Tag: Forum

What Do We Call Ourselves (WDWCO) Task Force – Sept 18 Forum Summary

What Do We Call Ourselves Task Force (WDWCO)

Forum – September 18, 2022

28 in attendance at start of meeting (including 4 Task Force members and 3 advisers)


The question of what UCV will be called has been part of its evolving story since early days, and several changes have been made at different points of time for various reasons.  For Unitarian Universalists, exploring and naming our identities, individually and communally, is an essential part of our living faith tradition, and also a perennial challenge.  What this congregation chooses to call itself is emblematic not only of history and theology, but of who we aspire to be, who our vision and mission call us to become. A name reflects our identity as a spiritual, religious body, part of a larger religious community, and of our place and purpose in the world.  Choosing a name is about more than words or acronyms, it is a complex and meaningful affirmation of being in covenantal community with common purpose and vision. – Rev. Lara


Circle of Names  Flipchart Summary recorded by Advisor Rob Dainow

  • Never thrilled with the name Church. May be uncomfortable for wounded Christians. From a Jewish background  it is very awkward when telling Jewish friends that he attends a church.
  • Not concerned about the use of the name church, but ready to let it go.
  • I’m comfortable with the word church but would like a new word.
  • Would like to change the word church so that will not have to explain that it is not Christian.
  • Church misleads what we really are; need identifier as a spiritual centre.
  • Like spiritual centre idea. Church requires explanation that we are not a church!
  • Vancouver Unitarians is who we are and has been in use for many years. Spiritual Centre is a good name for the place. No real need to change the legal name (we can call ourselves what we want). Need another legal opinion about whether we need to include society in our legal name.
  • Okay with church; prefer congregation.
  • Receives unfavourable reaction when using the word church and it needs to be explained. We should seek input from younger people for a name that can last into their futures.
  • Happy with anything we all agree to. Like congregation, also spiritual centre.
  • Need to come up with our own collective name.
  • One of the problems with the word church is that it is a convenient and easy way to name the place where we meet, and we have not yet found a good alternative.
  • Like the name church. Will have to be convinced to change it. Prefer not to challenge our religious charitable tax exemption (and legal name change could trigger that).
  • No big problem personally with church, but we are perceived as Christian by prospective refugees, which creates problems, so prefer to change the word church.
  • Church is always a barrier with friends and family. Want a new name for the location/place.
  • Use fellowship as a great catch-all for what this group is.
  • Prefer to keep Unitarian Church of Vancouver but not a priority. Notes that Unitarianism is also associated with Christianity (Google Unitarianism to find out).  Include Universalist in our name to be more non-Christian.
  • I’m uncomfortable with church and avoid it whenever possible. Knows 2 people who will not come because of the word church in our name. Prefer a name for who we are and not so concerned with the place. Also think we need another legal opinion on the inclusion or not of society.
  • “I like the Unitarian Church of Vancouver.”
  • Never felt at home with church as part of our name. Will be upset if we keep church in any new name.
  • Have a problem with the name church. Prefer collective.
  • Okay to change because of other’s concerns. Need a second legal opinion about name requirements.
  • UCV is a “church for non-believers”.  Don’t see any need for including society in our legal name. Wants to include Universalist in any new name. No need to change our name if we are going to keep church as part of it.
  • In favour of dropping church because this is important to a significant number of people. Like congregation, also community and Unitarian Universalists of Vancouver.
  • Never liked church in our name –  it means a Christian community – a place of worship that does not fit for me as a Jew. Jewish friends think I have converted to Christianity when I say I go to the Unitarian church!  All for changing to a name that does not include church but hope to keep UCV abbreviation. Unitarian Centre of Vancouver is not good because it does not identify us as a religious organization, but Unitarian Congregation of Vancouver does. This was in fact our name some time in our past.

Also addressed briefly:

  • Expenses should a name change be voted in:  $2375 as estimated by Advisor Keith Wilkinson.
  • Criteria for names of  non-profits that maintain charitable status – inclusion of Church or Society.
  • Percentage of votes to maintain or change our name:  referred on to the Board.
  • Voting procedures to maximize as many members as possible and ranked ballots. John Smith.

Issues that surfaced:

  • What name can we all identify with that represents us more accurately to our community and particularly to those who would want to be part of who we are and what we do.
  • The question surfaced concerning whether we should consider adding Universalist to Unitarian, as in Unitarian Universalist Church of Vancouver or added to a new name should we vote for that. Some of us identify as UU’s and others don’t. During discussion some said that they wanted to have more information about the differing beliefs about being UU or U.  We look to our Ministry for this.
  • The mandate for the WDWCO Task Force is to facilitate convergence for a name we can all live with.  While some members say that we are a Church (end of story), others say that the word Church misrepresents to members, non-members and potential members who we are and what we believe.
  • Our current thinking is to have a ranked ballot of popular names – which ones  is still being researched. Discussion will continue at the October 16 forum.  Our final vote will be between the most popular alternate name from the ranked ballot and the Unitarian Church of Vancouver.
  • Scepticism was expressed about the BC Societies Act naming requirements for charitable status to include either ‘Church’ or ‘Society’.  We hope to be able to answer this for the next Forum on October 16.
  • While what we call ourselves is not a big deal for some, others do not want to lose ‘Church’ and others do want to lose ‘Church.’  We will be guided by our Covenant of Healthy Relations to struggle with the symbolism  of our identity.

Wanted: Delegates for the CUC AGM 11 May 2019

UCV FORUM: 17 Feb 2019 – 12:30 – 2:00 pm in Fireside Room.  Come to discuss feedback to send to Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) on motions proposed for the 2019 AGM:
1) study group for a possible 8th principle on racism, based on a UUA draft motion;
2) bylaw amendment to facilitate regional representation;
3) bylaw amendment to clarify ministers’ eligibility to participate;
4) CUC strategic priorities for 2019-20;
5) application of CPI to Annual Program Contribution (APC);
6) new basis for APC using membership numbers and annual revenue.
And—discuss UCV’s process for picking delegates for the CUC AGM.

Discussion facilitated by Keith Wilkinson, Chair, UU Connections Committee and former CUC Board member.

About the CUC AGM

Vancouver Unitarians are entitled to 7 voting delegates at the Canadian Unitarian Council Annual General Meeting to be held online from UCV 9:30 AM – 1:00 PM Saturday 11 May 2019. The UCV board approves delegates from amongst members who express interest. Delegates are entrusted to study the proposed resolutions, consider the arguments presented, and then vote in whatever way they believe would be in the interests of UCV.

If you plan to be in Toronto on 11 May you can attend the AGM in person, whether a delegate or not, at the CUC’s office at the Centre for Social Innovation 192 Spadina Ave.

An orientation for UCV delegates will be arranged between February and May 2019. If you’re a UCV member and are interested in serving the church as a delegate to the meeting of our national body, please contact
Keith Wilkinson, Chair of the UCV UU Connections Committee  or
Leonie Armstrong, UCV Board President.

Here is more information regarding the CUC AGM.

About the 2019 CUC AGM

Specific information for being a delegate

Six resolutions/motions are scheduled for debate. The UCV Forum on 17 Feb 2019 (12:45 – 2:00 pm) will provide an opportunity for members to provide feedback on these resolutions which include:

  1. Study group to review the appropriateness of an eighth CUC principle on racial justice;
  2. New method of calculating the annual program contribution (APC) for the CUC.
    The proposed method would be based on membership numbers and annual church revenue.
  3. Four other motions including approval of strategic priorities for 2019-20.

Feedback from UCV members will be submitted to the motion originators before 28 Feb 2019.

Information about 2019 resolutions here.

There will be an online Plenary Session the evening prior to the CUC AGM. Plenaries are informal ways to discuss forthcoming resolutions or other issues of interest to members across Canada. They’re typically quite fun and relaxed. The 2019 Plenary is scheduled for 4-6 pm Pacific Time, Friday 10 May 2019 via zoom in a UCV room TBA, and possibly online from any location.

8 Feb 2019 Update 

Asha Philar, CUC Congregational Life Team – Youth and Young Adult Ministry Specialist advises as follows:

“After consultation and discussion with religious professionals, advisors, youth and parents, we have decided to change the age range of our national youth conference, CanUUdle, from 14-20 to 13-19. We feel that this is more in line with the age range of youth groups in our congregations and will allow more youth to participate. 2019 will be a pilot year, so we will evaluate the change after CanUUdle in May.

CanUUdle registration is open from February 15 to April 30 on the CUC website We hope you will promote this wonderful event to youth in your congregation!”

(This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA-NC and made available courtesy of UUYO Youngstown Ohio and used with thanks!)