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.

A silent auction: Art for Refugees

Art for Refugees is a silent auction of artwork by Karen Brumelle with all proceeds to the refugee committee. The art is on display in the Fireside room from December 1 to 22.

Come view the artwork and write your first bids when the exhibit opens on December 1.

You can review bids and bid or rebid on any day. Bidding closes at 12:15 pm on December 22.

Support the wonderful work of the refugee committee – get some art for yourself or as a gift.

Preview: Art for Refugees (@UnitarianUCV) – click on that link to see tweets with images of art for sale in the silent auction. (You do not need a Twitter account for this.)


notes and links

featured image from silent auction

artist’s website:

in these notes, DuckDuckGo bang commands (!?) link to search results for words they follow when the commands are in parentheses, for words they precede when they are not:

!ucv refugee committee / a search on the UCV website

!tw “Art for Refugees” (@UnitarianUCV) / a search on Twitter

the Merriam-Webster definition of a silent auction (!mw) notwithstanding, the written bids in Art for Refugees are not sealed but displayed with the art

The Buddha on friendship and the spiritual life

Ananda [AH-nuhn-duh], a cousin of the Buddha and among the first of his followers, had a reputation for attending all his talks and accurately remembering all he said. Except once.

Ananda must have skipped the talk about friendship. One day, to clarify a point he was unsure about, he turned to the Buddha and asked if it was true that friendship is half of the spiritual life.

“Not so, Ananda,” said the Buddha, “friendship is the whole of the spiritual life.” (!?)


notes and links

photo by Briana Tozour on Unsplash

parenthetical DuckDuckGo bang commands (!?) link to search results for terms they follow

ananda (!di) / “perfect bliss”

A bang command for UCV on DuckDuckGo

There are some good reasons for using the DuckDuckGo search engine and even for making it the default search engine on your browser so you can just type search terms right into the location bar (address bar) at the top of your screen.

This post goes into just one reason: the bang command. If you click on that link and then scroll down, you can see why bang commands are useful.

The bang commands in this post link to their results so you don’t have to type them into your browser to try them out. Just click on them.

!ucv principles for kids / for grownups too (see link in item found)
!ucv small groups / where everyone has a voice and is heard
!ucv vision statement / !g “… exactly what it says on the tin”

Those examples used the new bang command !ucv
/ (given nothing to search for on a website, a bang command displays the home page)

Even if you don’t make DuckDuckGo the default search engine on your browser, you can maybe still use it in the browser search box. This is usually to the right of the location bar (address bar) at the top of your screen, as it is in Firefox.  Click on the dropdown symbol – if there is one in the search box – and select a miniature version of the featured image in this post after you have typed the search term.

Here are some other bang commands worth knowing:

!yt Vancouver Unitarians / YouTube

!gb “Singing the Living Tradition” / Google Books

!gr “Singing the Living Tradition” / Goodreads

!b becoming a Unitarian / Bing

!i Vancouver Unitarians  / images

!m Unitarian Church of Vancouver, 949 West 49th Ave, Vancouver, BC V5Z 2T1  / map

!ucv technology / drop-in sessions, first Sundays, for help with any or all of the above

Please spread the word. Send people this copy-paste of the title of the post with its embedded link:

A bang command for UCV on DuckDuckGo

Thank you.

Voting by Proxy

We usually hold two general meetings each year.

Here’s how to vote if you can’t attend for whatever reason.

Those who have been members for over 90 days are entitled to vote.  To vote a proxy, the person must also have been a member for more than 90 days.

Not sure what a proxy vote is? Read this wikipedia article.

What if I can’t be at a meeting?

You can submit a proxy form by email or sign and send with the member who will vote on your behalf. You can put two names on the form. Each member can only hold one proxy vote. So in the event the first person on your list already is voting on behalf of someone else or is not able to attend, you will still be represented.

Just cut and paste this into an email addressed to with copy to Mairy Beam,, board secretary. Please send from the email address that we have on file for you.

Unitarian Church of Vancouver – Proxy

The undersigned hereby appoints
[Name] ___________of  [City] _________

or failing them

[Name] __________________of  [City] ___________

as proxyholder for the undersigned to attend and vote for and on behalf of the undersigned at the Annual General Meeting of the Unitarian Church of Vancouver to be held on the 24th day of November, 2019, and at any adjournment of that meeting.

Signed/submitted by email this ____ day of ___________, 2019.

Member’s Full name:

UCV Bylaw 36:

Each member shall have one vote and votes shall be cast either in person or by written proxy. No person present may cast more than one proxy vote and no person shall be entitled to vote as a proxy unless such person is qualified by membership to vote in his or her own right at the meeting at which he or she acts as proxy.

Crochet Club – Join Mary on Sundays for a crochet project

from Mary Bennett

On Remembrance Sunday I crocheted five poppies and enticed one other person to try her hand at a crocheted poppy.

Many of us find Sunday morning coffee hour a bit too hectic and this is my response. I’ll be putting a basket of yarn and crochet hooks on a table in the hall most Sundays. The crochet table is for crafts and pleasant conversation, like getting to know each other better. It’s not for UCV business, petitions or organizing of events.

Here are two ideas for easy projects for the next month or so.

Crochet Star Ornaments

Crochet Stars – Free Ornament Pattern


Crochet Retro Ornament Garland

And if you liked the poppy idea, here’s a pointsettia!

Do your own thing

You are very welcome to bring along your own craft projects and just sit and stitch, draw or knit at the table.

If you have supplies to share, bring them along.

Crocheted items

You can take your ornaments or garlands home or leave them. We’ll find a spot to display them as people contribute.


Collage group

Come and enjoy playing with cut and paste

This is an opportunity for women to gather for creative play and self-exploration using collage. We work quietly at our own pace.

Scissors, glue sticks, paper and images all available – but bring your own if you wish.

Calendars are especially lovely. Any magazines you bring should be taken away or recycled, or have images and words clipped for others. (We have limited storage space).

Please RSVP to Mary

Supported by UCV’s Arts Committee.

More about collage:


collage (n.)

form of abstract art in which photos, newspaper clippings, found objects, etc., are glued onto a surface, 1919 (Wyndham Lewis), from French collage “a pasting,” from Old French coller “to glue,” from Greek kolla “glue,” a word of uncertain origin, perhaps Pre-Greek.

Some formats and approaches

SoulCollage(R) is a method for creating images on a 5″ x 8″ surface.

Artist Trading Cards are traded among people and are 2.5 x 3.5

Art Journal Collages

(Just google any of these phrases or “collage fine art” to find interesting information. You’ll find myriad videos on youtube as well.)

If you’d like to be part of a women’s group that shares the coordination of these gatherings on a monthly basis contact Mary

Leadership rotates: When it’s your turn, you come early and stay late to set-up and cleanup; send out a reminder to the group. Optional: If you want to propose a theme or a special project you can, or just have a “do your own thing” session.

Westside Women’s Collage Group

Unitarian women (and friends) who live on the Westside (Kitsilano, Point Grey etc) have formed a collage and art  group. Mary Bennett will facilitate in her housing co-op’s meeting space.

If you’d like to be on a wait list if the group opens, complete this form.

Mary provides materials for collage. You are also invited to bring other art work or crafts to work on.
Here’s some info you may find interesting:


If you’re interested in SoulCollage®, you can find some videos on youtube to provide an introduction.

This is a nice four-minute introductory video.

This one is a good how-to Step by Step video

This shows how to use the viewfinder, marking the points of the corners for cutting.

Among the final embellishments which are often not done, there’s a suggestion to outline the edges of the pasted on images with a metallic paint sharpie.

It’s only visual. There’s (imho) annoying loud music, so just turn off the audio.

Women’s groups – November update

There are many groups and events that provide a chance for women to meet together and connect across ages and stages. The connect and engage team can help facilitate women connecting through monthly women’s groups, supper clubs, collage/art and writing gatherings, feminist thealogy course (“Cakes for the Queen of Heaven”) and even informal drop-in meetups over coffee.

Women’s groups

These groups of six to 12 women rotate leadership with the facilitator for that month selecting a topic after consultation with the group and preparing a starting point for a group discussion. Currently there are five groups; three started this year and others have been going for over a decade. On occasion a group is looking for new members or is willing to mentor a new group in forming. Once formed, the groups are closed for a period of time to deepen connections.

Check on the form linked below if you’d like to be notified when there’s an opportunity.

Annual Women’s Gathering

There are usually about 50 women who come in early January for the annual women’s gathering. Afternoon workshops; potluck dinner and evening activities including circle dance and a conversation circle for women already in women’s groups. Plus there are lots of ways to connect and meet each other. This year it will be a fundraiser for our Refugee Committee. Suggested donation $25. Our goal is to raise $1000.

Women’s Supper — or Brunch — Clubs

Here’s the idea: twelve women form a group and take turns arranging a restaurant meal out. With busy lives, we expect six to eight from the group might attend on any one night. One group has formed and we are taking a wait list for a second group, possibly focused around East Vancouver restaurants. The initial group is focused on Fairview/Kitsilano/West Point Grey areas. Click here for details on how the group is planning to operate and let us know if you’d like to be part of a similar group. This first group started with an inaugural meeting of four women who then invited others until there were 12 on the list.

Mend–Make–Do: Monthly Mending Meetup

Not just for women, but so far that’s who’s attending. Our monthly Mending Meetup is a drop-in on the 4th Saturday from 12 noon to 2 pm at the Vancouver Unitarian Centre. Marie Witt sets up sewing machines and provides assistance to anyone who wants help repairing clothes to reduce waste. On occasion we’ll have some special focus and there will always be the tools and supplies to do some mending.


Several women meet on occasion in Kitsilano or at UCV to make “intuitive collages” on a weekday evening or Saturday afternoon. Mary Bennett coordinates and hosts in her co-op’s common room. These are closed groups at this point, but contact Mary if you’d like to know when we open the invitation list.

Women’s Writing Group

There have been women’s writing groups formed through UCV and we’re taking a wait list for any who would be interested. Like many of our groups this would be a self-led group with members sharing responsibility

Cakes for the Queen of Heaven – Feminist Thealogy Course

We hope to offer this 12-session curriculum in the new year.

Chat on a Sunday?

If you’d like to chat informally about ways to connect with other women, Sheila or Mary (or other women engaged in women’s groups) would be pleased to set up a time to meet up on a Sunday from 12 to 1 pm in Hewett Centre following the service. We would just put a sign up on one of the tables and have an informal gathering and share interests similar to the Sermon Discussion table. We may try to offer this once a month and ensure that at least one woman currently in a women’s group will be there to welcome you.

Get more details as opportunities arise

Sign up here to receive further information about any of these opportunities. 

You can also contact with any questions about getting involved through UCV.


Be a Connector

Are you a friendly person who likes to introduce new people to our amazing (but somewhat complex) congregation?

The Connect & Engage team is inviting UCV members to help between two and five new folk get connected with the people, programs and information they may want in order to feel connected with the congregation. We’re anticipating that one or two contacts per month (e.g. saying “hello” on Sunday morning or an email mentioning an event you’re going to that you think they’d enjoy) is all that would be necessary for up to a year.

Some may move very quickly to “flying solo”; others may decide this isn’t for them.

If you’re up for trying it, what will happen is that people who fill out our survey online will be introduced to you by email and you’ll take it from there. We’ll try to match up your interests and theirs. For example if you’re in a men’s group, we’d forward people who have checked that, similarly for book groups, etc. Alternatively you may just wind up chatting with someone on a Sunday or at a meeting and will let us know that that’s someone you’re willing to continue to welcome and show around.

We anticipate occasional gatherings of the connectors to share feedback from what we hear from new people and see what we can do about it.

Here’s the “position description”. Contact Mary if you’d like to try it.

All of this is flexible–just some suggestions.

1. send a reply offering to meet them on a Sunday (or other time). Perhaps at the sermon discussion table.
2. when you meet try to introduce them to two or three other people who are involved in the things they checked interest in.
3. check in with them about twice a month for six months to a year. This might be as simple as looking for them on Sunday morning and saying “hello”. But if you haven’t seen them for a month, send an email, asking how they are and noting you haven’t seen them recently.
4. If you’re attending some open special event that you think they’d be interested in, forward the information with a “hope to see you there” message. For example, potluck dinners, choir concerts are good draws.
5. when the New to Vancouver Unitarians workshop and “Part II” are advertised, send email or (better) mention in person about how valuable it is (stressing no obligation to join if that seems appropriate).
6. help them sign up for the newsletters and follow our social media accounts if they’re interested.
You’re not expected to know everything about the congregation and Unitarianism, but are committing to finding out the answers to any questions or introducing them to someone who can answer.
It will likely be a learning experience for you as well as the folks you’re helping.
We will be gathering up the questions to create an “FAQ” on our website.


How to form a Supper Club (or Brunch Club) — we can help

Your Connect & Engage team has a new approach for how to get to know people better in a friendly, social atmosphere.

One “supper club” has formed: 12 people who will each organize a restaurant meal out once a year.

They’ll choose a restaurant, send details along with the proposed date and time to the “club members”. Then they’ll take registrations, make a reservation and confirm with those who have RSVP’d. Probably they’ll arrive early to be there to welcome people.

At any one time two people will be thinking about the next gathering so if one gets swamped with life, the other can get onto it.

For the group that has formed, there is no regular date (e.g. 3rd Friday or such). They’re just letting the host choose. They have decided on a geographical area. In that case Fairview/Westside and that all selected restaurants will be on an easy transit line with parking nearby (e.g. 4th Avenue or Broadway in this case).

This new format is being proposed as a possible replacement for two other approaches to setting up shared dinners are now longer operating. (Movable Feast and Hygge Potluck Dinners)

Over time each of these groups will make their own decisions about how many people to have in the group; where and when they’ll meet, and whether they’re limiting to a particular kind of restaurant or location.

If you want to be part of a group like this, let us know and we can help you advertise through the order of service and, if desired, set up a google group to make connections with your members easier.

The FUN (Fairview Unitarian Neighbourhood) Women’s Supper Club formed by an initial dinner with four women and they then each invited a few others until the maximum of 12 had confirmed.

Movable Feast was a once-a-month dinner out organized by Karen and Dianne for three years. The attendance varied between 8 and 24.

Hygge Potluck Dinners were monthly potluck dinners hosted in members’ homes organized by Patti and Mary.

In both of these cases, the volunteer organizers got involved in other UCV activities and no one stepped up to carry them on. When the time is right these two programs might be revived.

Signup here if interested.
Go to Shared Dinners – would you like to join a supper club?

Pitching in Volunteer Opportunities

The congregation runs on a lot of committed volunteer time and talent that complements our staff and minister’s roles.

We recognize that some people can’t easily commit to a regular schedule of volunteer contributions, so here are some opportunities where the organizer would be very happy to have you pitch in whenever you have the time and interest.

Children’s Program

– Sunday mornings

  • Attending to the Buddy Bags: Hang out in foyer of sanctuary and make sure each bag has an animal, colouring book, and five to seven crayons in a baggie.
  • Before or after service – check the pencils in the Buddy Bags and sharpen if necessary.

Children’s Program – Any time

  • Art Supply Management: Help Kiersten by keeping the kids program art supplies organized.
  • Paint a Shelf: This is a one time request. Contact Kiersten

Lots of other opportunities too


Every 3rd Saturday a work crew gathers between 9 am to 12 noon. Patti brings home-cooked yummies to feed the gardeners. You can also do some gardening at your own time and speed. For an orientation click below and we’ll get back to you. Don’t worry about being late, even half an hour or so is helpful.

Mending meetup

A new group is meeting every 4th Saturday from 12 noon to 2 pm. If you can help others mend their clothes, please join Marie Witt and others. Darning, hand and machine-sewing, and any other talents are most welcome.

Sermon discussion table

This is an informal place to welcome people and introduce them to each other. Even if you’re new it’s helpful to have additional hosts who can help newcomers find their way.

Newsletter signup and online form support

If you can use our tablet or your own device (or theirs) to help people sign up for our e-newsletters or one of the online forms through Breeze database for registering for programs, connecting with folk at the Sermon discussion table would be very much appreciated.  Even if you can only stop by for five minutes, likely at least one person could use your help.

Labyrinth tending and gardening.

Mary often stops by a couple of times per month to tend the labyrinth on an ad hoc basis–and often after the service on Sunday (in sunny weather!)

How to volunteer

Contact if you’d like to connect with the person/s in charge of these events so you can learn more and decide if it’s a good fit. Then if it is, you can let them know you plan to attend.

Or complete this form to express interest in these and other volunteer opportunities.