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.

Justice for DeeCee Spirit Zone

On Sunday, March 12th, Vancouver Unitarians signed letters that call on the Premier, local MLAs and other officials to change the policing approach when it comes to de-escalating mental health crises.

March 12th marked the 4 month anniversary of Dani Cooper’s (DeeCee) death.  Dani died after being shot by police during an episode of psychosis. The Social Justice team set up a table in Hewett Hall  that displayed the sign “Justice for DeeCee Spirit Zone”. People stopped by to sign pre-written letters to officials and to learn more about who Dani was and what we can do to support.

Dennis Cooper, Dani’s father, made this video for Vancouver Unitarians.  Please watch it and share it with those who might be inspired to write letters and/or want to gain a better understanding of the reality of police involvement in mental health crises.


The North Shore Unitarian congregation, of which Dani was a member, has posted more information on their website.

Vancouver Unitarians will continue to hold the 12th of each month as a day  to raise awareness of this tragedy and suggest changes that could lessen the chance of future similar tragedies.

Send your letter to these email addresses:,,,,,,,

Additional Information:


Letters signed at UCV on March 12, 2023

A WELLSPRING COURSE of Spiritual Deepening 

Starts March 6—Register Now! 

 Do you want to live our 7th principle more deeply?  Do you wish to deepen your spiritual connection to the Earth?  During this course we will read, meditate and share our reflections on Robin Wall Kimmerer’s beautiful book, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants

When:  Six sessions, 1st and 3rd Monday evenings of March, April, and May, 7:00-8:30 PM

Where: Online with Zoom!  

Facilitated by Martha Saunders of Vancouver Unitarians. 

Register at 

Contact Kiersten Moore with any questions.

Sunday Volunteer Opportunities

Now that we’re back together in-person on Sundays, we’re on the lookout for new volunteers to help everything run smoothly and to provide a welcoming environment for newcomers. Volunteering on Sundays is a great way to get to know more people in our community! Email Derrick at if you’d like to volunteer. Training and orientation will be provided. Here are a few of our current Sunday volunteer opportunities:

  • Volunteers are needed every Sunday to help with set-up and clean-up of Coffee Hour.  We’re looking to fill up our volunteer roster for set-up of coffee service (11:30 a.m. to Noon) and clean-up (roughly 12:45 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.). Can you help out one Sunday a month? Let us know which Sunday works best for you!
  • Greeters and ushers needed! What better way to meet people than to greet them at the Sanctuary doors on Sundays…Greeters and ushers welcome people on Sundays, hand out Orders of Service, and are available to answer questions from newcomers. Can you help out as a greeter one Sunday a month? Let us know which Sunday works best for you!

Join us for Starting Point, an introduction to UCV for newcomers – Sunday, Feb. 12

Starting Point is a great way to get to know the Vancouver Unitarians, and to find out how you might get more involved in our welcoming community. Starting Point is an orientation session offered for people new to UCV and for members who would like to deepen their understanding of Unitarianism.

There are still a few spaces available! Sign up here to begin the next phase of your spiritual journey and to get more involved in the Vancouver Unitarian community. The session will take place Sunday Feb. 12th after Coffee Hour, 1pm to 5pm – light snacks and refreshments provided!

What you’ll get from attending Starting Point – an orientation to UCV

  • Gives you a great opportunity to learn, or learn again, about the Unitarian faith
  • Lets you meet other newcomers
  • Gets you connected with the Membership Committee
  • Gives us the opportunity to introduce you to our minister

At this orientation session, you will learn about:

  • Unitarian history and values
  • Our congregation’s history and how Vancouver Unitarians worship, teach, serve and work
  • How you can become involved

Anyone simply wishing to know more is welcome to attend as well.

Sign up to confirm your attendance here.

Write for Rights Success Stories

Thank you to everyone who came to write letters  on December 11th.  We wrote 52 letters!

The main goal was to use the power of letter-writing to influence world leaders to protect individuals or communities whose human rights have been denied. The messages help convince government officials to release people imprisoned for expressing their opinion, stop the use of torture and end other human rights abuses.


Please click on links below or scroll down the page to read about  successful cases:

41 Human Rights Wins to Celebrate – Amnesty International

More Write for Rights Success Stories







Doctrine of Discovery & Terra Nullius Forum Recording

Thank you to everyone who came on Nov 20th to attend our first forum on the topic of the Doctrine of Discovery and Terra Nullius.

Members of the IPA, Environment, Social Justice and Truth and Reconciliation teams joined together to organize and facilitate this forum. They were inspired by Bruce McIvor’s talk, and his book, Standoff: Why Reconciliation Fails Indigenous People and How to Fix It,  to educate themselves about The Doctrine of Discovery and Terra Nullius.

They discovered that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission called on all religious denominations and faith groups to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery and Terra Nullius, and that the UUA and many Canadian churches had repudiated this doctrine – including the Anglican Church of Canada and the Catholic Bishops.  They planned this forum to start the the important conversation as to whether UCV might want to  join in denouncing this doctrine.


Q&A transcript – Forum held on Nov 20



Please contact any of these UCV members if you would like to be involved in future discussions:,,

Holiday Advice from Zero Waste Team

Zero Waste Forum 2022

view here:

Here are some links shared in our forum

Christmas, Diy, Decoration, Accessories, Paper, Season

Season of Symbols by Harold Rosen (then minister at North Shore Unitarian)

Season of Symbols

Create Memories Not Garbage from Metro Vancouver

Gift suggestions:


Forum link

The Christmas Pledge


Believing in the true spirit of Christmas, I commit myself to…
* Remember those people who truly need my gifts
* Express my love in more direct ways than gifts
* Examine my holiday activities in the light of my deepest values
* Be a peacemaker within my circle of family and friends
* Rededicate myself to my spiritual growth


  • Which of these speak to you at this time?
  • What’s a specific you’ll do to make it so?


Free Study Guide
A study guide to use with the book (Copyright ©1991 by Jo Robinson and Jean Coppock Staeheli) is available for free online.


Contact for more information or to join our meetings or book group.








UnPlug the Christmas Machine



Please donate socks, hats, mittens for Carnegie Sock Drive

Please consider donating new socks, hats, mittens and scarves to Carnegie Community Centre Sock Drive to support Downtown Eastside community members. The Social Justice Team has placed a SOCKS DONATION BOX in the entrance to Hewett Hall. Store bought or handmade items are most welcome.

  • New socks are the most requested item by people whose lives include homelessness and/or being under housed.
  • They walk often, keep their shoes on almost 24 hours a day, and do not have regular access to laundry facilities.
  • New socks prevent infections, diseases, and provide comfort and relief.  
  • Wool socks can keep feet warm even when wet, so please consider donating wool socks.
Lily Ha has knitted some beautiful toques!
The box is emptied each week and the items are taken to the Carnegie Centre. 
We are taking photos of the donated items and posting them here.
We will add more photos every week!

An 8th principle one year later – UCV survey updated response

UCV responses to a survey distributed by CUC to member congregations.
*REVISED 18 Nov 2022

After the UCV Denominational Affairs Committee (DAC) made its October submission for this CUC survey, the CUC extended the deadline for another three weeks – so we created a revised submission! The revised version includes more contributions from the UCV IBPOC/IPA, Environment, Ministry, and Social Justice Teams and the Denominational Affairs Committee. The revision separates inclusive actions taken in the past year from those taken in previous years. For the question on “Challenges” we decided to focus on our shared interests more than on our differences. The changes increased our overall word count from the requested 700 words to approximately 1000 words.

CUC’s Request:

CUC staff would like you to share your congregation’s or community’s experience during this past year of implementing the 8th Principle. The information you share here may be distributed to Unitarian Universalists as part of our Special Roundtable 8th Principle: 1 Year Later.

Only one submission per group/congregation, so please agree on one person to input your group’s responses. Please mind the word counts for each question. From these submissions we will ask some groups in advance to speak briefly (5 minutes) at the November 26, 2022 Roundtable on this topic.

Thank you for taking the time to share what your group/congregation has been experiencing. We appreciate it!

UCV’s revised response included input from representatives of the IBPOC and Allies, Social Justice, Environment, and Ministry Teams, (including Rev Lara Cowtan, Cindy Cashin, Elizabeth Dunn, Mei Jia Lam, Yvonne Marcus, Hisako Masaki, and Tamiko Suzuki) and from Denominational Affairs Committee members Lynn Armstrong, Mary Bennett, Leslie Kemp (Vice-Chair), Ingrid Luters, Kiersten Moore (DLFD), and Keith Wilkinson (Chair).

CUC Survey Questions:

  1. Has your congregation made a commitment to enacting/living out the 8th Principle? If not, what are some of the challenges?

UCV Response:

Yes, we have made a commitment and have 3 programming goals this year relating to the 8th Principle:

  • embodying our Covenant –
    • Terms of reference for all 22 Committees and Teams state the expectation to honour the UCV Covenant of Healthy Relations (2005)
  • enacting the 8th Principle – as noted below
  • exploring Landscapes of Aging – as noted below
  1. If your congregation has not made a commitment to the 8th Principle, can you discern if there is desire to do so? (*Unclear. We assume this was meant to read “if your congregation has not”.)
  2. Has your congregation / community begun to take action related to inclusivity? Please share.

UCV Response:

Examples from Nov 2021 – Nov 2022:

  • Bystander Intervention Training (led by the UCV IPA Team, CUC Widening the Circle Team, and UCV Truth and Reconciliation Group)
  • Repudiation of Doctrine of Discovery Forum (led by IPA Team)
  • Webpages for Truth and Reconciliation Action, IBPOC-IPA Action, and LGBTQ+ Equality
  • Social Justice Team worship services:
    • Reconciliation (Bruce McIvor and Aline Laflamme)
    • History of Sinixt peoples (Cole Harris)
  • Social Justice Team – hosted a panel on police violence due to systemic racism and bias towards those experiencing a mental health emergency; convened a discussion group on the book, Five Little Indians, which explores the experiences of residents of Indian Residential Schools; and reached out to UCV members to participate in Orange Shirt Day events in both 2021 and 2022.
  • IPA (IBPOC Plus Allies) Team formed to help IBPOC build bridges within the congregation and promote healthy race relations.
  • IPA members were delegates to the CUC AGM and did extensive outreach to UCV Teams & Committees including: Ministerial Transition Team, Ministerial Search Committee, Environment Team, Social Justice Team, UCV Women’s Group, Worship Services Team, Care & Concern Team, Mystery Pals, Youth Group, Liturgy Group, Healthy Relations Team, Elders-Intergenerational Circle, & Gardening Group.
  • IPA organized: Programs and activities to promote multicultural understanding (see #6)
  • Environment Team was committed to centering IBPOC voices in the Earth Day service: IPA produced videos about the intersectionality of environmental and racial issues.

Earlier examples:

  • Truth, Healing & Reconciliation Reflection Guides piloting
  • Joint sponsorship with Vancouver Quakers and others of solidarity events with indigenous people including: Orange Shirt days 2021 & 2022; gathering regarding revelation of unmarked graves 2021; fundraiser for Raven 2020; Building Bridges by Understanding the Village; Kairos Blanket (Offered for both UCV and wider community.)
  1. If yes, what specific type(s) of inclusivity are you focused on?

All types. We focus especially on rights of indigenous peoples through outreach and inclusion in events. We welcome members regardless of economic capacity and institute program sliding scales to reflect that. The above activities organized by the IPA Team were to help increase interaction and connection among UCV members across different cultures and racial identities.

  1. Who is involved in providing leadership? Learning? Action?.

UCV Response:

  • Children & Youth Program Coordinator
  • Director of Lifespan Faith Development
  • Environment Team
  • Genders and Sexualities Alliance
  • IBPOC Plus Allies (IPA) Team
  • Interim Minister
  • Music Director
  • Social Justice Team
  • Truth & Reconciliation Action Team
  • Worship Services Team
  1. What actions has your congregation been taking to inform and engage members?

UCV Response:

  • Lifespan Faith Development Director created a new children’s language Rainbow Principles poster including the 8th; the Tween group has been asked to put the 8th principle into their own words for kids.
  • Staff and members attended CUC Inclusivity Forums and advertised these in our eWeekly news
  • Staff and members participated in CUC sponsored Widening the Circle workshops and formed a working group
  • Lifting up of anti-racism/anti-oppression in worship services and welcoming of all types of identities
  • Website posting regarding the 8th principle one year later survey
  • Activities sponsored by the IPA:
    • Participated in: annual MMIWG march, Powell Street Festival celebrating Japanese Canadian art & culture, 360 Riot Walk (re 1907 anti-Asian riots in Vancouver), presentation for the Asian Heritage Festival, June 21 and Sept 30 Orange Shirt Day rallies
    • Organized: guided tour in Vancouver’s Chinatown, Japanese Cherry Blossom celebration, film screening of ‘Moon Over Tohoku’ & fundraiser for UCV’s Refugee Team
    • Created a video for the CUC’s Shining Lights Award & received honourable mention
    • Butterfly Project video – multilingual presentation of the UU Principles
    • Sunday service homily on theme of East meets West
  1. What specific actions has your congregation taken to address barriers to inclusion? Which barriers have you addressed? Which barriers are you planning to address?

UCV Response:

We have addressed:

Recent examples

  • Honour national and international days and months (eg Asian Heritage month)
  • Organized Bystander Intervention training program
  • Participated in CUC/UCV programs ‘Widening Circle’ and the ‘Healing Circle’
  • 8th principle translated into Chinese for pamphlets and website
  • Provided grants to indigenous students for post secondary education
  • Gender inclusive washroom signage
  • Replaced pews with chairs for varied seating arrangements
  • Created “pray area” in our sanctuary for young children and parents

Earlier examples

  • Celebrate many ethnic and religious holidays
  • Chinese language webpages, pamphlets, and signage
  • Funded external groups for inclusivity and reconciliation
  • Genders and sexualities inclusive banners at events
  • Headsets for hearing assistance
  • Hybrid worship services and meetings increase inclusivity
  • Indigenous land use recognition on website, stationery, and orally at events
  • Ramps for wheelchair access in most areas
  • Wheelchair accessible washroom improvements.
  1. How has your congregation’s / community’s actions resulted in greater inclusivity? How do you know?

UCV Response:

  • Shared social justice action includes people from different cultural, income, and age cohorts
  • Events we sponsor intentionally involve diverse participants
  • Increased number of young adults engaging in various areas of congregational life.
  • Increased inclusion and centering of voices, stories, music, and heritage of marginalized people in worship services. Visibility and acknowledgement of gender diversity within worship services have received warm acknowledgement by trans members.
  • All IPA sponsored activities and service contributions aid inclusivity.
  • Greater inclusivity is associated with increased confidence & trust: as a result, an IBPOC member has reclaimed her Chinese birth name.
  1. Describe the challenges your congregation / community has faced

UCV Response:

UCV members share a common interest in wanting to remove all barriers to inclusivity in our community. Some significant disagreements remain about the appropriateness of the approval process and the wording of the 8th principle.

  • COVID restricted fulsome face to face discussion of differing viewpoints.
  • Some of our print materials (bookmarks, pamphlets, etc.) don’t state the 8th principle.
  1. Share the successes your congregation / community has experienced

UCV response:

  • Our IPA Team has worked vigorously according to its mandate: to engage and connect with the congregation to enact the 8P – e.g., IPA retreat was well attended by congregation. (See above for other successful events)  
  • With increased staff support we offer more programs meant to include “youngerish” members and friends.
  • Young members have increasingly played major roles in designing/curating Sunday services and in providing tech support.
  • Our Genders and Sexualities Alliance ensured there was representation at every Sunday service during June and led a worship service on gender in July (Vancouver’s Pride).
  • Increased postings on UCV’s Facebook and email groups about Metro Vancouver cultural and arts events increase knowledge and awareness of other cultures.
  • We are piloting the formation of an Elder’s Circle to address meaning and spirit in aging as well as to form cross-generational connections with other peer age groups


End of survey.