Author: Rob Dainow

Ministerial Transition Team Update for Feb. 2021

The Ministerial Transition Team (MTT) supports our ministerial transition process with guidance from Reverend Lara, our interim minister. We support this transition with regular updates on where we are, how we are doing, what we are learning, and where we are going. This is our monthly update. 

January has been a transitional month in our ministerial transition. We continue to build our online history wall – UCV Stories. We have shared a few short video presentations, one based on the Members section and one based on the Environment section of the UCV Stories online wall. We will share a few more of these video visits to UCV Stories in February. We invite all congregants to look at UCV Stories themselves and to share your own stories from your life in this community. 

In February we will also continue to explore some of our visions for a future UCV. Several congregants have already shared short videos to describe their visions of their future UCV:

  • Lynn Armstrong envisioned live weddings from our exquisite and well-equipped livestreaming sanctuary; 
  • Noella and Cohen Prescod looked forward to both in-person and live-streamed services so that those who cannot join in person can still attend our services; 
  • Rob Dainow imagined a UCV community that includes new people who have ‘discovered’ us since we began to live-stream services in 2020; 
  • Olivia Hall envisioned how we can live our faith by embodying / practising our Unitarian values and principles in every decision we make and in every action we take; 
  • Thora Gislason imagined regular testimonials from members about their own spiritual path – how they came to Unitarianism and to UCV, where they find meaning in their spiritual lives, how they live their faith; 
  • Diane Brown described her hope that we will become a diverse spiritual, cultural, and social activism hub – a destination for people to practise these things together and to support each other.

Let us know if you want to share what you hope to see in our congregational future. 

The MTT in January reviewed and forwarded to the Board reports from Task Forces on Organizational Design, Long Term Staffing Needs, and Youth Engagement. A new task force on Congregational Decision Making (CDM) will begin its work during February. All five CDM task force members chose to enrol and participate in a Convergent Facilitation course as they begin their work together.

The MTT will join Reverend Lara at the Feb. 28 service to share with you what we have learned and discerned from working on the Congregational History Wall project.

Lots to do in February! All aboard!

from Transition Team, Rob Dainow, Chair

January, 2021 – Imagining The Future For UCV

We are travelling the “road ahead”, our ministerial transition. We have made great progress on our first developmental/transition task, “Coming to terms with history”, and we continue to build our history wall. Please visit or revisit UCV Stories to discover our past and to add your own memories and stories.

We begin our second transition task this month – “Discovering a new identity”. The UUA’s Janus Workbook, created to support ministerial transitions, describes this second transition task as “Illuminating the congregation’s unique identity, its strengths, its needs, and its challenges”. Simply put, it is time to imagine the future we want to become, to stretch ourselves, to look into our crystal balls, and to use our imaginations to reshape our reality and transform UCV into the congregation we dream to be. Our imaginations are the magic that will get us there.

Our Soul Matters theme for January is “Imagination”, and Reverend Lara explains in her January 2021 In the Interim that we will explore imagination in various ways during this month. Unleashing our imaginations will help our Vancouver Unitarians world come alive – an exciting step in our “road ahead”!

from Transition Team, Rob Dainow, Chair

 

Vancouver Unitarians Join Sept 27 Global Climate Strike


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Above: Vancouver Unitarians join thousands at Global Climate strike, Sept 27, 2019

An estimated 100,000 people, including Unitarians from all four Greater Vancouver congregations, rallied at Vancouver City Hall for the September 27th Global Climate Strike

Unitarians from all four Greater Vancouver congregations – including three Unitarian ministers – gathered under the Vancouver Unitarians banner at the start of the Global Climate Strike in Vancouver on September.

The event was organized by students and we proudly joined with 10s of thousands of them to fill the length of Cambie Street on our way through downtown Vancouver to the CBC building at West Georgia and Hamilton streets.

It was exhilarating – and reassuring – to be a part of this massive mobilization of Canadians. Police estimated that 100,000 people participated – perhaps the largest march ever in Vancouver.

Would you like to join us for future rallies, marches and activities? Learn more about our team here or contact us by Email

Many tens of thousands gathered for the Global Climate Strike at Vancouver City Hall September 27, 2019


Youth Taking Action with Rallies for CBC Leaders’ Debate on Climate

Above: Vancouver Unitarians standing with youths leading the July 17 rally calling for a CBC federal leaders’ debate on climate and the Green New Deal

Vancouver Unitarians rallied once again in support of climate justice. This time it was on July 17 at CBC Vancouver.

The rally was organized by Our Time, a national campaign of young people, in order to push the CBC to broadcast a federal leaders’ debate focused on climate change and a Green New Deal for Canada.

What would a Green New Deal for Canada look like?

A cohort of over 30 young persons led the rally with speeches, songs, and cheers. We were several hundred in Vancouver and we were joined by many hundreds more in over 20 cities across Canada. We were proud to stand with these committed and inspiring young people.


A Green New Deal for All – Cross Canada Tour in Vancouver

At least ten Vancouver Unitarians were among the 350 person sell-out crowd on June 21 at the Canadian Memorial Church to participate in the Vancouver stop of the Green New Deal for All cross-Canada tour.

All the presenters were passionate, well informed, and inspiring. It was a great event, part of the grass roots movement that started with over 150 town hall meetings across Canada – including a full house event with about 100 people at UCV on May 24.

Support for the Green New Deal (GND) is rising up across this country with the intention to become a powerful voice in the coming federal election.

The entire Green New Deal for All event was video taped and posted online, or you can watch it below. The table shows the time for each presentation to help you navigate through this nearly 3 hour long video.

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Redevelopment? Circle of Concerns Workshop

About 40-45 people attended the Circle of Concerns Workshop after the service on May 2, 2019 to share and explore their questions and concerns about the current UCV site redevelopment project.

This workshop was a followup event to the March 31 Listening Circle forum where at least 35 congregants gathered to share their questions and concerns. Issues raised at this fell into eight categories. There was considerable support at the forum for a followup workshop to extend this conversation to include more congregants and to explore the concerns and issues in more depth. (See http://tinyurl.com/y65th8hn for more information about the Listening Circle event; you can find the 3-page report from that meeting here: Mar31 Sharing Circle report.

The May 2 Circle of Concerns Workshop is the followup to the March 31 Listening Circle forum.
The intent of all these activities is bring new voices to the redevelopment conversation. There is no intent or desire to create divisions or dissensions; on the contrary, we believe that we will make better decisions when we include all voices.

Here is a summary of the notes from the Circle of Concerns Workshop. (You can get an electronic copy of the full notes here: May 26 Circle of Concern minutes.)

Top 3 concerns

Participants at the Circle of Concerns Workshop identified their top 3 areas of concern from the 8 categories identified in the March 31 Listening Circle forum, with these results:

Concern

Weighted votes

Timing

59

Existential Threats

53

Vision

41

Ability to Complete

15

Site redevelopment

14

Affordable housing

13

During construction

9

Design elements

2

No concerns

0

 

Groups were formed to discuss the top 3 concerns.
Here are some selected comments from these discussions:

Timing

  • The combination of an interim minister and temporary meeting places in trailers will lead to losing congregants and it will harder to attract new people. It will be very hard to maintain our regular activities and social events. The timing sucks!
  • Everyone in this group felt very strongly that it is essential to have the new settled minister in place before undertaking redevelopment. It will be a recipe for disaster if we do not have strong leadership.
  • We will limit the number and perhaps quality of ministerial candidates if a redevelopment project is a front issue for the new minister. It will be a threat to the very existence of the church if we cannot get a satisfactory new minister.
  • Proceeding with redevelopment under these circumstances can create a lot of stress and can lead to an antagonistic, divisive, destructive atmosphere.
  • We should not see our current exploration of redevelopment as a failure if we do not proceed with it.

Vision

  • The vision is the base – we should start with a vision.
  • We need a formal statement of how this project will exemplify our UU values.
  • A compelling vision would have housing affordability and environmental concerns built in; the current design doesn’t reflect our ideals because the social and environmental benefits are modest.
  • We have a chance to make an architectural statement; need more imagination – invite artists and architects to come talk to us.
  • Landlording is a nightmare – and UCV would be at least indirectly in that role. Would we trust a management company to go by our values? Where do we stand in a tenant-landlord issue? How much would we intervene? How much Board involvement would there be?

Existential Threats

  • Do we have the volunteer capacity to carry out this project?
  • How will we get new members during the construction period (2-3 years)?
  • Will our younger congregants be able to sustain this project financially?
  • How do we continue ‘doing church’ during construction (2-3 years)?
  • We are muddling through financially and are kind of sustainable now, so may be wiser to not launch a redevelopment project now, but to instead focus on growing our membership.

How would you vote today?

Workshop participants were asked during the last part of the workshop to indicate on a spectrum of choices what their position is today with regard to the redevelopment project. The following table summarizes their responses.

No.

%

1*

1%

Will likely approve redevelopment project as is or with minor changes.
Will approve only if (check any and all that apply)

13

18%

It is clear that the project fits our values and vision.

13

18%

The project is delayed until we have a new settled minister.

9

13%

Environmental considerations are given higher priority.

8

11%

The design of the building is significantly changed.

8

11%

Can stay on campus and use sanctuary during construction (acceptable washrooms).

4

6%

Possible to create truly affordable housing and still have significant return to UCV.

4

6%

Members step u to volunteer to liaise with developers.

4

6%

Other methods to improve finances are unsuccessful.

2

3%

Hewett Hall is not destroyed. The new building is built elsewhere on campus.

6

8%

Will almost certainly not approve.

72

101%

* maybe

Next steps

  • Hold an open meeting monthly, with chairs in a circle to encourage equal participation.
  • Get input from others who have done similar projects.
  • Who would live here? Survey Vancouver Unitarians to see how many would rent or buy (co-housing)?

Irreparable Harm?


Irreparable Harm?

A Documentary Theatre Production on the BC Supreme Court Trial

230 People Arrested for Protesting TMX


Above: Mairy Beam — Author, Playwrite and Theatre Director found guilty of criminal contempt for protesting TMX

Above: Councillor Jean Swanson gets arrested. Jean represents COPE on Vancouver City Council. She is an anti-poverty activist and a recipient of the Order of Canada (Photo by Tzeporah Berman

Update from Mairy Beam

Mairy was arrested at the Kinder Morgan Burnaby Tank Farm gates on August 24, 2018, found guilty by Judge Affleck on Dec 5, 2018 and sentenced to serve 28 days of house arrest and 125 hours of community service.

Did the protesters at the Trans Mountain facilities in Burnaby cause irreparable harm to Kinder Morgan, one of the largest energy infrastructure companies in North America, by delaying a few trucks for a few minutes on a few days in 2018? That’s what the BC Supreme Court believes. That’s why there’s an injunction barring anyone from coming within five metres of any site owned by Trans Mountain Pipeline. The 230 people who were arrested in 2018 for breaking that injunction have a different opinion as to who is causing irreparable harm to whom.

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REDEVELOPMENT?? Update and next step

 

A small group of congregants who felt that their views, and perhaps the views of other congregants, were not clearly reflected in the current UCV redevelopment process and plans met together on March 1 to share their questions and concerns. They identified over 15 concerns and wondered how many others in the congregation had similar questions or concerns. The result was the Listening Circle forum after the March 31 service.

At least thirty-five people attended this Listening Circle forum. Some oppose the redevelopment project, but most are undecided and have some concerns or ambivalence about the current redevelopment project and process. At least five did not express any concerns about the project and several expressed confidence in the current redevelopment process and the redevelopment team.

The 3 page report from this Sharing Circle, based on the flipchart notes from the forum, identified eight categories of concerns that meeting participants shared. This report was presented first to the Board and then to the Redevelopment Committee. It is now being shared with the full congregation. You can get an electronic copy here [Mar31 Sharing Circle report], or a printed copy in the foyer of the sanctuary at Sunday services on May 12, 19, or 26, or in the office.

There was considerable support at the March 31 forum for a followup workshop to extend this conversation to include more congregants and to explore the concerns and issues in more depth. The Board supports this followup workshop.

Please join us in the Fireside room on Sunday, May 26 from 12:30 to 2:30 pm at a Site Redevelopment Circle of Concern Workshop to share any issues or concerns you have about the current redevelopment project and process and to explore these issues and concerns in more depth. If you cannot attend on May 26 but still want to be heard, please send your comments to Rob Dainow at rdainow@gmail.com or (604) 523-0123.

Why I Love Transit


image

Why do I love transit?
by Mary Lage

single quote

It all goes back to my little red wagon and the joy of my body being powered by a force other than my own. With the wind in my hair I watched the world go by with a singular focus as my father pulled my weight with ease. When I board a bus or the skytrain I feel that wonder; the power of the wheel, the forward momentum, the ease of movement. I am a spectator of the world.

Sometimes I read or listen to music while riding. I have even been known to wear a headlamp for long rides at night in order to read in the dim light of the bus. If I am with someone we have the freedom to talk without interruptions. Often the conversation turns to long-term plans and ideas, the discussion of the journey of our lives paralleling the journey of the bus.

Sometimes I meditate or stare out the window catching a glimpse of Hollyburn Peaks, a bank of blooming cherry trees or a red-tailed hawk on a telephone pole. Sometimes I watch and listen to fellow passengers as I relish the diversity of cultures represented or the amazing ease of entry for wheelchairs and strollers on our kneeling bus.

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Vancouver Unitarians protest NEB approval of TMX


Vancouver Unitarians Carry the Flame
Rally to Protest NEB Approval of TMX
Feb 22, 2019

At least 10 Vancouver Unitarians rallied around our Vancouver Unitarians banner and joined hundreds of others on Friday, February 22, to raise our voices in protest to the National Energy Board report that recommended going ahead with the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project.

We marched down Burrard Street and then along Georgia Street to the final rally on Georgia Street between the CBC and the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

We were proud to be among the voices speaking out.