Category: Learning

Learning/educational workshops for adults or intergenerational. Adult Religious Education.

UCV needs U: Small group facilitator training

June 11th, 2-5pm, Fireside Room

Have you ever wanted to have a small group of UUs who share the art and music that makes your soul soar? Have you heard about how much our Elder’s Circle enjoyed delving into topics of aging, meaning, service and spiritual will? Have you wanted to get beyond reading a book on social justice or anti-racism and do the work in a community atmosphere?

Do you wonder how to start such a group and if you have the time or knowledge to lead one?

Lifespan staff and Ministers are delighted to run programs for our community – and shared ministry means we are strengthened, enriched, and energized when members are invested in leading things together. Our strong working teams are evidence of the energy and skill of our members, but we also need spaces and groups to deepen our connections to spirit, life, and each other.

On June 11, Kiersten Moore and Rev. Samaya Oakley are running a facilitator training open to all metro-Van Unitarians. Learn to facilitate small group discussions with ease, so you can take your ideas and our resources and run with them. Our congregants have so much to offer each other, and our offices are full to the brim with ways we can support you in creating the UCV you want to see. If interested in the facilitator training, please email Kiersten at

Lifespan Corner for November

Happy November dear UCV! October was a busy month for me and I can hardly believe that Halloween has passed already. I was able to attend the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA) in-person for the first time in three years. It was a multi-platform event with a little over 100 people visiting Birmingham, Alabama and an equal number attending online. We visited the Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration and the Memorial for Peace and Justice. I know a lot about history, but I still learned details I was not aware of.  

The vastness of the slave trade and racial terrorism in the American South makes it easy to see why many Canadians think racism is different here, not as bad or as drastic as in the U.S.  But the justification of racial hierarchy that spawned the Doctrine of Discovery is the same that justified slavery, Indian Residential Schools, and the legacy of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, not to mention our current migrant labour policies. I wonder what a comprehensive museum of the relationship between Indigenous peoples and Canada would look like, what it would illuminate.   

That is the heavy stuff that has been on my mind. More exciting is the beginning of new things and the revitalization of others: 

  • Our first Elders Circle met this week. The group is exploring meaning and spirit in aging and planning field trips and activities with our Coming-of-Age youth who are 12 and 13. Let me know if you are over 65 and would like to join the circle!   
  • UU Wellspring for Busy People starts next week, and I am looking forward to running this 8-session Covenant Group now and again in March. Wellspring is at a good number of registrants, but there is still room if you want to hop in 
  • Parents, kids, and youth—look out for a call for actors to workshop our new Solstice pageant set to perform on December 18th!   
  • Messy Church is joining forces with our Youngerish Games Night to bring multi-generational connections and playfulness into our life. First Saturdays of each month—that’s this week, Nov 5th! Bring a dish to share and a board or card game you enjoy.  
  • Anyone interested in leading the new Dreamers, Devisers, Doers gender expansive update to Cakes for the Queen of Heaven and Rise up and Call Her Name?  Contact me! 

There is more in the works and more to be imagined. I look forward to bringing it to life with you! 

–Kiersten E. Moore 

Director of Lifespan Faith Development 

Lifespan Corner: Your guide to 2022-2023 programming at UCV

Fall is upon us dear friends, and I hope to see many more of you in the next few months, may health prevail! The past three years have been a deep disruption in our lives and while many of you have been present in-person for Sunday worship, events, or small groups, I still talk with one or two people most Sundays who are coming back for the very first time in two-and-a-half years.  

This is a time of restarting, of renewal, of re-building our trust and belief in each other, in Unitarianism, and in this place we call home to our hearts and souls. Many of us are craving deep connections, meaning, and reassurance that we matter and that we belong here together. This year we are leaning into Covenant, into trust, and into building community anew.  

Olivia and I, your Lifespan Faith staff, have worked hard this summer to plan programs and opportunities for people of many ages, life stages, needs, and interests. My hope is for small groups, classes, and circles to thrive and nurture the deep connections gained in intimate spaces. 

To support and strengthen connections and to find your place in the sea of possibilities you can do the following: 

Join, Create, or Register a Small Group 

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 with this form: 

Join one of our 2022 UU Wellspring groups: spiritual deepening for the UU Soul 

UU Wellspring is a unique 10-month small group program offered in a multi-platform setting. The twice a month, 2-hour sessions offer participants an opportunity for spiritual deepening that leads to more joyful living, increased confidence in Unitarian identity, and faithful justice making in their lives and in their communities.  

Read more about, and register for, Wellspring Sources and our shorter courses, Sacred Earth Reads and UU Wellspring for Young Adults on our website here. 

Stay tuned to our weekly and monthly newsletters  

We have plans for a Unitarian Elders Circle, a discussion circle on Tolerance and our First Principle, ongoing Death Café discussions, Community Dinners, Family Potlucks, and Vespers Circle Worship.  If you can help lift any of these endeavors off the ground, please be in touch with Kiersten and Derrick. 

Children and Youth Program Registration 

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. 

Register your child/ren for the 2022-23 Program Year at  

Read on to know what you are registering them for! 

Sunday Morning Programs 

Everyone starts in the service together and Kids leave to do their program after the story. Programs run a little longer than service so parents can enjoy coffee hour. 


Pray ground (Sanctuary friendly – floor zone)

small child and teen work on a puzzle together. Sitting on a gold carpet in the sunlight with pillows.

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 go 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 all service comfortably near their parents. 

Superhero Academy 

silhouette of muscled superhero with a cape on a primary color blocked background with sound effect words "wow" and "pow!" Title reads "Superhero Academy coming soon"

Focus: play-based learning about justice, covenant, and community 

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!  


Crossing Paths   

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 our own. 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 Program Registration 

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. 


Coming of Age  

Focus: UU identity and our community 

Age: 12-13 

Register here:  

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.  


Youth Group  

Focus: covenant, worship, games, exploration, justice – everything chosen by youth! 

Age: 13-18 or currently in high school 

Contact Olivia Hall: 

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. 


Bridger’s Program  

Focus: preparing our oldest youth for the transitions in their lives 

Age: 16-19, or gr 11, 12, and first year post high school 

Contact Olivia Hall: 

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”, the 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 

Age: gr 11 and 12 

Register Here:  

Time and place: one Monday a month 7-9 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, no payment is required 

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 part of our Bridger’s Program for older youth, but youth are able to do this part separately without joining the Bridger’s Program. Please join us! 


UU Wellspring–spiritual deepening for the UU soul

A group of twelve Vancouver Unitarian members and friends, new and old, formed our first UU Wellspring small group last year. It was a deep, transforming experience for many of us. We are forming new cohorts this fall with the intent to spread the joy of deep personal connection, search for meaning, and spiritual practice development.

Participants in UU Wellspring find spiritual transformation as they explore the historical and theological roots of Unitarian Universalism, reflect on their own spiritual understandings, and engage in spiritual practice. Participants often form deep and lasting connections with one another.

We are including an eight-session, less homework intense, program for young adults and a six-session program to launch the UU Wellspring Reads: Sacred Earth program, a series of sessions designed around the book Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, combined with the book The Sustainable Soul by Rebecca James Hecking, and additional readings and videos.

The five spokes of UU Wellspring small groups

  • Deep listening in a small group
  • Daily spiritual practice
  • Spiritual companionship
  • Deeper understanding of Unitarian and UU history and theology
  • Living your convictions

Sources: First Year UU Wellspring Program

UU Wellspring Sources is a unique 10-month small group program offered in a multi-platform setting. The twice a month, 2-hour sessions offer participants an opportunity for spiritual deepening that leads to more joyful living, increased confidence in Unitarian identity, and faithful justice making in their lives and in their communities.

Sources begins with a start-up retreat on October 5, 6-9 pm and meets 2 times a month October through the middle of June.

Wellspring Reads: Sacred Earth

person sitting alone on a large stone at the edge of a pool of water in the forest

Sacred Earth is the first program in “UU Wellspring Reads,” six-session programs that provide foundational experience that are dear to Unitarian Universalists’ hearts. Sacred Earth combines the wisdom of Indigenous understandings of reciprocity with the sacred earth, and with spiritual practices that connect our spirit to nature. The experiences, reflections and discussions strive to engage participants deeply in the web of life and your Unitarian Universalist faith.

Our Sacred Earth offering is facilitated by UCV member Martha Saunders. Martha is a retired university lecturer in Religious Studies with a long-time interest in eco-spirituality.

UU Wellspring for Young Adults (UUW-YAH!)

poster of the Earth from outerspace and the caption "The wide, wide world of Spiritual Practices

Connecting to Inner Beliefs

UU Wellspring for Young Adults is designed for a cohort close in age, 18-29 or 25-35 for example. It is a chance to ask the big questions in life and reflect on what is deeply important to you. Each 60 to 90-minute session begins with a check in and sharing of spiritual practices. The session source is introduced and explored through videos, short readings and sharing.

Connecting to the Great Beyond

As Unitarians and UUs we don’t always talk about spirituality and UUW-YAH! Gives you a chance to wonder how our souls are connected to the great beyond as we explore our six Unitarian Universalist Sources.

Connecting to Peaceful Practices

You’ll have a chance to try out spiritual practices, which can simply be choosing an intention, such as gratitude, and thinking about it as you carry out an activity. For example, you might choose to attend a class, a daily task, or work with gratitude.

Join In

This 8-session series can be offered as either a fall or spring session meeting bi-weekly or October to May meeting monthly. Online or in-person.

  • Read the overview of UUW-YAH! here
  • Sign-up for your preferred meeting style at:
  • Email Kiersten with any questions:

Registration open for Paganism 101 – Spring 2022

There are spaces now available for Paganism 101 in Spring 2022 – starts Monday, Mar. 21st. Sign up now to reserve your spot!

Register now for Paganism 101:

About Paganism 101

Paganism 101 is a 10-session curriculum created by Louise Bunn, a member of our congregation. The Spring program will start March 21, 2022 and be co-led by Amihan Levi and Paula Stromberg.

Today’s Pagans revere the Earth and all its creatures. We see all life as interconnected, and we strive to attune ourselves to the cycles of nature. Our practices are rooted in a belief in immanence – the concept of divinity residing within.

The many modern pagans who have found a home in the Unitarian community are grounding our work in the rational structure, the intellectual balance, and the humanist core values that have descended to us from the Enlightenment. We’re working to develop a religiosity that is entirely compatible with, and complementary to, modern Unitarian rationality.

Paganism 101 is an experiential curriculum that will enable participants to conduct Pagan rituals on their own as independent practitioners. It introduces the practices, beliefs, and history of Modern Pagan spirituality, a nature-based worldview that is deeply rooted in Western Esoteric traditions. It is an active and powerful way to engage with Unitarianism’s Sixth Source — Spiritual Teachings of  Earth-centred Traditions that Celebrate the Sacred Circle of Life and Instruct us to Live in Harmony with the Rhythms of Nature.

About the co-leaders of Paganism 101

Amihan Levi, former student of Louise Bunn in the previous session, has been a solitary, eclectic pagan for three years. Her personal practice has grown since taking our Paganism program and is excited to pass on the knowledge to future students. Currently, she works as a data scientist for an environmental organization and sings in a community choir.

Paula Stromberg experiences Nature as sacred and suggests our cycles of birth, growth, and death offer profound spiritual meanings. Formerly a journalist, Paula was a dance performer and teacher for many years, specializing in Women’s Sacred Dance. She has filmed Women’s sacred sites, Pagan monoliths, and ancient matrilineal excavations throughout India, Spain, Crete, West Africa, Portugal, Cambodia, China and elsewhere in Asia. From 2011 – 2015, Paula served as International Coordinator for the the Anti-Witchcraft Allegation Coalition of Ghana. She also interviewed women in so-called Witch Camps and collaborated on a report with them that revealed the life-threatening challenges faced by poor, unwanted widows accused of being witches by people in traditional communities of West Africa. A former student of Louise Bunn, Paula looks forward to exploring pagan mysteries with you.

Lifespan Notes: January 2022

It is 2022. Post-solstice, the days are getting longer; post-fire communion and Gregorian New Year’s–we’ve let go of things, set intentions, bolstered ourselves for the year ahead. I expect many are facing this time of surging pandemic with a feeling of frustration, maybe resignation, perhaps weariness.  As worship services remain online for the next couple weeks or so, we are striving to keep our connections with each other and Vancouver Unitarians vibrant and alive.  

Religious Exploration programming for all ages continues this winter and we have a lot to celebrate. The Wellspring—spiritual deepening course is full, with a lively group that spans generations and life learnings. It continues through June, with a mixed platform online and in-person using our conference technology. Youth group continues with multi-platform as well, while Our Whole Lives sexuality education for ages 12-14 continues in person through May with a curious, playful, and thoughtful group of young people.  

Nan Gregory and Olivia Hall will be leading Crossing Paths for kids ages 10-12 beginning at the end of January. Crossing Paths is the Soul Matters update to the “Neighbouring Faiths” and “the Church Across the Street” classes of years past. We take time learning about the various religions and spiritual practices in our city and inviting guests or taking a field trip if health and safety permits. If you have a 10–12-year-old interested, you can sign up here: 

The fall offerings of Paganism 101 and Anti-Racist Foundations concluded in December and new offerings are on the horizon—so keep a look out in the eNews Weekly for registration announcements! 

–Kiersten E. Moore, Director of Lifespan Faith Development 

New program available: Anti-Racist Foundations

Leonie Smith and Catherine Strickland will co-host an 8-week series, Anti-Racist Foundations. This program is for UCV members and friends interested in building their capacity and skills as antiracists. The series will focus on the skills of racial self-awareness, identifying and attending to impact, communicating about difficult topics, and empathy and self-empathy practices.

The series will run from the week of Oct. 21 through December. *Update: the first four sessions starting Oct. 21 will be available on Zoom only.

Four of the eight sessions will be led by Leonie Smith, an antiracism trainer certified in Nonviolent Communication. These sessions will focus on learning. The remaining four sessions will be hosted by Catherine Strickland and will focus on practice and integrating the learning. The sessions will start at 7p.m. and last for 90 minutes. The sessions will be accessible both in person at UCV and online using the OWL camera and other AV equipment. We wish to acknowledge the generous support of the R&A Koerner Foundation Fund in making this program possible.

Registration is limited, so sign up today:


About the Facilitator

P. Leonie Smith has worked in frontline and senior management positions in non-profit organizations. She has almost 20 years experience training, coaching, and in mediation. In particular, she focuses on surfacing the practical implementation of principles of nonviolence, including care, connection, and shared understanding in service to collective work.

OWL is Back!

We are excited to announce a new offering of the Our Whole Lives sexuality education for grades 8 &9 (ages 12-14). Because this class can only be held in person and students come from many different areas of metro Vancouver, we are requiring that all students be age 12 or older and fully vaccinated by the start of class (October 3rd). We will require masks indoors until they are no longer recommended by BC public health.

This is a comprehensive, school-year long program led by trained volunteers and staff. You can read more about this award winning curriculum on our website, check out the dates for this year’s class, and REGISTER HERE.

Register now for UU Wellspring!

UU Wellspring is a 10-month small group program that fosters deep connections and learning between members and personal spiritual deepening. It aligns with our principle of supporting each other in our search for truth and meaning by exploring the six sources that Unitarians draw on for theology.


There are 5 essential components to UU Wellspring:

– Small group connections: meeting for two hours twice a month.

– Daily spiritual practices: your own, starting where you are at, drawing on things you already do.

– Spiritual direction: your own connection with a personal Spiritual Director.

– Deeper knowledge of UU history and theology: through short readings and videos you can spend 1-3 hours with between meetings.

– Putting UU faith into action: Asking each other, “so what?” “now what?” to put knowledge into practice.

We’ll start off with a 4-hour retreat Sept. 26! After that we will meet the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month from 7-9pm, October through June. We are using a multi-platform model with technology to allow meeting online and in-person at the same time.

Sign up HERE.

Time to Spill the Beans

It’s time for the Mystery Pals to reveal their true identity.

We had hoped to be able to have an event at UCV and considered zoom, but…  have decided to just invite you all to do one last letter or email “spilling the beans” – sharing your true identity and expressing (we hope) an intention to meet on zoom or in person at some point in future.

Indeed some congregations consider the mystery pal program a year-long event. We know that some of you have found some things in common and we’d love to think it’s just the start of something rather than the end.

We’d like to share some of the stories. From “eavesdropping” on emails or hearing things, we know there’s some fun connections that have been made. Could you send us 150-200 words – or pictures even better – about how the program went for you?