As Canadian Unitarian Universalists, we envision a world in which our interdependence calls us to love and justice. (CUC Vision Statement)
Getting ready to head into some holiday time, it has been heartening and affirming to look back on the past year with UCV. It has been quite a year. We have all changed and grown through the challenges, both individually and as a religious community. We have adapted to new ways of being together when “the way things have always been” could no longer be.
Groups and committees began to meet online, and many now say they will continue with this convenient format.
The UCV Choir produced a tremendous December Candle Light Service that has had almost 750 online views! The creativity, talent and resilience of the choir leads produced more than 70 hymns for regular Sunday services, ensuring that we could all sing along to favourite tunes, led by familiar faces and voices.
The dedicated Buildings and Grounds volunteers continued their tireless work to maintain the campus and plan exciting upgrades to the sanctuary space and facilities.
Environment, social action and refugee committees barely slowed down during the pandemic restrictions, finding new ways to engage. A new IBPOC group has led impactful worship services and raised awareness and conversation around Asian, Indigenous and Black history and heritage in Canada, working with allies to build a more welcoming, inclusive and multicultural community within UCV and in the broader world.
We responded as a community when incidences of violence and hatred impacted marginalized people and indigenous communities. We have constantly renewed our commitment to advocate for love and justice by working to dismantle systems of racism and oppression. We have grieved together in ritual, ceremony and action and found sources of hope and renewal to carry us forward. We are engaging in local and national conversations leading the way to address the systems of racism within our own lives and institutions — as detailed in the report by the Dismantling Racism Study Group CUC Dismantling Racism Final Report 2021 — and charting a path forward together in covenantal conversation — “A Way Forward for the 8th Principle Process”
Forward. Looking towards September when we hope to be able to gather once again in person for worship services and programs on the UCV campus, while also continuing to serve our growing virtual community with multi-platform live-streaming on Sundays.
During this unprecedented year of being a distant, virtual congregation, many things have been changing behind the scenes in preparation for coming back together with renewed capacity and expanded opportunities with programs for all ages and upgrades to the beautiful sanctuary space creating ways of gathering that are open to the imagination.
We will grow into the new organizational design that is detailed in this newsletter, which will enhance how programs and teams work collaboratively and help to developing sustainable goal-oriented leadership and volunteer structures.
All in all, this has been a monumental year, and I feel so very blessed and grateful for having been here with you all, through all the challenges and heartache, growth and learning. Feeling very ready for a summer break, and also very excited for the year ahead.
May you all have a restful, healthy and inspiring summer.
Rev. Lara Cowtan