Category: Governance and Organizational

News and reports from the Board of Trustees, Board Committees (Finance, HR, etc.), Program Coordinating Council, Fundraising and other groups concerned about the organizational running of UCV.

UCV COVID-19 Go-Slowly-Forward Plan

Unitarian Church of Vancouver Coronavirus
(COVID-19) Policy

In this Coronavirus (COVID-19) policy, you’ll find our go-slowly-forward plan and all essential guidelines staff and congregants must follow for Summer 2020.

Policy brief & purpose

Our UCV policy includes the measures we are actively taking to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. Please follow all these rules diligently, to sustain a healthy and safe space, and to ensure the health and well-being of our broader community. It’s important that we all respond responsibly and transparently to these health precautions.

The UCV coronavirus (COVID-19) policy is subject to changes with the introduction of additional governmental guidelines or new outbreak concerns. If changes are made, we will update the public and congregation by posting updates to as well as sending a direct update via email. To ensure you are receiving all of our latest communication, please make sure you have signed up for the order of service email and the monthly e-bulletin. If you are unsure if you are signed up, or would like to update your contact information, please email


This coronavirus policy applies to all staff and long-term renters of UCV who physically work in our offices, as well as congregants, members and friends who may visit the space or wish to rent rooms for social activities.

Measures We Have Taken

Over the past few months, we have taken the following protective measures at UCV:

  • Moved all Sunday Worship Services online at to reduce the risk of outbreaks
  • Closed all buildings to members and the public with only essential access for staff and the worship service live-streaming team. Grounds remained open with physical distancing in effect.
  • Moved to zoom-based fellowships, community events and religious exploration
  • Supported staff to make safe choices about when/how to be onsite or work from home
  • Implemented a disinfecting and cleaning protocol to ensure regular sanitization processes onsite

UCV Go-Slowly-Forward Plan

The Emergency Response Team at UCV is made up of the minister, board members, administrative staff, and representatives from buildings and grounds, religious exploration, and communications. Together we have weighed and reviewed the public health policy contained within the BC Restart Plan, The CDC Guidance for Faith-Based Organizations, and the Worksafe BC Safety Plan Development Guide.

We recognize the importance of our community experience, as well as our need as human beings to gather together and make contact face to face. We also respect and uphold the incredible and diligent work of our public health leaders, scientists, and frontline workers who have been at the forefront of protecting our needs and safety.

With these perspectives in mind, we have established small steps towards re-opening our church which will ensure our ability to keep up with the latest information, adjust our protocols as necessary and respond with care and diligence if concerns arise.

We have developed this policy to address the immediate future only. This document is in effect for July and August 2020. We do not have enough insight to be able to suggest what to expect in the Fall, but we are actively monitoring updates from the province and will continue to update our policy as we know more.

June 2020

We made a firm decision to keep UCV’s buildings closed to the public for all of June 2020. Worship service live-streaming crew, limited staff and caretakers have had essential access only. Worship services continue to be online-only.

July and August 2020

We will begin to allow room bookings for Hewett Hall (main space only). Available timeslots will be allocated to groups with priority given first to congregants and members of UCV. External rentals will be considered on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of our office administrators and the Emergency Response Team. For detailed information on room booking protocol, please see the section Room Bookings. Worship services will continue to be online-only for the entire duration of the summer.

September 2020

In mid-August, we will release an update to these policies and guidelines based on the Provincial health regulations which will detail our Fall 2020 plan.

General Policies

  • If you have any symptoms of illness, even minor ones, please do not to visit the UCV buildings and grounds.
  • If you have recently returned from areas with a high number of COVID-19 cases (based on CDC announcements), or if you have recently come into contact with someone with COVID-19, please follow the public health guidelines for the standard 14-day self-quarantine.
  • If you normally commute to UCV by public transportation and do not have other alternatives, please consider staying home, and organizing an online event instead.
  • If you are considered part of a high-risk group, please consider staying home and organizing online events instead.
  • We ask that all visitors to UCV follow the advice for general hygiene while on campus:

General Hygiene

  • Practice physical distancing. Please stay at least 6 feet apart from others
  • Wash your hands if you touch high-touch areas, if you touch your face or adjust your mask, after using the toilet, before eating, and if you cough/sneeze into your hands (follow the 20-second hand-washing rule). You can also use the sanitizers you’ll find all around UCV.
  • Cough/sneeze into your sleeve, preferably into your elbow. If you use a tissue, discard it properly and clean/sanitize your hands immediately.
  • Open the windows regularly to ensure open ventilation.
  • Avoid touching your face to prevent infection
  • We strongly encourage the use of non-medical masks for indoor groups

UCV Room Bookings (July and August)

The only room available for booking in July and August will be the Hewett Hall (main area only). The sanctuary may also be rented, but approval of this will require a special plan made with the office at the discretion of office administration and the Emergency Response Team. All gatherings MUST be booked ahead of time through Marcus Hynes by emailing

Please note: The Kitchen, Fireside, Lindsey Priestly, Library, Biddle, Child-minding, and Hitchmanova all remain completely closed to both members and the public. Please do not access these spaces without checking with office staff. Please do not ask caretakers to allow you into these areas. There will be no exceptions. Use of the UCV outdoor grounds, labyrinths and gardens are permitted, with physical distancing in effect.

Hewett Hall Main Area Booking Policies

  • Timeslots must be booked through the office at
  • Timeslots will be limited to 2-Hour blocks. People may book more than one 2-Hour block but must leave the space after each block to allow for cleaning protocols to be carried out. We strongly encourage booking only one timeslot for your event to limit the potential for exposure.
  • Unscheduled meetings will not be allowed
    • If an unscheduled meeting occurs, caretakers will kindly ask the group to leave and will provide them with the contact information for making a proper booking
  • A caretaker must be present for all gatherings
  • Caretakers will be responsible for
    • Event check-in and logging visitors in our breeze database for contact tracing (only if groups are unable to do this themselves)
    • Monitoring for COVID-19 protocols (physical distancing, availability of hand sanitizer, trash disposal, soap and cleaning supplies)
    • Enforcing protocols to ensure groups are maintaining the policies in this document
    • Politely requesting guests to leave if they arrive showing symptoms of illness
    • Cleaning and sanitizing prior to an event and resetting the space (surfaces, door handles, washrooms, equipment etc.) in between each rental. No visitors will be allowed in the space while this is happening
  • Events in the Hewett Hall main space may have maximum of 10 guests
  • There are three options for the room set-up:
    • Empty (no tables, no chairs) with floor markings showing appropriate distancing
    • Tables and chairs (8 round tables + 2 small tables with chairs) set at appropriate distancing
    • Comfy chairs from Fireside room set in a circle with appropriate distancing
  • There will be absolutely no access to the kitchen or any coffee, tea, food service amenities
  • Washrooms will be one-at-a-time to allow for safe physical distancing around sinks and stalls
  • The sanctuary and the Hall may not be used simultaneously. Only one space may be booked at a time


Employee Reopening Safety Plan


  • Masks and gloves are available for staff should they feel the need to wear them.
  • Staff are strongly encouraged to wear masks when disinfecting common touch points and when groups are at maximum capacity or social distancing presents a challenge.
  • If gloves are worn they need to be washed with the same frequency as hands
  • Do not reuse gloves
  • Staff should use the proper technique to remove gloves so the contaminated side ends up inside
  • Instruction sheet on how to properly place and wear a mask and remove gloves will be emailed to all staff and posted in the copy room and the kitchen. A copy will also be placed in the janitor’s closet.


  • Masks and gloves are located in the janitor’s closet, and in the copy room directly to the left of the caretaker binder on the shelf. (while facing the window) Additional masks and gloves are in the supplies area of the crawl space in the admin building.
  • Caretakers are encouraged to consider washing the clothes worn during that shift if they have come in contact with numerous people



  • Maximum capacity signs will be placed at the entrance of each room.
  • Social distancing reminder signs will be posted at the entrance of each room and additional reminder (s) inside each room.
  • Experiencing symptoms signs have been posted at all building entrances.
  • Traffic flow signs will be taped on the floor, to avoid congestion at entrances. for the UCV office, there will be standing area signs to avoid congestion and encourage social distancing in the reception area.
  • Sanitizing signs “last sanitized by name, date, time “will be filled out after each sanitizing with a wipeable marker on a laminated sheet. For each room. In addition to this a sheet will be initialed for all spaces that have been sanitized during the shift, and how many times it was completed
  • Handwashing signs will be posted in washrooms and photocopier

Cleaning Protocol

  • Hand sanitizer will be provided at each entrance and will be encouraged (by signage) to be used prior to entry. (still working on how to provide this option, but it is best practice)
  • When groups are in the room being booked, caretakers will sanitize all entry points and washrooms and common touch points in each room/building a minimum of 2x or every 2 hours.

Contact Tracing

  • Entrance logs for each building will be placed directly upon entry in each building. The logs will have space for date, time, phone number, email, and name. Congregation members will be asked to log their events and participants in the breeze database.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available at this station as well.
  • If employees begin to experience symptoms prior or during your shift, please advise your supervisor and immediately put on a mask. Emergency cab fare will be provided, remember to wear a mask if you have symptoms.
  • Supervisors will provide immediate replacement coverage themselves, or if possible, arrange to have immediate coverage.
  • Always call 911 for emergency

CUC May 2020 National Conference & AGM Highlights

Featured image – Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Toronto; co-leader with Rev Wayne Walder of a cross-Canada ceremony of remembrance, We are together, at the national gathering on 17 May 2020.

*12 more photos at the end of this post!

CUC eNews Coverage here.

CUC May 2020 National Conference Highlights

  • Video of the CUC Cross Canada Sunday Service One Storm, Many Ships
    (edited video, 90 minutes). The wonderful story for children of all ages read by Kiersten Moore has been deleted from the saved video pending copyright approvals from Disney.
  • CUC 2019 Annual Report (pdf document, 56 pages)
    The annual report is full of information about CUC’s work and how you might participate. It’s very worthwhile reading!
  • Attendance at 4 meetings via Zoom & YouTube: 150, 170, 200, 1,000
    (Numbers are approximate because more than one person may have been on one connection and some people had more than one connection!) Details of events follow.
  • If you’re interested in participating in these events in the future, contact the UCV UU Connections Committee – currently Keith Wilkinson, Lynn Armstrong, Kiersten Moore, & Emilie Adin. Text or phone Keith at 604-838-5643 or Lynn at 778-835-2546 or watch for a newly updated UCV Directory of Small Groups, Committees, and Teams, anticipated soon!

Plenary sessionThurs 14 May 2020, 150 participants; informal discussion of the resolutions being presented at the Sat AGM.

Gathering CeremonyFri, 15 May 2020, 170 participants, virtual banner parade with photos sent from many congregations across Canada, with music added, assembled by Amber Bellemare in Montreal.

Cross Canada Service – Sun, 17 May 2020, 1,000 participants, four ministers, many musicians and singers
Video available on CUC’s YouTube channel.

Annual General MeetingSat, 16 May 2020, 200 participants (97 delegates, 100 observers, 45 congregations)
See the CUC Annual Report for details.

  • Reviewed CUC’s expected investment performance with the investments manager;
    (investments at the end of Dec 2019 were valued at $6.1 million);
  • Approved an operating budget of $812,000 (compare this to UCV at $600,000);
  • Approved changes in procedures for electing board members;
  • Elected new board members;
  • Approved 2020-21 goals and strategic priorities;
  • Responded to questions about the International Council of Unitarians and Univeralists (ICUU) conference still scheduled for Montreal in October 2020;
  • Received reports regarding a few of the many initiatives outlined in the Annual Report:
    • Youth and Young Adults (Annual Report, pp 23-26)
      plus CazUUm – CUC youth zoom conference (34 participants)
    • Truth Healing and Reconciliation Initiative (Annual Report, pp 29-31)
    • Social Justice Action (Annual Report, pp 26-28)
    • Dismantling Racism (Annual Report, p 35)
    • Polyamory Task Force (Annual Report, pp 36-55 – the full 19-page report from the task force on this complex subject, including recommendations for the CUC.)
  • Celebration of special awards:
    • Sharing our Faith Awards – Awards to support emerging programs in several congregations (Durham, Mississauga, Edmonton)
    • Northern Lights Award – support for a major initiative, this year for Northwest Toronto Co-housing Project (involving Unitarian fellowship of Northwest Toronto)
    • Shining Lights Award – for new innovative programs (see CUC website for details)
    • Theological Education Fund Award – Co-sponsored by CUC and UUMOC (UU Ministers of Canada) for support of ministerial students (grants made to two ministerial students ths year)
    • Knight Award – Awarded to Rev Frances Deverell for dedicated service on social justice issues including work with the Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice CUSJ
    • See the above links or email the CUC office for more details about any of the CUC award programs.


Some screen shots from the CUC Canada-wide Virtual Service, Sun 17 May 2020  

(Google the congregational web sites for more images and information!)

Sunday Service Leaders:

Rev Norm Horofker, Halifax Universalist Unitarians

Rev Karen Fraser Gitlitz, Saskatoon Unitarians

Rev Meghann Robern, Winnipeg Unitarian Universalists

Rev Wayne Walder, Neighbourhood Unitarian Fellowship, Toronto

Rev Samaya Oakley, South Fraser Unitarians, Surrey BC

Spoken Word

Taz Trefzger, Hamilton Unitarians & 2020 CazUUm Co-Dean

Carter Mahoney, Peterborough Unitarians, Young Adults Ensemble

Wonderful singers and musicians from across the country

Halifax, Peterborough, Toronto, Vancouver…

James Morris (guitar), Halifax, playing Making Waves, composed for the occasion.

Peterborough Unitarians – Spirit of Life (Mark, Julie, Katherine, Stephira, Ben, Linda)

Vancouver Unitarians Elliott and Edgar playing work by Cape Breton’s Allistair MacGillivray

James Hill teaching us the ukulele “peace chord”.

Vancouver Unitarians Choir Leads: Beth, Erin, Bryan, Gavin
leading Canadian Unitarians in Blue Boat Home.


Four National CUC Online Gatherings – Victoria Day Weekend

Thursday, May 14: Informal Plenary

3:30 pm PDT | 4:30 pm MDT | 5:30 pm CDT | 6:30 pm EDT | 7:30 pm ADT  – 1.5 hours
Prior to the AGM on May 16, the CUC Board invites you to an informal dialogue amongst congregational delegates, leaders, board members, and CUC staff to discuss issues of importance to congregations, in support of the CUC’s vision, goals, and strategic priorities.
Register in advance at to join the plenary.


Friday, May 15: National Gathering
3:30 pm PDT | 4:30 pm MDT | 5:30 pm CDT | 6:30 pm EDT | 7:30 pm ADT  – 1.5 hours
We will gather across the country, virtually, on the Friday of what was to have been the start of the National Conference. Come, we will join together to celebrate our connections and our faith. All welcome!

Register in advance at to join the gathering.

All are welcome.

Saturday, May 16: 2020 Annual General Meeting

9:00am – 12:30pm PDT | 10:00am – 1:30 pm MDT |  11:00am – 2:30pm CDT | 12:00pm – 3:30pm EDT |1:00p.m. – 4:30 pm ADT

WHERE: Online via Zoom. All members of CUC member congregations and fellowships can participate but only registered delegates can vote.

Register in advance at to attend the meeting.


Sunday, May 17: Cross-Canada Sunday Service – Live Online
9:30 am PDT | 10:30 am MDT | 11:30 am CDT | 12:30 pm EDT | 1:30 pm ADT | 2:00 pm NL
Join UUs from across Canada for a unique opportunity to celebrate in a national Sunday Service together. Rev. Norm Horofker from the Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax, with his ministerial colleagues, will lead a worship service for Canadians across the country and worldwide. Let’s come together virtually to celebrate our national connection and our national conference. Join us on Zoom or watch on the CUC’s YouTube channel. We welcome you, wherever you are. Register in advance at to join the service.


COVID-19 Notices from Our Minister and Board

COIVD-19 Update – July 1st, 2020

We have released our UCV Summer 2020 Go-Slowly-Forward Plan which includes partial, pre-scheduled opportunities for onsite meetings during the summer period. Please read the full policy and room booking procedures here.

COIVD-19 Update – May 28, 2020

The campus will remain closed for all of June. The Emergency Response Team and Board are reviewing all provincial guidelines and developing our UCV Go-Slowly-Forward Plan to determine what, if any, campus activities may go ahead this summer.

COIVD-19 Update – May 12, 2020

In response to queries about allowing small groups of UCV members to meet in person on campus, the UCV Emergency Team is currently developing a policy that adheres to Provincial guidelines regarding small gatherings of people, and a specific plan for the area of the UCV campus. Please stay tuned for further information coming soon.

New UCV Temporary Communications Specialist – May 4, 2020

Given the greater reliance on technology to keep us connected during the pandemic, the Board of Directors has been relying very heavily on our communications team with Marie Witt at its helm, as its chairperson. In recognition of Marie’s greatly increased hours of volunteer work and her strong skills, the Board approved the hiring of Marie from May 1st – June 30th of 2020. Marie’s overall goal will be to develop clear, concise communications strategies with buy-in from UCV’s Emergency Team, Communications Team and Board of Directors.

Should you have questions concerning communication please contact Marie at (noting that Marie’s contract will terminate at the end of June).

Human Resources Committee

EGM Postponed to the Fall – April 24, 2020

The June 14 EGM has been postponed to the fall. Instead, on June 14 at 12:30 pm, the UCV Board of Trustees will host a zoom information forum on the proposed budget for next year which the members will ratify (or not) in the fall. The Board will also be discussing possible next steps in the Redevelopment process which would involve engaging Canada Land Trust in conversation as our possible new partners.

Live Streaming Volunteers Needed! – April 20, 2020

Volunteers needed!! 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:

Scam Email Attempts at UCV – April 3, 2020

It has come to our attention that someone is using fake gmail accounts that appear to be sent from Steven (and possibly other administrators) to send emails directly to congregants. These emails are likely to appear in your inbox and are difficult to distinguish from our regular accounts.

These emails are asking people to send money, usually in the form of Amazon gift cards and typically contain a story about being needed for vulnerable people. DO NOT send money. DO NOT purchase Amazon gift cards. These are fake email addresses; Steven, staff or board members will never ask you to send money or Amazon gift cards to them personally over email.

We have specific fundraising drives and special protocols for donations. If you are ever confused or suspicious about a request for funds, you can always ask if it’s possible for you to speak with our staff over the phone. A scam artist pretending to be someone you know will not agree to a
phone call, whereas church staff will always be happy to discuss fundraising with you or over the phone or face to face on zoom.

If you receive any suspicious emails, please report them to our office so we can track these attempts. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out. In the meantime, the UCV Board has hired a cybersecurity expert to help upgrade our systems.

UCV Office Contact Information

Office and Staff Update – March 29, 2020

Due to the rapidly changing environment for everyone, The UCV Board of Trustees had approved at the March 17th Board meeting to pay staff “as per budgeted amounts” for the next month.

With this in mind,

  • Staff members are working regularly scheduled times with some redirection as per duties.
  • Records of Employment will be given if requested, due to self-isolation/ quarantine or sickness.
  • Plans are in place to have Administration staff work from home if warranted, computer stations, email, phones/voicemail etc. have all been set up, to enable minimal activity at the office.
  • UCV Campus will continue to be checked daily by staff.

UCV COVID-19 *Possible Exposure* Update – March 23, 2020

Dearest congregants and renters, 
We have been notified of possible exposure to COVID-19 at our Unitarian Church Buildings on Friday, March 13, 2020, during a memorial service. The sanctuary and hall were used for this service.

Update From Our Minister, DRE, and Board – March 19, 2020

During this COVID-19 period, all face-to-face meetings on the UCV campus (and worship services in our church Sanctuary) are cancelled. The Sunday worship services will be live-streamed for the foreseeable future on the UCV YouTube channel which can be viewed HERE.

Rev. Steven Epperson, Elliott Dainow, and our Worship Committee will continue to provide quality worship services that you can view at home. The UCV Board and other committees and working groups will continue to do their good work via Zoom meetings, email, and phone. The office staff continues to do their work during regular business hours (Monday to Thursday, 9:30 am to 2 pm; Friday, 9 am – 1 pm).

Staff Appreciation Dinner


This year’s Staff Appreciation Dinner hosted by UCV’s Board of Trustees was a lovely evening. The tables in the Fireside Room groaned with an impressive variety of good food, trustees and staff happily sought out at least two people they had never spoken to before, a few people managed to get a quiet bit of business done on the side, and the clean up team was both cheerful and efficient. Congratulations to Sheila Resels for her hard work on organizing the evening.

Delegates for the CUC National Conference Online

(Updated 5 May 2020) UCV has named its 8 delegates to represent Vancouver Unitarians at the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) Annual General Meeting on Saturday 16 May 2020. They are Galen Elfert, Hanno Pinder, Jennifer Fell, Keith Wilkinson, Kiersten Moore, Lynn Armstrong, Olivia Hall and Rev Steven Epperson.  Delegates were to attend in person in Halifax, NS, or from elsewhere via zoom but with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, all will now be attending from their homes. All UCV members and friends are welcome to attend the online zoom AGM but only official delegates are eligible to speak at the meeting and to vote.  Vancouver’s delegates were approved by the UCV Board and used zoom orientation sessions to learn how to use the zoom polling feature for voting with instant national results! They also received reading packages to become informed about proposed CUC strategic initiatives, budgets, and a proposed technical change in the bylaws to improve continuity in board work.

CUC AGM details here.

The UCV Connections pages includes additional postings about UCV’s global connections.

The following pages are older posts related to National events.

What’s in a Name?

On January 19th the What Do We Call Ourselves? (WDWCO?) Task Force led a Discussion Circle Forum in the Fireside Room. 44 congregants attended.

They were invited to address the questions:  Do you want to change the name – The Unitarian Church of Vancouver? If yes, to what?  If no, reasons for not wanting to change the name.

Rev. Steven Epperson, who attended, later commented that participants were respectful and thoughtful.  Which is just the way we Unitarians are as we contemplate our past identity and consider our future one.

UCV Directory of Small Groups and Committees

UCV Directory of Small Groups and Committees

Wanting to get involved with a group but not sure what’s available?  Our newly updated Directory will help you navigate our complex Unitarian community. You can find hard copies on the Welcome Tables or in the office.

If you’d like an electronic version, please contact Sheila at

Membership Development Workshop – Let’s get together

Coming up for all members of the Membership Development team at UCV

Saturday, March 28 – open to active membership committee teams including:

  • New to Vancouver Unitarians workshop coordinators
  • Greeters and Welcome Table volunteers
  • Connect and Engage team including Sermon Discussion table facilitators
  • Membership records, retention, renewal and recruitment team members
  • Membership committee chair and board liaison
  • Communications team liaison
  • Sunday Coffee servers


1:30 – 2 pm

  • -set up – coffee/tea and snacks available

2 – 5 pm workshop:


  • Was there a “turning point” when you decided to join UCV? How long was that from when you first started attending?

How do the teams all work together

  • What are your challenges and pleasures?
  • What staff/caretaker roles are helpful for your team?
  • Suggestions for making things easier for members and volunteers – what would you ask of others? what do you see that could be smoothed out?

Volunteer recruitment and support

  • How do you typically recruit more volunteers? Does your team need additional volunteers?
  • Some brainstorming around how to recruit
  • What works? what doesn’t?

Volunteer Status

There are approximately 20 on each of these three teams: New to VU/welcome table; greeters; coffee servers. There are about 6 on the relatively newer Connect & Engage team (who set up the sermon discussion table and support neighbourhood groups etc.) Some people do double duty. The “member retention” team has never been fully staffed nor the “member records” team. To some degree the role of “member recruitment” is handled by our communications systems.

The member experience

Mapping the visitor to member and beyond journey

– what was your journey from discovery to involvement?

What do you see with first timers?

  • What do they already know? What do they need? Do you notice clues that they might stick around?
  • Given how busy Sunday morning is, how can we best help people get connected?

5:30 – 6:30 pm – potluck dinner

  • kitchen and fireside room – You’re encouraged to sit with folks from a different team

7 – 8:30 pm

Membership Development

  • considering UUA/CUC ideas for membership growth.

Ministerial (and other) Transitions

Information about ministerial transition – what’s in our future for next 2 to 3 years?

  • what questions are you getting? on ministerial transition, possible redevelopment and name change?
  • What questions/concerns do you expect?
  • brainstorm responses

Registration form:


Resources you may find of interest


What’s in a Name? Next forum January 19

The What Do We Call Ourselves task force (WDWCO) was created by the Board in 2018 to examine whether we should change our name from the Unitarian Church of Vancouver to a name without “church.” To carry out its mission, WDWCO would like to provide ways for all members and friends (adherents) of UCV to hear, understand, and contribute to the discussions around what name best suits our congregation. Although as UCV members, we might differ on the name question, we believe we share similar values and goals for our beloved community. We are confident that we can come to shared understanding and a path forward.

We offer the following viewpoints (heard during informal discussions among some UCV members) as a starting point for discussion. If your viewpoint isn’t represented here, we’d like to know what it is. We want input and will be seeking it at the Forum on January 19th.

I want to retain our current name because:
Our name Unitarian Church of Vancouverhonours our 500-year history as a Church. For me, the UnitarianChurchof today has an expanded meaning that is inclusive of all ethical beliefs. It demonstrates how a Church can be a progressive religious community.

The name “Church” speaks to our spiritual roots and provides a sense of continuity and comfort. Some of us may have left the church of our upbringing, but we have not severed our connection with spirituality.

The name Unitarian Churchhas gravitas and promotes respect. Having originated as a branch of Christianity, we are identified as a religious community and we belong at the table of multi-faith gatherings. As well, our identity as a Church invites media inquiries seeking “religious perspectives” on pressing moral issues.

The Unitarian Church has led and continues to lead progressive religious change. Such progress can be inspiring to other religious communities.

I want to change our name because:
I am uncomfortable with the word Church, finding it restrictive as a name for our spiritual home and community. A church is by definition a Christianentity, which is not a spiritual fit with those members and friends who do not identify as Christian. “Church” discourages many potential attendees who have negative associations with Christian denominations, along with those whose heritage is in non-Christian cultures, those who identify as Pagans or secular Humanists, and those who resist any labelling of their views. And a more welcoming name could appeal to those who describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious” , individuals who may be seeking an inclusive spiritual community free of dogma.

I believe that with an alternative name we will remain an influential member of multifaith communities. For example, one of the largest Unitarian communities in Canada, The First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa, (no “Church” in their name), is well-respected in the National Capital Region, and has good relations with near and far-flung Christian and non-Christian faith communities alike.

34 of the 47 Unitarian congregations in Canada call themselves something other than a Church.

I am undecided because:
I haven’t thought much about this and I don’t have enough information. I look forward to participating in our community’s thoughtful consideration and discussion of all the input. I want to understand the beliefs and opinions of others. I hope I’ll then be better able to make a decision.

I will support whatever decision is made:
I trust our community will thoughtfully consider all input and make the best decision for the greater good.

I am reluctant to get involved…
To the reluctant, we encourage you to consider that in our community, all views count. We invite your careful listening and input as the discussions proceed. We want an environment where you feel comfortable to contribute your voice.

We strive to make ourdecision process inclusive, caring, informed, and democratic. What we choose to call ourselves is our identity.It matters.

Please share your views, come to the Forum on January 19th. Questions in the meantime?
Email us at: