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.

Introducing UCV’s Ministerial Nomination Search Committee

On May 22, UCV Board President Bruce McIvor introduced our new Ministerial Search Committee to the congregation as part of Sunday service. The members of the Search Committee are, in alphabetical order: John Boyle, Diane Brown, Carrie Mac, Esme Mac-Demers (alternate), Jenny Malcolm, Michael O’Neil, Nancy Woodham, and Meena Wong.

Here is an abridged transcript of Bruce McIvor’s remarks introducing the Search Committee:

I’m very honoured to be part of such a wonderful group of hardworking volunteers working on behalf of the congregation. It’s an important day, and it’s an important year for this congregation, because we will be choosing a new settled minister and how important that is for all of us and for the future.

We had 14 wonderful nominees who put their names forward, and I just want to say they really reflected the strength of this congregation. Any one one of them would’ve been a fantastic member of our Search Committee. I want to thank everyone for putting their names forward as nominees. Then we had a vote. After the vote, the Board met. The four nominees with the most votes were the first four who were going to be on the Search Committee.

Then, based on the policy we relied on from the UUA, the Board made a decision to add three more of the nominees to the Search Committee based on the criteria and to ensure diversity and inclusivity to reflect this congregation. And then we did something additional, because we all know how important it is for youth to be represented and reflected in our processes. The Board made a decision to add an eighth member to the committee – a youth member who will serve as an alternate. It’s important to note that she’ll be an alternate, but she will be a full member of the committee with equal responsibilities and standing. The only difference is she will only vote, when and if there’s a requirement to vote, if someone else on the Search Committee has to withdraw. I’m really, really proud that we have youth on the Search Committee.

Importantly, there were Board members who were nominated for the Search Committee; they took no part in the process of selecting the committee. Now that the Search Committee has been commissioned, it will operate independently of the Board. The Search Committee is the entire congregation’s Search Committee.

Congratulations to you all.


(Photo: Screenshot from the May 22 Sunday service, with Board members and Search Committee members joining Rev. Lara Cowtan on stage in front of the congregation.)

Read the new report from our Congregational Identity Team

This photo was taken on Sunday, May 22, of the ‘crew’ working on stuffing jelly beans into cones, that was made with the page of the summary of the newly released report by UCV’s Congregational Identity Team.

This was Olivia’s fun idea, and Leslie put this crew together of Naomi, Marg, Rob, John, and Cynthia.

We then distributed the cones while congregants were exiting the Sanctuary after the Sunday Service! The purpose of this was to help promote engagement of the congregation members, by keeping abreast of the research/ information relating to UCV, so that we can be more actively participating in the various projects moving forward. You can read the full report here and the appendices here.


Circle Dance

NOTE: Circle dances organized by Mary Bennett will either be outdoors or require masks indoors.

All participants must be vaccinated.

Upcoming Events

No Events

Before covid, UCV hosted 3 sometimes more circle dance gatherings every month.

Since then we’ve shared two or three at the start of Earth Spirit rituals and a couple of us have met informally and now we’d like to start offering at least one 2-hour circle dance session each month.

Please contact to register if you plan to attend.

You may find Mary’s blog of value, especially if you’re new to circle dancing.


International Sacred Circle Dance Day – stay tuned

Sunday, July 10


June is Pride Month

For June the UCV Genders and Sexualities Alliance will have an information table in the courtyard every Sunday after the service including information of the many Pride flags. We will also be recording videos for using in the services highlighting some of the flags.

Members of the Genders and Sexualities Alliance will be present to answer any questions you may have.

For more info, search the website for GSA or Welcoming congregation.

Curious? Read more here:

President’s Message

It’s an honour to serve the congregation as president of the Board of Trustees. As per our Bylaws, the Board appointed myself as president and Leslie Hill as vice-president at the Board’s April 19th meeting following the resignation of Mary Bennett as president. Thank you to Leslie for volunteering to fill the vice-president position. Also, a sincere and heartfelt thank you to Mary Bennett for all the contributions she has made and continues to make to our congregation.

This an exciting time of renewal and recommitment for UCV. An impressive group of dedicated members has generously put their names forward for our Ministerial Search Committee. The election closes on May 10th. I encourage all members to read each candidate’s bio and cast your ballot. The entire congregation is proud to have such an inspiring list of dedicated members to choose from.

On behalf of the congregation, I’d also like to express our gratitude to the members who volunteered to serve as part of UCV’s delegation to this year’s Canadian Unitarian Council’s Annual General Meeting.  We know your time is valuable and appreciate your willingness to share your time and skills for the betterment of Unitarian Universalists across Canada.

It’s our annual pledge season. Members support the work of our congregation in a myriad of ways, including giving money and, just as importantly, giving of their time, talents, expertise and energy. On behalf of the Board and the entire congregation, I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to all of you. For those who make an annual financial contribution and have not increased your pledge for several years, I encourage you to give more this year if possible. Our congregation is doing important, life-changing work and we have a collective ambition to do even more to the benefit our members, our community and our planet. Please do what you can to support the congregation in its important work.

Finally, past-president Diane Brown is leading-up our Nominating Committee for the new Board of Trustees that will be elected at our AGM in November. I encourage both long-time and new members to consider putting their names forward to be part of the new Board and to contact Diane at for more information. Serving on the Board is a wonderful opportunity to contribute to the good work of our congregation and to help develop and execute UCV’s strategic goals. It can also be a lot of fun. The Board is a safe, supportive place for members to make significant contributions with a lasting effect–consider joining us in this important work.

Yours with respect and gratitude,

Bruce McIvor


Our Names – A Brief History

What we call ourselves and where we worship have gone through a few name changes since our beginnings.  Some of our members and friends, supported by the Ministerial Transition Team want to review whether to retain our name of Unitarian Church of Vancouver or consider replacing “Church” with some other C word.

1910  First Unitarian Church

1912  The First Unitarian Congregation of Vancouver was officially incorporated.

1946  The Unitarian Church of Vancouver became the new official name. There are no records of discussion or debate among the 35 members about this decision.

2004   After several Forums with the Congregation the Board unanimously chose Vancouver Unitarians on our website, logo, and banner to reduce in prominence the title of Church.

2018   On April 17 the Board approved the creation of the Name Change Task Force “to investigate alternatives to the word ‘church’  in the title Unitarian Church of Vancouver.”

On September 16 A Potential Name Change Forum was held.

2019   On August 25 the Task Force was resurrected and renamed What Do We Call Ourselves (WDWCO TF) We posted to the CUC Leaders’ google group that we were reviewing our name and invited comment. The 43 responses were compiled into the summary report: What do we call ourselves?  Centres for hope and inspiration?

On October 20 we held an information Forum: What’s in a Name?  Why this is important.

2020   In January the article What’s in a Name? (WIAN) was posted to the January monthly Bulletin, UCV Events, UCV Chat and weekly Orders of Service.

On January 19 our third Forum Sharing what is important to us about the name was attended by 42 participants.

In March COVID suspended our planned survey of members and friends about name preference.

2021    On December 14 the Board passed a motion to reappoint the What Do We Call Ourselves Task Force.

2022   On February 17 the Ministerial Transition Team Chair encouraged the Task Force to prepare the congregation for a fall vote on our name.  The Task Force is planning a survey of members about what name best represents who we are today and for the future.

Mobilizing Faith and Spirit for the Climate Crisis

Our next Climate Dialogue event will feature Sameer Merchant

Monday, June 13 at 7 p.m. 

Book your seats in the Sanctuary now:

All events will be available to join in person or online at


About the Speaker

Sameer Merchant spent two decades as a software engineer in Seattle and Vancouver working for Microsoft, Hulu, and Tableau. He is currently taking an extended sabbatical to get a better understanding of the climate crisis, what we can do to reduce our individual and collective contributions to the problem, and to understand the psychology behind climate denial and climate inaction. His faith tradition is Ismaili Muslim, which is central to his views on humanity’s role as stewards of the Earth.


About the Series: Mobilizing Faith and Spirit for the Climate Crisis 

Every day we are reminded that we are in a climate emergency. Unprecedented heat waves, droughts, fires, extreme weather events, floods, refugees – the list goes on. Taken together with the current pandemic, it’s understandable that many of us feel frightened, overwhelmed, powerless.  Where can we find the individual and collective strength to clearly face the truth of the emergency, mourn the damage being done to our blue planet, and inspire ourselves and others to action?

The Vancouver Unitarians are hosting a series of talks by prominent Canadians from faith, spiritual and secular backgrounds to support us in answering that question.  They will educate, nourish, and inspire us, drawing on diverse faith and spiritual traditions including those of Indigenous peoples. They will delve into how these traditions and practices, and the values they represent, help them contend with the climate emergency and the actions they are taking.  And, in this way, they will help us engage more effectively with the crisis and create our way forward to a sustainable future – for ourselves and our families, our communities, our nation, and for the health of our loved ones and our planet.


About the Format and Venue

The speaker series is being live-streamed from the campus of the Vancouver Unitarians to audiences online and in-person in the Sanctuary. Two Vancouver Unitarians are moderating the series – introducing the speakers, leading discussions after each talk, and providing continuity over the course of the full program.  The series will include occasional panel discussions of key themes and learnings from what we heard. 

All events in this series are being held in the Sanctuary at UCV. It is recognized as a remarkable mid-twentieth century architectural legacy – a well-received spiritual gathering place and a civic gathering place for events in the arts, public affairs, and discourse on the issues of the day.


Past Events in this Series 

Oct. 28, 2021: Seth Klein

Jan. 26, 2022: Dr. Carmen Lansdowne

Feb. 9, 2022: Rabbi Hannah Dresner

Mar. 9, 2022: Sukhvinder Kaur Vinning

April 13, 2022: Corina Bye, Catherine Hembling, Karl Perrin, and Tamiko Suzuki

May 11, 2022: Dr. Fred Bass

Canvass season is underway: Make your 2022-2023 Pledge to keep UCV growing

Spring is here, the daffodils and forsythia are in bloom and once again we’re asking you to renew your financial contribution to UCV.

Through the last two challenging years, many congregations have dwindled. Thanks to your generosity and hard work, we’ve survived and become stronger.

As we resume in-person services, expand our offering of programs and all-ages activities and begin the search for a settled minister, UCV is poised to grow more in the years ahead. But your help is needed.

Make your pledge here

As our 2022-23 Canvass season gets underway, we’re asking you to be as generous as you can, and to consider increasing your pledge. We welcome your contribution whatever way you choose, but please consider an automatic monthly donation, many members and friends find that the most convenient method.

We are a proudly self-governing, self-financing, and democratic charitable organization. That means we are all responsible for providing the financial means to continue our shared work. As we emerge from the pandemic, your contribution will help us renew our supportive and active community, dedicated to spiritual and religious exploration as well as justice for all.

Your financial support has brought us this far and set the stage for years of growth ahead. UCV’s future is now. Together we can keep this community thriving and growing.

With appreciation and in faith,

Gordon Gram on behalf of UCV Canvass 2022-2023

Vancouver Unitarians Hear Ministry of Just Transition Report from 2025

Fifty communities from across Canada participated in the March 12, 2022 Canada-wide Day of Action. The Ministry of Just Transition’s Press Conference was Vancouver’s event, held on the Vancouver Public Library plaza on West Georgia Street. Vancouver Unitarians were there.

The 2025 update from the ‘Ministry of Just Transition’  provided a ‘three-year update’ on the accomplishments that their ‘Climate Emergency Coalition’ government had delivered since taking power in 2022.

Tsleil-Waututh First Nation representative Rueben George welcomed the Climate Emergency Coalition’ government to their traditional territory.

Filmmaker Avi Lewis was the Minister of Just Transition.

Doreen Manuel, Indigenous film director and professor at Capilano University, spoke as the Land Back Secretariat’.

Christine Boyle, Vancouver city councillor, spoke as head of the Department of Universal Housing.

Alison Gu, Burnaby city councillor, spoke as the commissioner of the Clean Transit Without Delay Commission.

Khalid Boudreau, Climate Youth activist, spoke on the work of the Police Retasking Task Force.

Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary-treasurer for the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, spoke as chair of the Trans Mountain Reparations and Healing Secretariat.

Anjali Appadurai, Climate justice advocate, spoke as the CEO of the Public Goods Corporation of Canada.

Seth Klein, climate analyst and author of A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency,  explained how the Just Transition was paid for – in part by the Bank of Canada enacting quantitative easing policies similar to what was seen in the first year of the pandemic, and also by creating Climate Bonds – which proved to be ‘wildly popular’ – similar to Victory Bonds that were sold to fund the Second World War effort.

Ultimately, the press conference was an exercise in getting people to imagine what the future can look like. ‘Minister’ Lewis implored the crowd to turn the ideas into a reality.

“Do you want to live in this future? Are we ready to fight for this future? Because this future we described here today is the work of all of us — the fruits of our imagination and struggle — and that’s what we came here today to commune around: the future we can build together.”

Vancouver Unitarians at this press conference: John Boyle, Rosemary Cornell, Rob Dainow, Elizabeth Dunn, Hans Elfert, Margo Elfert, Leslie Kemp.


LINKS: Canada-wide Day of Action


Update from the What Do We Call Ourselves task force

March 2022 Update from the What Do We Call Ourselves Task Force (WDWCO TF)

For decades there have been discussions about the name of our faith community, mainly revolving around the inclusion of the word ’Church‘ in our name – The Unitarian Church of Vancouver. It has been a challenging issue and there are strong feelings both for and against a change.

In 2004 the Board unanimously decided, after consultation with the congregation, to identify us as Vancouver Unitarians on our webpage, logo and banner, reducing the prominence of our legal title containing ’Church’.   In 2019, the Board created a task force, now called the What Do We Call Ourselves Task Force, to review our name with the congregation and make recommendations.  We were active for about a year when a number of other issues came to the fore – COVID shutdowns, Rev. Dr. Steven Epperson’s retirement, welcoming our interim minister Rev. Lara Cowtan, the culmination of the redevelopment process, the reorganization of the Board and Administrative structure, and the adoption of the 8th principle.  Hence it was decided in March 2020 to suspend WDWCO’s study to make way for these other urgent and time-consuming issues

Our current Board has now asked the WDWCO TF to continue its study of whether our legal name should remain or be changed to something else, and to be ready for a vote at the Fall AGM.

The WDWCO TF Mission is to create and guide an unbiased process within the UCV community about the issues regarding the use of the word ‘church’ in our official name. This will culminate in either keeping our current name Unitarian Church of Vancouver or choosing a new one. Our deepest wish is for convergence on what name is best for our community.

We are Eva Allan (Chair), Louise Bunn (Board rep), Carrie Mac, Sheila Resels, John Smith.

Our Advisors are Nancy Barker, Jeannie Corsi, Rob Dainow, Keith Wilkinson.

Our email address is