Opening to joy

“Even a wounded world is feeding us. Even a wounded world holds us, giving us moments of wonder and joy. I choose joy over despair. Not because I have my head in the sand, but because joy is what the earth gives me daily and I must return the gift.” – Robin Wall Kimmerer

It is December. Bringing to close another topsy-turvy, bumpy ride of a year marked by all the uncertainty and concerns wrought by the continuing pandemic. A year as well, like any other, with its growth and losses, celebrations, and sorrows.  The UCV community continues to amaze me with its resilience, generosity, and dedicated involvement.  UCV, along with the other UU congregations across Canada has been deeply engaged in the process leading up to the Special Meeting on Saturday November 27th, 2021 at which 95% of the congregational delegates voted democratically to approve adding an 8th Principle to the current seven Principles.

“We, the member congregations of the Canadian Unitarian Council, covenant to affirm and promote:”

Individual and communal action that accountably dismantles racism and systemic barriers to full inclusion in ourselves and our institutions”

We celebrate this moment as an act of good faith, an intentional step toward this aspirational future that is affirmed in UCV’s vision statement:

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.

UCV has been actively engaged in anti-racism and anti-oppression work, and will continue, renewed in its commitment by this endorsement of this 8th Principle.

Margaret Wanlin, President of the CUC Board of Trustees said, “We respect and give thanks for the hard and dedicated work of many leaders, over many years, that brought us to this moment. We acknowledge the sacrifices, and losses, experienced by those marginalized persons who became disillusioned with, or left, our faith tradition prior to this vote. And we commit to live fully into the lessons of this work, as we learn how to be partners in accountably dismantling racism and systemic barriers to full inclusion.”

Our theme this month is “Opening to Joy”.  We know that this is not as simple as lighting candles for Hannukah, Advent or Solstice, nor is it about unwrapping the perfect Christmas present. Opening to Joy means preparing to receive it.

Our covenants with one another and our aspirations that envision a more just and compassionate world bring us hope and prepare us to receive the joy we dream of. It is hard, often painful work requiring sacrifice, self-awareness and growth or even sacrifice or loss. And, this is the season we light our candles and prepare to receive hope and joy into the world.


Brightest blessings of hope and joy to you all,

Rev. Lara Cowtan

Interim Minister

Vancouver Unitarians



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