open Mic and Potluck

This was the first time for IPA to co-host Messy Church, open mic/talent (or no talent) performance, on Saturday March 4th. We contributed to the programs, and enjoyed a lively and very fun intercultural/intergenerational evening. It all started with a potluck, and great chats sitting around the round tables.

The evening program consisted of guitar country music by John Perry, piano and concertina duets by Mei Jia and Catherine Hembling; book reading by Diana Ng (Walking the Labyrinth); and the popular Chinese folk song “Jasmine Flower” sung in Chinese and English by the trio of Nan, Catherine H and Mei Jia; Elizabeth Dunn was leading a rousing sing along, a cappella style! Plus Nan’s story telling of the Japanese legend of rabbit in the moon.

We also thoroughly enjoyed the performance by the youth which were so fun and entertaining.

Messy Church on March 4th, 2023. Photo by Diane Brown.



Second Annual Cherry Blossom Day, Second try.

Hardy Blossom Watchers! Join us after the service on Easter Sunday, April 9th for our second try at our Second Annual Cherry Blossom Walk.

Bring umbrellas. Gather in Hewett Hall. Drink something warm. Eat your lunch or a snack.

After a short ceremony of thanks to the Staff for a year of stellar support for IPA at12:30, we’ll head out into whatever-the-weather to Tisdall Park to commune with all new life wishing for warmth and the sun’s blessing.


May is Asian Heritage Month

Please come to the IPA-led service at UCV on Sunday, May 21. We are also working on a video in honour of the IPA’s 1st anniversary which will be shown in the services in May leading up to May 21.

Results of the IPA questionnaire. A BIG THANK YOU to all who shared their thoughts in the congregational questionnaire. The feedback received was overwhelmingly positive. We compiled and are discussing how to incorporate the feedback into our upcoming programs this year. 


Introducing Rev. Shawn Gauthier, candidate for Settled Minister at UCV

After nearly a year of weekly meetings, cottage meetings, interviews, surveys, reading Ministerial packages, conducting interviews, and traveling to a neutral pulpit, the Search Committee are thrilled to announce that we have found a candidate for our next Settled Minister.

The Rev. Shawn Gauthier (formerly Newton) brings over 30 years of experience working in various staff roles in churches in both Canada and the USA. For the past 16 years, he has served as Senior Minister of the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto.

During his time at First Unitarian, he oversaw a large-scale project in which the church moved locations during a complex, multi-year process. More information on Rev. Gauthier’s extensive work experience can be found here:

The Ministerial Search Committee are energized and excited by Rev. Gauthier’s approach to ministry and worship, and by his deep roots in Unitarian Universalism. He is a gifted speaker with intellectual depth and a great deal of emotional and spiritual intelligence. He is known for being collegial, giving inspiring and uplifting sermons, and working well across all areas of church life. He is also dedicated to social justice, and is warm and approachable with his pastoral care.  

It is our belief that Rev. Shawn Gauthier exemplifies the qualities that our congregation is looking for in a new Settled Minister.  

We look forward to welcoming Rev. Shawn to our campus for Candidating Week, between Apr 23, 2023 and Apr 30, 2023. Stay tuned for more updates from your Ministerial Search Committee and the UCV Board of Trustees.

As always, if you have any questions, please contact [email protected].



A message from Rev. Shawn Gauthier

Dear Vancouver Unitarians,

I am absolutely thrilled to be named as your Candidate for Settled Minister!

It has been a wonderful journey of discovery over these past few months, coming to know UCV through the thoughtful reflections of your Search Committee, in extended conversations with Rev. Steven and Rev. Lara, by reading reams of written materials, and while watching hours and hours of your online worship services, forums, and congregational meetings.  

I am deeply impressed by the depth of your commitment to UCV and to the work of building up a better world. I am moved by the myriad ways you respond to the call of justice. I am inspired by the ways you worship and strive to strengthen the fabric of community at UCV and beyond. In sum, I believe your sense of shared ministry aligns closely with my own. And I feel energized at the thought of the great and life-giving ministry we could undertake together in the years to come.

So, it is with excitement, humility, and gratitude, that I look forward to the time we will share in just a few weeks to explore the possibility of journeying with one another into the future.

Warmest regards,



For a detailed calendar of events and meeting during Candidating Week, please go to our events calendar. 

It’s Canvass season at UCV!

It’s spring and the annual April Canvass is about to unfold. Before we can plan our budget for the upcoming fiscal year (July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024), we need to know what you think you can contribute. Please take some time to read the documents in this Pledge Packet to help you decide.

Pledges may be submitted online or directly to the office via email, Canada Post, personal drop-off, or into the Pledging Box after Sunday Services April 2, 9, 16 and 23 in the Hewett Centre main hall. (So many options!)

Your pledge may be changed at any time by notifying the bookkeeper.

The Pledge Packet documents include:

1) Stewardship letter from the Board of Trustees

2) Canvass Brochure 2023

3) A Guide to Pledging at UCV

4) A Glance at UCV’s Financial Picture

5) Pre-authorized Debit Agreement

6) Pledge Form and Payment Options

Express Option  if you are too busy to read everything right now: Just click straight to #6 and make a generous pledge!

If you aren’t sure what you pledged last year, you can check through Breeze. Click “My Profile” on the More tab, then “Giving” on the left menu. If you don’t already have access to your Breeze account, just contact Derrick, our Membership/Outreach Coordinator, at moc[at]vancouverunitarians[dot]ca.

With deep gratitude from this year’s Canvass Team, your Board of Trustees.

If you have any questions about the Canvass, please contact one of the following people:

Cheryl Amundsen <amundsencheryl[at]gmail[dot]com>

Lynn Armstrong <lynnbea[at]gmail[dot]com>

Karen Bartlett <karen[dot]bartlett[at]>

Sunday Volunteer Opportunities

Now that we’re back together in-person on Sundays, we’re on the lookout for new volunteers to help everything run smoothly and to provide a welcoming environment for newcomers. Volunteering on Sundays is a great way to get to know more people in our community! Email Derrick at [email protected] if you’d like to volunteer. Training and orientation will be provided. Here are a few of our current Sunday volunteer opportunities:

  • *New*: Library helpers needed! Come and join the friendly folks in our library, that enables us to find and borrow books on Unitarian Universalism, on our Sources, and on issues that we care about such as Reconciliation, Environment and Social Justice. We need volunteers to help with a variety of tasks – signing out books during our Sunday open hour (12:00-1:00 pm), placing labels on books and shelf sections, selecting books that match the service themes, and organizing our notice boards. This is a great way to meet people and learn more about Unitarianism.
  • Volunteers are needed every Sunday to help with set-up and clean-up of Coffee Hour.  We’re looking to fill up our volunteer roster for set-up of coffee service (11:30 a.m. to Noon) and clean-up (roughly 12:45 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.). Can you help out one Sunday a month? Let us know which Sunday works best for you!
  • Greeters and ushers needed! What better way to meet people than to greet them at the Sanctuary doors on Sundays…Greeters and ushers welcome people on Sundays, hand out Orders of Service, and are available to answer questions from newcomers. Can you help out as a greeter one Sunday a month? Let us know which Sunday works best for you!

Join us for Starting Point, an introduction to UCV for newcomers – Sunday, Feb. 12

Starting Point is a great way to get to know the Vancouver Unitarians, and to find out how you might get more involved in our welcoming community. Starting Point is an orientation session offered for people new to UCV and for members who would like to deepen their understanding of Unitarianism.

There are still a few spaces available! Sign up here to begin the next phase of your spiritual journey and to get more involved in the Vancouver Unitarian community. The session will take place Sunday Feb. 12th after Coffee Hour, 1pm to 5pm – light snacks and refreshments provided!

What you’ll get from attending Starting Point – an orientation to UCV

  • Gives you a great opportunity to learn, or learn again, about the Unitarian faith
  • Lets you meet other newcomers
  • Gets you connected with the Membership Committee
  • Gives us the opportunity to introduce you to our minister

At this orientation session, you will learn about:

  • Unitarian history and values
  • Our congregation’s history and how Vancouver Unitarians worship, teach, serve and work
  • How you can become involved

Anyone simply wishing to know more is welcome to attend as well.

Sign up to confirm your attendance here.

What’s in a name? Update from the WDWCO task force

November’s Bulletin report explained how ranked polling works as a democratic method of selecting the most popular choice from several options. This report is an update on considerations for choosing the favourite alternative name to ‘Church’ for the second and final vote. We have compiled a list of the popular names suggested during the January 2020 Forum, and this year, 2022, from the June Survey, September 18 and October 16 Forums, and emails and verbal recommendations over the years.

In January you will have the opportunity to rank your preferences for an alternative name on an online poll. The next and final vote will be between the most popular alternative name and the Unitarian Church of Vancouver.

Many have been disappointed to learn that the current version of the BC Societies Act expects the corporate suffix of either Church or Society for us to retain our charitable status. Our legal counsel informed us that exceptions are unlikely; however, we are seeking advice on costs and likelihood of successful application for a legal name without ‘church’ or ‘society’ as part of it. Most favoured names according to the results of the June 2022 Survey were Vancouver Unitarians, and Unitarian Community of Vancouver.

Whether our name should include ‘Universalist’ has emerged recently as a big question. It is also potentially divisive. We have members who strongly object to this and others who believe that this is who we are now.

Our shared values and diverse beliefs may be somewhat mixed up these days, which is inevitable within our progressive and liberal faith. It makes decisions about our name complicated!

WDWCO Task Force

[email protected]

Fair voting explained: Update from the What Do We Call Ourselves Task Force

Our name is important to most of us as an essential aspect of our identity. Being Unitarians, we have diverse beliefs about what name best represents us and is sufficiently inclusive of our members and future ones. Consensus is an ideal that is also not easy to achieve in this case. Next best is a fair, comprehensive and democratic process of voting.

There will be two votes. The first one will be to rank the many popular suggestions for the potential alternate name to Church. Thanks to a great ranked polling platform that our Techies have found, the most popular name will become the contender for the next and final vote between it and the Unitarian Church of Vancouver.

Not everyone is ‘whatever’ about our name and the process of choosing a name we can all live with, which may be the one we already have, will take time. We hope to have the ranked polling platform for the alternative name online this month or by December. The final vote will most likely not happen until the new year.

Please look at the sample of how ranked polling works.





We will need to determine what percentage of members will constitute a representative vote.

And what percentage is needed to declare one option a winner. This may be different from a simple majority.

The Board of Directors is the elected decision-making body and will determine the percentage to be used for voting, referencing the by-laws for Special Resolutions.



Multiple names have been suggested by engaged members of the congregation.

A survey was conducted in June 2022 polling over 100 congregations about their opinions regarding what we call ourselves. The most popular names from the poll will be listed on the ballot.


SAMPLE BALLOT using fruit for explanation


Rank any number of options in your order of preference.

Apples                         4

Bananas                      2

Oranges                      1

Grapes                        3



Apples                         10%

Bananas                      30%

Oranges                      35%

Grapes                        25%



Eliminate the name with the fewest votes, Apples.  Redistribute votes. Voters whose #1 choice was Apples will move to their  #2 choice. It now becomes their #1 choice. Depending on where these votes go, if equally distributed to Bananas, Oranges and Grapes, we now have the following percentages.

Bananas                      38 %

Oranges                       36 %

Grapes                        26 %


Eliminate the name with the fewest votes, Grapes. Voters whose #1 choice was Grapes will move to their next choice. Bananas passes the minimum threshold of greater than 50%. This would happen if most ‘Grape’ voters threw their next choice to ‘Bananas’ thus allowing it to surpass ‘Oranges.’

Bananas                      52 %

Oranges                      48 %




Members: Please get your surveys in!

If you are a UCV member in good standing, you should have received an email with a congregational survey from the Ministerial Search Committee. Your completion of this survey is essential for gathering specific information required for the search process — about our community and about what you are looking for, and perhaps more importantly, what the congregation needs, in a new settled minister. Answers to these questions will help enrich the information that your Ministerial Search Committee shares with ministerial candidates. If you are a UCV member in good standing and have not received the survey by email, check your junk or spam folder for a message from [email protected]. Deadline for completion of the survey is Nov. 6th.