Category: Community

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

Walk with me by Kathy Sayers

For all of us these are strange, strange times. All of us are trying to find ways to navigate them, to ease our anxiety and to stay connected. We are becoming familiar with technological means of connecting like Zoom calls and experimenting with ways to make them more personal and less business-like. I think many of us have rediscovered the pleasure of long phone conversations over texts (so convenient but a tad unsatisfying).

Our routines are changing too.  Daily walks or bike rides have become the highlight of our schedules. Who knew that there are such great free yoga videos online and that qigong is 10 times easier to learn than tai chi? Who knew you can download hundreds of books for free? Who knew how creative and funny folks could be during a crisis?

Early on in our new reality we began experimenting with ways to feel more in the presence of our friends. Weeks ago, Mary Lage and I mused that we missed the opportunity to walk together, made impossible now by distance. She is on the Sunshine Coast in isolation with her daughter’s family.  I am ensconced in a high rise in Kerrisdale. “What if we took a virtual walk,” I asked? After all when you go for a walk you are side by side, not actually looking at each other.

It works like this: each of us walks in our own neighbourhood and we chat by phone as we walk. We have wonderful ranging conversations like we used to have when we saw each other. She also describes the experience she’s seeing: “I’ve made it to the beach now and the water is utterly beautiful today, like glass.” I describe the cherry trees coming into bloom and two lone dandelions that I would never notice in summer but look beautiful when there are no other flowers on a lawn.

To our surprise it feels like we’ve had an actual outing together. I’ve virtual walked with a friend in Toronto, on Vancouver Island and even in Kerrisdale so we can maintain social distance. She walks on the Arbutus Corridor; I walk on the tree-lined back streets.

Unitarians Mary Bennett, Cathy Sevcik and John Smith and I each took a stroll together this week. Right now I have five virtual walking partners every week. One partner was pretty dubious until he tried it. Now he prompts me every week to take a stroll.

Virtual walking has made my life feel less cramped in these crazy times. And it’s deepened my relationships with friends I connect with less often than I’d like.

Safe Zooming: Zoom tips for secure meetings

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 will be removing 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, so watch for a message from the host asking you to identify yourself. Don’t share the zoom links on a web page or facebook; emailing to a friend is fine, in fact, encouraged.

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”).

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:

More about 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.

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.

Prevent Zoom Bombing: 12 Ways to Practice Safer Zoom

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 indepth 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.

Cross-Canada Unitarian Online Services

Worship, Coffee Hours, Meditations, Multi-generational, Community Chats, Song…

Last updated by Keith Wilkinson, Vancouver Unitarians, 6 Apr 2020

Left Saskatoon;  Right First Toronto 

UU’s from across Canada may want to look in on what is happening at congregations in other communities. Following is a partial list of 18 Canadian UU congregations who are meeting electronically using zoom, YouTube, FaceBook and other online platforms (listed from East to West).  Website and email addresses are listed to help ensure access to the most current information. Times are for the sponsoring group!


Congregation Day, Local Time & Type of Meeting Website links
Halifax UUs, NS Sun, 1030 – 1130 AM AT, Service UUHalifax zoom
UU Estrie North Hatley, QC Sun, 1030 – 1130 AM ET, Service UUEstrie North Hatley


Kingston Unitarian Fellowship, ON Sun, 1000 – 1030 AM ET, RE

Sun, 1030 – 1130 AM ET, Service

Plus various weekly times

Email for online info

Via zoom

Peterborough Unitarian Fellowship, ON Sun, 1000 – 1100 AM ET, Service

Daily – Various other zoom events: Journeys, Music Circles, Sing Along…

PUF Online Event links


First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa, ON Sun, 1030 – 1130 AM ET, Service

Sun, 200 – 400 PM ET, Youth Grp

Sun, 1130 – 1230 AM ET, Coffee Hr

Thurs, 700 – 830 PM ET, Song Circle

FUCO FaceBook

Youth grp requests:

Coffee hour requests  

First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto, ON Sun, 1030 – 1130 AM ET, Service

Sun, 1130 AM – 1 PM ET, Coffee Hr

Chalice Gatherings:
Tues, 12 noon ET – Rev Shaun Newton

Thurs, 730 PM ET – Rev Lynn Harrison

First Toronto Unitarians

zoom & YouTube options

Unitarian Fellowship of NW Toronto, ON Sun, 1030 AM – 1200 noon ET, Service UFNWT zoom
Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga, ON Sun, 1030 – 1130 AM ET, Service

Plus various weekly times

UUCM Event Calendar

Via zoom

Winnipeg UUs, MB Sun, 1030 – 1130 AM CT, Service FUUCWinnpeg  zoom
Saskatoon Unitarians, SK Sun, 1030 -1130 AM CT, Service

Sun, 1130 AM – 1230 PM, CT, Coffee Hr

Saskatoon Unitarians

zoom & FaceBook options

Edmonton Unitarians, AB Sun, 1030 AM – 1130 AM MT, Service

Tues, 7 PM – 8 PM MT, Coffee Hr

Edmonton Unitarians

Zoom and podcasts

Westwood Unitarians,
Edmonton, AB
Sat 300 PM MT, Stories

Sun 1030 AM MT, Service

Wed 1000 AM MT, Chat

Westwood Unitarians

Westwood Online Calendar


Calgary Unitarians, AB Sun, 10 – 1030 AM MT, Pre-Coffee Hr

Sun, 1030 – 1130 AM MT, Service

Sun, 1130 AM – 1 PM MT, Post-Coffee Hr

Calgary Unitarians


Beacon Unitarian Congregation,
New Westminster, BC
Sun, 1030 AM – 1130 AM PT, Service Beacon Unitarians, zoom
Vancouver Unitarians, BC Sun, 1100 AM – 1200 PM PT, Service

Sun 1200 – 1 PM PT, Coffee Hr

Tues 700 – 900 PM PT, Neighbourhood Grps

Wed 1000 – 1130 AM PT, Books & poems

Wed 300 – 430 PM PT, Minister’s Tea

Thurs 200 – 300 PM PT, zoom practice

Vancouver Unitarians Service

Zoom , YouTube, and podcast options

Northshore UUs, West Van, BC Sun, 1030 – 1130 AM PT, Service North Shore Unitarians
YouTube & Slido
Nanaimo Unitarians, BC Sun, 1100 AM – 1200 PM PT, Service FUFON zoom
Comox Valley Unitarians, BC Sun, 4 PM – 5 PM PT, Gathering CVUF zoom
Canadian Unitarian Council

Staff are distributed across Canada and are online.

Many zoom webinars and round tables. Various days, topics, and styles.
CUC led in introducing zoom to Canadian congregations.
CUC zoom Calendar…AND

Resources for congregations with sub-folders on:

Virtual meeting resources.

Interactive spreadsheet

*Note: Times posted are those for the host congregation, so you may have to do some math or geography to get the times right for you! 

AT=Atlantic Time; ET=Eastern Time; CT=Central Time; MT=Mountain Time; PT=Pacific Time.

Tracking down a past sermon

Are people talking about a great sermon you missed? Help is at hand. Read on.

The prepared texts of selected sermons are stored on the UCV website. Links to those before 2018 are here. Links to more recent ones are included in descriptions of past services.

If the website doesn’t have the one you want – or if it isn’t easy to find out if it does – speak to whoever is staffing the literature stall (the lit stall) in Hewett Centre after the service.

(Not while the coronavirus is a thing, obviously, so please email me instead.) note added 2020-04-02

An archive of digital versions backs up all print copies of prepared texts of sermons the lit stall distributes. Lit stall staff can help you track down a back copy even if it’s out of print.

If you’d like to know more about any of this, please email me.

The above is a lit stall post. In the bulleted list below are the three latest posts with that tag.

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

You can do it – making salsa with Raul and Isabeau

You Can do it–We Can Help

You can do it - Members share their enthusiasm and expertise
You can do it – Members share their enthusiasm and expertise

Our members share their expertise and enthusiasm

First in (possibly) a series. Let Mary Bennett know if you have something you’re willing to share over zoom.

Raúl is originally from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. He has been living in Vancouver for over 30 years and continues to share his love of Mexican food with family and friends.

Isabeau is Raúl’s spouse and the happy beneficiary of Raúl’s love of cooking.
Raúl and Isabeau live in Vancouver with their two teenagers and their always-relaxed cat.

Friday from 4-5 pm on Zoom

Join Raúl and Isabeau to learn how to make easy Mexican salsa.  No cooking experience necessary!

Raúl will prepare the salsa live so you can follow along (and then enjoy your masterpiece for lunch!).

To make enough salsa for two people, please have the following ingredients at the session:

  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1/2 cucumber (peel it ahead of time)
  • 1/4 small onion (white or purple)
  • 1 bunch cilantro (you will only need 1/4)
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2 Jalapeno pepper OR Serrano pepper
  • pinch salt
  • pinch black pepper

You will need a cutting board, sharp knife, and little bowl in which to put your salsa.

Kids and youth very welcome to join us – their adults will be responsible for use of sharp knives.

Send Video Greetings for Sundays

UCV is up and running with online Sunday worship serviceThe virtual video greetings from members and friends around metro-Vancouver were a welcoming and heartening part of the service and we want to keep it going! 

For this week’s video (March 29) how about sharing “How IS everyone keeping busy?” Short and sweet—15 seconds max.  It’s a treat to see you and your families and know you’re well!  We will share these during the “turn to your neighbor” segment of the service. Send it by midnight Saturday for the following Sunday service! 

If you have a smartphone or tablet, just open up your camera, flick it over to video mode and then flip the camera to selfie mode so you’re in the frame. Then press the record button and say a few words with those around you (remember, less than 15 seconds please). 

When you’re finished, click the sharing icon (square with an arrow pointing up on Apple devices, dot to two dot triangle on Android) and then email that video to us at 

That’s it! We’ll broadcast what we receive on Sunday morning and it would be a real treat to see familiar smiling faces. 

Here’s an example video. 

If you’re not sure about how to email a video, if you think you’ll have trouble viewing the service on Sunday morning from vancouverunitarians.caor if you’re struggling with Zoom for a church online eventplease let us know here and we’ll be in touch to help you get connected. 

Online Events

April 7, 2020

Tue 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm WUNG meets weekly by zoom
Our active Westside Unitarian Neighbourhood Group (affectionately referred to as WUNG) meets weekly on zoom. usually a small group of folks who live west of Granville. We will likely return to a monthly in-person gathering of 12-15 people. The format of the zoom call may emerge. In the meantime…

Tue 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm UCV Neighbourhood Groups Tuesday Night Zoom Chat
Join other UCV folk for a Tuesday evening chat After people sign on, we'll have a whole group introduction and then break into neighbourhood groups where someone from your neighbourhood will facilitate a discussion. The smaller groups will start around 7:15 pm. Each smaller group will have 3 to 6…

April 8, 2020

Wed 10:00 am - 11:30 am Book (and Poem and Video) Sharing via Zoom
You are invited to the book (and poem and video) sharing discussion via zoom video conferencing every Wednesday 10 am - 11:30 am Pacific time Since we are physically distancing we're looking for safe social connections. Email and phone is nice but the facial cues are even better at combatting…

Wed 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm Steven's Tea-time Drop-in
Drop-in each Wednesday between 3:00 and 4:30pm for a social gathering time hosted by Rev. Steven Epperson. It is a soul fulfilling thing to see each others faces in this time of physical distancing and isolation. Come check-in with each other, bring your joys, your challenges, your questions and insights, your whole selves.

April 9, 2020

Thu 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm Check in and Zoom Practice
Practice using Zoom with other Unitarians. Drop-ins welcome. Topics covered: mute on/off; video on/off; change name; chat (via text) to an individual or everyone; raising hand; thumbs up/clapping icons

April 10, 2020

Fri 10:30 am - 11:30 am Friday Coffee Break with Kiersten
Work from home deserves a coffee break--and we all deserve to see each other! Family centered drop-in time for Parents. Kids and youth welcome--if you're able to login on a separate device from parents we can do break-out rooms!

April 12, 2020

Sun 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Virtual Coffee Hour - Every Sunday Following Service
Watch our Sunday service and then join us for coffee. Visitors, members and friends are welcome! Join others for our virtual coffee hour every Sunday 12 noon to 1 pm.

Sun 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm Second Sunday Book Group -- The Alice Network
All are welcome at this monthly book group meeting. We read and discuss a wide range of books, all chosen by book group members. On April 12, 2020, we will discuss The Alice Network, by Kate Quin. This book is a fictional version of the little-known and inspirational real-life...

April 14, 2020

Tue 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm WUNG meets weekly by zoom
Our active Westside Unitarian Neighbourhood Group (affectionately referred to as WUNG) meets weekly on zoom. usually a small group of folks who live west of Granville. We will likely return to a monthly in-person gathering of 12-15 people. The format of the zoom call may emerge. In the meantime…

Tue 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm UCV Neighbourhood Groups Tuesday Night Zoom Chat
Join other UCV folk for a Tuesday evening chat After people sign on, we'll have a whole group introduction and then break into neighbourhood groups where someone from your neighbourhood will facilitate a discussion. The smaller groups will start around 7:15 pm. Each smaller group will have 3 to 6…

Not cancelled – gardening with the grounds crew this Saturday–Mystery Pals …

I’ll attempt to add here events that are going ahead at UCV.

Grounds crew regular 3rd Saturday gardening 9am – contact Patti Turner for more information.

Depending on your situation, here are some ways to enjoy this time of relative low-contact.

Get outdoors. Dr. Bonnie Henry says the virus does not transmit outdoors. At UCV come and garden, walk the labyrinth or just sit outside in the sun.

Go for a walk. Use phone or email to connect up and plan a walk or visit with a UCV friend you’ve been wanting to get to know better.

Mystery Pals

Anonymous letter writing through email–physical distance with social connection.

Adults, children, youth, and young adults are paired up (by Kiersten–our Director of Religious Ed) and write letters to each other anonymously for four weeks.

At the end you get to find out who your Pal is! Families and Pals are encouraged to continue the relationship throughout the year.

All letter writing will be facilitated through Kiersten’s email:

sign-up at