Author: Keith Wilkinson

UCV Demographics and Pledge Potential (DAPP) Report 2019

Executive Summary

In late 2018 the UCV Board asked interested volunteers to work together to provide some commentary on UCV’s demographics and pledge potential in the context of 2018-19 site development studies led by Michael Clague and Gordon Gram. Over the December 2018 to March 2019 period, a small group examined selected membership data provided by staff and began to examine other web-based resources on demographics and religious organizational trends. The resulting report provides a first analysis of data gathered and makes recommendations for the future.


  • Donations to UCV averaged $467,186 per year over the past decade excluding bequests but including capital donations. Annual variations have been sizeable. With inflation considered, the total value of donations has declined over the decade.
  • 21 bequests totaling approximately $132,000 were made to UCV over the past decade. The value varied widely year to year as did the size of the individual bequests.
  • Donations increased substantially at times when major capital improvements were being made.
  • The median donation in 2018 was $500 and the average donation was $1,041. Donations in 2018 were the lowest in a decade, totaling $375,734. However, this amount did exceed the $330,000 planned for achieving a balanced budget. A balanced budget also relied on rental and investment revenue. [**See note at bottom of page regarding 2019.]
  • A small number of donors have contributed most to the finances of UCV over the decade. In 2018 forty-two donors (12%) donated 50% of the funds and 319 donors (88%) donated the other 50%.
  • In 2018 the ten top donors (3%) donated 24% of all donations.
  • The ten top donors in 2018 were resident in eight different postal code regions of Metro Vancouver. Three of these resided in Point Grey. The others were, in alphabetical order: Dunbar-Southlands, Hillcrest, Kitsilano, New Westminster, Sunshine Coast, Victoria-Fraserview, and West End.
  • Postal codes were available for 99% of donors. Dates of birth were available for only 18% of donors.
  • Unitarian Universalist congregational membership declined approximately 21% in the USA and 19% in Canada over the period 2005-2015.

Recommendations for UCV

  1. Re-establish and animate a Legacy or Planned Giving Committee to help ensure that UCV members are giving consideration to recognizing UCV in their wills and in annual pledging. Bequests have been a significant source of funding for UCV and could grow as members of UCV age and die. Generous annual pledging is the heart of the church’s financial support.
  2. Give moderately high priority to adding birthdates to the church membership database (Breeze) to facilitate future planning for age-based services, donor planning, and ministerial transition.
  3. Continue to participate, animate, support, and celebrate the work of all Committees and Groups to foster a healthy and generous congregation. Membership and participation matter.
  4. Continue to call highly skilled professional ministers and religious educators. Churches in Canada with this feature seem to do better than those without.
  5. Thank our most generous donors.
  6. Consider asking generous donors to project their capacity to support the church in the future.

See the full 9-page report here: UCV Demographic and Pledge Potential Report – 20190308 Rev A

A site development report providing business plan options and other issues identified to date was distributed at a UCV Forum on 8 May 2019 and afterwards in the church. PDF copies of this report can be obtained by email from Gordon Gram ( or Michael Clague (

A group of congregants interested in discussing issues related to site development met as a Circle of Concern on 1 Mar 2019 and identified a number of areas needing further consideration. These issues of concern are summarized on this website here. Another forum for discussion of all three of these reports (Circle of Concern, Site Development, and Demographics and Pledge Potential) has been scheduled by the Circle of Concern for 12:30 – 2:30 pm, Sunday 26 May 2019 in the Fireside Room.


** As of mid May 2019, the average pledge by members and friends of UCV for 2019 was $2,023 per pledging unit (family or individual), and the median (middle point) pledge was $1,500 per pledging unit. Historically, pledge values have been slightly lower than actual donations. The church also has many “casual donors” who receive tax receipts for small donations. This partly accounts for the difference in value of 2019 median pledges and the 2018 median donations.

Chalice Choir in Bellingham

Notes by Leslie Hill, Pictures by Keith Wilkinson

On Sunday, February 24, 2019, Choir Director Donna Brown and twenty members of the Unitarian Church of Vancouver’s Chalice Choir met at the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship at the invitation of BUF’s choir director, Kevin Allen-Schmid. During the service we sang ‘I Dreamed of Rain’ and with the BUF choir sang ‘One Day’, an anthem to peace. In the afternoon we attended an Interfaith Coalition Music Festival. We joined choirs from eleven other faith communities, from Jewish to Catholic, Methodist to Muslim. The UCV Chalice Choir’s reprise of ‘I Dreamed of Rain’ was sandwiched between singers from the Unity Spiritual Center and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

The Interfaith Coalition Music Festival was raising money to help house the homeless in Bellingham. After every group had sung, we had a rousing sing-along with the audience, a brief and stirring address by Rev. Seth Thomas of St. James Presbyterian Church and concluded with a grand massed choir plus audience finale of ‘One Day’, featuring solos in Hebrew and Arabic.

It was an inspiring musical day and with any luck the UCV congregation will notice an additional spiritual shine on the faces of the Chalice Choir the next time we sing.

Massed choir and guests, First Congregational Church, Bellingham, WA

Chalice Choir on deck

Market Green, Fairhaven, WA

Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship Sanctuary

“It’s happening @ BUF”

Pledging Ahead! Why Do We Do It?

Most Unitarian Universalist congregations/communities/churches rely on pledges from members and friends to help them plan the year ahead. Ultimately, it’s donations, rentals, investment earnings, and bequests that pay for all of our costs, but pledging helps the board to predict revenue and to plan expenses for the year ahead, adding or subtracting services depending upon our predictable overall revenue. Donations in the form of honoured pledges is UCV’s biggest source of support, so please help your board and congregation by pledging generously. Your 2019 Canvass Committee asks you to prepare now for pledging during April!

Please watch for the Pledge Packets that will be distributed in mid-March by email to members and friends with an email address on file, and by slow mail to everyone else.

Or…donate online now! All your gifts are appreciated!

In faith,

Your UCV Canvass Committee (Cathy, Eleanor, John, Keith, Lynn)

Wanted: Delegates for the CUC AGM 11 May 2019

UCV FORUM: 17 Feb 2019 – 12:30 – 2:00 pm in Fireside Room.  Come to discuss feedback to send to Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) on motions proposed for the 2019 AGM:
1) study group for a possible 8th principle on racism, based on a UUA draft motion;
2) bylaw amendment to facilitate regional representation;
3) bylaw amendment to clarify ministers’ eligibility to participate;
4) CUC strategic priorities for 2019-20;
5) application of CPI to Annual Program Contribution (APC);
6) new basis for APC using membership numbers and annual revenue.
And—discuss UCV’s process for picking delegates for the CUC AGM.

Discussion facilitated by Keith Wilkinson, Chair, UU Connections Committee and former CUC Board member.

About the CUC AGM

Vancouver Unitarians are entitled to 7 voting delegates at the Canadian Unitarian Council Annual General Meeting to be held online from UCV 9:30 AM – 1:00 PM Saturday 11 May 2019. The UCV board approves delegates from amongst members who express interest. Delegates are entrusted to study the proposed resolutions, consider the arguments presented, and then vote in whatever way they believe would be in the interests of UCV.

If you plan to be in Toronto on 11 May you can attend the AGM in person, whether a delegate or not, at the CUC’s office at the Centre for Social Innovation 192 Spadina Ave.

An orientation for UCV delegates will be arranged between February and May 2019. If you’re a UCV member and are interested in serving the church as a delegate to the meeting of our national body, please contact
Keith Wilkinson, Chair of the UCV UU Connections Committee  or
Leonie Armstrong, UCV Board President.

Here is more information regarding the CUC AGM.

About the 2019 CUC AGM

Specific information for being a delegate

Six resolutions/motions are scheduled for debate. The UCV Forum on 17 Feb 2019 (12:45 – 2:00 pm) will provide an opportunity for members to provide feedback on these resolutions which include:

  1. Study group to review the appropriateness of an eighth CUC principle on racial justice;
  2. New method of calculating the annual program contribution (APC) for the CUC.
    The proposed method would be based on membership numbers and annual church revenue.
  3. Four other motions including approval of strategic priorities for 2019-20.

Feedback from UCV members will be submitted to the motion originators before 28 Feb 2019.

Information about 2019 resolutions here.

There will be an online Plenary Session the evening prior to the CUC AGM. Plenaries are informal ways to discuss forthcoming resolutions or other issues of interest to members across Canada. They’re typically quite fun and relaxed. The 2019 Plenary is scheduled for 4-6 pm Pacific Time, Friday 10 May 2019 via zoom in a UCV room TBA, and possibly online from any location.

8 Feb 2019 Update 

Asha Philar, CUC Congregational Life Team – Youth and Young Adult Ministry Specialist advises as follows:

“After consultation and discussion with religious professionals, advisors, youth and parents, we have decided to change the age range of our national youth conference, CanUUdle, from 14-20 to 13-19. We feel that this is more in line with the age range of youth groups in our congregations and will allow more youth to participate. 2019 will be a pilot year, so we will evaluate the change after CanUUdle in May.

CanUUdle registration is open from February 15 to April 30 on the CUC website We hope you will promote this wonderful event to youth in your congregation!”

(This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA-NC and made available courtesy of UUYO Youngstown Ohio and used with thanks!)


Inspiration and Resistance for Global Citizens in 2019 and Beyond

The seventh Unitarian Universalist principle calls us to affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. When human and other life is so critically threatened by human-induced climate change and kleptocracy as it is now, it is even more important that we find ways to affirm life. Following are some links to a few inspiring books, films, and podcasts to help us remember that our efforts toward environmental protection, climate change mitigation, and opposition to tyranny matter, and, collectively will make a difference. (All of the podcasts are accessible through iTunes and the Apple podcast app.)

CBC Tapestry podcast: “Finding Hope in the Climate Crisis”- 4 Jan 2019. Link. Excerpts from the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Toronto. The podcast features comments by Margaret Atwood and Vandana Shiva. Host: Mary Hynes. Related Film: The Seeds of Vandana Shiva. Trailer.

CBC Front Burner podcast: “China’s plans to dominate space” – 7 Jan 2019. Features comments by Namrata Goswami about China’s very long range plans to secure resources from beyond the earth to sustain their culture. Host Jayme Poisson. Link.

Slate’s Live at Politics and Prose – podcast link: YouTube Video.

“Timothy Snyder, On Tyranny: Twenty lessons from the twentieth century.” 9 Mar 2017 – Published just after the election of Donald Trump as 45th President of the USA, Snyder succinctly alerts readers and listeners on strategies for resisting tyranny. Two years old now, this book and podcast ring truer than ever. The Youtube version shows the lively nature of this bookstore and we get to see the people asking the questions. Snyder also has a more recent book “The Road to Unfreedom”. Both books are available from the Vancouver Public Library.

Slate’s Live at Politics and Prosepodcast – Sarah Kendzior “The View From Flyover Country.”

A series of essays originally published in Al Jazeera English on the rise of oligarchy in the USA and globally based on Kendzior’s experience as a reporter and scholar on Western Asian autocracies.

Gaslit Nation – podcast – Sarah Kendzior and Andrea Chalupa host a very hard-hitting, no holds barred commentary against oligarchies.

 And…Gaslit Nation has one of the best-ever graphic images. Image source.

The UrbanDictionary defines “Gaslighting” as “A form of intimidation or psychological abuse, sometimes called Ambient Abuse where false information is presented to the victim, making them doubt their own memory, perception and quite often, their sanity.

USC Canada – Like Vandana Shiva, USC Canada (formerly the Unitarian Service Committee) is a Canadian Charity that is strategically focusing its work on building resilience through ecological agriculture, and especially through global seed security and diversity. Link.

Canadian UU Winter Highlights – 1 Dec 2018

CUC December eNewsThe CUC Enews is getting better and better, (19 pages in this issue!)

In January 2019 it will be coming out weekly, so be sure to subscribe! (See bottom of CUC Homepage.)

Ontario – selected UU winter/spring lineup…

Livestream on YouTube Most Sundays, 7:30 AM Pacific time, First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto complete worship service. [And afterwards you can attend a live service with a BC congregation!]

30th Annual Midwinter Retreat 1-3 Feb 2019 – “Connecting our Stories.” YMCA Cedar Glen Retreat Centre, Bolton, ON — in case you’re planning to be in the area.

Mindful Journey to Northern Vietnam and Angkor Wat – 15-27 March 2019. Led by Rev. Wayne Walder, Minister of Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Toronto.

First Light – First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto weekly newsletter. Subscribe!

Saskatoon Unitarians ?



North Shore?

UU Community in Europe 2019

Berlin 2019, York, Global Social Justice initiatives…

Join this gathering in Berlin!

European Unitarians Together (EUT) – Retreat in Berlin, 7-10 June 2019

  • “EUT 2019 is a 4-day retreat and conference centered about the theme:

Vielfalt – Würze des Lebens? Variety – Spice of life?

  • We intend to explore the many faces of diversity: its challenges, its benefits and its potential for a better Europe. The event will be simultaneously interpreted into at least English and German.”

Past EUT Retreats (1983 – 2018)

Or visit one of these congregations 

  • Great Britain  170-180  congregations, from Aberdare to York


UU community elsewhere on the globe…in case you’re traveling (by sail boat, of course)

Some national UU social justice actions you can join

  • Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice – CUSJ is active on a wide range of social justice issues. Past action areas have included democracy, climate change, environment, peace, health, human rights, criminal justice, and more. And you can keep helping out in these areas.  Check out CUSJ current action areas and the CUSJ Archives of past actions.
  • CUC National Social Justice Teamemail: Erin Horvath, CUC Social Justice Lead Bringing together under one umbrella UUs across Canada who have been active in the CUC’s various Monitoring Groups (e.g., criminal justice, environment, racial justice, affordable housing…)

And if you’re traveling by social media…

The Rise and Fall of Unitarianism in America – YouTube Video 17 mins
Published 11 Oct 2018 by The Cynical Historian

And lest we forget – red and white poppies for remembrance and peace everywhere:

Angel of Mercy – Vancouver’s Downtown East Side, photo K Wilkinson


CUC eNews November 2018

Highlights: New CUC Youth Observer, Board brainstorming using De Bono’s “Six Thinking Hats”, “Shining Lights” and special CUC Funding Programs, CUC Liaison role revived, Young Adults monthly zoom get together, other Roundtables & Webinars…

Download the CUC eNews from the communications page on the CUC website.

Subscribe to the eNews here

Articles include:
• Update from the Board President – Read about the September board & staff retreat held in Guelph, ON.
• New Youth Observer to the CUC Board (YOB) – Meet Liv Gardiner, our new YOB!

Liv writes: “I’m 19 years old, and am from Winnipeg, where I
attended the First UU Church of Winnipeg for 14 years. I’m in my
first year of University at Dalhousie in Halifax…”

• 2019 Annual General Meeting (AGM)  The upcoming AGM is scheduled for May 11, 2019, and will be hosted by the Unitarian Congregation of Mississauga. Review information about submitting motions.
• Planning for the AGM – Tips for delegate selection (due by April 1). Learn how to register your delegates.
• CUC Liaison Role Revived – The CUC Liaison is the bridge between your congregation and the CUC. Read about their responsibilities. (Currently at UCV this is Keith Wilkinson with help from Lynn Armstrong, Emilie Adin, Olivia Hall, Kiersten Moore, and Neal Cameron. Contact Keith if you’d like to help out.)
• Canada and Cannabis – The CUC has a long history of advocacy for the legalization of marijuana reaching back to the 1960s.
• International News – The International Women’s Convocation Fall 2018 newsletter is available now.
• News from Our Congregations – The Westwood Unitarian Congregation has become Canada’s First FreeThinker Friendly UU congregation.
• Shining Lights – The deadline for the 2019 Shining Lights nominations is coming up on December 15.
• Stories from the Nominees for the 2018 Shining Light Award – Learn more about Community Conversations at the Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough.
• Grants and Subsidies – The CUC manages a variety of grants and subsidies to support congregational outreach, innovation, and seminarians.
• Job and Volunteer Opportunities – Openings are available for CanUUdle staff, Unicamp is looking for a new Executive Director, and the First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo is searching for a part-time consulting minister.
• Upcoming Events – Besides our CUC roundtables and webinars, the Eastern Regional Fall Gathering is happening on November 17. Register now!

• Gathered Here – A new program of monthly zoom chats for young adults

 2018 – November 12, December 10
2019 – January 14, February 11, March 11, April 8, May 6, June 10, July 8, August 12.

• Organizational Tip – Check out the advantages of role-specific email addresses for leaders.
• Contact Us – A full listing of CUC Board and Staff contact information.

If you have information you would like to contribute or are interested in writing an article for the eNews, please

Canadian UU Events: Fall 2018, Spring 2019

Upcoming UU regional, national and international action:
– Referendum on BC Electoral Reform, before 30 Nov;
– CUC AGM, 11 May 2019 in Toronto;
– BC Interior UU Spring Gathering – “Creating Theology Together”, date & location TBA

CUC 2019 Annual General Meeting – Sat 11 May 2019 (weekend before the long weekend), online and live from Toronto. Participate online — being easy on the environment is part of the plan!

We suggest pre-reading and discussion in the fall of 2018 on this topic:     

Proportional Representation: Assessment of alternative models” – What national, regional, congregational, and individual action plans can we create in support of proportional representation? CUC may propose actions for approval under democracy resolutions endorsed by members at the 2013, 2005 and 2003 AGMs. Therefore, prepare early!

The Vancouver Westside Unitarian Neighbourhood Group (WUNG) discussed this topic at its October 2018 meeting. Here are some links related to those discussions.

“The Rural-Urban PR model proposed by the Attorney General for BC builds on the work of previous commissions and assemblies, combining Mixed Member Proportional and Single Transferable Vote to meet the challenges of BC’s geography. A model like this was proposed federally in 2016 by Canada’s former Chief Electoral Officer Jean-Pierre Kingsley, and something very similar to this is used in Sweden, Denmark and Iceland.”

BC Interior UU Spring Gathering 2019 – Joan Carolyn, Congregational Life Staff Team – Regional Lead, Western & B.C. will be leading discussions with a planning group for a BC Interior UU gathering on the theme “Creating Theology Together”.

Here’s a link to the research behind this theme, a work by John Morehouse, 2015.

CUC 2020 Annual General Meeting & Conference, 15-17 May 2020, online & live from Halifax. Plan ahead! Put it in your calendar now. Reduce carbon emissions! Take the train or drive an electric or hybrid vehicle. Participate online! Compare stones from West and East coast beaches!

Beach stones – natural
Beach stones – enhanced