Vancouver Unitarian member and Director of Lifespan Faith Development was elected to be President of the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) at its Annual General Meeting on 19 May 2023. Congratulations to Kiersten!!
The hybrid meeting lasted 4 hours and included approximately 50 delegates online via zoom and a similar number face to face in Ottawa. At the time of registration CUC was comprised of 41 congregations with 3,845 members with 114 delegates.
Some highlights of the meeting:
Approved various Bylaw Amendments as presented.
Postponed Indefinitely the motion to approve proposed 2023 Goals and Strategic Priorities.
This was preceded by extensive discussion of this complex document. The Board will seek more input on it and bring forward a revised document at a future date TBA.
Approveda motion to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery and implement a related action plan.
Approvedan update of the 2023 budget and a preliminary 2024 budget, with some concern expressed due to volatile investments and larger than usual planned deficits.
Appointedauditors and approved the audited financial report for 2023.
Thankedstaff and volunteers for their dedicated work on behalf of CUC member congregations over the past year.
Notedthat Rev Anne Barker (Edmonton) has been hired as the new full time CUC staff person – Congregational Life: Lead, BC and West Regions (replacing Joan Carolyn who retired recently).
AppointedNicole MacKay as a Chaplain to the Canadian Military.
Notedthat Rev Samaya Oakley (South Fraser/Calgary) has been elected as President of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers of Canada (UUMOC) for 2023-24.
Electedand installed a new CUC Board for 2023-24 comprised as follows:
President: Kiersten Moore, BC Region
Vice-President: Margaret Kohr, Central Region
Co-Treasurer: Yvette Salinas, Eastern Region
Co-Treasurer: Margaret Wanlin, Western Region
Secretary: Rev Rodrigo Solano-Quesnel, Central Region
Member at Large, BC Region: Rev Debra Faulk, BC Region
Senior Youth Observer: Artemisia Frolic-Smart, Central Region
There was a CUC AGM Plenary on Motions Round Table, 9 AM – 10:30 AM Pacific, on Sat 29 Apr 2023.
There were 32 participants including 7 from UCV. Contact CUC or one of the UCV delegates for further information about this event.
Click here for a link to the UCV zoom Forumat 7 pm on 3 May 2023 (open to all UCV Members and Friends) to discuss the final versions of the CUC resolutions. The Forum is intended especially to address the needs of the six delegates who the UCV Board has appointed to represent UCV at the CUC AGM.
1st Image Credit: David Neel, “Just Say No”. 1991.
Print 5/135. Photo: Keith Wilkinson
2nd Image Credit: Daphne Naegele. “Many suns cannot penetrate the darkness”. 1989. Acrylic – oil pastel on paper. Daphne (1967-2007) was a long-time member of UCV.
Photo: Keith Wilkinson
Draft 2023 CUC Resolutions – UCV Members were invited to comment on the draft resolutions and action plans that CUC prepared for approval at the 19 May 2023 Annual General Meeting in Ottawa. Comments were invited in the following areas:
[38 UCV members provided feedback. The summary is 14 pages and includes 8 charts showing distribution of support for various parts of the resolutions.]
Many (but not all) past CUC resolutions from 1969 to 2022 are available as pdf documents here.
Next steps in congregational discussions with CUC
CUC staff and board members review and discuss feedback from up to 41 member congregations.
CUC staff and board revise the resolutions and action plans or affirm them in their original form.
CUC sends revised/reaffirmed resolutions back to member congregations for final review.
UCV members review and discuss the revised/reaffirmed resolutions. UCV is planning anevening Forum in on 3 May 2023 at 7 pm via zoom, open to all members and friends to discuss the final versions of the resolutions and to brief UCV delegates about the AGM.
UCV’s delegates for the CUC AGM
Each congregational Board appoints members to represent their congregation at the CUC AGM. Delegate numbers are proportional to congregational size. With 277 members and associate members, UCV is entitled to 6 delegates this year. For many years, Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver have had the three largest memberships in Canada. By recent count there were 43 CUC member congregations.
Some boards give direction to their delegates regarding how they wish them to vote. For example, some delegate groups split their support for resolutions based on the level of support amongst their members. Others ask delegates to vote according to their conscience, or in a manner that they believe will be in the best interests of the congregation or the national movement.
The UCV Denominational Affairs Committee orients UCV delegates by discussing with them the history and implications of the resolutions and action plans and the technical side of voting if participating by zoom.
At the AGM, any official delegate may speak to and vote on the resolutions. Non-delegates may attend but may only speak at the meeting by invitation of the Chairperson. The AGM is scheduled from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM Pacific, Wed 19 May 2023. See Canada Time Zone Maphere. *All UCV Members are welcome to zoom in to the CUC AGM but must register in advance.
After resolutions are passed (or defeated), CUC staff and volunteers begin/continue to work on implementing them (or not) and will report on their progress at the 2024 AGM.
Meanwhile, what else is happening nationally and internationally in the U*U world?
The Leadership and Design Team for International U/U Collaboration has been working to establish processes and a new organization to support the former Unitarian Partner Church Council and the work of the former International Council of Unitarian Universalists. The goal of the Leadership & Design Team is “to create an organizational framework for a new international Unitarian, Unitarian Universalist, and Free Church organization.” More about changes for the Partner Church Council here.
Kiersten Moore, UCV Director of Lifetime Faith Development and current CUC Secretary posted this on the CUC Leaders Google Group recently:
“There has been a lot of discernment and conversation happening around international U/U connections–I have only peripherally paid attention to what is going on, but I understand that the international relationships and work is valued and ongoing while in transformation. The UUA has, over the years, been accused of imposing its perspective and view on international UUs, being paternalistic in partner church relationships, and acting unilaterally as if they are themselves an international organization. I have heard a desire to be more intentional and collaborative from my conversations with people in UUA leadership with the goal of responsible relationship building.
I’m sure mistakes are made, such as the intern transition that Bruce Knotts mentions. The UUA staffing structure looks huge compared to the CUC, but they are still stretched for the number of members and breadth of regions that they serve. Institutions are unwieldy, but I hope we can all remember that they are made up of individual people and leaders bear the brunt of people’s dissatisfaction and frustrations. Let’s be compassionate and curious in our interactions.”
Some National & International Unitarian Connections
Australian & New Zealand Unitarian Universalist Association (ANZUUA)
Laura Trotta: “Every time we throw food in the bin we’re not just wasting our money. We’re discarding the vast amounts of resources, energy and water that it took to produce, process, store, refrigerate, transport and cook the food.
In the photos above, we find a group of friends engaging in an ancient (even timeless) human activity …foraging for wild mushrooms. They’re members of the Vancouver chapter of the Slow Food movement, and they’re foraging for mushrooms in a forest near Maple Ridge.
You might ask: What is Slow Food? And what does it have to do with climate action and reducing food waste?
At a personal level, this includes buying local and seasonal foods, throwing away less food, eating out less, eating less, purchasing food that’s been fairly and sustainably produced … and eating at least once a week with someone you love. … Commendable choices and more so during the Winter festive season.
Slow Food calls for tackling the climate crisis through the adoption of environmentally-friendly practices, at all stages along the food supply chain, following a seed-to-landfill trajectory.
Petrini a centre-left journalist and food critic who wrote for Communist daily newspapers came to prominence, in 1986, as the leader of a protest in Rome against the opening of the first McDonald’s in Italy.
Saturday, October 1, 5 – 8 pm in the Hewett Centre
Messy Church Potluck is back! This Saturday, October 1st, 5-8pm.
Open to the entire UCV community embracing multigenerational fun and connections over food. Dinner includes a centering worship element, time to check-in with yourself and each other, and leaning into play. Our youth provide childcare attention to the kids with Cardboard Kingdom creations and games.
For Potluck: The Dish That Brings Back Belonging
For potluck this month let’s nourish our souls and our bellies! Think of a food or recipe that takes you back to a memory of deep belonging (our September theme). Maybe it was the secret ingredients your grandma put into her apple pie: orange juice and bourbon. Or it might be the tostones your beloved aunt taught you how to make. Whether it was your dad’s way of doing BBQ or the go to dish you made when your kids were little, there’s likely some beloved “belonging food” you’ve not made lately.
So, this weekend, make it! And don’t just stop there: bring it! And don’t just share the dish but share the story of how it anchors you in some precious piece of belonging in your life, how it connects you to belonging and how sharing it with someone else deepened your sense of belonging with them.
Do you want to connect with 6-12 people around a theme, interest, creative endeavor, or spiritual question?
Do you already organize, facilitate or participate in a Small Group, Book Discussion, Circle, or regular small gathering in-person at UCV or through UCV Zoom? Tell us about it! www.ucv.im/small-groups-form
Vancouver Unitarians vision is for a more compassionate world. At UCV we deepen our spiritual and religious lives, grow and enrich our congregation, and advocate for love and justice.
To connect folks, new and old members alike, to deep meaningful community, Kiersten and Derrick need to know what is already going on, what you are looking for, what possibilities you imagine, and what you want to create.
To re-vitalize our directory of small groups, join an existing group, or create a new one, please use this form: www.ucv.im/small-groups-form
For all new and returning families, all children must be registered so that we have vital information about parent/guardians, children’s needs, photo permissions or restrictions, and so we can maintain appropriate child/adult ratios in the classroom.
Read on to know what you are registering them for!
Sunday Morning Programs
Everyone starts in the service together and children leave to do their program after the story. Programs run a little longer than service so parents can enjoy coffee hour. All Sunday morning programs are included in the Family Registration at www.ucv.im/REfamily
Pray ground (Sanctuary friendly floor zone)
The pray ground allows parents to be present in worship with their children, it is up front because that is the best place for kids to see what is going on, be engaged as they are able, and teaches them that they belong here. They are safe in a loving community. It is designed for those who need to be near their parents for any reason.
Our pray ground is the area at the very front of the sanctuary on the right side, with our teen volunteers ready to quietly play during worship or outside if needed. It has carpets and pillows, colouring and stuffies, board books and fidget toys! This zone is designed for those who are too wriggly to sit in a chair for an hour and not ready or willing to join a program. Children who are going to a program can hang out here until they are sung out, and those who are not able or don’t want to leave their parents can stay as long as they want to.
Focus: play-based learning about justice, covenant, and community with an anti-racist lens.
Age: 5-9 (grades K-4)
Time and place: 11:15-12:15 in person at UCV
Are you a fan of the Teen Titans or Black Panther? Or are you more interested in learning about your values through playing games with new friends? Superhero Academy is our children’s group for this year, and you’re all invited!
Focus: understanding the religious and spiritual practices of our neighbours and ourselves
Age: 10-12 (grades 5-7)
Time and place: 11:15-12:15 in-person at UCV; also includes fieldtrips once a month to other houses of worship in our community (carpool/transit buddies can be arranged)
Crossing Paths is a core program for UU children. We invite kids beginning to question life-death-and-the-beyond to join with us in exploring many faith traditions and how they relate to Unitarian Universalism. We start with Unitarian Universalism and aim to cover many other traditions practiced in our area, from Buddhism to Islam to Paganism to Coast Salish spirituality. This year’s program is a continuation of last spring’s program, which already spent time on Judaism and Christianity. However, there is no need to have attended last year to attend this year.
Special programs take place at different times outside of Sunday morning. They are often specific to a peer cohort of similar age. They aim to build community within UCV, work on justice in the community at large, and build deep connection to values and identity. Youth may join on their own regardless of parent involvement or membership. The Our Whole Lives program does have a required parent orientation.
Time and place: twice a month for two hours each, exact time tbd; in person at UCV
Coming of Age is a core program for UU kids as they become youth. A group of bridging-in youth become a close-knit community as they ask themselves “what is Unitarian Universalism and why does it matter to us?” UCV elders and our facilitators work with participants to learn what they receive from community, what they give back, and how communities practice their values.
Time and place: 1-3 pm Sunday afternoons in person at UCV; also sometimes includes sleepovers on Saturday nights, fieldtrips, and discord game times
How to possibly describe youth group? Youth group is fun because teens hanging out is fun! Youth group dives deep because teens dive deep! Youth group is led by teens alongside adult advisors in a safe and supported space to be themselves, be weird, find purpose, and give back. This group is open to all teens connected (however loosely) to UCV. You’re always welcome here.
Focus: preparing our oldest youth for the transitions in their lives
Age: 16-19, or gr 11, 12, and first year post high school
Time and place: two Mondays a month 7-9 pm in person at UCV; also some sleepovers
Unitarians call the process of moving from youth to young adulthood “Bridging”, they symbol of moving into a new life stage. We create a metaphorical bridge to existing in the world and as a Unitarian with more autonomy and shared responsibility.
Bridger’s Program is a small group for our oldest youth who have been part of UCV or a neighbouring congregation for a while. Two Wednesdays a month, and some sleepovers, we will gather to be with each other in this time of transition. Our leaders help youth to plan post-secondary endeavors (What’s a bursary? What’s a course requirement? How do I fill out my application? Do I even want to keep going to school?), read through Wellspring Youth Sources (What are our UU sources? What spiritual practices keep me grounded? How do I take care of myself and others?), and lead our OWL program (What’s a healthy sexual relationship? How do I make space for my own gender and sexual identity?). And it’s fun.
OWL for Senior High (gr 11-12)
Focus: trans and queer affirming sexuality education
Time and place: one Monday a month 7-9 pm in person at UCV; some Saturday evenings as well
Cost: pay-what-you-can sliding scale, $25-$125; no one will be denied due to lack of funds
Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education is a program used by UUs and other denominations all over the place to support us at all stages of our lives. The grade 11-12 program focusses on sexual health, lifespan sexuality, building healthy sexual relationships, and sexuality and social issues. Our three leaders (two of whom are queer adults themselves) are trained through the program. Our group this year is a majority queer group of amazing teens. Though OWL is offered through UCV, it’s a secular program. Gr 11-12 OWL is a stand-alone part of our Bridger’s Program for older youth, any youth currently age 16 or 17 may join this program.
On behalf of the Ministerial Search Committee (Diane Brown, Michael O” Neill, Carrie Mac and Esme, John Boyle, Jenny Malcolm, Nancy Woodham, Meena Wong) I would like to share with you all that we have met twice as a committee, and going forward from here we will be meeting every week. As I am the designated External Communications person, I will be updating you often and of course answering any questions you may have about this process. Please feel free to contact me anytime at [email protected]
Below is our timeline. Come fall, we will need congregational engagement in a number of exciting ways, including a survey and some cottage meetings. Meanwhile, enjoy the summer, and we look forward to this journey together.
In active faith, Diane Brown
Timeline for Congregations in Search
Phase One – concluding a ministry
Departure of previous settled minister and selection of an Interim minister
Late Spring (done)
Phase Two – Education and Preparation for Search – First Interim Year
Review congregational by-laws related to ministry
Transitions Coach Visit (UUA appointed)
February – April
Annual Meeting votes
Approve Search committee budget
Appoint Search Committee
Phase Three – search structure – Summer and second interim year
Search Committee retreat with Transitions Coach
May – August
Conduct Congregational Survey
July – September
Conduct Cottage meeting / small group interviews (based on survey results)
September – November
Gather information and create search committee website and record sheet
September – December (absolute due date – December 7)
The weekend of May 19th-23rd 2022, a very special event will be taking place at UCV. It is the annual conference for Canadian Unitarian Universalist youth, known as CanUUdle. At CanUUdle, youth from across Canada come together en masse to build friendships, worship together, grow in their faith and build their capacity as spiritual and community leaders. The all-volunteer CanUUdle ‘staff’ team, primarily composed of youth, plan and lead the conference, with the support of dedicated adult advisors.
If you are around UCV this weekend, here is a snapshot of what you might expect to find, and some requests about sharing space:
The conference runs from Friday, May 20th around 6pm to Monday, May 23rd around 1pm.
There will be conference staff onsite to set up as of 5pm on Thursday, May 19th, and staying to clean up until around 3pm on Monday the 23rd.
We are expecting around 45 participants, including youth ages 14-19 and adult advisors.
CanUUdle generally requires full use of the buildings of the host congregation for the duration of the conference. However, we have been provided with the booking schedule for the weekend and are prepared to work around regular long-term rentals and other events that have already booked space.
Sunday morning, the youth will be off site while the regular Sunday morning service is happening. Their belongings will be moved to the balcony of the Sanctuary, and we ask that this area is off-limits for all except the tech people at that time. The youth will return to eat their lunch in the Hall at noon. The young adults of Chorus (the national young adult conference, happening at North Shore the same weekend), will also be onsite at UCV for a special picnic lunch also at noon that day.
For many youth, Unitarian Universalist youth events are one of the few places in their lives where they feel they can share and celebrate aspects of themselves that they may keep private in other settings. Many develop deep friendships, and conferences such as CanUUdle are a place of exuberant connection. Please do not be alarmed if you witness more-raucous-than-usual playing, singing, or dancing, or open displays of trust and affection such as hand-holding, “cuddle puddles,” or emotional vulnerability.
CanUUdle culture is based on principles of informed consent and respect for oneself, others, and our environment. We will strive to relate to our neighbours according to these principles, and hope that you will return the same. If any conflict arises, please contact the CanUUdle Coordinator (info below).
For safety and insurance purposes, any adults who are interacting with youth at a CUC event must have completed a Criminal Record Check and have provided a signed Congregational Involvement form. This year, we are also requiring that everyone wears masks indoors and ‘signs in’ for the purpose of contact tracing in case of a Covid outbreak. We ask that other groups using the buildings do not interact with CanUUdle participants. If you need to speak with someone during the conference, ask for me (Carter, the CanUUdle Coordinator) or another adult advisor.
We are very grateful to UCV for providing us with the space to host this important event, which in many ways is the mainstay of Canadian UU youth ministry. If you have any questions, concerns, or would like to help out with this event in any way, please contact the CanUUdle Coordinator at [email protected], or the CUC Youth and Young Adult Ministry Staff at [email protected].