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.

Four National CUC Online Gatherings – Victoria Day Weekend

Thursday, May 14: Informal Plenary

3:30 pm PDT | 4:30 pm MDT | 5:30 pm CDT | 6:30 pm EDT | 7:30 pm ADT  – 1.5 hours
Prior to the AGM on May 16, the CUC Board invites you to an informal dialogue amongst congregational delegates, leaders, board members, and CUC staff to discuss issues of importance to congregations, in support of the CUC’s vision, goals, and strategic priorities.
Register in advance at to join the plenary.


Friday, May 15: National Gathering
3:30 pm PDT | 4:30 pm MDT | 5:30 pm CDT | 6:30 pm EDT | 7:30 pm ADT  – 1.5 hours
We will gather across the country, virtually, on the Friday of what was to have been the start of the National Conference. Come, we will join together to celebrate our connections and our faith. All welcome!

Register in advance at to join the gathering.

All are welcome.

Saturday, May 16: 2020 Annual General Meeting

9:00am – 12:30pm PDT | 10:00am – 1:30 pm MDT |  11:00am – 2:30pm CDT | 12:00pm – 3:30pm EDT |1:00p.m. – 4:30 pm ADT

WHERE: Online via Zoom. All members of CUC member congregations and fellowships can participate but only registered delegates can vote.

Register in advance at to attend the meeting.


Sunday, May 17: Cross-Canada Sunday Service – Live Online
9:30 am PDT | 10:30 am MDT | 11:30 am CDT | 12:30 pm EDT | 1:30 pm ADT | 2:00 pm NL
Join UUs from across Canada for a unique opportunity to celebrate in a national Sunday Service together. Rev. Norm Horofker from the Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax, with his ministerial colleagues, will lead a worship service for Canadians across the country and worldwide. Let’s come together virtually to celebrate our national connection and our national conference. Join us on Zoom or watch on the CUC’s YouTube channel. We welcome you, wherever you are. Register in advance at to join the service.


COVID-19 Notices from Our Minister and Board

COIVD-19 Update – May 28, 2020

The campus will remain closed for all of June. The Emergency Response Team and Board are reviewing all provincial guidelines and developing our UCV Go-Slowly-Forward Plan to determine what, if any, campus activities may go ahead this summer.

COIVD-19 Update – May 12, 2020

In response to queries about allowing small groups of UCV members to meet in person on campus, the UCV Emergency Team is currently developing a policy that adheres to Provincial guidelines regarding small gatherings of people, and a specific plan for the area of the UCV campus. Please stay tuned for further information coming soon.

New UCV Temporary Communications Specialist – May 4, 2020

Given the greater reliance on technology to keep us connected during the pandemic, the Board of Directors has been relying very heavily on our communications team with Marie Witt at its helm, as its chairperson. In recognition of Marie’s greatly increased hours of volunteer work and her strong skills, the Board approved the hiring of Marie from May 1st – June 30th of 2020. Marie’s overall goal will be to develop clear, concise communications strategies with buy-in from UCV’s Emergency Team, Communications Team and Board of Directors.

Should you have questions concerning communication please contact Marie at (noting that Marie’s contract will terminate at the end of June).

Human Resources Committee

EGM Postponed to the Fall – April 24, 2020

The June 14 EGM has been postponed to the fall. Instead, on June 14 at 12:30 pm, the UCV Board of Trustees will host a zoom information forum on the proposed budget for next year which the members will ratify (or not) in the fall. The Board will also be discussing possible next steps in the Redevelopment process which would involve engaging Canada Land Trust in conversation as our possible new partners.

Live Streaming Volunteers Needed! – April 20, 2020

Volunteers needed!! For services to continue to be virtual, we need to train some more members to learn how to produce and broadcast Sunday services and support our current incredible, over-worked team. Anyone interested in helping with technology, send your details here:

Scam Email Attempts at UCV – April 3, 2020

It has come to our attention that someone is using fake gmail accounts that appear to be sent from Steven (and possibly other administrators) to send emails directly to congregants. These emails are likely to appear in your inbox and are difficult to distinguish from our regular accounts.

These emails are asking people to send money, usually in the form of Amazon gift cards and typically contain a story about being needed for vulnerable people. DO NOT send money. DO NOT purchase Amazon gift cards. These are fake email addresses; Steven, staff or board members will never ask you to send money or Amazon gift cards to them personally over email.

We have specific fundraising drives and special protocols for donations. If you are ever confused or suspicious about a request for funds, you can always ask if it’s possible for you to speak with our staff over the phone. A scam artist pretending to be someone you know will not agree to a
phone call, whereas church staff will always be happy to discuss fundraising with you or over the phone or face to face on zoom.

If you receive any suspicious emails, please report them to our office so we can track these attempts. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out. In the meantime, the UCV Board has hired a cybersecurity expert to help upgrade our systems.

UCV Office Contact Information

Office and Staff Update – March 29, 2020

Due to the rapidly changing environment for everyone, The UCV Board of Trustees had approved at the March 17th Board meeting to pay staff “as per budgeted amounts” for the next month.

With this in mind,

  • Staff members are working regularly scheduled times with some redirection as per duties.
  • Records of Employment will be given if requested, due to self-isolation/ quarantine or sickness.
  • Plans are in place to have Administration staff work from home if warranted, computer stations, email, phones/voicemail etc. have all been set up, to enable minimal activity at the office.
  • UCV Campus will continue to be checked daily by staff.

UCV COVID-19 *Possible Exposure* Update – March 23, 2020

Dearest congregants and renters, 
We have been notified of possible exposure to COVID-19 at our Unitarian Church Buildings on Friday, March 13, 2020, during a memorial service. The sanctuary and hall were used for this service.

Update From Our Minister, DRE, and Board – March 19, 2020

During this COVID-19 period, all face-to-face meetings on the UCV campus (and worship services in our church Sanctuary) are cancelled. The Sunday worship services will be live-streamed for the foreseeable future on the UCV YouTube channel which can be viewed HERE.

Rev. Steven Epperson, Elliott Dainow, and our Worship Committee will continue to provide quality worship services that you can view at home. The UCV Board and other committees and working groups will continue to do their good work via Zoom meetings, email, and phone. The office staff continues to do their work during regular business hours (Monday to Thursday, 9:30 am to 2 pm; Friday, 9 am – 1 pm).

UCV’s Fourth Compassion Circle 2020

Do you want to communicate with more compassion and connection? Join UCV’s Fourth Compassion Circle (practicing Compassionate Communication, CC) using the Compassion Course Online 2020 by Thom Bond, (receiving 52 weekly emails covering CC concepts we then practice in the Circle). Registration is required to the online course by May 31, 2020; The 2020 Circle’s 1st session will be an introduction by Zoom in June, date TBA. Please contact Cindy Cashin to sign up or for more info.


What Participants In Last Year’s UCV Compassion Circle Have Said:

“UCV’s Compassion Circle was born in 2017 in response to enthusiasm of several UCVers taking the online course. Lynn Armstrong coordinated the Circle’s creation and came up with the name. The Compassion Circle is an intimate space for learning together, shifting how we listen and respond to others, and how we communicate with ourselves. It’s a special gathering! “


“The Compassion Course and Nonviolent Communication has had a profound impact on me. It is so subtle, yet such a powerful paradigm shift that it changes everything. It has taught me to look deeper in all those difficult communication situations to find the gold that transforms “us and them”  to “we”,  and in so doing it brings such powerful lessons of love and peace.”


“I could never have imagined this online course and the practice sessions provided at UCV could have had such a profound impact on my worldview.  It has brought me clarity and a greater understanding of my (and others’) needs.  I’m signing up again and look forward to another year of self-discovery.”


“This year has been my introduction to the concepts & practice of compassionate communication. Already I have seen a positive difference in the way I interpret & respond to events & people. I’m signing up again for next year, so that I can go deeper.”

If you have questions about the practice and applications of Compassionate Communication (Nonviolent Communication, or NVC), feel free to email Nancy Barker (CNVC-certified trainer in NVC) at .  Nancy is happy to offer general NVC Intro workshops or workshops on particular aspects of NVC upon request.

YoUUth Summer Virtual Adventure

This is of particular note to Unitarian/UU youth entering grades 6-12, their parents, and advisors. We want your input!

Unitarian youth in BC have historically been very connected to the UU youth in the Pacific Northwest Region of the United States. Although there is an international border, geographically we are much closer to the many congregations in Washington and Oregon than we are to the rest of Canada; there are also enough of them to create some truly wonderful programs. We go to their Cons, youth leadership schools, and family camps.

This April there were two Virtual Cons held by the Pacific Northwest district (Washington/Oregon/etc.) and the Mountain district (Montana/Colorado/etc.). The youth and adult staff worked very hard and creatively and both Cons were well received with positive feedback.  Since all in-person gatherings of UU’s have been cancelled for the summer, Pacific Western Regional staff (PWR) are working to create a week of Virtual gathering/learning/playing/celebrating online this summer.  These Cons, and leadership camps are transformative and uplifting spaces to gather in as Unitarian youth, and I encourage our BC youth to participate if you can.

All youth, parents, and youth advisors interested in PWR’s youth summer virtual adventure are invited to fill out this form to help inform planning–and to be kept informed.

Happy (Virtual) Trails!

Women’s Collage group

Covid Collage and Cocktail Party

Mary Bennett is setting up a collage-by-zoom gathering for women followed by cocktail hour and “potluck” dinner

Register here: to receive zoom link instructions.

Date: Saturday May 30 3-5 pm for collage; 5-6; sharing your collages over cocktails; 6-7: dinner with more conversation possibly about covid cooking tips

Several of us who have used “soul collage (r)” techniques will share our experiences and some of our favorite cards with you from 3-3:30 pm. If you want to work in that format, you’ll need 5″ x 8″ backing paper. For collage, many magazine or calendar images, scissors and glue are necessary. A 5×8 view finder is helpful (cardboard with a cutout that size).

Some of us use the cards and envelopes for sealing/”framing”. You can order here. (not essential)

This is an opportunity for women to gather for creative play and self-exploration using collage. After brief introductions/check-in, we work quietly at our own pace and then before closing share a bit about what we were working on and what it means to us.

Numbers will be limited and the hope is to find women who’d like to do this on a regular basis so we form and deepen our connections with each other as we get to know each other through our art projects.

Scissors, glue sticks, paper and images all available – Mary can arrange a box full if you want to pick up. Calendars are especially lovely.

Please RSVP to Mary

Supported by UCV’s Arts Committee.

More about collage:

Definition: 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.

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

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.

Outreach Opportunities Fund Update

Outreach Opportunity Fund Recipients (Feb-June)
Normally, the Outreach Opportunity Fund (OOF) donates a portion of the Sunday service collections to a registered charity over a four month period. Given the current circumstances, the OOF Committee took the decision to send a cheque for $2,000 to the current recipient, the Aboriginal Mother Centre (AMC), in mid-April rather than wait until the end of May. The funds are urgently needed to assist AMC extend its outreach services during this covid-19 crisis.
Even though OOF donations have decreased over the past few weeks due to having virtual services, we still found that there were sufficient funds in our OOF  account to offer an additional $2,000 to another recipient. Our focus was on the Downtown Eastside (DTES), given the critical situation the homeless and other vulnerable groups are facing in that community. The Committee decided to award the funds to PHS Community Services Society to help meet the demand for more meals in the DTES as so many kitchens have closed down because of covid-19 restrictions. Meanwhile, we will continue to ask congregants to send in their donations to OOF to replenish our fund. A new recipient will be selected for the four month period beginning in June. All contributions are gratefully received. Donate Here

Volunteers Needed for Virtual Services

For services to continue to be virtual, we need to train some more members to learn how to produce and broadcast Sunday services and support our current incredible, over-worked team.

Anyone interested in helping with technology, send your details here:

Mary Bennett is also looking for zoom hosts for the various Connect and Engage zoom gatherings. Please contact her at Training and coaching provided.

“Enough angels in heaven, more needed in hell.” – Alastair McIntosh

The UK Unitarians Annual Conference 6-9 April 2020 was billed as Being Together – A three-day virtual gathering for spiritual connection. Mary Bennett and I, both from Vancouver, signed up to hear the keynote address at the conference on 8 April via zoom. It was scheduled in a Greenwich evening time slot (conveniently a Pacific mid-morning time slot!) and featured Alastair McIntosh speaking with 150 participants on the theme “The Revolution Will be Spiritual”. Alastair is described as an independent writer, broadcaster, speaker and activist who is involved in a wide range of contemporary issues, from land reform, globalization and nonviolence to psychology, spirituality and ecology. His forthcoming book ‘Riders on the Storm’ explores the science, psychology and spirituality of climate change, and of the need to build soul and meaning in these troubled times. Alastair is a Quaker, and is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at Glasgow University.

Meeting Safeguards – There were many safeguards in place for this zoom gathering to reduce the chance of zoom-bombing and meeting hijacking. All of this was carefully explained by the host to those who had been admitted. There was a password, a waiting room, all microphones were muted and under the control of the host, and chats and video sharing were disabled. The co-hosts, (zoom-bouncers for the zoom-bombers), watched and listened for malicious interlopers and were ready to eject them permanently from the meeting if some inappropriate video content was displayed. Happily, there were no disruptions.

The keynote theme – Alastair spoke on the “the interiority of the spiritual”, ethical activism in the form of small acts of kindness, and drew from a diverse range of spiritual writings including the Upanishads, the Bible, the work of American theologian Walter Wink, and WB Yeats’ poem, The Second Coming.

The 150 participants were divided randomly into 20 breakout rooms afterward for a short discussion of what we’d heard and how we were doing during the pandemic. Like many zoom activities, these small groups were intimate and interesting. My small group included participants from congregations in York and London in the UK, and me from Vancouver.

A recording of the video is expected to appear soon. Watch for more at .

It is also linked at:

Recordings of some of the other sessions can be found here:

“We shall be known by the company we keep”

UK General Assembly 2020 Closing Worship Service

Seventy-five participants joined in the Thursday (GMT) closing worship service of the three-day all-online annual General Assembly of the UK Unitarians. I was touched by this statement of gratitude, so suitable to our time, by Kate Brody McKenna, one of the worship leaders:

“Let us treasure the spirit that has danced between us on our screens.”

Service leaders were Rev Bob Janis-Dillon, Warrington Unitarians (right); Rev Kate Brady McKinnon, Bury Unitarians (left), and Rev Anna Jarvis, Monton Eccles Manchester Unitarians (below right).

Closing choral piece was We Shall be Known by MaMuse
(Worth hearing!)


Additional links added by Mary:


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

Coffee hour starts at 12 noon. Join at (regular password)

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
  • chat – you just want to connect with some other Unitarians – talk amongst yourselves and perhaps meet some new people!
  • family chat – hosted by religious education
  • environment discussion – hosted by a member of UCV environment team
  • (Please let me know, preferably in advance, if there’s a topic you’d like to discuss so I can add to the options.)

Unless you voice a preference or, better yet, send via chat or even rename yourself (Try it, you’ll like it), you’ll be invited to the chat room. To rename yourself, do this: Hover over your name in the participants’ list and click Rename to change your screen name displayed to other participants. From:

When others leave your breakout room, you can return to the main session to be placed in a different room. Let’s see how we can make this work smoothly.

Co-hosts: There will be several co-hosts on to make sure we’re only letting in identifiable UCV folk. You’ll need the password which has been sent out over various emails and is also a (shhh!) secret you can find here:

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 For instance, jane’s ipad (or simply “ipad”) doesn’t work as well as the full name, Jane Doe. We don’t actually have a UCV member named Jane Doe so we would probably leave both jane’s ipad AND Jane Doe in the waiting room until everyone’s in their breakout rooms.

A note from your host, Mary Bennett: It’s a bit of a scramble getting people sorted out to the right breakout rooms, deputizing folk as co-hosts etc., so this isn’t a time where I can actually chat with you personally. We will likely use mute-all a fair bit but you can communicate through the “chat” (text messaging) and once you’re in a breakout room all is good. Most of the breakout rooms will have a co-host with you that can help facilitate the conversation and may be able to help you with technical issues as well.

When you first get into the main session, please let me know which group you want to go to and then watch your screen for an invitation to that room. If you somehow get into the wrong room, come back to the main session and let me know where you’d like to be. If you’re in a room all by yourself or with one other person, please wait. It’s like a “real” meeting–there are often latecomers.

I want 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 weekly zoom practice session if you can. Unfortunately clicking “help” from a breakout room is not likely to work as I’m busy with other logistics. You can return to the main session and see if I or someone is available to assist.

I’ll try to check my email after everyone is sorted into breakout rooms. So if you have difficulty getting on, send a note there and I’ll probably be able to respond by 12:15 pm.

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.


You can leave the breakout room (small group discussion) and return to the main session at any time.

If you’d like to set up your own group at that time, Mary as the host can put you and your people together in a breakout room. (The monthly book group does this.)

There are usually 4-6 people in each group to allow lots of time for each person to share.