Author: Communications

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.



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 ( 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 Applications without a cover letter will not be reviewed.


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.


  • 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.


  • 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 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!

UCV Opposes the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project

The Board has passed a motion to send the following letter, penned by John Boyle, to members of government in opposition of the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project. The letter was also copied to four Federal Ministers and 13 Members of Parliament

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau, Minister Wilkinson and Minister Garneau

Re: Refuse permission for Roberts Bank Terminal 2

The Board of Trustees of the Vancouver Unitarians, a congregation with some 350 members, has unanimously approved a motion to oppose the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project and ask that you deny permission for it to proceed.

We are particularly alarmed that the Project would devastate the biological productivity of Roberts Bank. As a critical waypoint on the Pacific Flyway, millions of western sandpipers rely on its biofilm to fuel the next stage of their northward journey. The loss of this resource may well lead to their extinction. The Bank also hosts huge numbers of snow geese, shore birds and dabbling ducks, and its eel grass beds are vital rearing habitat for juvenile chinook salmon. As you know, chinook salmon are a vital food source for the endangered orcas (southern resident killer whales or SRKW). Project risks to these marvellous aspects of our coastal ecosystem must be avoided.

We were shocked to learn that the Review Panel was prevented from seeing the report by Environment and Climate Change Canada which emphasized the dire environmental risks posed by the Project. Indeed, ECCC’s finding was that the Project constitutes an unmitigable species-level risk to western sandpipers and shorebirds more generally.

But even in the absence of this expert government advice, the Panel concluded that the Project would result in significant adverse residual and cumulative effects on:

  • wetlands and wetland functions;
  • barn owls, listed as threatened under the Species at Risk Act;
  • dungeness crab and the local crab fishery;
  • juvenile chinook salmon originating from the Lower Fraser and South Thompson Rivers;
  • southern resident killer whales, an endangered population of orcas;
  • the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, and cultural heritage, for
    First Nations of the area; and
  • human health due to exposures to NO2, other respiratory irritants, and noise.

And all the above, of course, in the absence of a major oil spill which the Panel concluded could result in potentially significant adverse residual effects for vulnerable species such as SRKW and marine birds; marine commercial and recreational activities; and current use, cultural heritage and health of Indigenous groups.

In our view, these environmental risks are more than enough to deny Project permission. We also understand that the business case for the Project is weak to non-existent. Independent analysis indicates that the Port of Vancouver has consistently understated actual port capacities for containers while at the same time over-estimating forecast growth. And there is sufficient operational or planned capacity on the BC west coast to meet Canada’s trading needs for many years to come. Indeed, the private sector stands willing to expand the existing container ports at both Roberts Bank and Prince Rupert as demand increases – if it ever does as supply chains adapt to the covid-19 disruption. The need for a massive, environmentally disruptive, publicly-financed expansion of container handling facilities at Roberts Bank thus seems to be a mirage.

Prime Minister Trudeau, Minister Wilkinson and Minister Garneau, it is hard to imagine what public interest might conceivably over-ride the significant adverse residual and cumulative effects the Project would cause. Especially as the business case for the Project is weak to non-existent. We urge you to deny federal government permission for this Project.


Diane Brown
President, Vancouver Unitarians

Cc: Hon. Joyce Murray, Minister of Digital Government
Hon. Bernadette Jordan, Minister for Fisheries and Oceans
Hon. Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability
Hon. Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defense
Terry Beech, MP
Don Davies, MP
Sukh Dhaliwal, MP
Hedy Fry, MP
Gord Johns, MP
Peter Julian, MP
Jenny Kwan, MP
Elizabeth May, MP
Ron McKinnon, MP
Randeep Saral, MP
Jagmeet Singh, MP, NDP Leader
Patrick Weiler, MP
Jody Wilson-Raybould, MP

UCV Statement of Solidarity with the Mi’kmaq

In accordance with the commitment in our Territorial Acknowledgement to shifting the colonial default, the Board has ratified Tamiko Suzuki’s eloquent letter to the Prime Minister voicing UCV’s pledge of solidarity with the  Mi’kmaq fishers in Nova Scotia fighting for their treaty rights and urging the Federal government to actively support these rights. The letter also denounces both the racist violence by non-Indigenous rioters and the hands-off stance of the RCMP.

UCV Statement of Solidarity with the Mi’kmaq:

The Unitarian Church of Vancouver pledges solidarity with the  Mi’kmaq in Nova Scotia, who are fighting for their treaty protected right to catch and sell fish for a moderate livelihood. This right was written in the Peace and Friendship Treaties of 1760/61, and reaffirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada with the Marshall decision in 1999. We urge the Federal Government to actively support this treaty right.

We denounce both the racist violence  by non-Indigenous rioters and the hands-off stance of the RCMP. We strongly urge the RCMP to protect Mi’kmaq communities from any further mob violence or personal threats. 

Reassessing Canadian Foreign Policy

Reassessing Canadian Foreign Policy

Our UCV Board approved a motion that Vancouver Unitarians become a signatory to a national campaign calling for a fundamental reassessment of Canadian foreign policy. Our federal government is widely criticized for it’s continuing support for controversial mining companies, indifference to International treaties, anti-Palestinian positions, climate policies and militarism. And, this may be why Canada lost two consecutive efforts to gain a seat on the UN Security Council. Big thanks to the Environment Team for bringing this motion to the Board.
Here is a link to the campaign where you may sign on as an individual. And here is more information about the campaign for endorsers.

Sign your name to support this campaign:

Endorser Guide:

Starting Point: Small Circle Ministries

Starting this October, UCV is excited to be launching into weekly
online Starting Point small circle ministries.

We’ll follow along with the themes and stories Rev. Cowtan will be
using in her weekly sermons and bring new life to both UU theology and
history. This is a great chance to reintroduce yourself to your fellow
UU members. All members & visitors are welcome!

Weekly sessions will begin in the first week of October. Please use the form below to let us know if you’d like to join!