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Mark your calendar: Candidating Week at UCV April 23-30

Candidating Week at UCV: April 23 to 30

This is an opportunity for everyone to meet our Candidate for Settled Ministry, and to have conversations in various contexts. Guided by our Covenant, please enjoy and engage with each other and Rev. Shawn, exercising curiousity, active listening, and the expression of concerns, hopes and dreams! Some events are online and some events are live on campus to maximize accessibility. We invite you all to be a part of these important conversations about our future, and to do so with open hearts and minds. This is our time, UCV, so let’s come together and celebrate, share, and commune as the multi-faceted and deeply committed community that we are.

What are we voting on come April 30?

During candidating week, members are voting on:

  • what is best for the whole congregation
  • They are not voting on:
    • whether individuals think they would have chosen the candidate who was identified by the search committee on their own, given what they know about the congregation;
    • whether individuals think, based on two sermons, every sermon the candidate preaches will or will not speak perfectly to the hearts and minds of every single member every single time;
    • whether there might be a better match out there somewhere;
    • whether the candidate is the perfect minister. Ministers come with different skills in worship arts, pastoral care, administrative/organizational work, and social witness presence. No minister will have a high level of skill or interest in ALL of those elements of the ministry. The shared ministry of the congregation will and should shift with the skills and interests of the new minister;
    • what is best for a particular individual within the congregation.

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Introducing Rev. Shawn Gauthier, candidate for Settled Minister at UCV

After nearly a year of weekly meetings, cottage meetings, interviews, surveys, reading Ministerial packages, conducting interviews, and traveling to a neutral pulpit, the Search Committee are thrilled to announce that we have found a candidate for our next Settled Minister.

The Rev. Shawn Gauthier (formerly Newton) brings over 30 years of experience working in various staff roles in churches in both Canada and the USA. For the past 16 years, he has served as Senior Minister of the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto.

During his time at First Unitarian, he oversaw a large-scale project in which the church moved locations during a complex, multi-year process. More information on Rev. Gauthier’s extensive work experience can be found here:

The Ministerial Search Committee are energized and excited by Rev. Gauthier’s approach to ministry and worship, and by his deep roots in Unitarian Universalism. He is a gifted speaker with intellectual depth and a great deal of emotional and spiritual intelligence. He is known for being collegial, giving inspiring and uplifting sermons, and working well across all areas of church life. He is also dedicated to social justice, and is warm and approachable with his pastoral care.  

It is our belief that Rev. Shawn Gauthier exemplifies the qualities that our congregation is looking for in a new Settled Minister.  

We look forward to welcoming Rev. Shawn to our campus for Candidating Week, between Apr 23, 2023 and Apr 30, 2023. Stay tuned for more updates from your Ministerial Search Committee and the UCV Board of Trustees.

As always, if you have any questions, please contact



A message from Rev. Shawn Gauthier

Dear Vancouver Unitarians,

I am absolutely thrilled to be named as your Candidate for Settled Minister!

It has been a wonderful journey of discovery over these past few months, coming to know UCV through the thoughtful reflections of your Search Committee, in extended conversations with Rev. Steven and Rev. Lara, by reading reams of written materials, and while watching hours and hours of your online worship services, forums, and congregational meetings.  

I am deeply impressed by the depth of your commitment to UCV and to the work of building up a better world. I am moved by the myriad ways you respond to the call of justice. I am inspired by the ways you worship and strive to strengthen the fabric of community at UCV and beyond. In sum, I believe your sense of shared ministry aligns closely with my own. And I feel energized at the thought of the great and life-giving ministry we could undertake together in the years to come.

So, it is with excitement, humility, and gratitude, that I look forward to the time we will share in just a few weeks to explore the possibility of journeying with one another into the future.

Warmest regards,



Candidating Week Schedule

Overview, April 23 – 30, with a more detailed one to come:

Sunday: Worship Service, Luncheon, Q&A, Time with Youth Group, Choir Concert

Monday: Meeting with Board

Tuesday: Tea with Shawn (online), UCV in the Wider World Conversation 

Wednesday: Tea with Shawn (in person), Meaning Making Conversation

Thursday: Tea with Shawn (online), Dinner with Youngerish Group, Leaning & Growing Conversation

Friday: Day Off

Saturday: Tea with Shawn (in person), Messy Church, Coffee House

Sunday: Worship Service, Congregational Meeting

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February Update From the Ministerial Search Committee

Dear Vancouver Unitarians,

Your Search Committee would like to provide a quick update to keep you all in the loop. We, the MSC, received five applications in total. We are now in the interview phase. Things are going well and we are cautiously optimistic. A process of pre-candidating will commence soon, as per the Settlement Handbook which we published in the Members Portal. If all goes according to plan, this will be followed by a candidating week in late April wherein you all will be able to meet and observe the final candidate.
Search committees sometimes decide to make public their entire Congregational Record, and Search committees sometimes decide not to. Both choices are legitimate. For our context, we have made the choice to make public all components of the Congregational Record that were intended to be made public, like the survey results and cottage meeting notes, and to not publish the component that was never intended to be public. The many members who contributed to the creation of the Congregational Record did so with the understanding that the document was for prospective Minister’s eyes only. This understanding provided us with very honest material, something that we were instructed was the most important quality in a Congregational Record. And because folks contributed to this record with the understanding that it would not be made public, we are honouring their trust and this process by not publishing that portion.
As stated, this is common among Search Committees and not at all unusual. Please know we are working hard on behalf of the entire congregation, in good faith, and with love, and we really appreciate your support. As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at The Ministerial Search Committee is excited for our shared future here at UCV. We remain hopeful that we will be able to present a candidate for our settled Ministry who will be everyone’s Minister, honouring all of our Principles, values, and diverse beliefs.
In faith,
Diane, Carrie, Esmé, Meena, Michael, Nancy, Jenny.

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