Category: UU Connections

Unitarian regional and national (CUC) news; news from metro Vancouver congregations; news from other UU organizations such as ICUU etc.

UCV Small Groups: Fall Start-up and Refresh

Join, Create, or Register a Small Group

collection of books on a table, titles related to spirituality, justice, and Unitarian Universalism.

Do you want to connect with 6-12 people around a theme, interest, creative endeavor, or spiritual question?

Do you already organize, facilitate or participate in a Small Group, Book Discussion, Circle, or regular small gathering in-person at UCV or through UCV Zoom? Tell us about it! www.ucv.im/small-groups-form

Vancouver Unitarians vision is for a more compassionate world. At UCV we deepen our spiritual and religious lives, grow and enrich our congregation, and advocate for love and justice.

To connect folks, new and old members alike, to deep meaningful community, Kiersten and Derrick need to know what is already going on, what you are looking for, what possibilities you imagine, and what you want to create.

To re-vitalize our directory of small groups, join an existing group, or create a new one, please use this form: www.ucv.im/small-groups-form

UU Wellspring–spiritual deepening for the UU soul

A group of twelve Vancouver Unitarian members and friends, new and old, formed our first UU Wellspring small group last year. It was a deep, transforming experience for many of us. We are forming new cohorts this fall with the intent to spread the joy of deep personal connection, search for meaning, and spiritual practice development.

Participants in UU Wellspring find spiritual transformation as they explore the historical and theological roots of Unitarian Universalism, reflect on their own spiritual understandings, and engage in spiritual practice. Participants often form deep and lasting connections with one another.

We are including an eight-session, less homework intense, program for young adults and a six-session program to launch the UU Wellspring Reads: Sacred Earth program, a series of sessions designed around the book Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, combined with the book The Sustainable Soul by Rebecca James Hecking, and additional readings and videos.

The five spokes of UU Wellspring small groups

  • Deep listening in a small group
  • Daily spiritual practice
  • Spiritual companionship
  • Deeper understanding of Unitarian and UU history and theology
  • Living your convictions

Sources: First Year UU Wellspring Program

UU Wellspring Sources is a unique 10-month small group program offered in a multi-platform setting. The twice a month, 2-hour sessions offer participants an opportunity for spiritual deepening that leads to more joyful living, increased confidence in Unitarian identity, and faithful justice making in their lives and in their communities.

Sources begins with a start-up retreat on October 5, 6-9 pm and meets 2 times a month October through the middle of June.

Wellspring Reads: Sacred Earth

person sitting alone on a large stone at the edge of a pool of water in the forest
photo: uuwellspring.org

Sacred Earth is the first program in “UU Wellspring Reads,” six-session programs that provide foundational experience that are dear to Unitarian Universalists’ hearts. Sacred Earth combines the wisdom of Indigenous understandings of reciprocity with the sacred earth, and with spiritual practices that connect our spirit to nature. The experiences, reflections and discussions strive to engage participants deeply in the web of life and your Unitarian Universalist faith.

Our Sacred Earth offering is facilitated by UCV member Martha Saunders. Martha is a retired university lecturer in Religious Studies with a long-time interest in eco-spirituality.

UU Wellspring for Young Adults (UUW-YAH!)

poster of the Earth from outerspace and the caption "The wide, wide world of Spiritual Practices
photo: uuwellspring.org

Connecting to Inner Beliefs

UU Wellspring for Young Adults is designed for a cohort close in age, 18-29 or 25-35 for example. It is a chance to ask the big questions in life and reflect on what is deeply important to you. Each 60 to 90-minute session begins with a check in and sharing of spiritual practices. The session source is introduced and explored through videos, short readings and sharing.

Connecting to the Great Beyond

As Unitarians and UUs we don’t always talk about spirituality and UUW-YAH! Gives you a chance to wonder how our souls are connected to the great beyond as we explore our six Unitarian Universalist Sources.

Connecting to Peaceful Practices

You’ll have a chance to try out spiritual practices, which can simply be choosing an intention, such as gratitude, and thinking about it as you carry out an activity. For example, you might choose to attend a class, a daily task, or work with gratitude.

Join In

This 8-session series can be offered as either a fall or spring session meeting bi-weekly or October to May meeting monthly. Online or in-person.

  • Read the overview of UUW-YAH! here
  • Sign-up for your preferred meeting style at: ucv.im/UUW-YAH
  • Email Kiersten with any questions: dre@vancouverunitarians.ca

What to Expect During CanUUdle at UCV (May 19 – 23, 2022)

Dear UCV community members, 

The weekend of May 19th-23rd 2022, a very special event will be taking place at UCV. It is the annual conference for Canadian Unitarian Universalist youth, known as CanUUdle. At CanUUdle, youth from across Canada come together en masse to build friendships, worship together, grow in their faith and build their capacity as spiritual and community leaders. The all-volunteer CanUUdle ‘staff’ team, primarily composed of youth, plan and lead the conference, with the support of dedicated adult advisors.  

If you are around UCV this weekend, here is a snapshot of what you might expect to find, and some requests about sharing space:  

Quick facts 

  • The conference runs from Friday, May 20th around 6pm to Monday, May 23rd around 1pm.  
  • There will be conference staff onsite to set up as of 5pm on Thursday, May 19th, and staying to clean up until around 3pm on Monday the 23rd. 
  • We are expecting around 45 participants, including youth ages 14-19 and adult advisors.  

Building use  

  • CanUUdle generally requires full use of the buildings of the host congregation for the duration of the conference. However, we have been provided with the booking schedule for the weekend and are prepared to work around regular long-term rentals and other events that have already booked space.  
  • Sunday morning, the youth will be off site while the regular Sunday morning service is happening. Their belongings will be moved to the balcony of the Sanctuary, and we ask that this area is off-limits for all except the tech people at that time. The youth will return to eat their lunch in the Hall at noon. The young adults of Chorus (the national young adult conference, happening at North Shore the same weekend), will also be onsite at UCV for a special picnic lunch also at noon that day.  

Youth culture  

  • For many youth, Unitarian Universalist youth events are one of the few places in their lives where they feel they can share and celebrate aspects of themselves that they may keep private in other settings. Many develop deep friendships, and conferences such as CanUUdle are a place of exuberant connection. Please do not be alarmed if you witness more-raucous-than-usual playing, singing, or dancing, or open displays of trust and affection such as hand-holding, “cuddle puddles,” or emotional vulnerability.  
  • CanUUdle culture is based on principles of informed consent and respect for oneself, others, and our environment. We will strive to relate to our neighbours according to these principles, and hope that you will return the same. If any conflict arises, please contact the CanUUdle Coordinator (info below).  

For safety and insurance purposes, any adults who are interacting with youth at a CUC event must have completed a Criminal Record Check and have provided a signed Congregational Involvement form. This year, we are also requiring that everyone wears masks indoors and ‘signs in’ for the purpose of contact tracing in case of a Covid outbreak. We ask that other groups using the buildings do not interact with CanUUdle participants. If you need to speak with someone during the conference, ask for me (Carter, the CanUUdle Coordinator) or another adult advisor.  

We are very grateful to UCV for providing us with the space to host this important event, which in many ways is the mainstay of Canadian UU youth ministry. If you have any questions, concerns, or would like to help out with this event in any way, please contact the CanUUdle Coordinator at canuudle@cuc.ca, or the CUC Youth and Young Adult Ministry Staff at youth@cuc.ca. 

In faith, 

Carter Mahoney  

CanUUdle Coordinator

President’s Column: the Ministerial Search process

 “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose “ 

the more things change, the more they stay the same…

 Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr 

 

Oh, my! The memories. I’ve called  it my “initiation” into Unitarian organizational life. I’d only been a member for two years but had gotten what a friend called “aggressively involved” at UCV.  The announcement to invite nominations to the search for the next minister had been made and at coffee hour, one of our elders (Sheilah Thompson by name) approached me at coffee hour. 

“Mary, you’ve got to put your name forward. The only people who have volunteered so far are all my age!”  Ahem. Yes, that was 30 years ago, so I am now that age! 

Then, as now, a majority of search committee members are elected by the congregation and then the board looks at “who’s missing”.  So although I was not one of those “first past the post” I was appointed, because I was new. (Just as an aside now it’s recommended that the board simply announce the full slate and not identify who was voted in and who appointed.)

Much has changed since Rev. Phillip Hewett retired! Technology has made some of the tasks much easier, such as creating a survey, sending “packets” and receiving information. A lot of that is now done through a website or pdf documents in a dropbox folder. 

So I share this to say, even if you’re pretty new (or if you’ve been around for a very long time), consider putting your hat in the ring.  From (likely) a group of 7, there’s a need for many perspectives and experience.  

During the time I was serving on the committee, a friend remarked, “That’s a committee designed for conflict.” Don’t get scared! All that means is when you intentionally bring seven people together for a very important task with a high degree of diversity, there will be, by design, a need to have excellent communication and teamwork skills.  

So here am I, with a nod to Sheilah, saying: Please consider this opportunity to serve our congregation by offering to take on the admittedly heavy responsibility to serve on a ministerial search committee.  

Some of the things that have not changed are:

  • You’d be expected to give up any other organizational “jobs” – sing in the choir, garden, attend Sunday services, but no committee or team work
  • You will be under a very high bar for confidentiality. Only one candidate will ultimately be presented to the congregation and you will go to your grave mum about the names of any other ministers who expressed interest
  • You will get to know your fellow committee members deeply (I’m crying as I write this) and it could be your initiation rite to lifelong commitment to our religion.

Fondly,

Mary

PS – There will be many opportunities over the next while to learn more and to nominate people, including yourself. Stay tuned!

Click here for information about the upcoming Board Forum on Sunday, March 13.

To see who’s on the board and a list of recent posts, go to ucv.im/board

 

New Approach for CUC Delegates

At our January board meeting, our UCV board endorsed the approach that the Canadian Unitarian Council has recommended for many years. Starting this year in 2022, instead of appointing delegates to attend one specific CUC meeting, we are looking for people willing to serve a one or two-year term. Over time, all delegates will be appointed for a two-year term, so they’d attend two CUC Annual General Meetings and be involved with sharing information from CUC to UCV in between meetings.

Although this is a new approach to us, we understand that many congregations find this a very successful model and allows for both continuity and for new people to get involved. Here’s the handout that will be available for inperson participants: cucdelegateshandout

Call for CUC Delegates

The Canadian Unitarian Council Annual General Meeting will be held electronically Saturday, May 14, 2022 from 10:00 am – 1:30pm Pacific. UCV will submit names of our 6 delegates by April 1, 2022.

The UCV board will appoint six delegates to participate and vote on CUC’s strategic priorities, financial reports and any other matters which may be proposed. 

At the January board meeting, the UCV board adopted the CUC-recommended process of appointing delegates to serve a two-year term, during which they would represent us at two consecutive AGMs and between meetings will keep informed about CUC matters and communicate with the congregation by written posts and discussion forums. 

The board will host a Board Forum on Sunday, February 27 at 12:30 pm to share the background on this decision and respond to questions.  Those interested in being delegates are asked to attend this session if possible. All are welcome. Several members who have served as delegates at CUC AGMs in the past will be present to share their experience.

Criteria for Individual Delegates

  1. Member for a minimum of six months (same as serving on board from bylaws)
  2. Recent active involvement in at least one team, committee or task force, preferably in a leadership role
  3. Demonstrated interest and knowledge of CUC through attending gatherings, workshops or roundtables/webinars
  4. Good written and verbal communication skills, preferably comfort with public speaking/facilitation
  5. Comfort and access to computer, webcam, online communication programs (zoom, email, etc.)

Criteria for the team of delegates

  1. A range of newer members with more experienced members
  2. Provide opportunities for first-time delegates with support from each other and previous delegates
  3. Diversity of age, gender, heritage, length of time as UCV member and areas of involvement at UCV 
  4. At least two who are experienced at setting up online or in-person forums to discuss issues with the congregation
  5. At least two who are willing to write web and e-news articles about CUC issues at least three times per year.

Note: depending on the issues coming to a particular AGM, the board may adjust this in any one year

Please submit your expression of interest by Friday, March 11, 2022 so selection can be made at our March 15 board meeting. The board plans to appoint three delegates for a one-year term and three for a two year term. If sufficient interest, the board will also appoint two alternates in case a delegate withdraws for whatever reason.

Interested? Here is a link to a form to express interest in representing UCV at the upcoming May meeting. You can choose a one or two-year term or offer to be a back-up in case needed.

https://ucv.im/cucapplication or https://forms.gle/akpB18z5pocy2CeU9 

Selected delegates will be asked to submit a short bio (200-250 words) and a photo to share with the congregation. 

Here is a link to the CUC recommendations which UCV board endorsed at our January meeting: https://cuc.ca/about-cuc/annual-general-meeting/delegate-information/

 

Hola y Bienvenido – Latin American Heritage Month

Hola y Bienvenido
In Canada, October is Latin American Heritage month and UCV’s IBPOC (Indigenous, Black and People of Colour) caucus (plus Allies) are arranging for each Sunday to include something to celebrate this.
Local events from Latincouver: https://www.latincouver.ca/lahm/
If you self identify as IBPOC including Latin American, we invite you to join our IBPOC caucus bimonthly gatherings. Contact Tamiko Suzuki bipoc@vancouverunitarians.ca to find out more and get on the email list.
If you’d prefer, we can add you to the ucv-ibpoc-plus email group (open to the whole congregation), if you’re interested in being part of future brainstorming, actions and education related to anti-racism.
Nos encantaria eschucharlo.

Some resources

Children’s books – many of these are available from vpl.ca

15 Picture Books That Celebrate Hispanic & Latinx Heritage

Latin American poets – The Women’s Meditative Poetry group who meet Saturdays and Sundays at 9 am Pacific will be reading poems by female poets of Latin American heritage.

10 Classic Latina Poets to Discover and Read

Global Chalice Lighting from International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (see November 2018)
Documentary film: “Latinos Beyond Reel: Challenging a Media Stereotype”
Latin American composers/musicians
Mexican Day of the Dead
How many Latin Americans are there in Canada?
This article from Wikipedia gives the 2016 census figure as 447,325.  This article from the Canadian Hispanic Association suggests the number is between 611,000 and one million.

Prepare for Pride 2021

As Vancouver Pride approaches, you may be thinking of how to celebrate this year. 

The Vancouver Pride Parade is taking a decentralized approach this year, and we are going to be part of it! We’ll be gathering safely outdoors and doing our own mini Pride Parade around the UCV campus on Sunday, August 1, starting at 12:30 p.m. All members and friends are welcome to attend. Wear something colourful and/or creative – show your Pride however you feel like it!

We’d love to put rainbow colours all around our corner sign at 49th & Oak. We’d love to hear your ideas–and then get your help.  https://vancouverpride.ca/festival-parade/parade-entries/

Welcoming Congregation Recertification update

We’re almost there! 

To renew, a congregation has to already been certified (for us that was way back in 1995–one of the first) and do one worship service related to LGBTQ+ issues. Check!

A third requirement is to support an organization who works in this area. We’ve worked with Rainbow Refugee to support refugees, donated money from the Outreach Opportunities Fund and their founder Chris Morrissey will be speaking on Sunday, July 25. Check!

With a lot of support from Rev. Lara and the worship services committee, we’ve lifted up more than the required six “welcome days of observance.”  Check!

The next one is Non-Binary Day which is July 14th and that brings us to a request for assistance with our final requirement which is to offer an educational event that at least 10% of the members of the congregation attend.  So far 14 members (maybe more) have watched Mairy Beam’s play “What Difference Does It Make?” about coming out as non-binary and another 10 or so were at the panel discussion with cast and crew on June 12th. Could you please watch the play and the discussion and then complete a feedback form?  We need at least 30 members to watch and complete the form. 

Here are the links:

Play from Haven Theatre: YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQU6WT6Igs8 

Discussion: https://youtu.be/-t9IuuMu-mk

Then send an email to Debra at debrasutherland8@gmail.com and Debra will send you a link to the survey we need to ask for in order to complete the requirements. 

Forum: Sunday, July 11

What Does Non-Binary Mean? On July 11, Mairy Beam and other members of the GSA will host a forum after the worship service on what non-binary gender means. This is an “ask us anything” forum and we’ll share some anonymous polls to see what your questions are and respond to those. Sign in as soon as you have had your bio break after the service. This shortlink will take you there: ucv.im/gsa

 

Community Impact

Earlier this year, Vancouver Unitarians extended a grant to the Broadway Youth Services Centre (BYRC) through our stewardship with the Robert and Anna Koerner Community Fund. BYRC has been able to grow their food program and provide food security to participants and their families. Their program employs youth as peer navigators and has been a source of community support and pride during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are enriched by our capacity to reach out to the larger community in this way and have an impact beyond our walls. You can read the impactful thank you letter from the BYRC below.

Remember the Children – June 5 Event

Thirty people helped to create an orange installation on our corner and magically (with hard work) transform a labyrinth full of buttercup weeds into a bright orange spectacle.

Throughout June, Indigenous Peoples Month, we expect to host more gatherings to make sure both sites remain beautiful and invite our neighbours and our own community to come and participate.

49th and Oak Corner

With the terrible news about the  abused and murdered children buried in a mass grave at the Kamloops residential school, I wanted to do something at UCV to  acknowledge the pain and reflect our growing awareness and demands for change. The UCV community  had already agreed to donate money to the IRSSS (Indigenous Residential School Survivors Society), but I wanted to also put on a public face to  remind others not in our community that we ALL need to care and remember.

What started  out as an idea to put a few children’s toys by the trees, grew into an act of community solidarity and art.
On Saturday June 5, while volunteers planted 215 marigolds into the labyrinth, about a dozen adults and children braved the traffic noise at the corner of Oak and 49th to cover the UCV sign and nearby trees with  orange ribbons, flowers, tshirt cutouts and signs. A project to attach 215 strands of wool to a clothes line was started as a visceral example of how large a number 215 is!
The rains came at night and the ribbons and signs are soggy.  We will need to refresh the signs, add more wool strands (because 215 is only the start) and straighten the ribbons next week.
Perhaps this is the first time we’ve decorated our corner?! Let it not be the last.
-Tamiko Suzuki

Labyrinth

215 orange flowers on the labyrinth

This vision just popped into my head as I, like many, started thinking: but what can *I* do? There’s so much that can be done and I’m very proud to be part of UCV as we’ve made a statement and donated money.
I so appreciate the number of people who brought flowers, worked long and hard to prep the labyrinth (it was badly in need of weeding) and then planted the orange blooms. Plus there are 48 nasturtiums not yet in bloom. It will “orange-up” over the next while.
What moved me most was the number of side conversations I witnessed as we worked – and connected with each other over the time.
Thank you to our minister, Rev. Lara Cowtan, for beautiful and moving words and an ongoing pastoral presence.
(There are still a few buttercups and lots of grass where it shouldn’t be, so if you’re ever inclined to spend a couple of hours there, do please contact me and we can set something up.)
– Mary Bennett

UCV Actions

UCV President has made a statement and our Outreach Opportunities Fund have donated $3000 with more to come to Indigenous Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS).

Message from the Outreach Opportunities Fund Committee.

A $3000 donation from the balance of the OOF account has been made by UCV, effective immediately, to support the work of the Indigenous Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS).

In order to support the increased demand for their services, the IRSSS will also be the recipient of the OOF effective July 1.
As we all know, the impact of residential schools on the Indigenous population has been profound. The IRSSS was established with the mission to provide physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual growth, development, and healing through culturally-based values and guiding principles to residential school survivors, their families, and those dealing with Intergenerational traumas.
– OOF Committee, June 2021

 

 

UCV’s Chinese Name 溫哥華 尋道會

 

Silent knowledge – the spirit is enlightened of itself
Contemplate the void: this world exceeds stillness.
 – Han Shan

At the end of Asian Heritage month this issue of the National News section of the UCV website takes a look at a 2014-2016 initiative to welcome members of the Chinese community to the Vancouver Unitarian community.

溫哥華 尋道會, Vancouver Xundaohui, Seekers of the Way, was formally adopted by Vancouver Unitarians as the Chinese name for the congregation in 2015. The work was initiated a year earlier by long-time UCV members and also included translations of UU principles, sources, and history into traditional and simplified Chinese scripts for pamphlets, creation of a Chinese language UCV webpage, and external signage in Chinese at most UCV site entrances at 49th and Oak. The initiative was intended to help welcome to UCV the 15% of the Metro Vancouver population who report speaking Chinese.

UCV borrowed the name 尋道會 from the Hong Kong Unitarian Universalist Community. We were told it had been suggested there by a Chinese Christian Minister who was also an advocate for gay rights. Currently Vancouver and Hong Kong appear to be the only UU congregations who have adopted this Chinese name. UCV suggested to the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (ICUU) that the name 尋道會, Xundaohui, Seekers of the Way, be recommended as the official Chinese name for Unitarian Universalists but to date no action has been taken by the ICUU.

Read or download a pdf transcript of the worship service held in January 2016 from the UCV History Wall. The homily tells in more detail the story of why and how UCV chose its Chinese name. You can also listen to an audio of the homily by Lily Ha and Keith Wilkinson. If you have trouble accessing the printed homily from these links, email Keith for a copy.

Another neighbourhood remembrance for Asian Heritage Month – 

The Masumi Mitsui Greenway

The City of Vancouver is trying to establish greenways that are no more than a 25-minute walk or a 10-minute bike ride from every city residence. There are three Greenways quite close to the UCV site at 49th and Oak, and one of these is named after a Japanese Canadian WW1 veteran, Masumi Mitsui, who also became a fighter against the oppression of Japanese Canadians during WW2.

Masumi Mitsui Greenway – runs West to East along 59th Avenue from Angus Drive to Argyle Drive. East of Argyle Drive, the route follows a number of local streets as it works its way to Vivian Street and Burnaby’s Central Park.  At its West end it nearly connects with the Arbutus Greenway.

Arbutus Greenway – follow Arbutus Street and West Boulevard South from 5th Avenue and Fir St near Granville Island to SW Marine Drive near the Fraser River.

Ridgeway Greenway – runs West to East from 8th Ave and Alma St diagonally to 37th Ave, then East to Nanaimo St, South to 45 Ave, and East to Boundary Road and Central Park in Burnaby.

Ontario Greenway – runs North to South from False Creek to 59th Ave

 

BIPOC contributions to Vancouver’s Public Art – In 2014 as part of its annual Service Auction, UCV volunteers led several tours of Vancouver Public Art installations. The tours included BIPOC works by Kelly Cannell, Alan Hung Chung, Jim Hart, Susan Point, Bill Reid, Henry Tsang, Jun Ren, Jen Weih, and the Komagata Maru memorial in downtown Vancouver. Maybe we can resume these and similar explorations after COVID-19 is under control!

 

The National News section of the UCV website usually provides stories about what is happening in other Canadian Unitarian Universalist communities, at the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC), and in the global UU movement.  For more information about those see these websites:
CUC       British Unitarians            UUA