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 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:
- Has your congregation made a commitment to enacting/living out the 8th Principle? If not, what are some of the challenges?
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
- 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”.)
- Has your congregation / community begun to take action related to inclusivity? Please share.
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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- Who is involved in providing leadership? Learning? Action?.
- 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
- What actions has your congregation been taking to inform and engage members?
- 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
- What specific actions has your congregation taken to address barriers to inclusion? Which barriers have you addressed? Which barriers are you planning to address?
We have addressed:
- 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
- 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.
- How has your congregation’s / community’s actions resulted in greater inclusivity? How do you know?
- 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.
- Describe the challenges your congregation / community has faced
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.
- Share the successes your congregation / community has experienced
- 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.