Canadian Unitarian eNews - January Issue
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JAN 2017 - ISSUE 047

2017 Sharing Our Faith Packet Now Available!

This year’s Sharing Our Faith Packet, created by Rev. Fiona Heath in collaboration with the UU Ministers of Canada, is inspired by CUC’s vision statement calling us to Love and Justice. Sharing Our Faith is an annual tradition for congregations across the country to participate in a service crafted using these common resources on a common theme. It allows each individual congregation to reflect on our national connections as part of an interdependent movement in Canada, and by taking up a special Sharing Our Faith offering, supports projects across the country through the annual Sharing Our Faith grants.


Find this year’s Sharing Our Faith Packet here (pdf) | Word doc or read more about the program here.

2017 CUC ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING: Information for Presidents, Leaders and Delegates

Where: First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto, 175 St Clair Avenue West, Toronto and online via Zoom platform

When: May 13, 2017. 11:30 am – 5:30 pm EDT

The Canadian Unitarian Council’s 2017 Annual General Meeting (AGM) marks the first time that delegates from all over the country will participate and vote on-line. At the 2016 AGM, the CUC successfully piloted an online voting system that allowed delegates to participate and vote online, and a similar system will be used at AGM 2017 on May 13th.  

The AGM is hosted by the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto. Delegates can choose to participate online via a web platform, or in-person in Toronto. To be eligible to vote, your congregation needs to:

  1. Select your delegates early. Information on delegate selection is here.
  2. Register your duly approved 2017 delegates here by April 1st, 2017. Congregations participating remotely will also need to select a board-approved Credentials Officer who will be responsible for confirming the delegates present on the day of the AGM.
  3. Be a member in good standing with the CUC: i) the Annual Program Contribution (APC) shall not be in arrears; ii) your congregation has held its Annual General Meeting within the last year; and iii) there is a governance structure in place
Read More... (Online Participation and Voting Orientation Sessions, Planning for Online Participation, In-Person Participation and Voting)

Help Us Count Heads

At AGM 2017, a Credentials Committee is needed to register delegates, count delegates to ensure a quorum, hand out voting cards, and count votes when necessary. Interested in helping out? If you are planning to attend the AGM or live the in the Greater Toronto Area - we would appreciate your participation! Email

Canada Revenue Agency – Political Activities Cconsultation: An Update

By Vyda Ng, CUC Executive Director

The CRA’s consultation on charities and political activities ended on December 14, 2016. Almost 20,000 submissions were received by CRA from organizations and individuals. CRA also held in-person consultations across the country, and met with about 175 representatives of charities.

The Canadian Unitarian Council participated in an in-person session on December 7th in Toronto with about 18 other charity sector leaders. Staff members of the Department of Finance and Charities Directorate were also present. Participants were asked their opinions on a variety of issues, including CRA’s interpretation of what a political activity is, charities’ views on and understanding of this term, possible challenges for organizations based on this interpretation, resource limits, and understanding of partisan political activities.

The consultation panel established by the government will consider the recommendations and submissions put forward, and it is anticipated that they will submit their report to the Ministers of Finance and National Revenue in the spring of 2017.

The CUC’s written submission to the CRA can be found here.

Roundtable Conversation

For those interested in discussing the CUC’s recommendations and what’s next, Vyda Ng will host a roundtable conversation on Monday, January 23, 2017 at 4:30 pm PST | 5:30 pm MST | 6:30 pm CST | 7:30 pm EST | 8:30 pm AST.

Sign up for the roundtable here. Questions or comments? Email

Choosing to Unwrap Unusual Gifts

by Ralph C. Martin

Recently my good friend Peter Davison of Halifax published a book, Gift of the Hit, in response to his personal adversity. We met in the 1990s at the Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax, where we were both members.

In his 40s, Peter’s hit was a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease. This was a shock to him.  For those of us who are friends and family, it was hard to grasp, since we knew him as a healthy and energetic force in our lives. Although his health is different now, he is even more energizing and inspiring.

Candidly, he discloses in the book that soon after coming to terms with “having an old person’s disease, I thought about bluffing good health, since my symptoms were so subtle.” Later he experienced a laughter yoga class with breast cancer and stage III cancer survivors. “The depth of the laughter from people who have looked death in the face and chosen to live fully was memorable and moving.”

Despite pain and uncertainty, Peter says that “the gifts of my hit were beginning to unwrap, and my final surrender would be to let go and trust, falling into the supportive arms of my family.” In a more surprising twist to me, he fell in love with a woman he had known years earlier, they married and now have 2 beautiful children. What a guy! He grins and says, “I am now surrounded by love.”


Share Your Story: A Homily Writing Workshop

When: Sat March 18, 2017, 9:30am – 3:30pm Sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Islands Network,
Where: hosted at the First Unitarian Church of Victoria: 5575 West Saanich Road, Victoria, BC.

Is there something you would like to share in your congregation’s Sunday service but have never written a homily before? Or perhaps you have experience and want to develop your skills and comfort level? Rev. Meg Roberts will show you a process to support your creative expression, share various resources, and provide tips on effective public speaking that touch both the head and the heart.



Before Jan 31/17: Early Bird special - $40 | Feb. 1-15 - $50 | Deadline: Feb 15/17

Registration includes lunch & 2 online group coaching sessions. Maximum 24 participants so register early.

For more information or to sign up, contact registrar Anna Isaacs ( or 250-472-0117 (texts welcome)

Out of town participants welcome! Limited home hospitality is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Save the Date for CanUUdle XVII!

CanUUdle XVII is being hosted by the Unitarian Church of Edmonton on the May 2017 long weekend: May 19-22, 2017. The CanUUdle national youth conference is at the heart of our national UU youth community, building friendships and developing leadership skills for our UU world. Last year over 80 youth and advisors participated in Vancouver. Save the date! See you in Edmonton!

Save the Date for Justice Con 2017! 

A young adult con for all ages!

  • When? May 19 – 22, 2017
  • Where? Westwood Unitarian Congregation – Edmonton, Alberta
  • Who? Young adults (18-35) and people of all ages who are young at heart. Limit of 45 people.
  • What? A “Con-style gathering” – where everyone participates in leadership, and everyone helps to create beloved community through worship, workshops, cooking and activities.
  • More Info:

Register for the CUC Young Adult Project by January 31st

Are you interested in improving the way your congregation welcomes, includes and serves young adults? Join our pilot project to access structured mentoring, guidance, webinars and resources to help you! Between January and June 2017, join other Canadian UU congregations to develop new approaches to young adult welcoming and integration.

This project is a partnership between the Canadian Unitarian Council, the Unitarian Church of Vancouver and the UU Ministers of Canada and is coordinated by Carly Gaylor and Asha Philar.

If you are interested in committing to the project, please read on for the project requirements, important dates and next steps. The deadline to register and complete the self-assessment process if January 31, 2017.


Adult OWL in Saskatoon

The Saskatoon Unitarians' Adult Religious Education program will offer an Our Whole Lives (OWL) Adult Sexuality Education course over two weekends, Feb 10-12, 2017 and March 17-19, 2017. This course provides a safe, non judgemental space for participants to learn about sexuality, ask questions, discussions sexual values and explore ways in which these values influence our relationships and ways of interacting with others in the community. It is our belief that sexuality education promotes the principle of Respect and Justice for all.

Registration is free. More details to follow.

Contact Natasha ( or Dale ( for more info.

Outreach for Lay Chaplains

The New and Improved Outreach for Lay Chaplains Webinar with Amanda Tarling begins on January 14th, 2017. There will be five, 75 minute sessions over the following two months (ending February 18th). We will cover websites, the best use of Facebook and other Social Media, qr codes, business cards, wedding fairs, where and how to advertise as well as your competition (and much more!), finally we will conclude with practical next steps. Join us for this engaging and proven successful webinar.

Last Chance to Register!

Designing and Leading Rites of Passage

March 10-12, 2017 hosted by the Westwood Unitarian Congregation in Edmonton, AB
This workshop is for those considering Lay Chaplaincy, recently appointed Lay Chaplains and members of a congregation’s Lay Chaplaincy committee. It provides basic guidelines on the management of a congregation’s Lay Chaplaincy program and the training new Lay Chaplains need to begin their work.

We encourage all who are interested in this rewarding and spiritually enriching work to attend. Congregational leaders will be asked to indicate their support of each candidate on the registration form.

Click here to register.

Questions? Please email

Facilitators: Rev. Anne Barker and Meredith Simon

Theme-Based Ministry Webinar: January 14

Last chance to register!

1:00pm AST | 12:00pm EST | 11:00am CST | 10:00am MST | 9:00am PST

Have you heard about Theme-Based ministry and are wondering how it might be applied in your congregation?   Quite a few of our congregations  are exploring Theme-Based Ministry and are excited at the ways it helps deepen the conversations in their community.  This webinar will provide participants with an introduction to Theme- Based Ministry; the challenges, the benefits and some available resources.

Facilitators: Rev. Shawn Newton and Rev. Linda Thomson, CUC

THR Facilitator Training January 21st

Sign up today for our next Truth Healing and Reconciliation Facilitator Training taking place online via Zoom so you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your home! There is a fee of $25/participant. These funds go back to help support the ongoing work of the Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Task Force.

Please take special note about the facilitation training and its requirements. We approach this work knowing that we are all learning how to walk the path of reconciliation – in short, none of us are experts. We know that true reconciliation comes from the creation of safe space in order to engage in authentic dialogue. The materials used in the Reflection Guides are complex and the activities and group facilitation requires skill.

It is for that purpose, we require facilitators to have a basic understanding of our approach to this work and ask that each participant gain congregational support before engaging in the facilitation of the Reflection Guides.

This online, 3-hour training is taking place Saturday, January 21st, 2017
1:00pm AST | 12:00pm EST | 11:00am CST | 10:00am MST | 9:00am PST

Click here to register. Registration deadline is January 14, 2017

New Blog Featuring Lotta Hitschmanova

David Rain, former staff member of USC Canada,  has recently launched a new blog dedicated to Unitarian Service Committee of Canada founder, Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova. David began as a service to all those who remember Lotta and who would like to explore in more detail the life of this extraordinary woman and UU heroine. Also, this is a gateway to those who have never heard of Lotta, but would like to learn more.

The blog features articles exploring Lotta’s history, her connection to Unitarians, little known facts about her and her life, and also offers readers the chance to submit their own memories and stories about Lotta.

Read more from David Raid and explore this Unitarian Social Justice pioneer’s stories on

UU-United Nations Office Spring Seminar

Arm in Arm.pngThe Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office's 2017 Intergenerational Spring Seminar will take place in New York City April 5-8, 2017. This year's seminar, Arm in Arm: Interfaith Action to Disarm Our Planet, will equip participants with the skills necessary to be meaningful change-makers in their communities toward a more peaceful world. Learn about working together to reduce armed violence locally and on an international level. Open to youth and adults ages 14 and up – register by January 23rd for discounted rates. Scholarships are available – apply by January 16th, 2017 to the UU-UNO at

International Women’s Convocation

Take advantage of an exciting opportunity to engage with U*U women from around the world at the Third International Women’s Convocation, Asilomar Conference Center, Monterey Peninsula, CA, February 16-19, 2017. The Convocation’s theme is Weaving Global Partnerships…Forging a Just Future Together. The event will bring together U*U women of diverse ages and cultures from around the world to connect, share, celebrate, and empower in the beautiful, inspirational setting of Asilomar, “a refuge by the sea.”

Keynoters include Dr. bell hooks, writer, professor, feminist theorist, and activist; Dr. Cecilia A. Conrad, managing director of the MacArthur Foundation; and Rev. Florence Caplow, UU minister, author, and Soto Zen priest in the Suzuki Roshi lineage.  We are pleased that all three candidates for UUA President will attend.

Registration is $350. Discounts for groups of two or more, ministers, LREDA members, and young adults are also available. For more information or to register, visit Third International Women’s Convocation. To view or download the program, consult the latest edition of the Program Guide.

Anna MacIver (1922-2016)

By Art Brewer

Anna MacIver, co-recipient (with Bert Christensen) of the 2005 Knight Award passed away in October 2016.

Anna was born in Montreal in 1922 and, in a speech at the thirtieth anniversary of the CUC in 1991, she said “I got hooked on Unitarianism in Montreal in 1945.”

While Anna had fallen away from Unitarian circles in recent years, she made important leadership contributions to Unitarianism at the congregational, national and international levels. She served on the board of the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto several times, including in the role of president. She also served as Parliamentarian at several CUC annual meetings and as Treasurer on the CUC board, making significant contributions to improving the financial management of the Council at a time when it was facing great difficulties. In addition, she served on the board of the Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago and enabled Canadians to receive charitable donation tax receipts for contributions made on behalf of Canadian ministerial students attending that school.

In her professional life, Anna was head librarian of the York Law Library in Toronto. As a volunteer, Anna served at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto for many years, and persuaded others to volunteer there too.  

In her later years, she lived in the Toronto Manulife Centre until retiring to Hazelton Place in central Toronto.

For all her gifts to our wider tradition, we are very much in her debt and owe to her our enduring gratitude for the many ways that she served us.

Canadian Unitarian eNews is the electronic newsletter of the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC), the national association of Canada's Unitarian and Universalist congregations. We invite you to join our mailing list. Anyone on this list will automatically get an electronic copy of the Canadian Unitarian.

Do you have news of interest to share? To submit articles for consideration, please email them to eNews is published monthly. Submissions deadlines are on the 15th of each month.

Use these e-mail links to reach your CUC staff: 

Sarah Baxter
Staff Support / eNews Editor

Joan Carolyn
Congregational Development, Western and BC Regions

Jo-Anne Elder-Gomes
Conference Convenor

April Hope
Social Responsibility Coordinator

Vyda Ng
Executive Director

Asha Philar
Youth & Young Adult Ministry Development

Rawaa Shubbar
Administrative Coordinator

Casey Stainsby
CanUUdle Coordinator

Linda Thomson
Congregational Development, Central and Eastern Regions

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