Category: Our Space

Buildings and Grounds Committee information; renting space at UCV.

Gardening at UCV – if you like to dig, there are many opportunities

There are many opportunities to garden at UCV. Some of our members have home gardens and more than enough on their plate managing that, but others live in condos or apartments and enjoy the chance to beautify our grounds and enjoy the company of others who love dirt!

Work with a crew once a month

Once a month on the 3rd Saturday a crew arrives and Patti Turner helps them find things that work for them and help keep our extensive grounds and gardens looking good. Patti brings home-cooked snacks! And Steven usually thanks them the following day. As one of the people who spend a lot of time at UCV he notices the difference – big time!

Help Mary with the labyrinth

Bubbles on the Labyrinth October 15, 2018.

Our garden path labyrinth can always use work and a couple of us get together on a spontaneous schedule if it looks like a good day. If you’d like to join us, or know some regular tasks that need doing that you can do on your own time, just drop Mary Bennett a note.

Vegetable gardens on north side

You may have noticed the vegetable gardens on the north side of the property. These were first put in after digging up lawn (we have a lot of it, and are lessening it over time) in the mid-90s.  At the same time, we put heather on the SW corner and a herb garden on the south side.

The west gardens are for the Children’s program.

The farthest east is looked after by Mairy Beam and Mary Bennett.  We often pick and share the herbs with the earth spirit circle.

The largest area in the middle is divided into a number of smaller plots from 3′ square to about 4′ x 6′.

The gardeners there are:

  • Sandy Riecken
  • Megumi/Amy Anderson (Love Soup)
  • Marie Witt
  • Gerda Schulz
  • Patti Turner

The southern three boxes are for three of our families.

Karl Perrin digging in children’s garden. 2017

Would you like to have a vegetable garden area at UCV — or work with others on their plots?

Would you like to have a small plot of your own either for yourself or to support a program at UCV? You could do it as part of a pair or group or on your own.

Mary’s been working on helping new gardeners find a plot of a size that works for them and over time building up the very clay-y soil with compost and dried leaves.

There’s some space available for another plot or two, including a raised bed near he sidewalk that wouldn’t require much bending. It might work for someone in a wheel chair even. Contact Mary if you’d like to take on a plot.

Adopt an area

Once people start gardening at UCV they quickly begin to notice the expanse of the property and the need for many hands to make light work. Some years ago, there was a suggestion that individuals might “adopt an area” – perhaps even very very small and take it on to weed, water and perhaps even plant.

Is there a spot you’ve noticed needs some pruning or weeding?

Talk to Patti if you are ready to adopt a section of the grounds.

“What Do We Call Ourselves?” Task Force

As a progressive religious congregation we have a history of reviewing and updating how we  identify and represent ourselves.  In 2004 a Communication Working Group, in consultation with our community, created the stylized hand logo to replace the stylized chalice as more representative of our membership.  And a few years ago, the Vision Task Force engaged in crafting a new Vision And Living Our Vision statement for UCV.

Now, there is the question of our name.  Rev. Steven Epperson acknowledged in his sermon Celebrating Our Story (September 15 2019), “A task force is deliberating on whether we change the name of our congregation from something less formally churchy to something perhaps more fit for use in 21st century Vancouver and beyond.” A query was sent to the CUC leaders’ google group asking whether this was a question that other Canadian congregations were also asking themselves.  25 leaders responded that indeed this was a topic of concern.

There will be a forum on October 20 describing in detail what would be involved in a formal name change.  This is an information forum only and on January 19th there will be a Circle of Concerns which will be an opportunity for participants and congregants to express their opinion on whether to remain known as a church or not.  A survey on-line and in the OOS will be used so that everyone has a say. From informal discussions with congregants we know that some of our members want to remain known as a ‘church’ and some favour a change to ‘congregation’ or even, ‘centre’ or ‘community.’  There will be disagreements and of course, as mature, evolved Unitarians we will be respectful with others’ differences!

After thorough consultations, a vote is planned to take place at the June EGM.

By Eva Allan

 

Meditate with us

Vancouver Unitarians have a dedicated “Meditation Room” that has been in continuous use for over two decades. Each Sunday morning and Wednesday evening an eclectic group of both Unitarians and interested Vancouverites meet for a 45-minute meditation session. 

For the past five years the group has been led by Victoria Oginski who has been meditating herself for over 35 years. As an enthusiastic student of Buddhism, Victoria has gone on long meditation retreats in Burma, studied in Bodh Gaya in northern India where the Buddha attained enlightenment, and Dharamsala, the home of the Dalai Lama. 

While the group is loosely informed by the Vajrayana school of Tibetan Buddhism anyone interested in meditation is wholehearted welcome!

On Wednesdays, after the meditation from 6:30-7:15 we take a break and then at 7:30 begin our book study. Currently we are reading (out loud) The Mind Illuminated by Culadasa (John Yates, PhD).

 

submitted by Carolyn Grant

(Some) Apples are ready for picking – please help yourselves

Photo credit: Keith Wilkinson

We have 14 apple trees on the North West side of the property.

They were planted to celebrate our 100th anniversary.

UPDATE: Next up: The King apples are ripe mid-September to early October.

In the meantime, do pick up any fallen apples. 

 

Our apple tree varieties are (clockwise from North West)
Honey Crisp, Scarlet Sentinel, King, Florina, Yellow Transparent, Summerland Red Macintosh, Ambrosia, 
Gravenstein, Cox Orange Pippin, Liberty, Sunrise, Golden Sentinel, Shamrock and Jonafree.

In order of ripening:

Yellow Transparent  July 10–25

SUNRISE  mid-August

GRAVENSTEIN  

Cox’s Orange Pippin late picking straight from the tree recommended.

Scarlet Sentinel – mid to late September

King – September 15 – 25

Florina – late September https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florina_(apple)

McIntosh – not till September 20-30

Ambrosia – mid to late season – October

Liberty – late season

 

FROM https://www.bctfpg.ca/horticulture/varieties-and-pollination/apple-varieties/

I’m adding more details about the various trees and apples below. A work in progress.
Apples are ready between   August 15 – October 30
from: https://pickyourown.org/apples_howtotellwhenripe.php
Scarlet Sentinel

King

Sept. 15–25 Yellow with red blush

Red McIntosh

Sept. 20–30 Yellow with red blush
Popular in America since 1811

  • Best for: eating, sauce, salad, good as part of a blend for applesauce
  • Sweet, mild flavor

ambrosia apple

Ambrosia – mid to late season

  • Sweet, crisp, aromatic flavour reminiscent of pear and low acidity.
  • Mostly red colouration, with yellow patches.
  • Flesh is cream-coloured, firm meat
  • Medium to large in size
  • Developed in British Columbia in the early 1990s.
  • Believed to be a cross of a Jonagold and Golden Delicious.
  • Ripens mid to late season

Gravenstein apple

Gravenstein

  • Greenish-yellow with a lumpy appearance
  • A good, all-purpose apple,
  • Good for applesauce and pies.

Cox’s Orange Pippin – early

  • Popular in English markets.
  • Medium sized, golden yellow skin, with brownish orange
  • often russeted.
  • Flesh tender, crisp, semi-tart
  • early

Liberty apple

Liberty – late season

  • A highly disease-resistant introduction from Geneva New York.
  • Liberty has superior dessert quality, similar to one of its parents, Macoun
  • Best for: eating, sauce, salad
  • flavor improves in storage
  • late season

Sunrise – mid August

Yellow Transparent July 10–25 Creamy yellow

Jonagold Sept. 15–Oct. 7 Yellow with red stripes

Jonathan Sept. 20–25 Yellow with red blush

Golden Delicious Oct. 1–15 Yellow

Delicious—red strains Oct. 1–15 Red

Can we penetrate the darkness?

The featured image for this posting is the detail of a drawing titled “Many suns cannot penetrate the darkness” created in 1989 by the late long time Vancouver Unitarian member Daphne Naegele. Now, 30 years after Daphne created this image and posed this question, we are still faced with it — can Unitarian Universalism help penetrate the darkness? Part of the answer to this question resides in our capacity to sustain ourselves financially. To examine our options, the UCV board has created a task force to examine the many facets of this question over the summer and fall. Get in touch with Sheila Resels or Keith WIlkinson if you’d like to be part of this discussion.

The UCV Board established a Financial Sustainability Task Force (FSTF) in July 2019. The purpose of the Task Force is to review and strengthen the financial sustainability of the Vancouver Unitarian congregation in the face of reduced levels of pledging, possibly static membership growth, and the general decline of religious community across North America over recent decades.

The Task Force includes the following working groups and teams:

  1. Membership Growth Team
  2. Member Generosity Team (which includes the Canvass Committee)
  3. Legacy Team
  4. Space Use Team
  5. Transition Team
  6. Site Development Team
  7. Investments Committee
  8. Fundraising Events Team
  9. Risk Review Team
  10. Marketing/Fundraiser Initiative Team
  11. UCV Internal Funds Review Initiative
  12. UCV (ad hoc) Budget Committee
  13. Other working groups/teams approved by the Board.

These groups and teams are relatively self-directed and are guided by the recent working document UCV Financial Sustainability Matrix. The working groups and teams are expected to prepare reports in time for the board and the congregation to discuss them well in advance of the 2019 AGM scheduled for late fall 2019 when a vote of the membership regarding possible site redevelopment is anticipated.

For further information, or to provide support to some of these working groups, please contact one of the co-chairs of the Financial Sustainability Task Force (FSTF):

Redevelopment Mini-Messages – July 9th

Campus Redevelopment Update #1

How do I keep informed? Get Involved?

There are 5 work groups involved in specific topics. Starting September 15 the Planning Committee will host 5 special Sunday forums. For information and participation: Planning Committee: Gordon Gram (gordongram@me.com) Michael Clague (mclague@telus.net).

Campus Redevelopment Update #2

Why redevelop?

Concerned about long-term financial sustainability, the board in November 2016 established a planning committee to explore redeveloping part of the campus (while retaining ownership) with non-market rental housing to generate additional revenues. A business plan is underway to determine if these objectives can be met, for decision in November 2019.

For information and participation: Gordon Gram (gordongram@me.com) Michael Clague (mclague@telus.net).

Campus Redevelopment Update #3

To redevelop or not?

The business plan at the AGM November 17 will be deciding whether not to proceed. Two other groups are examining alternatives to redevelopment: retaining/improving Hewett Centre (Buildings and Grounds Committee); exploring expanded sources of revenue (Keith Wilkinson).

For information and participation: Gordon Gram (gordongram@me.com) Michael Clague (mclague@telus.net).

Campus Redevelopment Up-Date: #4

Why now?

55 years ago members of this church made the most important decision they could: to buy property at 49th and Oak. Now a similar decision is at hand with our AGM on November 17; whether or not to build non-market rental housing and a new Hewett Centre for the financial security of UCV for the next 50 years. 5 special forums planned starting September 15 sponsored by the Planning Committee and Circle of Concern.

For information and participation: Gordon Gram (gordongram@me.com) Michael Clague (mclague@telus.net).

Campus Redevelopment Up-Date #5

What is the redevelopment package?

A 95 unit, 6 story, non-market rental housing, 50% to accommodate families; a new Hewett Centre (financed out of the project). The package is to generate a growing revenue stream for the church into the future.

For information and participation: Gordon Gram (gordongram@me.com) Michael Clague (mclague@telus.net).

Campus Redevelopment Up-Date #6

What are the concerns?

Timing is bad: we will be recruiting a new minister; volunteer and staff resources will be over-stretched; carrying on during construction. What about just up-grading the Hewett Centre? Members can get involved in these and other issues with 5 member work groups and 5 special Sunday forums sponsored by the Planning Committee starting September 15th. For information and participation: Gordon Gram (gordongram@me.com) Michael Clague (mclague@telus.net).

Campus Redevelopment Up-Date #7

What stage is redevelopment at?

The City has given support in principle to apply for rezoning for non-market rental housing and a new Hewett Centre subject to discussions that include the Hornbeam Trees on 49th Avenue and potential up-grades for the heritage – designated Sanctuary. The board will bring a recommendation to the November 17th AGM.

For information and participation: Gordon Gram (gordongram@me.com) Michael Clague (mclague@telus.net).

Campus Redevelopment Up-Date #8

If we decide to redevelop, how do we maintain church programs during a 2.5 year construction period possibly starting Spring 2022?

A transition plan with costs is being developed by John Boyle, Elliott Dainow, and Connie Wigmore.

Campus Redevelopment Up-Date #9

What is the vision?

The following statement was approved in the proposal to prepare a business plan for redevelopment by 64% of members in attendance at the 2018 ExtraOrdinary General Meeting:

At this mid-century point of its life, our vision for the campus of the Unitarian Church of Vancouver for the next 50 years is that of a compelling, beautiful, intergenerational home for Unitarians to worship and to celebrate, one respectful of the original design, one that provides an affordable place to live for a cross-section of our community, and a place for all Vancouverites to gather for spiritual enquiry, to enjoy arts and culture, and to engage in dialogue and action on matters of social justice and the environment.

Highlights of the Extraordinary General Meeting (aka budget meeting) June 23, 2019

We had a great turn out for the June 23rd budget meeting – 88 members held voting cards, and interested UCV friends filled Hewett Centre Hall.

Business items

Lay Chaplains

Our three lay chaplains were renewed. Laureen Stokes, Cheryl Amundsen and Louise Bunn are trained to conduct weddings, celebrations of life, and other rituals of life transitions on behalf of UCV.

Love Soup

Our dedicated team of volunteers who warm our hearts and stomachs with monthly “Love Soup” offerings from September – June were acknowledged for their combined contribution of $3,756. Of course, a special thanks to Amy Megumi Anderson, the bundle of energy that keeps Love Soup organized.

Budget

The budget of $607,436 was approved (with one abstention). At present, we have identified $537,390 in revenue, so additional fund raising will be required to meet the expenses to run all of the wonderful programs at UCV.

Possible Site Development

Michael Clague, Gordon Gram, and Marg Fletcher reported on the progress of Phase 2 of the redevelopment plans. The full report is expected in time for the AGM which will be held in November 2019, at which time members will vote whether or not to proceed to a Phase 3 business plan. Phase 2 is to provide more accurate financial forecasts and to assess zoning requirements, and explore possibilities of grants which might be available Federally, Provincially, or through the City. In order to forecast costs and feasibility, more detailed plans were required and were on view for the meeting.

Related documents:

Circle of Concern

Rob Dainow reported on conversations held at meetings that have come to be called the Circle of Concern. The top identified concerns were around issues such as timing (during ministerial transition), existential threats (includes keeping the community together during construction) and vision. Click here for details.

A series of congregational meetings are planned starting in September that will alternate between progress reports on Phase 2 and the Circle of Concern group, so UCV members and friends will have ample opportunity to receive information and have their voices heard leading up to the November AGM.

Refugee Sponsorship

Huguette Sansonnet Hayden reported on our plans for sponsoring new refugee families, and shared some success stories of our settled sponsored families.

Ministerial Transition

Léonie Armstrong reported on updates to the plans for the period of ministerial transition. The Board will apply for a two-year interim minister, and during that time, a search committee will be formed to find our next settled minister.

Redevelopment? Circle of Concerns Workshop

About 40-45 people attended the Circle of Concerns Workshop after the service on May 2, 2019 to share and explore their questions and concerns about the current UCV site redevelopment project.

This workshop was a followup event to the March 31 Listening Circle forum where at least 35 congregants gathered to share their questions and concerns. Issues raised at this fell into eight categories. There was considerable support at the forum for a followup workshop to extend this conversation to include more congregants and to explore the concerns and issues in more depth. (See http://tinyurl.com/y65th8hn for more information about the Listening Circle event; you can find the 3-page report from that meeting here: Mar31 Sharing Circle report.

The May 2 Circle of Concerns Workshop is the followup to the March 31 Listening Circle forum.
The intent of all these activities is bring new voices to the redevelopment conversation. There is no intent or desire to create divisions or dissensions; on the contrary, we believe that we will make better decisions when we include all voices.

Here is a summary of the notes from the Circle of Concerns Workshop. (You can get an electronic copy of the full notes here: May 26 Circle of Concern minutes.)

Top 3 concerns

Participants at the Circle of Concerns Workshop identified their top 3 areas of concern from the 8 categories identified in the March 31 Listening Circle forum, with these results:

Concern

Weighted votes

Timing

59

Existential Threats

53

Vision

41

Ability to Complete

15

Site redevelopment

14

Affordable housing

13

During construction

9

Design elements

2

No concerns

0

 

Groups were formed to discuss the top 3 concerns.
Here are some selected comments from these discussions:

Timing

  • The combination of an interim minister and temporary meeting places in trailers will lead to losing congregants and it will harder to attract new people. It will be very hard to maintain our regular activities and social events. The timing sucks!
  • Everyone in this group felt very strongly that it is essential to have the new settled minister in place before undertaking redevelopment. It will be a recipe for disaster if we do not have strong leadership.
  • We will limit the number and perhaps quality of ministerial candidates if a redevelopment project is a front issue for the new minister. It will be a threat to the very existence of the church if we cannot get a satisfactory new minister.
  • Proceeding with redevelopment under these circumstances can create a lot of stress and can lead to an antagonistic, divisive, destructive atmosphere.
  • We should not see our current exploration of redevelopment as a failure if we do not proceed with it.

Vision

  • The vision is the base – we should start with a vision.
  • We need a formal statement of how this project will exemplify our UU values.
  • A compelling vision would have housing affordability and environmental concerns built in; the current design doesn’t reflect our ideals because the social and environmental benefits are modest.
  • We have a chance to make an architectural statement; need more imagination – invite artists and architects to come talk to us.
  • Landlording is a nightmare – and UCV would be at least indirectly in that role. Would we trust a management company to go by our values? Where do we stand in a tenant-landlord issue? How much would we intervene? How much Board involvement would there be?

Existential Threats

  • Do we have the volunteer capacity to carry out this project?
  • How will we get new members during the construction period (2-3 years)?
  • Will our younger congregants be able to sustain this project financially?
  • How do we continue ‘doing church’ during construction (2-3 years)?
  • We are muddling through financially and are kind of sustainable now, so may be wiser to not launch a redevelopment project now, but to instead focus on growing our membership.

How would you vote today?

Workshop participants were asked during the last part of the workshop to indicate on a spectrum of choices what their position is today with regard to the redevelopment project. The following table summarizes their responses.

No.

%

1*

1%

Will likely approve redevelopment project as is or with minor changes.
Will approve only if (check any and all that apply)

13

18%

It is clear that the project fits our values and vision.

13

18%

The project is delayed until we have a new settled minister.

9

13%

Environmental considerations are given higher priority.

8

11%

The design of the building is significantly changed.

8

11%

Can stay on campus and use sanctuary during construction (acceptable washrooms).

4

6%

Possible to create truly affordable housing and still have significant return to UCV.

4

6%

Members step u to volunteer to liaise with developers.

4

6%

Other methods to improve finances are unsuccessful.

2

3%

Hewett Hall is not destroyed. The new building is built elsewhere on campus.

6

8%

Will almost certainly not approve.

72

101%

* maybe

Next steps

  • Hold an open meeting monthly, with chairs in a circle to encourage equal participation.
  • Get input from others who have done similar projects.
  • Who would live here? Survey Vancouver Unitarians to see how many would rent or buy (co-housing)?

New benches at UCV

The Buildings and Grounds Committee is delighted to announce the installation of three new benches on the UCV campus.  Sheila Lindfield has generously donated these benches to the church in memory of members of her family.  Thank you, Sheila!

Please contact Catherine Stewart at stewartcm@shaw.ca if you are interested in donating a bench to UCV as a way of commemorating a person or event (or just to beautify our church grounds).

UCV Demographics and Pledge Potential (DAPP) Report 2019

Executive Summary

In late 2018 the UCV Board asked interested volunteers to work together to provide some commentary on UCV’s demographics and pledge potential in the context of 2018-19 site development studies led by Michael Clague and Gordon Gram. Over the December 2018 to March 2019 period, a small group examined selected membership data provided by staff and began to examine other web-based resources on demographics and religious organizational trends. The resulting report provides a first analysis of data gathered and makes recommendations for the future.

Findings

  • Donations to UCV averaged $467,186 per year over the past decade excluding bequests but including capital donations. Annual variations have been sizeable. With inflation considered, the total value of donations has declined over the decade.
  • 21 bequests totaling approximately $132,000 were made to UCV over the past decade. The value varied widely year to year as did the size of the individual bequests.
  • Donations increased substantially at times when major capital improvements were being made.
  • The median donation in 2018 was $500 and the average donation was $1,041. Donations in 2018 were the lowest in a decade, totaling $375,734. However, this amount did exceed the $330,000 planned for achieving a balanced budget. A balanced budget also relied on rental and investment revenue. [**See note at bottom of page regarding 2019.]
  • A small number of donors have contributed most to the finances of UCV over the decade. In 2018 forty-two donors (12%) donated 50% of the funds and 319 donors (88%) donated the other 50%.
  • In 2018 the ten top donors (3%) donated 24% of all donations.
  • The ten top donors in 2018 were resident in eight different postal code regions of Metro Vancouver. Three of these resided in Point Grey. The others were, in alphabetical order: Dunbar-Southlands, Hillcrest, Kitsilano, New Westminster, Sunshine Coast, Victoria-Fraserview, and West End.
  • Postal codes were available for 99% of donors. Dates of birth were available for only 18% of donors.
  • Unitarian Universalist congregational membership declined approximately 21% in the USA and 19% in Canada over the period 2005-2015.

Recommendations for UCV

  1. Re-establish and animate a Legacy or Planned Giving Committee to help ensure that UCV members are giving consideration to recognizing UCV in their wills and in annual pledging. Bequests have been a significant source of funding for UCV and could grow as members of UCV age and die. Generous annual pledging is the heart of the church’s financial support.
  2. Give moderately high priority to adding birthdates to the church membership database (Breeze) to facilitate future planning for age-based services, donor planning, and ministerial transition.
  3. Continue to participate, animate, support, and celebrate the work of all Committees and Groups to foster a healthy and generous congregation. Membership and participation matter.
  4. Continue to call highly skilled professional ministers and religious educators. Churches in Canada with this feature seem to do better than those without.
  5. Thank our most generous donors.
  6. Consider asking generous donors to project their capacity to support the church in the future.

See the full 9-page report here: UCV Demographic and Pledge Potential Report – 20190308 Rev A

A site development report providing business plan options and other issues identified to date was distributed at a UCV Forum on 8 May 2019 and afterwards in the church. PDF copies of this report can be obtained by email from Gordon Gram (gordongram@me.com) or Michael Clague (Michael@clagueconsultants.com).

A group of congregants interested in discussing issues related to site development met as a Circle of Concern on 1 Mar 2019 and identified a number of areas needing further consideration. These issues of concern are summarized on this website here. Another forum for discussion of all three of these reports (Circle of Concern, Site Development, and Demographics and Pledge Potential) has been scheduled by the Circle of Concern for 12:30 – 2:30 pm, Sunday 26 May 2019 in the Fireside Room.

—————–

** As of mid May 2019, the average pledge by members and friends of UCV for 2019 was $2,023 per pledging unit (family or individual), and the median (middle point) pledge was $1,500 per pledging unit. Historically, pledge values have been slightly lower than actual donations. The church also has many “casual donors” who receive tax receipts for small donations. This partly accounts for the difference in value of 2019 median pledges and the 2018 median donations.