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Vancouver Unitarians call for Permanent Ceasefire in Israel/Gaza and release of hostages

The Vancouver Unitarians’ congregation formally endorsed the statement by the Canadian Unitarian Council and Unitarian Universalist Ministers of Canada calling on the State of Israel and on Hamas to agree to a permanent ceasefire and the immediate release of all hostages.

The statement calls on the Government of Canada to stop shipments of weapons to Israel and instead advocate for “a lasting peace with self-determination, civil, religious, and political rights as a foundation.”

Canadian Unitarians are urged to write to their Members of Parliament to voice their support of a permanent ceasefire, the return of all hostages, and the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian aid in Gaza. 

The resolution was passed at the Extraordinary General Meeting on June 9, 2024.

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Social Justice Team amplifies calls for a ceasefire and peace with justice in Gaza

Social Justice Team’s Call for a Ceasefire in Gaza and Peace and Lasting Justice in Israel/Palestine

May the guns and bombs be stilled.
May food, water, health and medical supplies and services resume.
May essential shelter be built.
May the anguish and pain of all who are suffering in this conflict,
Israeli and Palestinian, be met by renewed efforts
for a just and lasting peace.

The above statement was written by members of the congregation who took part in the Middle East
Listening Circle on Tuesday [March 26, 2024] and who asked that a candle be lit for the people of
Gaza, and that a moment for silent reflection be held on March 31, 2024.

The Social Justice Team endorses this statement and wishes to inform Vancouver Unitarians (VanU)
members of the recent statement by the Canadian Unitarian Council and the actions it is proposing.
Please read the full CUC statement here.

VanU members interested in joining fellow members in planning actions directed at calling for
a ceasefire and supporting those suffering, please contact Nancy Barker
at neb2525[at]gmail[dot]com or Michael Clague at Michael[at]clagueconsultants[dot]com or Yvonne Marcus at

Excerpts from CUC March 16, 2024 statement:

“The Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) and Unitarian Universalist Ministers of Canada (UUMOC) are
calling on the State of Israel and on Hamas to agree to a permanent ceasefire and the immediate
release of all hostages. We call on Canada’s government to stop supplying weapons and instead
advocate for a lasting peace with self-determination, civil, religious, and political rights as a

“We uphold the decision of the United Nations International Court of Justice (ICJ), which ordered the
State of Israel to take all measures within its power to prevent killing, or causing serious bodily or
mental harm, to Palestinians; to stop inflicting actions intended to bring about the destruction of
Palestinians; to prevent and to punish the public incitement to commit genocide; and to enable the
provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian aid in Gaza.”

“In addition to calling for a ceasefire, the return of all hostages, and continued humanitarian aid, we
urge Canadian Unitarian Universalists to write to their Members of Parliament. We also encourage
you to support the efforts of faith-based, non-governmental, and/or humanitarian organizations
working at the local level to bring peace, stability, and aid to Gaza and other regions impacted by

The Social Justice Team’s Call for a Ceasefire in Gaza and Peace and Lasting Justice in
Israel/Palestine is in service of the VanU Vision and Principles, namely, our Vision states that: “our
Unitarian community has served the greater Vancouver area through advocacy for peace, social
justice, civil rights, environmental stewardship;” the First Principle of VanU calls on us to affirm and
promote “The inherent worth and dignity of every person;” the Second Principle of VanU calls on us to
affirm and promote “Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations;” the Sixth Principle of VanU
calls on us to affirm and promote “The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;”
and the Eighth Principle of VanU calls on us to affirm and promote “Individual and communal action
that accountably dismantles racism and systemic barriers to full inclusion in ourselves and our

Image credit: Brett Wharton / Unsplash

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Intersection event a success

On a cold rainy January 20 evening, almost 80 people gathered in community to share a warm, educational, and uplifting event called: Exploring the Intersections between Colonialism, Racism, and Climate Change.

 This was the first time that all four of the VU Action Teams (IPA, Environment, Social Justice, Refugee) collaborated and it showed in the variety of offerings throughout the evening.

  • The photo exhibition Dispossessed But Defiant was set up in the alcove
  • An amazing potluck dinner was set up which included vegetarian, vegan, teen friendly options, and a separate gluten-free table 
  • Four amazing, youngerish IBPOC speakers: Severn Cullis-Suzuki, Kwiis Hamilton, Kyi Min Saw, and Esther Leung-Kong. They talked about  human rights, colonialism, capitalism, the immigrant experience, Indigenous knowledge, and how it is connected to the environment and Climate Change.
  • VU members Vivian Davidson(emcee), Tamiko Suzuki, Huguette Sansonet and Rev. Shawn Gauthier spoke before dinner.

Parts of the evening were filmed and will be available on the VU website shortly.

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Outreach Opportunities Fund supports the Food Stash Foundation

From November, 2023 to February, 2024, our Outreach Opportunities Fund recipient will be the Food Stash FoundationFood Stash Foundation has a twofold mission: to prevent good food from going to waste and provide dignified food access to promote a thriving planet and a healthy community. We collect over 100,000 pounds of food per month that would have gone to waste, deliver to 35 charity partners, deliver Rescued Food Boxes to 100 plus households and serve 140 rescued food market members. 

Click HERE for more information on our Outreach Opportunities Fund.

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John Gibbard Memorial Award: Nominate a young person working for a better world

Do you know a young person, or a group of young people, who deserve to be recognized for their commitment to making the world a better place? Nominate them for this year’s John Gibbard Memorial Award!

On the occasion of United Nations Day, October 24th, the United Nations Association in Canada – Vancouver Branch annually presents the John Gibbard Memorial Award to celebrate the United Nations and their work towards peace, justice and security.

The Vancouver Unitarians are proud to be long-time supporters of the John Gibbard Memorial Award. Each year’s winner is honoured on at a ceremony held in our Sanctuary at 49th and Oak. 

About the Award
The John Gibbard Memorial Award is presented annually by the Vancouver Branch of the United Nations Association in Canada in recognition and memory of John Gibbard who was a supporter of the League of Nations from its creation in 1919, in the wake of the First World War.  When the League ceased to exist, John Gibbard continued to support the ideals upon which the League had been founded.  When the United Nations was formed after the Second World War, John Gibbard became an active member of the United Nations Association in Canada.  He was dedicated to involving youth in the creation of a better world for all.  

The Award is given to a young student or group of students in recognition of their dedication and commitment in working for humanity and a better world.

The Award will be presented at a ceremony to be held at UCV on Sunday October 22rd, 2023. 

The deadline for nominations is Oct. 2, 2023.

To submit a nomination, go to this website

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Introducing Our New Outreach Opportunities Recipient: Aboriginal Mother Centre Society

From July to October, 2023, our Outreach Opportunities Fund recipient will be the Aboriginal Mother Centre Society (AMCS)AMCS is dedicated to supporting Aboriginal families by providing cultural, traditional services through a holistic grass roots approach. It empowers mothers to transform their lives.

“Aboriginal Mother Centre Society is a place where Aboriginal mothers, who are facing homelessness and/or dealing with their children in care of the Ministry, can come to stay. The women can rebuild their sense of self-worth and identity for a better future for themselves and their children. AMCS is a place where they can come to be together as a family.”  – Aboriginal Mother Centre Society

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Got ideas on the housing crisis? Join us tonight

The Vancouver Unitarians have been part of the life of this city since 1909. We know it’s now harder than ever to find affordable, secure housing. Many members of our congregation and their friends and family in the wider community have felt the impacts of the city’s unaffordability first hand, facing precarious living situations or having to move out of the Metro Vancouver area altogether.

That’s why we’re excited to participate with Metro Vancouver Alliance (MVA) in helping formulate a new campaign on these issues. MVA is looking to identify concerns and priorities of member organizations so as to decide how to focus their collective resources and energies in helping solve the housing crisis facing Metro Vancouver right now.

The Listening Circle on Housing will be online on Zoom this evening Thursday, June 22 at 7p.m.

In case you’d like to think about the questions we’ll be discussing before hand, here they are:

  • What is the most significant thing happening in the lives of you and your family?
  • What challenges are you facing?
  • What are your concerns about living and working where you live?
  • What would you most like to see changed?
  • What do you think MVA should be prioritizing?
  • What are you willing to work on?

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Still some tickets available! Concert tonight featuring Luke Wallace in the Sanctuary

There are still some tickets available for what promises to be an amazing evening of songs, storytelling, and solidarity tonight in our Sanctuary at 49th and Oak. (You can purchase tickets on a sliding scale here:

Luke Wallace headlines tonight’s show, which will bring together storytellers, spoken word and a chorus of voices to sing songs of praise and protest for our world. This event is a fundraiser for RAVEN’s Breathing Lands campaign, supporting 10 Indigenous Nations who are in court to protect Canada’s boreal peatlands: lands and waters that sequester more carbon than the Amazon rainforest.

All funds raised tonight go towards RAVEN Trust’s Breathing Lands campaign.

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Participants wanted! Share your ideas on housing

Do you have experience you’d like to share to do with housing affordability and housing insecurity? If so, we’d like to hear from you!

Metro Vancouver Alliance is asking participating organizations to organize Listening Circles on the topic, to help inform a new campaign they’re planning on the issue of housing affordability. MVA is a coalition of faith-based, labour and other civil society organizations in the Lower Mainland. Several members of UCV attended their recent meeting to relaunch MVA’s public activities.

If you have experience to share, or ideas about what a campaign on housing should focus on, please email and we will work to schedule the Listening Circle at a time convenient for the most people.

(Image: Scott Webb / Unsplash)

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HomeStart Foundation – Outreach Opportunities Fund Recipient

Our OOF recipient for the months March 2023-June 2023 is the HomeStart Foundation that furnishes homes to help families in need rebuild their lives.

The Refugee Team suggested HomeStart as an OOF recipient. A few months ago, George from the Refugee team, visited the HomeStart warehouse and selected furniture for our recent Burundian refugee. This included dressers, shelving, kitchen table+chairs, end tables, lamps, sofa, and armchairs – a complete apartment excluding beds which we are required to supply new. Homestart delivered all of this to the apartment on the same day at no cost to us. This saved the refugee team hundreds of dollars and much time, eliminating a major worry!

Homestart could also benefit the UCV congregation by providing our members with an economical means for down-sizers to donate unwanted furniture. Homestart charges donors a reasonable $75 to have 2 people come to a location in their serving area and pickup donated items which are taken to their warehouse for re-distribution to those in need. They accept pre-arranged drop-offs at no charge to donors. Refugee team members are often approached by UCV members who offer donations of furniture which we can’t accept.

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Justice for DeeCee Spirit Zone

On Sunday, March 12th, Vancouver Unitarians signed letters that call on the Premier, local MLAs and other officials to change the policing approach when it comes to de-escalating mental health crises.

March 12th marked the 4 month anniversary of Dani Cooper’s (DeeCee) death.  Dani died after being shot by police during an episode of psychosis. The Social Justice team set up a table in Hewett Hall  that displayed the sign “Justice for DeeCee Spirit Zone”. People stopped by to sign pre-written letters to officials and to learn more about who Dani was and what we can do to support.

Dennis Cooper, Dani’s father, made this video for Vancouver Unitarians.  Please watch it and share it with those who might be inspired to write letters and/or want to gain a better understanding of the reality of police involvement in mental health crises.


The North Shore Unitarian congregation, of which Dani was a member, has posted more information on their website.

Vancouver Unitarians will continue to hold the 12th of each month as a day  to raise awareness of this tragedy and suggest changes that could lessen the chance of future similar tragedies.

Send your letter to these email addresses:,,,,,,,

Additional Information:


Letters signed at UCV on March 12, 2023

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