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Feburary report from the Board

The Board is inviting all members of Vancouver Unitarians to attend a congregational retreat on March 9th.  We are very much looking forward to conferring with all of you on the strategic directions we, as a congregation, should pursue. The retreat will begin at 1 pm in Hewett Hall.  At 5 or 5:30pm we will enjoy a dinner (possibly pizza) followed by an evening of entertainment. Please mark your calendars for this important event!

In preparation for the retreat, there will be a forum on Feb. 11 highlighting the 2022 report “Rethinking Our Identity”. This report is the result of the work of the Congregational Identity Team (CIT), formed by the Ministerial Transition Team in February 2021. The mandate of the CIT was to lead VanU through the process of rethinking our identity in preparation for finding and welcoming a new, settled minister. Rethinking our sense of purpose, identity, and direction – Who are we and where are we going? – is vital to helping us clarify our unique strengths, needs, and challenges as we chart our course for the future, with our new minister. (The full report can be found here: Identity report.)

The Board Retreat on Jan 27 will focus on preparing for the congregational retreat.  We will be gathering facts and figures about our current status so that we can look ahead with you to what the future might be.

In January we welcomed Griffin Tedeschini as an ex-officio member of the Board. They have begun to take on the responsibilities of secretary. As they are a new member, they will not be able to officially join the Board until April.  We are very grateful for their assistance! They can be contacted at  

Every Sunday you will find a Board member at the Board table in Hewett Hall. Come and talk with us about your ideas and questions. Minutes of our meetings are available there.

On behalf of the Board

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Forum and vote on potential name coming up this Fall

On Sunday, October 1, 12:30p.m. there will be a forum in the Sanctuary with updates about the poll to rank the most popular alternative names. At the AGM on November 19, you will be asked to vote your preference –  to keep our present legal name of The Unitarian Church of Vancouver or the most popular alternative name.  A vote of 75% will be required for a change. Otherwise we will keep our current name.


The Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) lists 41 member organizations: 14 Fellowships, 12 Congregations, 9 Churches, 4 Unitarians*, 1  Spiritual Centre, 1 Other. 

*In 2004 the Board, in consultation with members, unanimously decided to reduce in prominence our official title of Church on the website, logo and banner. The CUC website does not identify us by our legal name of Unitarian Church of Vancouver but by who we are –Vancouver Unitarians. CUC does the same for Kelowna Unitarians, Saskatoon Unitarians, and Calgary Unitarians. Their websites also downplay their legal name, identifying as who they are.

Is this a sufficient compromise for our members who want us to be identified as a religious community but not as a “church?”  And is this ok for members who want us to be known as a church? We need to continue this conversation.

If you have questions about this process, please email the task force at wdwco[at]vancouverunitarians[dot]ca.

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Reminder: We’re looking for Board members!

With the start of a new ministry with Rev. Shawn Gautier this is an auspicious time in our history and in the governance of our community.

The opportunity to serve on the board of directors at such a moment is a special privilege and a special responsibility. With other directors, with Shawn and with our staff we have exceedingly capable people with whom you will be working.

It will take your time and it will take your energy. But what an opportunity to be part of  history in forging this next chapter in the life of the Unitarian community in Vancouver. 

Consider it. Urge your friends in the membership to consider it. The work will be rewarding and there will be the mirth and merriment of working with splendid people.

Please do contact Michael Clague, Nominations committee (mclague[at]telus[dot]net) or Mairy Beam, our President (mairyelesbeam[at]gmail[dot]com). 

Board Secretary: About the role 

This is a one year, senior leadership position in the Church, responsible for maintaining the well-ordered business of the board of directors as a member of the executive committee, in collaboration with the President and Treasurer.

* Works with the President in preparing the agendas for meetings: board, executive, extraordinary and annual general meetings.

* Sends notifications of meetings

* Accurately records, maintains, and distributes in a timely manner the records of meetings

* Handles correspondence related to board business

* Ensures that there is active communications between members and directors regarding the business of the board

Support to the position is provided by CACV administration in the distribution of information: notices, minutes etc.

This is an opportunity to learn and to contribute to the work of the board and of the organization. Previous experience is an asset. Specific qualifications include:

  1. Good communication, organizational and writing skills
  2. Familiarity with One Drive and the UCV Website
  3. Experience working on committees
  4. Ability to explain to a general audience UCV documents and materials.

Bonus: Lynn Armstrong, current secretary is offering to orient the incoming person.

For a position description and further information contact:

UCV Nominations Committee: David Valentine, Frank Tester, and Michael Clague. 

Email: mclague[at]telus[dot]net

Deadline: Candidates must have been members at least 6 months before the November AGM. Committee finalizes its report 35 days before AGM.

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September Report from the UCV Board

The summer is pretty much over, and UCV is coming back to full life. There is much to look forward to this fall – not the least is getting to know our new settled minister, Shawn.

One vision shared by the Board and Shawn is that we once again become a predominantly member driven congregation. We were a strong member driven congregation under Steven but the last few years with COVID and the transition has seen us rely on staff more. We would love to see our members become more active again. This would free up staff to focus on those tasks that only they can do. 

Please consider coming to our Volunteer and Engagement Fair on September 17. There are many rewarding positions available – short and long term. It’s a great opportunity to deepen relationships within the congregation, learn more, and have fun. One final plug for members to run for the Board – a secretary and two members at large. 

Over the past few years, the Governance Implementation Task Force (GIT) has been reviewing all our policies.  This was a big task as some policies had not been approved, some contradicted others, and many were covered in dust. As part of their process, they consulted the teams and committees that were most impacted by the policy.  There will be a forum this fall that highlights the work this task force has done and the policies that could impact members. One such policy is the Disruptive Behaviour Policy. This was revised based on input from the Healthy Relations Team, the Human Resources Team and other interested members.  Please take a look at it in the Policies and Procedures Folder in the Member View.

While you’re in the Member View, check out the Task Force Reports folder. There you will find the Rethinking Our Identity report from the Congregational Identity Task Force (CIT), and the Decision Making Task Force report (DMTF). 

The CIT was tasked with leading the Identity phase of our interim transition (described by Margaret Keip in Keith Kron’s book, In the Interim, as “illuminating the congregation’s unique identity: its strengths, its needs, and its challenges.”) 

The DMTF was formed in response to a direct request to the MTT from the Board president shortly after the Nov 2021 AGM (the AGM when we voted to not continue with the UCV campus redevelopment project). 

Each of these groups worked for well over 12 months and made important contributions to our transition process and, I hope, to our future success as Vancouver Unitarians. 

I’m looking forward to seeing you all this September. It truly feels like a new beginning.

On behalf of the Board

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Board Report from UCV President Mairy Beam

The Board was very impressed with Shawn during our meetings with him. It seems that you were too, given the unanimous vote to call him as our settled minister. We greatly look forward to his start 1 August.
I hope that you will all attend the EGM on June 11. The Board is supporting the budget despite the significant deficit as we believe that it is important to fully support our staff and programs in this coming year, the first of Shawn’s ministry, to allow for a time of potential growth. The Treasurer and Finance Committee is planning an evening meeting prior to the EGM where your questions about the budget can be answered.
Thanks to all of those (19!) who attend the Board forum on Membership and Bylaw Changes. It was a lively discussion. You can see the impact in the latest revision of the proposed bylaw changes included in the agenda for the EGM.
If you haven’t pledged or if you have the capacity to increase your pledge, please consider doing so this month. 
Please also consider uploading your photo to Breeze so that our new minister can get to know us more easily.  While you’re at it, consider adding your birth year. This will help us to understand the make-up of our congregation and to better plan for the future.
June 18 is Rev. Lara’s last Sunday with us. We wish her all the best on whatever path she chooses to take next.
Heartfelt thanks to the staff and volunteers who have worked so hard in May with canvass, budgeting, candidating week, etc. 

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Call for CUC Delegates

Call for CUC Delegates

The Canadian Unitarian Council Annual General Meeting will be held in person (in Ottawa) and electronically Friday, May 19 from 10:00 – 1:30 pm Pacific. UCV board will submit names of our 6 delegates by May 1, 2023.

In 2022, 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 hosted a Board Forum on Sunday, February 27, 2022 to share the background on this decision and respond to questions.  Several members who have served as delegates at CUC AGMs in the past shared their experience. You can watch the forum here.

Orientation and support for CUC Delegates

The Denominational Affairs committee is planning orientation and support for delegates.

If you have been a delegate in the past, it would be appreciated if you would complete this form, to help us plan appropriate support.

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 Wednesday, March 15, 2023 so selection can be made at the April board meeting. 

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.

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, 2022, meeting:

If you have further questions, please contact

Members of the Denominational Affairs Committee

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