Category: Community

Community social gatherirngs; mens and womens groups; covenant groups, neighbourhood groups and news from the communications, membership and care and concern committees.

Two poems for Steven

Some of you have asked about the poems I read for Steven’s final service, so here they are in print.

As some have remarked, it’s ironic that the poem of welcome from 2002 seems more complete now in 2020 when Steven has departed. Only now do we feel how fully welcome he was and is.

In my poem of farewell, I was reflecting on the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part, and the transience of all that we know, including Steven’s time with us, and I wanted to pay tribute to Steven’s annual sermons on science, which ranged from microscopic to galactic in their perspective. So Unitarian in their outlook! I had recently been reading about gamma ray bursts, one received reportedly from a source 12.8 billion light years away from earth, and so the oldest phenomenon humans have detected so far.

A long and interesting journey indeed! The great miracle, the great mystery of which we are a living part, and to which Steven helped us bear witness.

I wrote a second poem of farewell for Steven, too, which may be part of the printed package that was given to him. It’s a bit more complicated so I didn’t read it for the farewell service, but I may post it here sometime in the future. It’s a discussion of farewell, so long, and goodbye and has a particular slant on why “g’b’y” might be the right thing for us to say to Steven, which is what I said at the end of this farewell poem– “G’b’y Steven!”

(The featured image is a detail from a 1989 artwork by long-time UCV member, the late Daphne Naegele, titled “Many suns do not penetrate the darkness”.)

A poem of welcome

on the occasion of Reverend Doctor Steven Epperson’s installation as Parish Minister at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver, 13 October 2002.


The welcome we give today is not the welcome we will give tomorrow
for the Guest tomorrow will be known more deeply
and our welcome will be more complete.

Each day our welcome will be larger
and deeper than the day before
and never finished in its giving.


A poem of farewell

on the occasion of Reverend Doctor Steven Epperson’s departure as Parish Minister from the Unitarian Church of Vancouver, 21 June 2020.


Our time together
has reached its end.
Cosmos has shifted
and still does just what it wants
and still incorporates us.

And if comets or gamma-ray bursts
had eyes and poetic sensibilities,
what would they tell us
about their long and
interesting journeys?

G’b’y Steven!

Connect and engage through Zoom

The first week of each month has two special zoom gatherings.

Join us on the first Wednesday for the GSA (Genders and Sexualities Alliance) film discussion. We share what we’ve been watching. This month Jeffrey Marsh’s TED talk or youtube videos and Hannah Gadsby’s new show on Netflix Douglas will be part of the discussion. Bring your favorite line from any of these, make a comment or ask a question. See below for links to the links to sign in for zoom calls.

On the first Tuesday, you have a chance to zoom in and meet someone (new?) from your neighbourhood. We’re spread out all over the place, so sometimes a neighbourhood is a pretty large area, but you’ll definitely have a chance to meet someone new.

We’re now hosting one-hour workshops over zoom in place of the in person workshops we’ve coordinated with Luke Zukowski and Janni Kretlow. The video from our session on WhatsApp is available on request. Just ask Mary.

This is where online UCV gatherings initiated by the Connect & Engage team (sub-committee of Membership Development) via zoom are listed and updated.


Event Day Starts at Notes Sign-in at Contact
Virtual Coffee Hour Sunday 12 pm All welcome Mary
Film and theatre sharing LAST Monday 4 pm Small group Mary
Neighbourhood group connections 1st Tuesday 7:15 pm small groups 2-3 people Mary
Zoom practice session

We will be focusing on specific skills each week

Thursday 2 pm basic practice; also host/co-host practice Mary
GSA Monthly Film Discussion 1st Wed tbc 7:15 pm July will be Thursday July 2 with Netflix party Mary
Tech workshops
Saturdays — check schedule 3 pm Must RSVP Luke, Janni, Mary

For descriptions of these events, just search on the website or go to upcoming events

Links to upcoming Connect an Engage Events on Zoom

Note that there are other video conferences organized and hosted by Kiersten and others. All open online events can be found here:

Virtual Coffee Hour will take place at on Sun, Jul 5, 2020 at 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

UCV Neighbourhood Groups Monthly Tuesday Night Zoom Chat will take place at on Tue, Jul 7, 2020 at 7:15 pm - 8:15 pm

Vegan Cooking - with umami will take place at on Wed, Jul 8, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Zoom Practice will take place at on Thu, Jul 9, 2020 at 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Virtual Coffee Hour will take place at on Sun, Jul 12, 2020 at 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Feminist Book club across Canada will take place at on Sun, Jul 12, 2020 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Zoom Practice will take place at on Thu, Jul 16, 2020 at 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Virtual Coffee Hour will take place at on Sun, Jul 19, 2020 at 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Zoom Practice will take place at on Thu, Jul 23, 2020 at 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Virtual Coffee Hour will take place at on Sun, Jul 26, 2020 at 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Film and Theatre Sharing via Zoom will take place at on Mon, Jul 27, 2020 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Zoom Practice will take place at on Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Virtual Coffee Hour will take place at on Sun, Aug 2, 2020 at 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

UCV Neighbourhood Groups Monthly Tuesday Night Zoom Chat will take place at on Tue, Aug 4, 2020 at 7:15 pm - 8:15 pm

Genders and Sexualities Alliance Monthly Film discussion and Check-in will take place at on Wed, Aug 5, 2020 at 7:15 pm - 8:30 pm

Upcoming Tech workshops

Working with Breeze - creating forms will take place at on Sat, Jul 11, 2020 at 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

SLACK Workshop with Luke Zukowski will take place at on Sat, Jul 18, 2020 at 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

SLACK Workshop with Luke Zukowski will take place at on Sat, Jul 25, 2020 at 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Working with Breeze - tags - advanced - setting up auto tags and smart tags will take place at on Sat, Aug 15, 2020 at 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Working with Breeze - for committee chairs and small group leaders will take place at on Sat, Aug 29, 2020 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Using UCV’s Pro Account

To book a zoom call using UCV’s Pro accounts contact Marcus or communications chair Marie Witt

Mary Bennett, Connect & Engage team


UCV community links and a virtual literature stall

In this time of COVID-19 we need to use UCV community links even more than usual. The ones below are copied from a page in the Order of Service for last week, the featured image for this post. … Livestream link for Sunday church services (active at 10:55am every Sunday) … An online version of the current Order of Service … Virtual coffee hour – every Sunday immediately following the service … How to donate from anywhere … Steven’s teatime drop-In – every Wednesday from 3 to 4pm … Friday coffee break with Kiersten – every Friday at 11:30am … The most frequently updated list of UCV events … A text-based archive of sermons – a virtual literature stall … An archive of core documents: board minutes, annual reports, …

This is a shameless plug for the item next to last in the list: a link to a virtual literature stall (lit stall).

When you watch the livestreamed service on Sundays you are asked to have the Order of Service on view in another tab on your browser so you can follow along. After the service, you can then go to that tab, scroll down to the list of community links, and click on the link to the virtual lit stall and view or download a copy of the prepared text for the sermon if the speaker has provided one.

Spoiler alert: Steven provided such a copy for his June 7 sermon – complete with links to items he cited – and you can go straight to it if you click here.


The above is a lit stall post first published on June 9, 2020. The UCV community link takes you directly to it.
In the bulleted list below are the three latest posts tagged as lit stall posts.

If you haven’t read it already, please see the post about lit stall posts for more information.

Zoom Security: Be sure you’re updated to version 5 before coffee hour on Sunday

Post update May 29, 2020 by Mary Bennett

If you’ve been zooming, you might have been invited to update to version 5 – with higher security measures.

Zoom is making it mandatory after Saturday so you’ll need to do this before Sunday morning to connect to coffee hour.
If you phone into zoom, no problem. Continue as you were.
Here’s an article explaining why.

How do I upgrade to Zoom 5.0?

There’s no point waiting, you might as well upgrade your app right now, if you have time. Updating is pretty simple —if you don’t have the app you can download the latest version. If you already have the Zoom desktop client installed, you can check for updates by signing in, clicking your profile picture, and then clicking “Check for Updates.”

If you use the Zoom app on your mobile, the latest version is available from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Zoom includes some detailed instructions in its Help Center. If you prefer a visual guide, a YouTube video is available explaining how to update.

Using Zoom securely Love it or hate it, most of us have to use Zoom at some point. Therefore, it’s important that we are as secure as possible when we do.

Embedded Passwords

The Communications Committee has confirmed that we can embed the password in a link but the zoom link will not be posted on any website or facebook and has never been used before. So for zoom calls, if you follow the shortlink (e.g. you shouldn’t need to have a password. If there’s a problem, contact the person who set up the call.

In other words, if you’ve used the links that start with in the past, those will still work: You just won’t have to type in a password.

You can test it out between 9 am and 10 am on Sunday morning if you’re not confident. I’ll have open for you to drop in and say hello.

Any questions about this decision, contact Communications Committee chair Marie Witt

Post update April 8 by Mary Bennett

Last Saturday, Zoom changed all zoom call settings to require passwords on all scheduled calls and disable the possibility of people joining before the host. Many UUs across Canada and beyond were emailing and discussing on facebook how to let their people watch the Sunday service (ours is on youtube, so it wasn’t a problem) and get into coffee hour discussions (we do use zoom for that.) CUC responded very clearly and quickly with updates and recommendations. Your communications committee discussed and three co-hosts were deputized (as Erin referred t it) so that we could carefully screen anyone wanting to join coffee hour. We had 25 people on line in 5 separate breakout rooms and things went smoothly. For the hosts this is more time-consuming so there could continue to be a bit of a lag time at the start.

In addition to what Zoom required, UCV has

  • enabled “waiting room” – so only identifiable people are let into a call
  • disabled the “embedded” password in invitations
  • removed all links to zoom calls on website and facebook replacing with a “shortlink” (which by the way makes it easier for you to remember e.g. for Sunday coffee hour)
  • started workshops for zoom hosts and co-hosts to learn how to help with these measures

Alternatives to zoom

Galen and Christian, part of our tech team, are also exploring alternatives to zoom.

Help the hosts of our zoom calls ensure security.

Here are some things you can do.

On your zoom account, put your own picture and a name that we would recognize, e.g. Jane and John Doe is better than JJ ipad.

Make note of the zoom links somewhere safe. We have removed links from the website, so keep a cheat sheet or put the link into your calendar, whether paper based or computer-based.

If you are left in the waiting room for long, it may be because we don’t recognize your name. If you send the host of that particular meeting a note in advance, it will help to be sure. For larger groups like coffee hour and neighbourhood check-in, we are putting people into breakout rooms quickly so as to keep the main session available for people needing time to connect with the zoom technology and as double insurance in the event that somehow a “zoom bomber” has managed to crash the meeting. Please click JOIN to go to the breakout room. When options are available like coffee hour, if you want a particular breakout room be ready to say that as soon as you’re on the call.

Don’t share the zoom links on a web page or facebook; emailing to a friend is fine, in fact, encouraged, but don’t send to email lists where you’re not sure who is on it.

For coffee hour, remember, it’s a drop-in session. You can join a conversation when you arrive, so taking a real “coffee break” after the service and joining at ten past 12 would mean a smoother approach for the hosts to let people in a few at a time and set up the breakout rooms.

Future possibilities

We are trying to assure privacy, while not making it too cumbersome and discouraging for people to connect, because connections right now are more important than ever.

Some calls may start restricting to “authenticated users only”. This just means you have to be logged into zoom before joining (as zoom bombers are usually just trying to join “on the fly”). Authenticated users have to give their email address to zoom.

If a participant tries to join the meeting or webinar and is not logged into Zoom, they will receive the following messages The host would likely tell you in advance if they are using this function.

New to zoom?

You may have discovered that depending on what device you’re using, the controls are in different places. Here’s a good getting started resource that includes links to the various devices to help you.

Want to test your video or microphone before joining a meeting?

Here’s how:

Zoom bombers

Many of us are using zoom for UCV events and also the many community and activist communities we’re involved with. You may have heard of “zoom bombers” who scour websites for new zoom links to “bomb” your meetings with pornography or racism, creating havoc. Zoom bombers can also just use random numbers so even if the number isn’t publicly posted, they may find it. The controls mentioned above should be enough to make our calls safe from zoom bombers.

Peter Bowden is a UU congregational consultant who offers web training on communications and social media for UU congregations. Here’s his 15-minute video about security for zoom.

It’s well worth watching (as our his various videos on welcoming guests and growing membership.)

Prevent Zoom Bombing: Tips, Settings, and Controls to Help Protect Your Meetings

What is Zoom doing about this?

Blog Post from CEO Eric Yuan

A Message to Our Users

To put this growth in context, as of the end of December last year, the maximum number of daily meeting participants, both free and paid, conducted on Zoom was approximately 10 million. In March this year, we reached more than 200 million daily meeting participants, both free and paid.

However, we did not design the product with the foresight that, in a matter of weeks, every person in the world would suddenly be working, studying, and socializing from home. We now have a much broader set of users who are utilizing our product in a myriad of unexpected ways, presenting us with challenges we did not anticipate when the platform was conceived.

These new, mostly consumer use cases have helped us uncover unforeseen issues with our platform. Dedicated journalists and security researchers have also helped to identify pre-existing ones.

More in-depth article about the issues

Among the changes the company has made, he said, was publishing guidelines last month for users on how to avoid being “Zoombombed” — a phenomenon in which intruders crash into Zoom meetings and display pornography or other shocking content.

Zoom has also removed a link with Facebook in which the Zoom app was sending user data to Facebook, unbeknownst to the user, and has updated its privacy policy, Yuan said.

About small groups posts

Posts tagged as small groups posts form an occasional series of items of interest to people involved with – or wanting to find out more about – one or more of the groups, committees, or teams listed in the documents linked to below.

Come here anytime to browse or download an online PDF of the List of UCV Groups and Gatherings, the list with its first page shown on the right. See also an online PDF of the Committee and Team Directory.* New versions of these PDF documents are published from time to time, and these links are then updated. The source document, a spreadsheet, is always up to date. To view it, click here.

Come here anytime as well to review the list of all posts tagged as small groups posts. Each entry includes a snippet view of the post.

See also the UCV website page Small Groups for its links to helpful offsite resources.

Find your way here from any page on the UCV website by entering “about small groups” in the search box on the right in the page header and clicking on the title you want when you see the search results.

*The two items used to be combined in a PDF titled Directory of UCV Small Groups & Committees/Teams, also known informally as the small groups directory.

WhatsApp workshop video available for UCV members

The Connect and Engage team sponsored another tech workshop with Luke Zukowski on Zoom,. Contact Mary at if you’d like to get the link to the recorded video. (Until we have the volunteer to edit it, we’re not sharing publicly)

Your small groups (men’s and women’s groups, covenant groups, or just affinity/friendship groups) at UCV might find it a handy way for communicating.

Here’s the description:

WhatsApp is the most popular way for people to communicate because 2 billion WhatsApp users prefer the convenience of online instant messaging over e-mails or phone calls, especially if it’s just to say a few words.
WhatsApp is a multi-functional communication platform that You can use it to exchange text messages, pictures, videos, audio messages, phone calls, and have group video chats.
During our May 23rd Zoom session at 3pm you will learn about WhatApp mobile app that you can use on your smartphone AND also on your desktop computer.
Understanding WhatsApp: 
1. What is WhatsApp?
2. How does WhatsApp work?
3. Is WhatsApp safe?
4. Pros and Cons of WhatsApp
Using WhatsApp:
 1. How to Download and Install WhatsApp
2. How to Create a WhatsApp Account
3. How to Use WhatsApp
4. How to Delete WhatsApp Messages
5. How to Search WhatsApp
6. WhatsApp Groups
7. How to Back Up Your WhatsApp Messages

Tribute to Steven

Board President Diane Brown is inviting everyone to email her a brief written contribution for a Congregational Tribute that will be given to Steven Epperson, after his last sermon. Also please send her one photo of Steven if you have one.

We cannot all gather together at this time, but we can all honour our beloved Steven with our own words and sentiments as he leaves the Sanctuary for the last time on June 21st.

A formal large gathering celebrating his incredible tenure at UCV will take place sometime in the future.

Please use the form below to submit brief written submissions and photos. Submissions must be received by the Deadline:  Monday morning June 15, at 10 am.

Connect & Engage in a Zoom-time

Our Connect & Engage team is part of the overall Membership Committee. Our focus is on welcoming new members who have joined within the past 5 years.

This meeting will be an update of how we’re doing zoom gatherings to connect and engage and brainstorm of other ways we can help “newish” members meet people and get involved during this time.

If you are on the team, or want to contribute, please contact Mary Bennett in advance of the meeting.

information will be sent out prior to the meeting

Outreach Opportunities Fund Update

Outreach Opportunity Fund Recipients (Feb-June)
Normally, the Outreach Opportunity Fund (OOF) donates a portion of the Sunday service collections to a registered charity over a four month period. Given the current circumstances, the OOF Committee took the decision to send a cheque for $2,000 to the current recipient, the Aboriginal Mother Centre (AMC), in mid-April rather than wait until the end of May. The funds are urgently needed to assist AMC extend its outreach services during this covid-19 crisis.
Even though OOF donations have decreased over the past few weeks due to having virtual services, we still found that there were sufficient funds in our OOF  account to offer an additional $2,000 to another recipient. Our focus was on the Downtown Eastside (DTES), given the critical situation the homeless and other vulnerable groups are facing in that community. The Committee decided to award the funds to PHS Community Services Society to help meet the demand for more meals in the DTES as so many kitchens have closed down because of covid-19 restrictions. Meanwhile, we will continue to ask congregants to send in their donations to OOF to replenish our fund. A new recipient will be selected for the four month period beginning in June. All contributions are gratefully received. Donate Here

Volunteers Needed for Virtual Services

For services to continue to be virtual, we need to train some more members to learn how to produce and broadcast Sunday services and support our current incredible, over-worked team.

Anyone interested in helping with technology, send your details here:

Mary Bennett is also looking for zoom hosts for the various Connect and Engage zoom gatherings. Please contact her at Training and coaching provided.