Author: Marie Witt

Slack Is Great! (Wait, What Is It?)

On Monday March 30th, I held a zoom meeting for anyone wanting to see why Slack is a great alternative to Google Groups and Microsoft Teams for our committee and small groups communications. I was joined by 13 attendees who were curious to find out the pros and cons to adopting a new communications method.

For those who don’t know, Slack is a communication tool that works like instant messaging, only instead of a single chat window between two people, the conversations (channels) are open to be followed, and added to, by anyone in the workspace. This allows people to have ongoing dialogue in an open and transparent way, according to pre-determined topic categories.

The biggest benefits to adopting slack (in my opinion) are as follows:

    1. Reduces The Volume of Emails Sent and Received – Emails serve a very important purposes but work best when there are a limited number of exchanges or recipients. Some examples of good email communication are letters between friends, requests for information or inquiries, newsletters and updates, and event reminders. Email is not so good for complex organizing or large numbers of recipients. We all know what it is like to get an email thread going, realize someone was left off, then realize another thread has sprung up on the same topic, with different recipients. Slack reduces the number of emails by providing a consolidated place for conversation, planning and organizing.

    2. Allows New People to Have a Look Around – Adding mew members is as simple as inviting them to the Slack work-space and letting them know to have a look through the channels and add themselves to the topics that sound most interesting. This way, a new person can explore the committee correspondence on their own terms, and won’t be automatically spammed with every email going out on the google group. This can encourage new people to get involved without getting overwhelmed.

    3. Tag Me If You Need Me! – In Slack, you can “tag” someone by putting an @ symbol before their name. Slack will notify them when they are mentioned. This feature comes in handy when you need to draw people’s attention to the most salient information that directly relates to them. There are a few other handy features in slack, like the ability to share a google documents or even attach useful email information directly into the chat channels.

    4. Slack has a Simple and Elegant Design – There is a little bit of a learning curve involved but no where near what you might expect. The hardest part is creating an account and knowing where to click, but I can get most people set up in just a couple of days and they’re off to the races. I credit this to Slack’s amazing simple design. Most people immediately see how this tool will provide some relief to a busy and chaotic email inbox.

If you are interested in learning more about Slack, join me again on Monday April 6th, for another zoom show and tell of the Slack app. I will share my screen so you can see what Slack is and does before taking the leap of faith into yet another new application. Trust me! It’s worth taking a peak! Event page:


Marie Witt is Chair of Communications at UCV, and a lover of technology (when used appropriately!)

Order Of Service

Online Events

April 6, 2020

Mon 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm Why Use "Slack" Communication Tool?
Struggling with the volume of emails you're getting? Wishing there was an easy way to share links and connect with UCV members on multiple topics in one place? In this zoom hour, Marie Witt, chair of communications, will be available to discuss why you should get Slack.

April 7, 2020

Tue 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm WUNG meets weekly by zoom
Our active Westside Unitarian Neighbourhood Group (affectionately referred to as WUNG) meets weekly on zoom. usually a small group of folks who live west of Granville. We will likely return to a monthly in-person gathering of 12-15 people. The format of the zoom call may emerge. In the meantime…

Tue 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm UCV Neighbourhood Groups Tuesday Night Zoom Chat
Join other UCV folk for a Tuesday evening chat After people sign on, we'll have a whole group introduction and then break into neighbourhood groups where someone from your neighbourhood will facilitate a discussion. The smaller groups will start around 7:15 pm. Each smaller group will have 3 to 6…

April 8, 2020

Wed 10:00 am - 11:30 am Book (and Poem and Video) Sharing via Zoom
You are invited to the book (and poem and video) sharing discussion via zoom video conferencing every Wednesday 10 am - 11:30 am Pacific time Since we are physically distancing we're looking for safe social connections. Email and phone is nice but the facial cues are even better at combatting…

Wed 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm Steven's Tea-time Drop-in
Drop-in each Wednesday between 3:00 and 4:30pm for a social gathering time hosted by Rev. Steven Epperson. It is a soul fulfilling thing to see each others faces in this time of physical distancing and isolation. Come check-in with each other, bring your joys, your challenges, your questions and insights, your whole selves.

April 9, 2020

Thu 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm Check in and Zoom Practice
Practice using Zoom with other Unitarians. Drop-ins welcome. Topics covered: mute on/off; video on/off; change name; chat (via text) to an individual or everyone; raising hand; thumbs up/clapping icons

April 10, 2020

Fri 10:30 am - 11:30 am Friday Coffee Break with Kiersten
Work from home deserves a coffee break--and we all deserve to see each other! Family centered drop-in time for Parents. Kids and youth welcome--if you're able to login on a separate device from parents we can do break-out rooms!

April 12, 2020

Sun 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Virtual Coffee Hour - Every Sunday Following Service
Watch our Sunday service and then join us for coffee. Visitors, members and friends are welcome! Join others for our virtual coffee hour every Sunday 12 noon to 1 pm.

Sun 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm Second Sunday Book Group -- The Alice Network
All are welcome at this monthly book group meeting. We read and discuss a wide range of books, all chosen by book group members. On April 12, 2020, we will discuss The Alice Network, by Kate Quin. This book is a fictional version of the little-known and inspirational real-life...

April 14, 2020

Tue 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm WUNG meets weekly by zoom
Our active Westside Unitarian Neighbourhood Group (affectionately referred to as WUNG) meets weekly on zoom. usually a small group of folks who live west of Granville. We will likely return to a monthly in-person gathering of 12-15 people. The format of the zoom call may emerge. In the meantime…

COVID-19 Updates from Our Minister, DRE, Board and Comms

Office and Staff Update – March 29, 2020

Due to the rapidly changing environment for everyone, The UCV Board of Trustees had approved at the March 17th Board meeting to pay staff “as per budgeted amounts” for the next month.

With this in mind,

  • Staff members are working regularly scheduled times with some redirection as per duties.
  • Records of Employment will be given if requested, due to self-isolation/ quarantine or sickness.
  • Plans are in place to have Administration staff work from home if warranted, computer stations, email, phones/voicemail etc. have all been set up, to enable minimal activity at the office.
  • UCV Campus will continue to be checked daily by staff.
UCV Office Contact Information

UCV COVID-19 *Possible Exposure* Update – March 23, 2020

Dearest congregants and renters, 
We have been notified of possible exposure to COVID-19 at our Unitarian Church Buildings on Friday, March 13, 2020, during a memorial service. The sanctuary and hall were used for this service.
At this point in time, 11 attendees of the service have developed symptoms and one has been advised by medical professionals that COVID-19 is likely. This has not been confirmed by official testing, but the province has shifted testing priorities so we may not have confirmation for some time. As such, we would like to treat this as if there has been exposure to the virus and act accordingly to keep everyone safe. 
We want to reassure the congregation of a few important facts about our preventative actions. By March 13th, the caretaking staff implemented a rigorous sanitization protocol and the members hosting the memorial service made sure to disinfect every surface in the church (pews, doorknobs etc.)
Although we hosted an on-site Sunday service on March 15th, there was no coffee hour and we believe given the distancing and sanitization protocols in effect, this poses a low risk to those in attendance. If you were at UCV in the days following March 13th, we ask that you please exercise additional measures to self-quarantine. If you are finding this challenging and need help getting groceries and supplies, please contact the Care and Concerns committee by emailing Connie Wigmore
Thank You, 
UCV Emergency Response Team

Update From Our Minister, DRE, and Board – March 19, 2020

During this COVID-19 period, all face-to-face meetings on the UCV campus (and worship services in our church Sanctuary) are cancelled. The Sunday worship services will be live-streamed for the foreseeable future on the UCV YouTube channel which can be viewed HERE.

Rev. Steven Epperson, Elliott Dainow, and our Worship Committee will continue to provide quality worship services that you can view at home. The UCV Board and other committees and working groups will continue to do their good work via Zoom meetings, email, and phone. The office staff continues to do their work during regular business hours (Monday to Thursday, 9:30 am to 2 pm; Friday, 9 am – 1 pm).

Update from Communications Committee – March 16, 2020

Live Streaming of Services will be broadcast on YouTube. Please go to our home page, and click on the “Live Stream” (you can’t miss it) to be automatically connected to the live feed.

Update From Our Minister, DRE and Board – March 13, 2020

Hello All,

In consultation with Diane Brown, our UCV Board President (and many others), and in view of communiques from the Province, City of Vancouver and Vancouver Coastal Health, we have decided there will be a worship service this Sunday, March 15th.  Cole Harris’s remarks will be re-scheduled; I (Steven) will greet, speak and deliver the service with Elliott Dainow there to provide music and accompaniment.

However, please stay home this Sunday if you are concerned, sick, immune-compromised, or living in a care/seniors facility. For those attending, we urge an abundance of prudence—wash hands, no hand shaking, etc.

In consultation with our DRE Kiersten Moore, we’ve decided that our RE program will run this Sunday, March 15th  to support children, youth and families who are healthy and able to come.  We will plan prudently and accordingly: handwashing, reasonable distance, etc.


A Few Notes on Proper Hand-Washing

  • Wash all surfaces of your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  • Many forget to wash the back of their hands.
  • Wash between your fingers and around your thumb to get the web space.
  • Clean your nails by making a scratching motion on the palm of your hand.
  • Wash your wrists.
  • Use soap. The temperature of the water is less important than the length of time, friction to all services and soap.
  • Don’t turn off the tap with your clean hands.
  • Dry your hands with a paper towel.
  • Use the towel to turn off the water and open the door.
  • Discard the towel in the bin close to the door

Technology-Based Resources for Illness Anxiety Reduction

It is a tense time for many around the world and right here in our community. As Unitarians, we tend to be critical thinkers who can remain calm under pressure, but we’re also a group with big, sensitive hearts. Make sure you take care of your heart at this time!

A great tool for calming the amygdala (the fear center of the brain), is meditation and mindfulness practice.

Cancel postpone carry on

Check back here for a list of gatherings at UCV that are cancelled or postponed. If postponed, a date will be added here when determined as well as the event listing updated. For now, we’re adding CANCELLED OF POSTPONED in the title of the event, but leaving the date and description so people can check the calendar or eventlist.


Earth Spirit Ostara – Tuesday March 17


GSA Film night – April 4