Author: Sheila Resels

“What Do We Call Ourselves?” Task Force

As a progressive religious congregation we have a history of reviewing and updating how we  identify and represent ourselves.  In 2004 a Communication Working Group, in consultation with our community, created the stylized hand logo to replace the stylized chalice as more representative of our membership.  And a few years ago, the Vision Task Force engaged in crafting a new Vision And Living Our Vision statement for UCV.

Now, there is the question of our name.  Rev. Steven Epperson acknowledged in his sermon Celebrating Our Story (September 15 2019), “A task force is deliberating on whether we change the name of our congregation from something less formally churchy to something perhaps more fit for use in 21st century Vancouver and beyond.” A query was sent to the CUC leaders’ google group asking whether this was a question that other Canadian congregations were also asking themselves.  25 leaders responded that indeed this was a topic of concern.

There will be a forum on October 20 describing in detail what would be involved in a formal name change.  This is an information forum only and on January 19th there will be a Circle of Concerns which will be an opportunity for participants and congregants to express their opinion on whether to remain known as a church or not.  A survey on-line and in the OOS will be used so that everyone has a say. From informal discussions with congregants we know that some of our members want to remain known as a ‘church’ and some favour a change to ‘congregation’ or even, ‘centre’ or ‘community.’  There will be disagreements and of course, as mature, evolved Unitarians we will be respectful with others’ differences!

After thorough consultations, a vote is planned to take place at the June EGM.

By Eva Allan


A new women’s group

It all started at a discussion group while at the 4th Annual Women’s Gathering ( gathering/). Two groups have since been created.  Because we want to enrich and empower the lives of women, we are forming a third one.

What will be discussed?  Topics will be selected and facilitated on a rotating basis by participants.

Those participating in the current Women’s Groups have said:

“I am delighted that we are a diverse group in terms of age and experiences. Should broaden my horizons.” – Bev

“I’m somewhat new to Vancouver and want to join a Women’s Group to get support from women. I think it’s important to foster that for myself and for other women.”  – Cayla

“I thought forming a women’s group would present me with an opportunity to meet with others to construct a safe space to address concerns, challenges and tools for empowerment.

Truly, it is through shared experiences and stories that we grow, reflect and expand who we are. In life and in the context of this group we all shift through life through our interactions with others and thus we assume many roles that include: teachers, mentors, students and leaders.” – Naomi

The new group will meet the third Tuesday of the month from 7:00-9:00 pm in the Fireside Room. First session is September 17th.  Spaces are limited to 12 participants so REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED.  Contact Sheila Resels at if you are interested in participating.





Join Climate Action Day at U-Hill Elementary School – May 24th, 2019

From Hanno Pinder, Unitarian Church of Vancouver member

Dear friends,

As you know, I live fairly close to U-Hill Elementary School (located on Chancellor Boulevard), and was invited a couple of weeks ago to walk with the Children of their Nature Club in Pacific Spirit Park.

The club was very well organized, the children were very knowledgeable (ranging from grade 1 to grade 5), and the leader Jen Capell McCutcheon was delightful. I am invited to attend all their future Nature walks, which I will do whenever possible.

Now Jen, who is the president of the parent association of the school, has asked me for support with their plans for May 24th which is Climate Action Day world wide, inspired by Greta Thunberg. All the children from U-Hill Elementary School will walk with posters, noisemakers or instruments in a protest demonstration. They will walk from the school up to the Village on University Boulevard then on past the Book Store to Main Mall and walk down Main Mall. Jen has asked me to help her find as many adults as possible to join and walk with the children to show their support. 

The children will stop their classes at noon and are expected to start marching at 12.15.

I am now asking you to come and support U-Hill Elementary School and their children.

We all know the catastrophic situation we are in by now, and I personally am happy that with this event I can demonstrate my willingness to accept the drastic changes that are required if we want to prevent the worst. As always: The people have to convince their governments, so they will finally do the right thing.

I hope to see many of you on the 24th at noon at the School on Chancellor Boulevard.

Also, if you can, spread the word and bring more friends or neighbours, and let me know that you are coming (

Jen is suggesting that if possible we should wear black, to symbolize the pollution which is ubiquitous.

Until then, Hanno (UCV member)

P.S. Jen is working to involve Norma Rose Point School and U-HillSecondary School as well.


What are My Values Anyways?

A group of 14 women, who are members of *UCV’s Women’s Groups, met on Saturday, April 13th, at Hewett Centre to participate in a “Life Values” Workshop. **Sandi Goldie led us through a 3 hour session which defined what values are; how to find our own; what to do with our values; and how to make choices that honour them?

We worked in dyads and looked inward. Discovering one’s values can be somewhat illusive. What do our peak experiences really reveal? What do they tell us about what’s important to us? It was hard work but it paid off.

At the end of the three hours, Ingrid Luters, felt she had discovered “a tool or process to continuously examine, articulate and prioritize [her] value set.”
Jodie Miller, was left with “an opportunity to reflect on what is important to me and others.”
And, Cathy Sevcik, felt the session had helped her “clarify what is important” in her life. This insight allowed her to see that she “needs to focus on those things.”*

It was an inspiring, enlightening session. One which brought us each a step or two closer to making choices that honour our values. A path forward.

Written by Sheila Resels – Contact Person for UCV Women’s Groups.

*A (new) Third Women’s Group will be starting in September, meeting the 3rd Tues of the month, 7:00-9:00 pm. Please contact Sheila Resels at for further information. Registration is required.

**Sandi Goldie, has a Master’s in Education, and a 40 year career as an elementary teacher.  She is certified with the Coach Training Institute and is a certified facilitator of Brené Brown. She is writing a book on women and men’s groups.

New UCV Compassionate Communication Circles start in June for 2019 – 2020

Do you want to deepen the practice of compassion in your life and in your world?

Consider the following upcoming opportunities: UCV’s Compassionate Communication CirclesDue to popular demand, there will be two UCV Compassionate Communication Circles in the Family Room starting in June.  Those who participated in the 2018 group found it to be very insightful. *See what some participants said about it (below).

The UCV Compassionate Communication Circle sessions will provide you with an opportunity to connect with each other and to support one another in practising compassionate communication.  We will follow the curriculum of the Compassion Course Online.

How do I join the UCV Compassionate Communication Circles?

First, you must register for the Compassion Course Online (which originates in New York).  It begins June 19th, 2019 and continues to June 2020.  Register here or get more information at  Compassion Course Online.  Note that registration closes June 2019. The cost is minimal.

The Compassion Course Online –  several UCVers have participated in the last few years, and many are signing up again. You will receive weekly emails covering concepts, anecdotes, and practices of compassionate communication. It is generously offered by New York City Nonviolent Communication’s Thom Bond and it has a huge international following. 

, you then register for one of our two UCV Compassionate Communication Circles by contacting either Sheila Resels at or Cindy Cashin at by June 14th.  Please do so as soon as possible as space is limited.  Note that our first session is on Sunday, June 23rd, in the Fireside Room from 9:30-10:55 am (all future sessions will be held 9:30 – 11:55am and 12:30-2pm).
When/where do the two Circles meet?
There will be two groups who will meet monthly on the 4th Sunday of the month in the Family Room (in the Administration Building).
One group will meet from 9:30 – 10:55 am.  The other group will meet from 12:30-2:00 pm.  
Registration is required.  You must select only one group. 
Note: The first session ONLY (for both groups) will meet on June 23rd at 9:30-10:55 in the Fireside Room. There will be no 12:30-2pm group meeting for the first session.
What Participants In This Year’s UCV Compassion Circle Are Saying:
“UCV’s Compassion Circle was born in 2017 in response to enthusiasm of several UCVers taking the online course. Lynn Armstrong coordinated the Circle’s creation and came up with the name. The Compassion Circle is an intimate space for learning together, shifting how we listen and respond to others, and how we communicate with ourselves. It’s a special gathering! “
“The Compassion Course and Nonviolent Communication has had a profound impact on me. It is so subtle, yet such a powerful paradigm shift that it changes everything. It has taught me to look deeper in all those difficult communication situations to find the gold that transforms “us and them”  to “we”,  and in so doing it brings such powerful lessons of love and peace.”
“I could never have imagined this online course and the practice sessions provided at UCV could have had such a profound impact on my worldview.  It has brought me clarity and a greater understanding of my (and others’) needs.  I’m signing up again and look forward to another year of self-discovery.”
“This year has been my introduction to the concepts & practice of compassionate communication. Already I have seen a positive difference in the way I interpret & respond to events and people. I’m signing up again for next year, so that I can go deeper.”
If you have questions about the practice and applications of Compassionate Communication (Nonviolent Communication, or NVC), feel free to email Nancy Barker (CNVC-certified trainer in NVC) at  Nancy is happy to offer general NVC Intro workshops or workshops on particular aspects of NVC upon request.

WUNGers, a Neighbourhood Discussion Group on the West Side

by Sheila Resels.
On the fourth Tuesday of every month I head over to Jeannie Corsi’s welcoming home. I am pleased because I know that I’ll be spending a stimulating afternoon with interesting folks. So, who are we?  And, why do we gather in this manner?  And, what in the world is WUNG?
Well, WUNG is the acronym for Westside Unitarian Neighbourhood Group (coined by Keith Wilkinson). It’s a neighbourhood group that is open to Kits-ish people as well as those further south (Kerrisdale and Dunbar) and west (Point Grey, UBC). We’ve been meeting monthly for a year now, averaging 12 folks each session. Approximately 30 people have participated. As Eva Allan, a regular attendee said, “It is always interesting and a great way to get to know better our westside UCVers”.
The Neighbourhood Groups define themselves. At our first meeting at Melody Mason’s home, we decided to select discussion topics that we were interested in and with which there was some expertise within our group.  We’ve had informative, engaging presentations on Civil Liberties, Naturopathic Medicine, World Federalism, Philosophy,  Earth Spirituality/Paganism, Compassionate (Non-Violent) Communication and Proportional Representation, to name but a few. Joan Balmer, another regular WUNGer, enthusiastically summed it up when she exclaimed, “I’m so happy we are exploring these important issues”. Not only do we have animated talks on important issues, we also simply hang out occasionally. December’s Holiday Celebration was a fine time as we sipped on wine, nibbled on appies while enjoying our Unitarian community.
Yes, I do look forward to my fourth Tuesday of the month as I head off to Jeannie’s home. Based on how quickly registration fills up each month I think others do too.  Appreciatively, Sheila (Resels).
If you’d like more information about Neighbourhood Groups in the Metro Vancouver area, give me a shout at
There are several Neighbourhood groups in the Metro Vancouver area in New Westminster, Richmond (south of the Fraser), East Vancouver, and Fairview/False Creek.  Each group develops its own ideas about when, where, how and why to meet.  Some groups will decide to have a focus for discussion; and others might be purely social. And in true Unitarian style, likely many gatherings will be both.

Women’s Groups Forming

WANT TO ENRICH AND EMPOWER THE LIVES OF WOMEN? Thirteen women participated in a discussion group at the 4th Annual Women’s Gathering ( gathering/) and decided to form not just one, but TWO NEW WOMEN’S GROUPS. One meets on the third Monday evening of the month, and the other meets on the first Friday afternoon of the month. Registration is required. Both groups are now full. Contact Sheila at if you would like to be put on a wait list or to register for a third Women’s Group (date TBD).

Our intergenerational groups ranges in age from 26-78 yrs. old. Most are in their 30’s and 40’s.

Contact Sheila if you are interested in participating.

Sheila has notes from the gathering and some proposed dates for the first meeting.

“I am delighted that we are a diverse group in terms of age and experiences. Should broaden my horizons.” – Bev

“I’m somewhat new to Vancouver and want to join a Women’s Group to get support from women.
I think it’s important to foster that for myself and for other women.”  – Cayla

“I thought forming a women’s group would present me with an opportunity to meet with others to construct a safe space to address concerns, challenges and tools for empowerment.
Truly, it is through shared experiences and stories that we grow, reflect and expand who we are. In life and in the context of this group we all shift through life through our interactions with others and thus we assume many roles that include: teachers, mentors, students and leaders.” – Naomi

They were asked:

  • Why do you want to join a women’s group?
  • What would a women’s group focus on? 

Here are some of the responses:

  • having a group that supports the 7 Unitarian principles
  • enriching and empowering the lives of women
  • increasing the sense of self-worth and self-confidence of women
  • finding out what current women’s issues are
  • Interested in change and with a group of women it’s easier to make change.
  • getting support from women and fostering that for myself and for other women
  • meeting others with different ideas, cultures, ages
  • empowering each other, e.g. equal salaries
  • receiving help and guidance from others re guidance with difficult, challenging situations both professionally and personally
  • sharing experiences from different cultures…learning about Canadian attitudes and sharing views my background
  • discussing: parenting concerns, relationships
  • how much sexism we have incorporated within ourselves (perhaps unconsciously)
  • how to have a women’s group that maintains an open attitude toward men (avoiding an us vs them attitude).
  • being solo in today’s society which doesn’t support being single; being childless in a society which doesn’t support being childless

Structures to consider

  • meet once a month
  • duration of the meeting: two hours
  • have one person in charge of administrative issues
  • rotate facilitation of group. Facilitator chooses a topic and facilitates discussion.
  • discuss the topic selected by facilitator
  • ensure confidentiality, respectful discourse, equal air time for everyone, etc.

Meet at UCV in Hewett Hall. Book the Fireside room (if available)

Some suggestions for logistics:

  • Size of the group: maximum 12 per group
  • invite other Unitarians and their friends through website, Order of Service, word of mouth
  • closed group once maximum number is reached
  • as people drop out of the group, it opens to new members

There’s lots going on by and for women. Check here for news and events.