Canadian Unitarian Council

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Not to be confused with United Church of Canada.
Canadian Unitarian Council
Canadian Unitarian Council logo.svg
The official logo of the CUC, based upon the flaming chalice motif and featuring a maple leaf.
Abbreviation CUC
Formation May 14, 1961
Type religious organization
Purpose To serve Unitarian Universalist congregations and individuals in Canada
Headquarters 100-344 Dupont Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Location
  • Canada
Membership 5,150[1]
Executive Director Vyda Ng[2]
Affiliations International Council of Unitarians and Universalists
Website www.cuc.ca

The Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) is the national body for Unitarian Universalists in Canada.

The CUC is a member of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists.

Principles and sources[edit]

Source information is "The Principles and Sources of Our Religious Faith" from the Canadian Unitarian Council [3]

Principles[edit]

Member congregations of the Canadian Unitarian Council, commit to support and promote:

  • the inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  • justice, equity, and compassion in human relations;
  • acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  • a free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  • the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  • the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  • respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Sources[edit]

They view their tradition as living in the sense that, like language, it naturally adapts over time. They identify, but do not limit themselves to, the following foundations and resources which are both a part of their historical tradition and resources as they grow:

  • direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
  • words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
  • wisdom from the world's religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
  • Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God's love by loving our neighbours as ourselves;
  • Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit;
  • spiritual teachings of Earth-centred traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.

Individuals are not expected to, themselves, ascribe to all these traditions. Instead, as a congregation, they support every individual's search for truth and faith. At the same time each individual is expected to, more than tolerate, but to accept and celebrate the diversity of beliefs within their community. The same is true between congregations within the CUC which support the diverse nature and growth of other congregations.

(Bulleted points are directly reproduced here with permission)

The current Principles and Sources are based on the UUA's Principles and Purposes. The CUC had a task force whose mandate was to consider revising them.

Organization[edit]

A map of all four CUC regions

The CUC is made up of 46 member congregations and emerging groups[4] which are divided into four regions: "BC" (British Columbia), "Western" (Alberta to Thunder Bay), "Central" (between Thunder Bay and Kingston), and "Eastern" (Kingston, Ottawa and everything east of that).[5] However, for youth ministry in Canada, the "Central" and "Eastern" regions are combined to form a youth region known as "QuOM" (Quebec, Ontario and the Maritimes), giving the youth only three regions for their activities.[6]

Member congregations and emerging groups are served by volunteer Service Consultants, Congregational Networkers, and a series of other committees. There are two directors of regional services, one for the Western two regions, and one for the Eastern two regions. The Director of Lifespan Learning oversees development of religious exploration programming.

Policies and business of the CUC are determined at the Annual Conference and Meeting (ACM), consisting of the Annual Conference, in which workshops are held, and the Annual General Meeting, in which business matters and plenary meetings are performed. The keynote address of the ACM is the Confluence Lecture, which is comparable to the UUA's Ware Lecture in prestige. In early days this event simply consisted of the Annual General Meeting component as the Annual Conference component was not added to much later. Past ACMs have been held in the following locations:

Date Location Theme Confluence Lecturer
1985 London, ON
1986
987
1988 Saskatoon, SK
1989 Hamilton, ON
1990 Vancouver, BC
1991 Winnipeg, MB
1992 Montreal, QC
1993 Ottawa, ON
1994 Edmonton, AB
1995 Toronto, ON
1996 Halifax, NS
1997 Thunder Bay, ON
1998 Victoria, BC
1999 Mississauga, ON
2000 Calgary, AB
May 18–21, 2001 Montreal, QC
May 17–20, 2002 Kelowna, BC David Crawley
May 16–19, 2003 Winnipeg, MB
May 21–24, 2004 Edmonton, AB We Are the New Pioneers Rev. Ray Drennan
May 20–23, 2005 Hamilton, ON Getting To Know UU Susan Walsh
May 19–22, 2006 Saint John, NB Riding the UU Tide Dr. Allan Sharp
May 18–21, 2007 Vancouver, BC Diversity in Community Rev. Bill Phipps
May 16–19, 2008 Ottawa, ON The Web of Life – In our Hands Will Brewer & Allison Brewer
May 15–18, 2009 Thunder Bay, ON Answering the Call
May 21–24, 2010 Victoria, BC How Shell We Live? Dr. Paul Bramadat
May 20–23, 2011 Tronto, ON Trust the Dawning Future Rev. Diane Rollert
May 18–20, 2012^ Ottawa, ON Spiritual Leadership Symposium Rev. Erik Walker Wikstrom (not lecturer but symposium "Provocateur")
May 17–19, 2013 Calgary, AB Diversity: Creating a Shared Understanding Rev. Mark Morrison-Reed
May 16–18, 2014 Montreal, QC Building Beloved CommUUnities: Sacred Spaces Beyond Walls Rev. Carly Gaylor & Rev. Jeffrey Brown
May 15–17, 2015 Ottawa, ON*

^Not an ACM, but an "Annual General Meeting" and "Symposium", and unlike ACMs it was organized by the CUC and the Unitarian Universalist Ministers of Canad instead of a local congregation.
*Upcoming locations [7]

Founding[edit]

This section quoted from The CUC: From Colony To Nation, 1961–2002 by Rev. Dr. Charles W. Eddis:

The formation of the CUC was a long-held dream. Proposals to form a Canadian organization were made by G.C. Holland, minister of the Ottawa church, in 1898, Samuel A. Eliot, President of the American Unitarian Association in 1908, Charles Huntingdon Pennoyer, minister of the Halifax Universalist Church in 1909, and Horace Westwood, a Unitarian minister in Winnipeg in 1913. In 1946 The Commission on the Work of the Churches of the British Unitarians recommended that “the Assembly should interest itself in the formation of a Canadian Unitarian Association which many Unitarians there believe to be necessary.”

The first native seeds were planted with the publication of The Canadian Unitarian in Ottawa from 1940 to 1946, a small newsletter distributed with the newsletters of Canadian churches. After the Second World War, the growth of the Unitarians in Canada began to show the strength which would make some Canadian organization feasible, if not imperative. Unitarians, most notably Toronto ministers, generated considerable media attention from the centre of Canada’s English-language media. The Unitarian Service Committee of Canada, founded in 1945, was receiving considerable attention both in city newspapers and on television, so much so that the word “Unitarian” became a household world, though its meaning was not that widely known. In 1946 there were six Icelandic Unitarian churches with 272 members, and five English-speaking churches with 1,049 members. The Universalists had five churches with 459 members. In 1961 there were three Universalist churches with 68 members, and three Icelandic and eleven English-speaking Unitarian churches with 3,476 members, and in addition 22 Unitarian fellowships with 773 members. The Universalists almost disappeared in Canada, outside of a small rural church in southwest Ontario, and were probably saved in the other two surviving locations by influx of Canadian Unitarians. By contrast, Unitarian membership more than tripled in the same fifteen years. In 1953 there were six Unitarian ministers serving congregations in Canada. Ten years later there were five ministers in the Toronto area alone.

In early April, 1961, a meeting with delegates from ten congregations was held in Montreal. The plan was approved 8 to 1, with the understanding that “The Council will function within the framework of the continental Unitarian Universalist Association.”

(Reproduced with permission)

Relationship to the Unitarian Universalist Association[edit]

Up until July 2002, almost all member congregations of the CUC were also members of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). In the past, most services to CUC member congregations were provided by the UUA. However, with an agreement in 2001 between the UUA and CUC, from July 2002 onwards most services have been provided by the CUC to its own member congregations.

The Canadian Unitarian Universalist youth of the day disapproved of this change in relationship.[citation needed] It is quite evident in the words of this statement, which was adopted by the attendees of the 2001 youth conference held at the Unitarian Church of Montreal:

"We the youth of Canada are deeply concerned about the direction the CUC seems to be taking. As stewards of our faith, adults have a responsibility to take into consideration the concerns of youth. We are opposed to making this massive jump in our evolutionary progress."[8]

The UUA continues to provide services relating to ministerial settlement as well as a very small amount of the youth (14–20) and young adult (18–35) programming and services.

Unitarians and Universalists[edit]

While the name of the organization is the Canadian Unitarian Council, the CUC includes congregations with Unitarian, Universalist, Unitarian Universalist and Universalist Unitarian in their names. Changing the name of the CUC has occasionally been debated, but there have been no successful motions. To recognize the diversity, the abbreviation is often written as U*U (and playfully read as "You star, you").[9] Note, not all CUC members like this playful reading and so when these people write the abbreviation they leave out the star(*), just writing UU instead.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]