Category: Recent News

The monthly e-newsletter selects about 5 news posts with this category. Priorities are news relevant to a wide number of people and especially of interest to visitors or new folk.

Our Moral Priorities

Support COVID Relief in NE India – a Faithify Crowd Source Initiative.

This is an initiative sponsored by the International Convocation of Unitarian Universalist Women.

More details below…

The current COVID-19 pandemic and the on-going global climate crisis may leave us a bit bewildered about where and how to act in a constructive way. What should our priorities be? Like each of us, I eventually find a way forward that suits my character,  temperament, and pocketbook. Socially, spiritually, and economically, I find ways to support: a) my family, b) my friends, c) my religious community d) other creatures, e) my neighbourhood, f) my city, g) my province, h) my country, i) my planet, j) myself – not necessarily in that order! Within each of these I look for ways, large or small, in which I can contribute, ways suited to my gifts. And in this manner, it seems to me, each one of us maps out our unique ethical path.

There are times when many of us need to be headed in roughly the same direction on critical issues if we are to make a helpful contribution to our own well-being and that of our planet. One of those directions, I believe, is toward climate justice. There are many specific paths within this direction that a person can follow, but we need to head generally the same way as others and be supportive of each other in order to get there. I can’t think of anyone in our Unitarian community who isn’t doing something to move in this direction toward climate justice.

A more urgent issue is provision of global relief to help people cope successfully with COVID-19. Refugees fleeing from wars, oligarchies, and disastrous climate changes also need help. While governments and charitable organizations help, how do we, as individuals, pick from amongst the many options for helping?

Following are descriptions and links to a few programs related to the global Unitarian Universalist community that are addressing these needs. Perhaps you can find something in the short list below that appeals to your spirit and character to which you can contribute money or service immediately.

Some primary options for giving

COVID-19 Relief

  1. Donate to UCV by texting 1 778 771 1707 and adding a note to direct your donation to:

Burundi Partner Church COVID-19 Relief Fund

**Directions for giving by text are outlined at the end of this posting.

You can also give to this fund electronically, or by mailing a cheque to the UCV Office.
For directions for electronic giving as well as pledging options, go to the UCV Website and click on Give near the top right hand side of the page which will take you to our Giving Page.

  1. Donate through a crowd source initiative in support of COVID relief for Unitarians in NE India. Go to the following link and follow the instructions:

Support COVID Relief in NE India – a Faithify Crowd Source Initiative.

This is an initiative sponsored by the International Convocation of Unitarian Universalist Women.

Other UCV Crisis Support Initiatives

(Give by text, electronically, or by cheque to UCV)

Sheilah Thompson Refugee Fund
(Used by the UCV Refugee Committee as backup where needed for specific groups of refugees)

Refugee Funds for a particular family/group
(Used by the UCV Refugee Committee to support specific refugee groups or families. UCV is currently supporting 3 such groups: Al Humaid, Issa and Rosa, & Mohammed Ali Alian.)

Green Fund
(Allocated by the Board in consultation with the UCV Environment Team to support specific environmental initiatives, some related to improving UCV’s carbon footprint, and some directed to the larger community.)

Emergency Relief Fund
(Directed by the UCV Board in consultation with selected committees for global relief work.)

Support for CUC initiatives via UCV

CUC Sharing Our Faith Fund
(Money contributed each year from across Canada to help selected congregations offer special programs for which they apply. UCV has been a beneficiary of this fund in recent years.)

To give to UCV by text, enter 1 778 771 1707 on your smartphone

If it’s your first time donating by text, you’ll be given a link and asked to supply your payment method (credit card, debit card, or bank account) and details about that. This payment source will then be linked with your phone number.

Then simply text the amount you’d like to give to this number. For example:

Text       [ Give $5 ]

This will send $5.00 immediately to the UCV open collection.

Once you’ve donated, you’ll receive a text confirming that your donation has been received successfully. You’ll also be given the option to cancel the donation if you’ve made an error.

You can also direct text donations to specific UCV funds. To do this, text the amount followed by a short description of where you want the money to be directed. For example:

Text       [ Give $5 to Burundi COVID-19 Relief ]

This will direct $5 immediately to the UCV Burundi Partner Church COVID-19 Relief Fund.

All of your text donations will be combined with any other donations you have made to UCV and will be reported to you at the end of the year for income tax purposes as Charitable Donations.

 

Women’s Groups Update

Hello, As we’ve had some inquiries from women interested in joining a women’s group, I thought I’d put out a summary of what’s available and invite those of you currently in a women’s group to let me/us know if you’re willing to have new members.

The Canada-wide (but still small and informal) Feminist Book Club sponsored by Canadian U*U Women’s Association continues on the 2nd Sunday usually – but for October it’s on the 3rd Sunday. Cathy Sevcik will be attending and is a regular participant and you can contact her if you want a chat by email beforehand.

Inspired by the Morning Meditations Rev. Lara has been offering on Tuesday through Friday, and in conjunction with CUUWA, Mary Bennett has initiated Women’s Meditative Poetry gatherings. These are 15-minute poetry readings/meditation on Sat. and Sun. at 9 am and on Mondays at 4pm (Pacific time) Open to women and non-binary persons. Check events for details or contact me, Mary. Leadership will rotate. Poems will be by Canadian women or non-binary poets. You can join an email group or slack workspace if you want to see a list of poems and add to our list.

Annual Women’s Gathering. For several years UCV has hosted a women’s gathering with 40-50 people attending. Right now the maximum # who can attend the Hall is 15 and the Sanctuary 25, but we might go ahead. If you’re willing to be on a planning team, contact Mary. Usually this is scheduled in January.

Soul Matters Neighbourhood Drop-in. Not only, but mostly, women, drop in monthly on the 1st Tuesday 7:30-8:30pm to discuss the theme of that month’s Soul Matters package.

The CUUWA will be offering a free online program of Cakes for the Queen of Heaven, starting on Saturday, November 7 at 12 pm Pacific, 3 pm Eastern time, and meeting every three to four weeks for eleven sessions.

We offered this program at UCV last year led by Laurie and Paula.

Cakes for the Queen of Heaven

Any of these events that have dates and times can be found in the Events List on this website.

Need contact info? Check with UCV office or if you’re a member or friend, use our directory.

Links:

CUUWA https://cuuwa.org/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/CANUUWA

Poetry email group: send message to womens-meditative-poetry+subscribe@googlegroups.com

Slack workspace: meditativepoetry (Check Canadian Women poets channel)

 

 

 

 

Our UCV Congregational History Wall 

Effective transition after a settled minister leaves starts with a collective review of how the congregation has been shaped and formed. It is a way to claim and honour our past, our major milestones and evolution and engage and honour our griefs and conflicts. It is done in a spirit of community and mutual respect.

You are invited to come to Hewett Centre to contribute to the UCV Congregational History Wall. A member of the Ministerial Transition Team will be there along with pens and big sticky notes for you to write your recollections and affix them at appropriate points. Photo contributions are also welcome.

Due to the COVID-19 guidelines for Hewett Centre, we are limited to 14 congregants at a time, during a one-hour session. You must book your session ahead. Masks and social distancing are required. The doors and windows will be open, so you will want to dress accordingly.

This may be the first time you have been to the campus in awhile. You are welcome to come early or stay after and enjoy the campus grounds, walk the labyrinths, view the new benches and distance visit with one another.

We will also soon have a virtual (on-line) Congregational History Wall for those who prefer to contribute at-a-distance.
We look forward to welcoming you!

Ministerial Transition Team

Learn More About the Ministerial Transition

CUC Leaders Roundtables

4th Saturdays, monthly, 9 AM Pacific time

Report on the CUC Leaders Roundtable of 26 Sep 2020:

Seven UUs from Halifax, Huronia, Niagara, Lakehead, Calgary and Vancouver participated. We discussed space rental as a revenue source, rental rates, human resource consultants, staff reductions and expansions, zoom AGM procedures, zoom dinners, zoom charades, outside Hallowe’en costume parades, and a forthcoming (date TBA) CUC Webinar on Hybrid Services (some people in the sanctuary, others at home).

 

 

 

Next roundtables:

Saturday, October 31, 9:00 a.m. PT | 10:00 a.m. MT | 11 :00 a.m. CT | 12:00 p.m. ET | 1:00 p.m. AT

Saturday, November 28, 9:00 a.m. PT | 10:00 a.m. MT | 11 :00 a.m. CT | 12:00 p.m. ET | 1:00 p.m. AT

Congregational leaders from across Canada are invited to gather monthly to share ideas and insights with each other and CUC staff. Our conversations will explore different topics with the goal of supporting our congregations and each other as we navigate the post-pandemic world with resiliency and grace.

Online via Zoom: https://bit.ly/2EUMhsD

For on-going national UU news, subscribe to the CUC News

CUC also hosts online events including regional gatherings, discussions, round tables and webinars. Find out about upcoming events and gatherings in the CUC events calendar.

Reassessing Canadian Foreign Policy

Reassessing Canadian Foreign Policy

Our UCV Board approved a motion that Vancouver Unitarians become a signatory to a national campaign calling for a fundamental reassessment of Canadian foreign policy. Our federal government is widely criticized for it’s continuing support for controversial mining companies, indifference to International treaties, anti-Palestinian positions, climate policies and militarism. And, this may be why Canada lost two consecutive efforts to gain a seat on the UN Security Council. Big thanks to the Environment Team for bringing this motion to the Board.
 
Here is a link to the campaign where you may sign on as an individual. And here is more information about the campaign for endorsers.

Sign your name to support this campaign:

Endorser Guide:

Starting Point: Small Circle Ministries

Starting this October, UCV is excited to be launching into weekly
online Starting Point small circle ministries.

We’ll follow along with the themes and stories Rev. Cowtan will be
using in her weekly sermons and bring new life to both UU theology and
history. This is a great chance to reintroduce yourself to your fellow
UU members. All members & visitors are welcome!

Weekly sessions will begin in the first week of October. Please use the form below to let us know if you’d like to join!

Staff Announcement from HR Committee

Aurora Eyolsfson, who has been the UCV Church Administrator for the past 3 years, has left our employment. During her time with us, Aurora brought to light how little UCV has been charging for rent of our spaces compared to both other churches and the going market rental rates. She also took care of finding a much better provider for our extended health benefits in terms of price and services. She advocated for fair pay for both caretakers and RE childcare and teachers.

We are grateful to Aurora for her time and service with UCV, and wish her all the best for her future. The Transition Team is working with the staff and leadership to review the various roles and structures of UCV’s ongoing staffing needs to plan for the future. In the short term, we ask for the patience and support of members as changes in our office may impact response time for administrative requests. We are blessed with amazing and motivated staff.

Poems by Canadian women – share a favorite and reflect on others

UPDATE: Would you like to be part of a women’s circle once a week to share and reflect on a poem and facilitate a short reflection? We would use the same format as Rev. Lara’s Lectio Divina Morning Meditations that she leads Tuesday through Friday every morning 9-9:15 am. (Someone reads a poem three times. We listen first for feelings; secondly for memories and third time for a message.) We would take turns leading.

Let Mary Bennett know if interested. Along the lines of this post, we’d choose poems written by Canadian women.

Open to all women in the broadest sense. UPDATE: Mondays at 4pm Pacific starting October 19th.

by Debra Sutherland

A warm and welcoming invitation to a reflective, restorative, poetry-focused Feminist Book Club Zoom meeting

The UU Feminist Book Club was launched in the spring of 2019 by Jo-Anne Elder, an accomplished writer, poet, editor, educator and translator, who makes her home in New Brunswick. This initiative unites book-loving feminist Unitarian members (and friends) across Canada, via Zoom and Google groups. The group membership though stretching from coast to coast is still small and personal. The Zoom meetings are scheduled for the second Sunday of every month, and you all are invited!

Jo-Anne has suggested we use the time to talk, read/listen to poetry and ask reflective questions, rather than discuss a book selection. She has invited us to bring our favourite poems by women (preferably Canadian women) about spring, hope, liberation or other themes that may hearten us as we go through this difficult time. Sounds very nurturing and sustaining to me! So I am all in, and it would be very nice to see a few more local faces as well!

I was first introduced to the feminist book club a year ago by Mary Bennett, and it was also my first introduction to Zoom. For those of you who may not yet have found your way onto Zoom, I want to say that I found the Zoom platform easy to access, even though and even at the best of times, I am technically challenged! So hopefully you will not let your lack of technical prowess keep you away. You only need to download the Zoom application to your computer or Ipad or Smartphone, and then simply click on the link and the group leader, Jo-Anne Elder, will do any of the harder stuff!

Books that have been read and discussed in the Feminist Book club to date include a wide range of genres, including award winning fiction – The Red Word by Sarah Henstra, Women Talking by Miriam Toews, and That Time I Loved You by Carrianne Leung; poignant, powerful and poetic memoir – Heart Berries by Therese Mailhot; informative and interesting non-fiction – Ten Thousand Roses: The Making of a Feminist Revolution by Judy Rebick; academic – Women’s Ways of Knowing by Belenky et al; indigenous feminist philosophy – I am Woman by Lee Maracle; a feminist essay collection – Shrewed: A Wry and Closely Observed Look at the Lives of Women and Girls by Elizabeth Renzetti; and classics – The Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro and The Bell by Iris Murdoch; and to round all that out, the psychoanalytic and feminine psychology books of Marion Woodman. Something for everyone I would say!

So with all of this by way of introduction to the UU Feminist Book Club  And if you can’t fit it in this time then it would be equally lovely to see you on Zoom for another gathering.

Some links

http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/country/Canada/women/Canadian_poets.html

 

Coming of Age Orientation night – One mentor’s perspective

To This I Give My Heart: Coming of Age Orientation

One mentor’s perspective

by Mary Bennett

Seven mentors and seven youth (mentees) gathered in Hewett Centre on Sunday, September 20th, most in person and another 4 via zoom, to begin a year-long journey of getting to know each other. Olivia Hall, youth coordinator, and Kiersten Moore, DRE, facilitated an evening of games and conversations, some one-on-one and some in the whole group. The photo shows us playing “All my friends and neighbours…”

We had a couple of introductory exercises, the first included: what pet would you have if you could have any pet at all (including imaginary ones). Responses included elephants, monkeys, octopuses as well as dogs and cats and one person said, “No thanks. I don’t want a pet.”  

Then we paired off with our partner and were asked to come up with the one thing we would choose if we got to name something to help save humanity. I expect other pairs had the same kind of free-ranging conversation that my partner and I had. The final results were intriguing: phytoplankton; the internet, Steven Spielberg’s computer, fresh air…  What would you choose? Get ready for the zombie apocalypse now in case you’re asked.. 

Each pair will meet on their own once a month. As well as having a bit of fun together, our mission is to  work through the Coming of Age journals* we were given. 

When asked to share what we hoped to get from the program, there were responses of friendship and learning. After the broad concepts, one mentor said,  I just want to get to know my mentee better. The mentee beamed. 

While leaving the hall, a friend said to me: “Who’s the mentor and who’s the mentee? These young folx are so interesting and interested, the hardest part for us adults may be to keep up.”

For myself, I see my role as being a bridge between our religion and this one young person. I’m looking forward to exploring our history especially as my mentee is interested in history. 

Often the young people write their own Credo (statement of belief) and may present to the congregation. If my mentee chooses to do this, I can be a coach and/or cheerleader. Speaking to the congregation, I believe, is an honour and a challenge, an opportunity I have personally appreciated very much and grown from.

Next month, there might be a post by another participant, or a pair, from this program so you can have a glimpse about how it evolves.

 

Zoom October Update

October’s theme is Deep Listening

and yes! deep listening is possible on zoom!

Learn more about Soul Matters themes here: https://www.soulmatterssharingcircle.com/ and on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/soulmatterssharingcircle

Virtual coffee hosts

  • John Smith – 1st Sunday
  • Donna – 2nd Sunday:  includes Book group at 12:30 pm
  • Erin – 3rd Sunday
  • Nan – 4th Sunday – includes Refugee committee at 12:30 pm

Usual breakout rooms include: Sermon discussion, all ages/family zoom (Mary Bennett facilitates), and random chat.

All Ages/Family chat is where kids’ voices are centered. Some of us are doing crafts while chatting or engaging in show-and-tell live or through screen share of photos. If you’re doing the Chalice Home program and have an altar at home, we’d love to have you share it.

Volunteer opportunity: We’re looking for someone to host 5th Sundays and be a backup if one of the regulars isn’t available. Training and a nice team available to help.

Facilitators for break out rooms always welcome. There have been rooms for discussion of indigenous studies, anti-racism and could be on the monthly theme, i.e. Deep Listening for October. If you want the discussion questions just ask at the UCV office for the Soul Matters package to be sent to you.

If you’re not sure how to contact the hosts, the office staff can help you access an online directory (“Breeze”) or look up contact info for you.

The GSA (Genders and Sexualities Alliance) now meets on the 1st Thursday. Sometimes we watch a film or video together. We’re discussing ways to provide more education on trans issues and update our bathroom signs among other things. You are welcome, whether queer or straight.

On the Neighbourhood Chat first Tuesday, you have a chance to zoom in and meet someone (new?) from your neighbourhood. We’re spread out all over the place, so sometimes a neighbourhood is a pretty large area, but you’ll likely have a chance to meet someone new. Zoom room opens by 7:15pm, check in starts at 7:30 pm. Depending on numbers we use breakout rooms or stay as a whole group. We will start using the questions from the Soul Matters packet for our group.

Zoom Practice: We are now meeting once a month on the first Tuesday at 4 pm. Mary, Donna and John facilitate and we usually have Unitarians from across Canada join us.

The series of tech workshops is now complete for now. Contact John Henderson or office staff if you want links to handouts and videos on slack, breeze and what’s app.