Author: Communications

Update from the Refugee Committee

The refugee committee has been busy submitting applications to fill the 50 allocations we have been allocated (one allocation/one person).

We have good news from one of our sponsored young people who has completed his accountant training, started working in his field, is getting married soon and will be a father in the fall. His sponsorship ended in November 2020.

The more recent arrivals are doing well.

The arrivals are still rare due to COVID and depend on the overseas offices ability to process applications, ability to interview, to do security checks which are usually extensive, to have a medical assessment and to have flights available and allowed to depart and land in Canada.

We have much more demands for sponsorship than we have allocations which is quite heartbreaking as so many are in unsafe and dire situations, including children.

We are very grateful for the support we get and the donations that allow us to bring refugees to safety. We could not do what we do otherwise.

A reminder that private sponsors are required to support the sponsored for one year with monthly allowance plus start up costs (furniture, bathroom needs, kitchen wares etc…).

Please contact the refugee committee if you have any questions

In the Interim May 2021

It is May. A month to celebrate Beltane, labyrinths, Mothers, Asian Heritage, International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, Ramadan, Shavuot, Ascension and Pentecost  –  AND our Soul Matters theme for the month of May is “Story”.  I will come up with a very special prize for anyone who can write a short story that includes ALL of the things above to celebrate or honour this month! What does it mean to be a people of STORY?

 

The Canadian Unitarian Council Annual General Meeting is on May 8, and the National Conference May 14-16. Our virtual conference will celebrate how our UU faith and our connections are crucial to Sustaining Our Light through engaging workshops, meaningful connections, and moving worship services. Registration is open until May 9 https://sites.google.com/cuc.ca/cucconference2021/home

A long standing tradition, the Confluence lecture, is shared as the conference keynote event on the opening evening. Our presenter is a minister, chosen by their peers to offer insight into the joys and concerns of our living tradition.

We are delighted that the 2021 Conference Lecturer is Rev. Anne Barker from Westwood Unitarian Congregation in Edmonton. This lecture is available to all, whether attending the conference or not.

The 2021 Confluence Lecture, A New Premise, will ask questions intended to gently interrupt us a little further, to imagine our collective future in a less familiar way. Anne Barker invites you to enter the experiment without a destination already in mind.

This year’s Confluence Lecture is a new concept – it is not a 1 hour lecture. Instead, Rev. Barker has prepared “A New Premise” video for you to view ahead of May 14th. Along with an introduction from the previous lecturer, the Reverend Karen Fraser-Gitlitz, this year’s work will be provided in three parts, each about fifteen minutes long, ending with an invitation for the viewer with:

    • ideas to ponder,
    • activities to try,
    • opportunities to interact with the material.

Watch the parts separately – or all at once – whatever suits you best. Explore the downloads for each part of the lecture. We hope that you will come to it with a spirit of curiosity and willingness, so we might work together to imagine a thriving future. Text for each part is available along with the full text of the entire lecture.

On the Friday evening of the conference, Rev. Barker will repeat the introduction, offer a short review to refresh your memory, and open the floor to questions and conversation.

 

Videos and Materials for the 2021 Confluence Lecture: A New Premise

Watch the introduction by Rev. Anne Barker and Rev. Karen Fraser-Gitlitz

View each part of the video and explore the downloads:

Part 1: What if we were wrong? – View Part 1/ text for Part 1

Download: Part 1 worksheet

Part 2: disComfort – View Part 2/text for Part 2

Download: white supremacy culture

Part 3: A New Premise – View Part 3 /text for Part 3)

Downloads for Part 3:

CUC’s Dismantling Racism Study Group National Survey: Dismantling Racism Study Group

Widening the Circle of Concern: Widening the Circle of Concern | Widening the Circle of Concern

Widening the Circle of Concern Study Guide: Widening the Circle of Concern Study/Action Guide 

 

Blessings,

 

Rev. Lara Cowtan

Interim Minister

Anti-Racism

Anti-Racism Statements and Resources

Please note: we do not consider this to be anywhere near an exhaustive list and we are seeking regular updates to refresh and renew the links provided here. If you know of great anti-racism resources that are missing from our resource list, please reach out to have your link added communications@vancouverunitarians.ca

Unitarian Universalist Statements

  1. Statement on Anti-Racism from the UCV Board
  2. Canadian Unitarian Council Statement on Mourning the Deaths of More People of Colour
  3. Black Lives Matter Statement by Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice
  4. A pastoral letter to Black UUs by Rev. Lauren Smith in UU World, 6/4/2020
  5. Stop Calling the Police and Start Eradicating Anti-Blackness UUA statement and call to action, with links. June 2, 2020
  6. An Awful, Magnificent Truth by Rev. Carol Thomas Cissel in UUA’s Braver/Wiser Inspiration
  7. UUA Prayer Vigil #wecantbreate YouTube Video

Vancouver-Based Mental Health and Self-Care Resources for BIPoC Congregants and Friends

  1. Black Lives Matter Vancouver has a detailed and comprehensive list of legal, community, mental health and wellness services here
  2. Healing in Colour provides a list of therapists who have agreed to a statement of values
  3. Mental Health Issues Facing the Black Community free health guide from Sunshine Behavioural Health
  4. Alica Forneret provides mental health by and for PoC
  5. Vancouver Aboriginal Health Society provides inclusive, accessible, and culturally-based healthcare and social services.

Ally Learnings for White Congregants and Friends

  1. Scaffolded Anti-Racist Resources
  2. The 8th Principle project of Unitarian Universalism
  3. Black Lives UU Spiritual Subscription Box
  4. The Church of the Larger Fellowship an American UU congregation “without walls”
  5. Resources based on your current stage of racial identity development
  6. Support Black Owned Businesses

Anti-Racist Parenting

  1. Antiracist Education Resources compiled by Fourth Universalist Society in Manhattan
  2. “How To Be An Antiracist Parent” recording from Fourth Universalist Society in Manhattan
  3. Resource roundup for parents
  4. Anti-racism resources for white people and for parents to raise anti-racist children
  5. Resources for Talking About Race, Racism and Racialized Violence with Kids from the Center for Racial Justice in Education
  6. The Brown Bookshelf: United in Story pushing awareness of the myriad Black voices writing for young readers.
  7. A fabulous list of children’s ebooks from the VPL called “Stand Up! Racial Identity, Racism, and Resistance for Grades K-7”

Canadian General Anti-Racist Resources

  1. Systemic Racism Explained in under 5 minutes
  2. The Story of Slavery in Canadian History at the Canadian Human Rights Museum
  3. The Canadian federal government page of anti-racism resources
  4. Vancouver Mutual Aid Organizations and Resource List
  5. Black Lives Matter Vancouver
  6. Feminists Deliver: Confronting Anti-Black Racism in Canada (video: a panel of 8 Canadian Women of Colour)
  7. The University of Toronto Anti-Black Racism Reading List

Books

If you are planning to purchase or consign books in Vancouver, please consider supporting Indigenous-owned and local Massy Books

Anti-Racism Resources

Last summer, there was a huge public response in support of Black Lives Matter as well as a call to uplift and affirm the inherent worth and dignity of lives that are continually devalued in racist systems. As Unitarians, we are committed to justice, equity, and compassion in all human relations. It is important to us to continue this conversation, not just in response to the media and public outcry but as a function of our ongoing dedication to see real change occur at all levels.

We want to refresh and promote the resources we shared last summer. We are grateful for submissions from members and friends in keeping this resource list current.

Within our own organization, we are working to decolonize our systems and have arranged a Decolonizing Practices Workshop for staff, board members and congregants. Check out the link for more information – this will take place April 24th, 2021 from 10am to 3pm.

If you would like to add resources to a permanent “Antiracism Learning” page please email communications@vancouverunitarians.ca

Anti-Racism Statements and Resources

Unitarian Universalist Statements

  1. Statement on Anti-Racism from the UCV Board
  2. Canadian Unitarian Council Statement on Mourning the Deaths of More People of Colour
  3. Black Lives Matter Statement by Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice
  4. A pastoral letter to Black UUs by Rev. Lauren Smith in UU World, 6/4/2020
  5. Stop Calling the Police and Start Eradicating Anti-Blackness UUA statement and call to action, with links. June 2, 2020
  6. An Awful, Magnificent Truth by Rev. Carol Thomas Cissel in UUA’s Braver/Wiser Inspiration
  7. UUA Prayer Vigil #wecantbreate YouTube Video

Vancouver-Based Mental Health and Self-Care Resources for BIPoC Congregants and Friends

  1. Black Lives Matter Vancouver has a detailed and comprehensive list of legal, community, mental health and wellness services here
  2. Healing in Colour provides a list of therapists who have agreed to a statement of values
  3. Mental Health Issues Facing the Black Community free health guide from Sunshine Behavioural Health
  4. Alica Forneret provides mental health by and for PoC
  5. Vancouver Aboriginal Health Society provides inclusive, accessible, and culturally-based healthcare and social services.

Ally Learnings for White Congregants and Friends

  1. Scaffolded Anti-Racist Resources
  2. The 8th Principle project of Unitarian Universalism
  3. Black Lives UU Spiritual Subscription Box
  4. The Church of the Larger Fellowship an American UU congregation “without walls”
  5. Resources based on your current stage of racial identity development
  6. Support Black Owned Businesses 

Anti-Racist Parenting

  1. Antiracist Education Resources compiled by Fourth Universalist Society in Manhattan
  2. “How To Be An Antiracist Parent” recording from Fourth Universalist Society in Manhattan
  3. Resource roundup for parents
  4. Anti-racism resources for white people and for parents to raise anti-racist children
  5. Resources for Talking About Race, Racism and Racialized Violence with Kids from the Center for Racial Justice in Education
  6. The Brown Bookshelf: United in Story pushing awareness of the myriad Black voices writing for young readers.
  7. A fabulous list of children’s ebooks from the VPL called “Stand Up! Racial Identity, Racism, and Resistance for Grades K-7”

Canadian General Anti-Racist Resources

  1. Systemic Racism Explained in under 5 minutes
  2. The Story of Slavery in Canadian History at the Canadian Human Rights Museum
  3. The Canadian federal government page of anti-racism resources
  4. Vancouver Mutual Aid Organizations and Resource List
  5. Black Lives Matter Vancouver 
  6. Feminists Deliver: Confronting Anti-Black Racism in Canada (video: a panel of 8 Canadian Women of Colour)
  7. The University of Toronto Anti-Black Racism Reading List

Books

“We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.”
—Son of Baldwin (Robert Jones, Jr.)

Pipelines, Brunette River and ME/WE by Catherine Hembling

Pipelines, Brunette River and ME/WE…
I think there’s a song that goes something like that!

These past months along the Brunette have brought great resolve and activity to the lives of many activists, many of them seniors. I feel invigorated by my involvement in something so much bigger than I am. As well, I walk in beauty, at least once a week, along the Brunette as part of my “work”.

I am a member the Prayer Circle, in turn part of PPSTMX (Protect the Planet Stop TransMountain Expansion). There are legal fees to pay, there is soup to be delivered, there are people to meet!

We are publicly and peacefully defending the Brunette’s Salmon runs, riparian zones, trees, water quality, environment. As well, we actively support the courageous tree sit which has been going on since Dec. 21/20 with little Press coverage. By doing so we hope to increase the public’s resolve to speak out against this urban pipeline construction. We hold PM Trudeau to his assertion that there has to be community support for TMX.

(more…)

Our Whole Team’s Strength: Note from UCV President Diane Brown

The UCV Board of Trustees just completed an all day workshop on Jan. 30. The focus of this fulsome workshop, led by CUC’s Joan Carolyn, was on leadership and change, working from our strengths, acting on our Transition Team Task Force’s excellent reports and recommendations, and developing our capacity and leaders for tomorrow.

 

“All our lives we need others and others need us. Multigenerational ministry is about creating and sustaining congregations through which we collectively embody wholeness. Wholeness is not a personal accomplishment because none of us is whole alone. Wholeness is something we accomplish together in creative interaction with one another, in communities where all our members are welcome, where all contribute, where all give and receive. All our lives we need others and others need us.”

– Rev. Rebecca Parker

 

There will be another Forum on the Sanctuary Upgrades Sunday Feb 14 at 12:30 via zoom. Please click ucv.im/forums 

We are also organizing a Decolonizing Practices Workshop:

Because we as Unitarians are committed to creating a more inclusive, compassionate and equitable world, we are organizing a Decolonizing Practices Workshop for staff, board, and interested members.

The Board would like all of us 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 people who identify as Black, Indigenous or person of colour. We need to identify the barriers to our organization and to develop the solutions. This one-day workshop will include a half-day on the history and ongoing colonization in Canada.

The Decolonizing Practices Workshop will be in the spring – either April or May – 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; president@vancouverunitarians.ca

Finally, the UCV Board of Trustees invites all members to please join us Sunday Feb. 28 at 12:30 PST by zoom for three inspiring reports and their resulting recommendations from three Ministerial Task Forces; Lynn Armstrong will present from the Organizational Design Task Force, Mairy Beam from the Long Term Staffing Task Force, and Olivia Hall from the Young Adults Task Force.
Each report will include succinct recommendations for UCV to consider implementing moving forward. Please go to ucv.im/forums.

We invite you to attend this Forum and, in the moderated Q and A components at the end of each report, to please offer your feedback and input. This conversation will inform the Board’s ultimate decisions. 

With thanks and gratitude,
Diane.

In the Interim, February 2021

In the Interim, February 2021

“The Beloved Community [is] not a goal or destination, and it was not any kind of idealistic, Christian utopian dream, but instead a way of being – spiritually, politically, economically, emotionally, intellectually. Beloved Community is an attitude, an orientation of the heart; it’s a disciplined understanding of your own relationship to other people, to everyone else on the planet, to every living thing.” Rev. Victoria Safford

Our ministry theme for February is “Building Beloved Community”, which will be explored in our worship, small groups and religious exploration, and even by individuals reflecting about what it means to be part of a Beloved Community.

To me, Beloved Community is one of those ideas that is more about the journey than the destination. It is through our continued actions, reactions, adapting to changes, listening, making space to become more inclusive, learning, growing, becoming that we build the community of which we dream. And through all of this building, the community of which we dream is continually being reframed, always just out of reach as we strive to live into our changing vision of who we will become. A living, breathing, embodied, beautiful and perfectly imperfect human community, always aspiring to life more fully into its ideal. UCV is richly blessed with all of the building blocks needed for this work.

In community we are bound to encounter different opinions. It is said, where there are 2 UU’s there will be at least 5 different opinions! How we engage in conversation with one another to hear and find a way through our differences is what creates lasting community. The Ministerial Transition Team has begun a new task force at the request of the UCV Board to review the recent process of the Redevelopment Committee as well as looking at some conflicts that have happened or have been avoided in UCV history in order to create a new process, a pathway for facilitating inclusive, efficient, collaborative decisions.

The Transitions Team is also planning to report back to the congregation about it’s comprehensive and exciting review of UCV History during a worship service on Feb 28. To be clear, this work is not an official archival history, rather more anecdotal, teasing out of stories from the fabric woven by over a century of building community together. These are your stories, the good the bad and the ugly, the humorous and the hurtful, the celebrations, achievements and rhythms of life that have shaped UCV. “Telling our stories is not an end in itself, but an attempt to release ourselves from them, to evolve and grow beyond them.” (Huffington Post). This is the first major task of the Ministerial Transition, coming to terms with history. From there, UCV can really begin to embrace the next tasks, which have already begun.

The five goals of Transition are listed again below to remind you of the work you have already done and the pathway forward. The Board and the Transitions Team are engaging with these tasks as they prepare to make decisions about changes to staffing and governance structure that will make UCV systems more efficient and effective, allowing new leadership to emerge and welcoming newcomers to join in building this Beloved Community.

5 Focus Points of Transition
1. Heritage: reviewing how the congregation has been shaped and formed
2. Leadership: reviewing the membership needs and its ways of organizing and developing new and effective leadership
3. Mission: defining and redefining sense of purpose, identity and direction
4. Connections: Renewing and connecting with relationships and resources in the wider community
5. Future: Preparing to engage in a new future with renewed vision, stewardship and commitment.

 

Blessings,

Rev. Lara Cowtan

Membership Outreach Coordinator

Membership Outreach Coordinator Job Posting

Job Title: Membership Outreach Coordinator

Location: Unitarian Church of Vancouver

About the Position: The Membership Outreach Coordinator will seek to engage current members and work towards expanding our community outreach and membership. The position reports to the Congregational Administrator but works closely with the Minister, and Director of Lifespan Learning (DLL). Unitarians are a diverse spiritual organization that welcomes all faiths (and non-faith). You do not need to be a Unitarian as long as you are in support of our principles.

Vision: Because we envision a more compassionate world, we seek to deepen our spiritual and religious lives, grow and enrich our congregation, and advocate for love and justice.

Vancouver Unitarians have been part of Vancouver’s religious and cultural life since 1909. Living our vision as Unitarians, we are dedicated to spiritual growth, social justice, and reverence for nature and all life. We embody these values through worship, ethical action, artistic expression, and religious education for all ages that aim to connect hearts, heads, and hands. Our congregation welcomes all ages, orientations, abilities, and identities in our joyous search for meaning. Our vision reflects the vision of the Canadian Unitarian Council (cuc.ca) of which we are a member congregation.

Anticipated start date: Mid-June 2021

Application deadline: Tuesday May 4th at 11:59 PST

Hours: 30 to 35 hours/week, Sundays and some evenings required

Compensation: salary range of $27 to $32/hour, yearly Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increases and comprehensive medical and dental benefits

Interested candidates please email your resume with cover letter to ca@vancouverunitarians.ca Applications without a cover letter will not be reviewed.

Duties

Community Engagement

  • Promote programs and facilities in the larger community
  • Ensure facility and program descriptions are up to date and widely available
  • Create and manage social media strategy.

Membership/Outreach

  • Monitor and reply in a timely manner to all contacts and requests (Breeze contact form, email, phone calls, etc.) for information by newcomers, visitors and members seeking to connect with programs or information about membership.
    • This includes data tracking and reporting procedures to evaluate the church’s success in connecting with newcomers and members.
  • Assist the Director of Lifespan Learning (DLL) with the coordination and outreach for new programs for young adults (20’s-30’s)
  • Assist the Membership Committee with the coordination of the new member orientation classes
  • With the support of the Membership Committee, the DLL, and the minister, work to connect, engage and integrate visitors, members and friends into the life of the congregation with a particular focus on young adults.

Volunteer Coordination

  • Recruit volunteers for key membership roles
  • Support volunteer recruitment for other functions
  • Create and help sustain a method of collecting information on the interests and skills of members

Program Support

  • Assist the DLL with providing start-up and admin support for new groups, such as setting up zoom meetings, online announcements, forms, etc.
  • Provide support to key committees (Environment, Refugee etc.)
  • Maintain accurate member information in our database (Breeze)
  • Assist members in use of technology when needed.

Other duties as may be assigned by the Congregational Administrator.

Qualifications  

  • Ability to understand and support Unitarian Universalist Principles, vision and mission. Religious affiliation is not required.
  • Demonstrated experience in managing digital tools and social media platforms.
  • Ability to build creative social media campaigns that engage a wide demographic.
  • Strong ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with staff and volunteers.
  • Excellent ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Excellent oral communications and interpersonal communications skills.
  • Excellent organizational skills, especially in an office setting.
  • Ability to work with a variety of computer software and learn new programs.

We thank all applicants for their interest in this position, only those selected for an interview will be contacted. This position is not open to current UCV members.

Our UCV Congregational History Wall 

Overview of Our History Wall Project

Effective transition after a settled minister leaves starts with a collective review of how the congregation has been shaped and formed. It is a way to claim and honour our past, our major milestones and evolution and engage and honour our griefs and conflicts. It is done in a spirit of community and mutual respect.

If you are interested in particular about the online wall, information is at the bottom of this page.

Board Announcement about the Congregational History Wall
Presented by Leslie Hill on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020

As you’ve been hearing for a few weeks now, the Transition Team is working hard to establish a Congregational History Wall; a physical one in Hewett Hall and an online one on our website.

Loren Mead, writing about a change in ministers, says:
“Every congregation is strengthened immeasurably by its history, but every congregation has also been deeply wounded by its past. It is both the heir and the victim of its story.”

As I’ve been looking backward at the decades portrayed on our History Wall, I’ve found answers to questions I didn’t know I had. I’ve learned that Greenpeace wasn’t the only organization that had a founding meeting here. Vancouver’s Gay Alliance Toward Equality (GATE) found space here when it was denied by other institutions. Alice James booked the Fireside Room for the first meeting of the Vancouver Status of Women. She and Phillip Hewett became agents of change together; she fed him some ideas that he incorporated into sermons. Members of that group later reported to Phillip that a UCV Associate Minister was sexually abusing some of his clients in the Unitarian Family Life Centre. From the ashes of that debacle, Alice James chaired a committee to work out the restructuring of that organization and that lead to the founding of Oak Counselling, which still offers its services at UCV.

This congregation’s history is rich and detailed and this is our opportunity to add to it. You don’t have to have been here a long time to have favourite memories, poignant moments, troubling concerns, inspirational awakenings. Maybe it’s been a sermon, or social action, or a standout Forum, or the work of our young people.

Scroll down to learn more about the Online History Wall or contact Leslie Hill if you have contributions for the Physical History Wall in Hewett Hall.

Ministerial Transition Team

Learn More About the Ministerial Transition

Progress Photos of Our History Wall in Hewett Centre

Our Online History Wall – UCV Stories

For those among us who prefer to contribute from a distance, we have an Online History Wall – UCV Stories. You can contribute all kinds of digital documents – texts, documents, pictures, and audio and video files – all from the comfort of your own home! We are also creating a digital archive of what is on our History Wall in Hewett Hall so that everything will be in one place.

Go to padlet.com/vancouverunitarians/stories to add your stories and peruse the many posts. The user-friendly site includes a practice area. Remember, this is a work in progress!

Paul Prescod has taken the lead to set up this Online History Wall and he welcomes more volunteers, so please contact him if you are keen to get involved!