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.

In the Interim, February 2021

In the Interim, February 2021

“The Beloved Community [is] not a goal or destination, and it was not any kind of idealistic, Christian utopian dream, but instead a way of being – spiritually, politically, economically, emotionally, intellectually. Beloved Community is an attitude, an orientation of the heart; it’s a disciplined understanding of your own relationship to other people, to everyone else on the planet, to every living thing.” Rev. Victoria Safford

Our ministry theme for February is “Building Beloved Community”, which will be explored in our worship, small groups and religious exploration, and even by individuals reflecting about what it means to be part of a Beloved Community.

To me, Beloved Community is one of those ideas that is more about the journey than the destination. It is through our continued actions, reactions, adapting to changes, listening, making space to become more inclusive, learning, growing, becoming that we build the community of which we dream. And through all of this building, the community of which we dream is continually being reframed, always just out of reach as we strive to live into our changing vision of who we will become. A living, breathing, embodied, beautiful and perfectly imperfect human community, always aspiring to life more fully into its ideal. UCV is richly blessed with all of the building blocks needed for this work.

In community we are bound to encounter different opinions. It is said, where there are 2 UU’s there will be at least 5 different opinions! How we engage in conversation with one another to hear and find a way through our differences is what creates lasting community. The Ministerial Transition Team has begun a new task force at the request of the UCV Board to review the recent process of the Redevelopment Committee as well as looking at some conflicts that have happened or have been avoided in UCV history in order to create a new process, a pathway for facilitating inclusive, efficient, collaborative decisions.

The Transitions Team is also planning to report back to the congregation about it’s comprehensive and exciting review of UCV History during a worship service on Feb 28. To be clear, this work is not an official archival history, rather more anecdotal, teasing out of stories from the fabric woven by over a century of building community together. These are your stories, the good the bad and the ugly, the humorous and the hurtful, the celebrations, achievements and rhythms of life that have shaped UCV. “Telling our stories is not an end in itself, but an attempt to release ourselves from them, to evolve and grow beyond them.” (Huffington Post). This is the first major task of the Ministerial Transition, coming to terms with history. From there, UCV can really begin to embrace the next tasks, which have already begun.

The five goals of Transition are listed again below to remind you of the work you have already done and the pathway forward. The Board and the Transitions Team are engaging with these tasks as they prepare to make decisions about changes to staffing and governance structure that will make UCV systems more efficient and effective, allowing new leadership to emerge and welcoming newcomers to join in building this Beloved Community.

5 Focus Points of Transition
1. Heritage: reviewing how the congregation has been shaped and formed
2. Leadership: reviewing the membership needs and its ways of organizing and developing new and effective leadership
3. Mission: defining and redefining sense of purpose, identity and direction
4. Connections: Renewing and connecting with relationships and resources in the wider community
5. Future: Preparing to engage in a new future with renewed vision, stewardship and commitment.



Rev. Lara Cowtan

Live from many places…it’s the CUC!!

The Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) is an organization of Unitarian and Unitarian Universalist member congregations and individual Unitarian Universalists acting to enhance, nurture and promote the Unitarian and Unitarian Universalist religion in Canada.

Learn more this way:

  • Subscribe to the CUC Monthly eNews.
  • Read the January 2021 CUC eNews
  • Read previous issues of the CUC Monthly eNews
  • Pad your resume! Join in local discussions with UCV’s Unitarian Universalist Connections Committee (UUCC) about CUC’s mission, vision, goals, and strategic priorities, and, if you’re a congregational member or an associate member, become eligible to be a voting delegate. Contact UUCC Chair Keith Wilkinson, or members Lynn Armstrong, Kiersten Moore, Olivia Hall, or Emilie Adin.

Mark your calendar
for the 2021 Canadian Unitarian Council Conference and take part from the comfort of your home!
CUC National Conference 2021: Sustaining Our Light – Online via Zoom

  • Saturday, 8 May 2021 – CUC AGM
  • Friday, May 14 – Sunday, 16, 2021
  • Details to follow at the CUC Conference website. (Registration opens 15 Mar 2021)

Participate in the AGM Motions Roundtable 2021
Saturday, 20 February 2021 at 9 am PT |10 am MT | 11 am CT |12  pm  ET |1 pm AT

Online via Zoom:   Join us for a discussion session on the motions…

(The big stone photos were taken at E’eyalmo in winter 2021 and spring 2020.)

And while you’re waitinghere are a few book and podcast suggestions from me (Keith Wilkinson) that I thought were consistent with Unitarian principles and sources. My 8 favourites are marked with asterisks*.

On democracy and autocracy

  • Sarah Kendzior, 2020. Hiding in plain sight *
  • Sarah Kendzior, 2018. The view from flyover country
  • Steven Livitsky & Daniel Ziblatt, 2018. How democracies die *
  • Kishore Mahbubani, 2018. Has the West lost it?
  • Timothy Snyder, 2017. On tyranny *
  • Hannah Arendt, 1973, The origins of totalitarianism
  • Left right and centre (a PRX podcast) *
    “PRX is a non-profit media company specializing in audio journalism and storytelling. We believe strong public media is anchored in journalism, strengthened with diverse voices, and amplified by innovative technology”)
  • IQ2US Debates – Intelligence Squared US Debates (a Panoply podcast) *

On equity and racial justice

  • Layla F. Saad, 2020. Me and white supremacy
  • Isabel Wilkerson, 2020. Caste: The origins of our discontents *
  • Isabel Wilkerson, 2010. The warmth of other suns

On persistence and gender equity

  • Victoria James, 2020. Wine girl
  • Sara Seager, 2020. The smallest lights in the universe *
  • Chris Hadfield, 2013. An astronaut’s guide to life


  • Margaret Atwood, 2020. Dearly *


BYRC–a little about who we support

Vancouver Unitarians have donated $12,000 to the Broadway Youth Resource Center towards a Food Security program for youth and their families. The funds donated come from grants received from Vancouver Foundation’s Robert and Anna Koerner Foundation Community Fund. Here is a little more about BYRC and their work:

Check our webpost here for more information about the Food program, and visit the BYRC website.

Virtual Coffee Hour: What would you like to talk about and with whom?

Coffee hour starts at 12 noon. Join at

Breakout rooms are set up with a variety of options including some of these:

  • sermon discussion – share comments about today’s service hosted by a member of the Connect and Engage team
  • open discussion – you just want to connect with some other Unitarians – talk amongst yourselves and perhaps meet some new people!
  • (Please let us know, preferably in advance, if there’s a topic you’d like to discuss so it can be added.)

Please make sure your name and any additional information (pronouns, location) are in your name rather than your phone # or name of your device (ipad)  From:

You can now choose your own breakout room and go back to main session to choose a different one. You need to have updated your zoom client within past two months.

When others leave your breakout room, you can return to the main session to be placed in a different room.

Co-hosts: There will be several co-hosts on to make sure we’re only letting in identifiable UCV folk.

It helps us to know it’s you if you have updated your zoom profile with a name we’d recognize and also your picture. Click here to see how to do that

We like to continue to keep the main session as a “welcome table” – Just like the entrance to Hewett Hall there’s not space for people to congregate there so I hope you’ll move along and find your group.

If you’re not familiar with zoom, please join the monthly zoom practice session if you can.

On Sunday, just click here to join us:

All members and friends are welcome to join. Watch our Sunday service on youtube and then join us for coffee. Visitors welcome. You can come directly after the service, or drop-in at any point.


Zoom Update

Virtual coffee hour 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, open discussion and whatever you suggest.

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 soul matters theme.

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.

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.

Here are some links that might help you make your zoom meetings more interactive:

Zoom Icebreakers: 10 Activities to Energize Your Zoom Meetings


Zoom Youth Group Games


View at

If you use some of these, I’d love to have you post on our googlegroup or members facebook group which ones worked for you.

And here’s an article on limiting zoom fatigue.


Buy Nothing Groups are now all over Vancouver

Buy Nothing Groups are now in every neighbourhood in Vancouver.

And many areas beyond the city as well.

They’ve been growing both in membership and number of groups since March 2020, many doubling in size in six months from the start of the pandemic.

Cayla introduced Mary to Buy Nothing Project in early 2019, after meeting at the womens’ gathering.
Both are now administrators on their neighbourhood Buy Nothing Groups – Marpole and Kitsilano North East respectively.
These are facebook groups where people give stuff away and ask for what they need. And, importantly, express their gratitude. The third kind of post is what keeps the community building part in the forefront.

In 2019, CityTV visited a Buy Nothing “free store” that Mary coordinated. Watch the video here:

Kitsilano is the largest group in Vancouver and has recently helped to mentor volunteers and promote new groups in West Point Grey and Dunbar/Kerrisdale.

Do you want to declutter without contributing to the landfill?

If you’ve every frequented (or have ever fantasized about) a “free store” – here’s a way to try it out.

Find a group in BC by going to

January, 2021 – Imagining The Future For UCV

We are travelling the “road ahead”, our ministerial transition. We have made great progress on our first developmental/transition task, “Coming to terms with history”, and we continue to build our history wall. Please visit or revisit UCV Stories to discover our past and to add your own memories and stories.

We begin our second transition task this month – “Discovering a new identity”. The UUA’s Janus Workbook, created to support ministerial transitions, describes this second transition task as “Illuminating the congregation’s unique identity, its strengths, its needs, and its challenges”. Simply put, it is time to imagine the future we want to become, to stretch ourselves, to look into our crystal balls, and to use our imaginations to reshape our reality and transform UCV into the congregation we dream to be. Our imaginations are the magic that will get us there.

Our Soul Matters theme for January is “Imagination”, and Reverend Lara explains in her January 2021 In the Interim that we will explore imagination in various ways during this month. Unleashing our imaginations will help our Vancouver Unitarians world come alive – an exciting step in our “road ahead”!

from Transition Team, Rob Dainow, Chair


Food Security, Youth, and UCV

UCV has made a donation of $12,000 to the Broadway Youth Resource Centre (BYRC) towards a food security program with grants received from Vancouver Foundation’s Robert and Anna Koerner Foundation Community Fund. BYRC is a one-stop youth space that provides a wide range of social, health, education, employment, and life skills services to youth. The food security program focuses on food justice and food security for youth, in particular in the East Vancouver area. It will offer Fresh Food Kits that include produce, dairy, and proteins to youth and families, weekly Food Kits that include non-perishable food items and pantry goods, as well as hot meals for youth available on a drop-in basis during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also gives youth the opportunity to develop cooking skills, to learn about how to grocery shop on a budget and how to access more sustainable sources of food including community gardens, food co-ops and food hubs.

More about our financial support for organizations

Congregational Administrator Job Posting

Our congregation is seeking a Congregational Administrator, an important leadership position that links the administrative staff of the congregation with the Board of Trustees as well as the volunteer committees and the members of the congregation. 

We are looking for someone who shares our values, who is very good with people, who is tech savvy, well- organized, and able to work well with minimal supervision.

This position reports to the UCV Leadership Team which includes of the President/Vice-President of the Board and the Minister.

Closing date – January 17, 2021

Hours of Work – 35 hours/week with flextime negotiable

Primary Responsibilities

  • Supervision of administrative and custodial staff
  • Overall administration including serving as the Privacy Officer and developing the administration budget (office expenses, administrative staff salaries), and establishing and updating policies and procedures as appropriate
  • Communications including our website and social media
  • Building Rentals including promoting use of our facilities, maintaining effective facility rental procedures, and establishing contracts for long term rentals.
  • Property Management including working with volunteer committees and staff to ensure that our extensive and beautiful campus is well maintained.


  • Ability to understand and support Unitarian Universalist Principles and the vision of our congregation.
  • Strong ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with staff and volunteers 
  • Strong and effective human resources management skills including hiring, supervising and evaluating staff as appropriate.  
  • 5-8 years of experience in office management  (preferably with non-profit organizations)
  • Competence with MS Office applications, especially Word, Excel and Outlook, and database software e.g. Breeze Church Management
  • Ability to identify opportunities for improvement in operational policies, procedures and systems and recommend changes.
  • Experience with website communications and social media
  • Experience in working with volunteer committees.
  • Experience with property management preferred.

Salary Range:  $60,000 – $65,000, depending on qualifications and experience


  • 3 weeks vacation to start, increasing to 4 weeks after 2 years.
  • Comprehensive medical benefits
  • Flexible work schedule

Please send your cover letter (required) and resume to

The Board has decided this position is not open to UCV members.

No phone calls please.  Only those chosen for the interview will be contacted.  Thank you for your interest in working with Vancouver Unitarians.

Vancouver Unitarians have been part of Vancouver’s religious and cultural life since 1909.  Our vision:

Because we envision a more compassionate world, we seek to deepen our spiritual and religious lives, grow and enrich our congregation, and advocate for love and justice.

Posted: December 26, 2020

Have you noticed – The Swamp Has Been Cleared!

Yes, it is true. Take a look at the entrance to the pre-school. Impressive new flagstones and underneath, a new drainage system. And no more alligator sightings! We also have new tenants, Vancouver Child Study Centre which precipitated major upgrades in the pre-school area of Hewett Centre and the Memorial Society (founded here at the church) is now renting from us. Both represent the kind of community organizations consistent with our mission as well as providing desirable revenue to UCV.