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.

UCV Board Statement on Anti-Racism

We, the Board of Trustees, the Parish Minister and members of the Unitarian Church of Vancouver, condemn the murder of George Floyd, an act of inhumane police brutality, that is perpetuated by a culture of white supremacy. We in Canada share that culture, and we must commit ourselves collectively to dismantling white supremacy here at home, acknowledge that our white privilege has come at the expense of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour past and present, and rebuild our nation with justice, compassion and respect for all.

Zoom Security: Be sure you’re updated to version 5 before coffee hour on Sunday

Post update May 29, 2020 by Mary Bennett

If you’ve been zooming, you might have been invited to update to version 5 – with higher security measures.

Zoom is making it mandatory after Saturday so you’ll need to do this before Sunday morning to connect to coffee hour.
If you phone into zoom, no problem. Continue as you were.
Here’s an article explaining why.

How do I upgrade to Zoom 5.0?

There’s no point waiting, you might as well upgrade your app right now, if you have time. Updating is pretty simple —if you don’t have the app you can download the latest version. If you already have the Zoom desktop client installed, you can check for updates by signing in, clicking your profile picture, and then clicking “Check for Updates.”

If you use the Zoom app on your mobile, the latest version is available from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Zoom includes some detailed instructions in its Help Center. If you prefer a visual guide, a YouTube video is available explaining how to update.

Using Zoom securely Love it or hate it, most of us have to use Zoom at some point. Therefore, it’s important that we are as secure as possible when we do.

Embedded Passwords

The Communications Committee has confirmed that we can embed the password in a link but the zoom link will not be posted on any website or facebook and has never been used before. So for zoom calls, if you follow the shortlink (e.g. ucv.im/coffee-hour) you shouldn’t need to have a password. If there’s a problem, contact the person who set up the call.

In other words, if you’ve used the links that start with ucv.im in the past, those will still work: You just won’t have to type in a password.

You can test it out between 9 am and 10 am on Sunday morning if you’re not confident. I’ll have ucv.im/coffee-hour open for you to drop in and say hello.

Any questions about this decision, contact Communications Committee chair Marie Witt communications@gmail.com

Post update April 8 by Mary Bennett

Last Saturday, Zoom changed all zoom call settings to require passwords on all scheduled calls and disable the possibility of people joining before the host. Many UUs across Canada and beyond were emailing and discussing on facebook how to let their people watch the Sunday service (ours is on youtube, so it wasn’t a problem) and get into coffee hour discussions (we do use zoom for that.) CUC responded very clearly and quickly with updates and recommendations. Your communications committee discussed and three co-hosts were deputized (as Erin referred t it) so that we could carefully screen anyone wanting to join coffee hour. We had 25 people on line in 5 separate breakout rooms and things went smoothly. For the hosts this is more time-consuming so there could continue to be a bit of a lag time at the start.

In addition to what Zoom required, UCV has

  • enabled “waiting room” – so only identifiable people are let into a call
  • disabled the “embedded” password in invitations
  • removed all links to zoom calls on website and facebook replacing with a “shortlink” (which by the way makes it easier for you to remember e.g. ucv.im/coffee-hour for Sunday coffee hour)
  • started workshops for zoom hosts and co-hosts to learn how to help with these measures

Alternatives to zoom

Galen and Christian, part of our tech team, are also exploring alternatives to zoom.

Help the hosts of our zoom calls ensure security.

Here are some things you can do.

On your zoom account, put your own picture and a name that we would recognize, e.g. Jane and John Doe is better than JJ ipad.

Make note of the zoom links somewhere safe. We have removed links from the website, so keep a cheat sheet or put the link into your calendar, whether paper based or computer-based.

If you are left in the waiting room for long, it may be because we don’t recognize your name. If you send the host of that particular meeting a note in advance, it will help to be sure. For larger groups like coffee hour and neighbourhood check-in, we are putting people into breakout rooms quickly so as to keep the main session available for people needing time to connect with the zoom technology and as double insurance in the event that somehow a “zoom bomber” has managed to crash the meeting. Please click JOIN to go to the breakout room. When options are available like coffee hour, if you want a particular breakout room be ready to say that as soon as you’re on the call.

Don’t share the zoom links on a web page or facebook; emailing to a friend is fine, in fact, encouraged, but don’t send to email lists where you’re not sure who is on it.

For coffee hour, remember, it’s a drop-in session. You can join a conversation when you arrive, so taking a real “coffee break” after the service and joining at ten past 12 would mean a smoother approach for the hosts to let people in a few at a time and set up the breakout rooms.

Future possibilities

We are trying to assure privacy, while not making it too cumbersome and discouraging for people to connect, because connections right now are more important than ever.

Some calls may start restricting to “authenticated users only”. This just means you have to be logged into zoom before joining (as zoom bombers are usually just trying to join “on the fly”). Authenticated users have to give their email address to zoom.

If a participant tries to join the meeting or webinar and is not logged into Zoom, they will receive the following messages The host would likely tell you in advance if they are using this function.

New to zoom?

You may have discovered that depending on what device you’re using, the controls are in different places. Here’s a good getting started resource that includes links to the various devices to help you. https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/categories/200101697

Want to test your video or microphone before joining a meeting?

Here’s how: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362283-Testing-computer-or-device-audio

Zoom bombers

Many of us are using zoom for UCV events and also the many community and activist communities we’re involved with. You may have heard of “zoom bombers” who scour websites for new zoom links to “bomb” your meetings with pornography or racism, creating havoc. Zoom bombers can also just use random numbers so even if the number isn’t publicly posted, they may find it. The controls mentioned above should be enough to make our calls safe from zoom bombers.

Peter Bowden is a UU congregational consultant who offers web training on communications and social media for UU congregations. Here’s his 15-minute video about security for zoom.

It’s well worth watching (as our his various videos on welcoming guests and growing membership.)

Prevent Zoom Bombing: Tips, Settings, and Controls to Help Protect Your Meetings

What is Zoom doing about this?

Blog Post from CEO Eric Yuan

A Message to Our Users

To put this growth in context, as of the end of December last year, the maximum number of daily meeting participants, both free and paid, conducted on Zoom was approximately 10 million. In March this year, we reached more than 200 million daily meeting participants, both free and paid.

However, we did not design the product with the foresight that, in a matter of weeks, every person in the world would suddenly be working, studying, and socializing from home. We now have a much broader set of users who are utilizing our product in a myriad of unexpected ways, presenting us with challenges we did not anticipate when the platform was conceived.

These new, mostly consumer use cases have helped us uncover unforeseen issues with our platform. Dedicated journalists and security researchers have also helped to identify pre-existing ones.

More in-depth article about the issues

https://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2020/04/03/zoom-ceo-outlines-changes-as-platforms-security.html

Among the changes the company has made, he said, was publishing guidelines last month for users on how to avoid being “Zoombombed” — a phenomenon in which intruders crash into Zoom meetings and display pornography or other shocking content.

Zoom has also removed a link with Facebook in which the Zoom app was sending user data to Facebook, unbeknownst to the user, and has updated its privacy policy, Yuan said.

The Interim Minister Search Has Been Completed!

The interim minister search has been completed! The selection process has entailed a surprising amount of work, the largest portion of which has fallen to Leslie Hill, the committee’s chair.  She has done an outstanding job.  I doubt she has done much else for the last many weeks  — a lot of correspondence and phone calls, interviews, and marathon meetings.  On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the entire congregation, THANK YOU, Leslie Hill, and the members of your committee, for your enormous contribution to our Church. Also a big thank you to Gordon Gram for his invaluable help with the contract.

Our Interim Minister will be Rev. Lara Cowtan from Winnipeg, and she is thrilled to begin her tenure here with us on August 1st, and leading our services starting in Sept. A greeting from her will be coming this summer.

To learn more about Rev. Lara, please visit her website www.laracowtan.com/about-me.html

Volunteer Call for Youth and Children’s RE!

Join our Volunteer Team for Children and Youth Groups!

Ministry to children, youth, and families is physically different in this physically distanced world for the foreseable future. The one thing that remains the same is that caring, curious, and interested adults are required to mentor, advise, and lead our various circles and groups. This could be you! We build supportive spaces for our children and youth to create friendships, explore big questions, engage in social justice, be seen and heard, grow spiritually, and be nurtured.

Fill out this form for 2020 volunteer opportunities 

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, still I would plant my apple tree.

–Martin Luther

Journey Alongside Youth

Youth Advisors guide our Youth on a co-leadership model–partnering with the youth to design and coordinate their time together. Youth group meets for 2 hours once a week, currently via zoom. Led by our Youth Coordinator, Olivia Hall, we aim to have a team of 4-6 adults advise on a rotating basis, currently we have two regular advisors. We may organize group outings in the outdoors as restrictions loosen. Youth advisors must be at least 25 years old.

Have you ever wondered what they’re thinking? 

Mairy Beam and Nan Gregory host children’s time before the Sunday service live-stream most Sunday’s. The children have a chance to see each other, share a story and a simple activity or craft that can be done at home. Explorations are built around monthly themes and next year we are exploring the Cosmos. We would love to have two new adults join our Children’s Team. 

(age group 5-9)

Awesome Tweens–Out of this World! 

Are you interested in exploring big questions? Wisdom of World Religions? What does it mean to be so small in such a big universe? Can you roll with questions that seem to come from left field, leave you scratching your head and everyone laughing? Join our tweens (ages 10-12) in the fall of 2020 or over the summer and take on leadership of this group with Kiersten. Whether in zoom rooms or in person, building friendships and exploring truth and meaning creates fun for everyone involved.

Coming of Age Mentor–Bringing Mystery Pals to the Next Level

Youth in grades 7 and 8 spend a mentorship year exploring what it means to be Unitarian. What exactly do they buy into? What do they believe? What does it mean to be spiritual, mindful, religious, atheist, agnostic, humanist or … ?  Key to this exploration is You. Mentorship by a fellow Unitarian and member of UCV builds trust and relationship between our youth and an adult outside their family group–an essential part of a teen’s life.

Mentors and youth meet once a month 1:1 with a goal each meeting built around forming connections and relationship–journeying together. The whole group of mentors and youth meet once a month together to delve deeper.

Our Whole Lives Facilitator

We need more facilitators for all levels of the Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education program, from the elementary ages, through high school, and into adulthood!  Facilitators work in teams to follow the O.W.L. curriculum which for most is 8-10 sessions long, 25 sessions for the Junior High level. It’s not hard to follow and lead–but it takes a dedication and willingness to discuss all aspects of sexuality, family life, and relationships. Potential facilitators must attend a weekend long in-person training in order to be certified.

Fill out the form if you’re willing to attend a training in the next couple years (once they’re available).

 

Create Summer FUUN Kits for Families

We have a room full of craft supplies going unused–Anyone interested in helping put together activity kits that we can mail to families for the summer? Maybe ongoing monthly through the year? I would love some help implementing this distance fun idea…

 

Fill out this form with your interest–more info will come your way: ucv.im/RE-volunteer

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.

 

UCV Supports “A Just Recovery For All”

The Unitarian Church of Vancouver has just joined an alliance of nearly 240 organizations that have come together to develop key principles for a “Just Recovery for All” from the COVID-19 pandemic. As governments begin to make plans for recovery, organizations are joining together to send a message that we cannot return to the old “normal”. Now is the time to imagine a better future.

 The principles below were informed by a month of consultations with over 200 groups and individuals across Canada by https://justrecoveryforall.ca/

You can see the full text and sign on to the principles using this form: https://forms.gle/TYrkQtzVkGcYETVb8

Connect and engage through Zoom

The first week of each month has two special zoom gatherings.

Join us on the first Wednesday for the GSA (Genders and Sexualities Alliance) film discussion. We share what we’ve been watching. This month Jeffrey Marsh’s TED talk or youtube videos and Hannah Gadsby’s new show on Netflix Douglas will be part of the discussion. Bring your favorite line from any of these, make a comment or ask a question. See below for links to the links to sign in for zoom calls.

On the 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 definitely have a chance to meet someone new.

We’re now hosting one-hour workshops over zoom in place of the in person workshops we’ve coordinated with Luke Zukowski and Janni Kretlow. The video from our session on WhatsApp is available on request. Just ask Mary.

This is where online UCV gatherings initiated by the Connect & Engage team (sub-committee of Membership Development) via zoom are listed and updated.

Some gatherings are for specific groups such as our current covenant groups and men’s and women’s groups; others for all Unitarians–including our friends across the country. All of these sessions are coordinated by the Connect & Engage team use the same password. Check with ucvconnect@gmail.com in advance to request.

Event Day Starts at Notes Sign-in at Contact
Virtual Coffee Hour Sunday 12 pm All welcome ucv.im/coffee-hour Mary
Online theatre sharing Monday 4 pm Small group ucv.im/theatre Mary
Neighbourhood group connections 1st Tuesday 7:15 pm small groups 2-3 people ucv.im/neighbourhoods Mary
Zoom practice session

We will be focusing on specific skills each week

Thursday 2 pm basic practice; also host/co-host practice ucv.im/zoom-practice Mary
GSA Monthly Film Discussion 1st Wed 7:15 pm ucv.im/gsa Mary
Tech workshops Saturdays — check schedule 3 pm Must RSVP ucv.im/tech-workshop Luke, Janni, Mary

For descriptions of these events, just search on the website or go to upcoming events https://ucv.im/events

Links to upcoming Connect and Engage Events on Zoom

Sat, Jun 6, 2020
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
SLACK Workshop with Luke Zukowski
Sat, Jun 6, 2020
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Social Media Workshop with Luke Zukowski
Sat, Jun 20, 2020
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Working with Breeze - posting events and setting up volunteer schedules
Wed, Jul 1, 2020
7:15 pm - 8:30 pm
Genders and Sexualities Alliance Monthly Film discussion and Check-in
Wed, Aug 5, 2020
7:15 pm - 8:30 pm
Genders and Sexualities Alliance Monthly Film discussion and Check-in
Wed, Sep 2, 2020
7:15 pm - 8:30 pm
Genders and Sexualities Alliance Monthly Film discussion and Check-in
Wed, Oct 7, 2020
7:15 pm - 8:30 pm
Genders and Sexualities Alliance Monthly Film discussion and Check-in

More Zoom opportunities

Note that there are other video conferences organized and hosted by Kiersten, Steven and others. All open online events can be found here: https://ucv.im/events

Using UCV’s Pro Account

To book a zoom call using UCV’s Pro account contact Mary for Connect and Engage small groups; Kiersten for religious education; Marcus for committee meetings and Diane Brown for board. If you’re not sure, contact communications chair Marie Witt or Office Assistant Marcus Hynes info@vancouverunitarians.ca

More Connect & Engage zoom connections

If you are part of a UCV small group such as a covenant group, book group, neighbourhood group, men’s or women’s group and want assistance setting up a zoom call just contact me. You decide when and who’s invited. I help you set it up. You share the information with your people. I then send you confidential information for zoom hosts. Please contact Mary ucvconnect@gmail.com

Zoom for Free

If your small group wishes to meet via zoom, the free account allows up to 40 minutes at a time. Sometimes it will automatically extend your free call.

Mary Bennett, Connect & Engage team, Vancouver Unitarians

 

Tribute to Steven

Board President Diane Brown is inviting everyone to email her a brief written contribution for a Congregational Tribute that will be given to Steven Epperson, after his last sermon. Also please send her one photo of Steven if you have one.

We cannot all gather together at this time, but we can all honour our beloved Steven with our own words and sentiments as he leaves the Sanctuary for the last time on June 21st.

A formal large gathering celebrating his incredible tenure at UCV will take place sometime in the future.

Please use the form below to submit brief written submissions and photos. Submissions must be received by the Deadline:  Monday morning June 15, at 10 am.

Theatre Friends – share your reviews and recommendations

Paula and Mary invite you to a weekly theatre discussion on zoom – Mondays @ 4pm.

Sign in at https://ucv.im/theatre  You’ll need the regular connect and engage password. Ask Mary for it if you don’t know it. ucvconnect@gmail.com

Mary also has set up a private facebook group called “Theatre Friends” – theatrefriendsmary If you have a connection with UCV and/or Mary, you’ll be approved for membership after you answer the member questions and agree to rules.

Hoping to help us all take advantage of the amazing theatre available online at this time, and post-pandemic share theatre reviews and information and perhaps even a theatre project together.

This weekly discussion grew out of a book and video discussion, so we may throw in a bit about what we’re reading and films we’re watching as well. Hope to see you there!

Sponsored by Connect & Engage team, Mary Bennett, chair.