CUC: On the path to justice and equity

Global Unitarian/Universalism in action.
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International Office
Act Globally Winter 2021
Engaging with global Unitarian/Universalism in action
Dear First Unitarian Church of Honolulu,

What a difference a year makes! In February 2020, Rev. Alicia Forde’s note talked about trips to Japan and the Philippines. Since then, we are all intentionally staying home to keep each other safe.

The Canadian Unitarian Council, like all other organizations, has pivoted to online interactions and events. In the past year, we’ve held several national Sunday services with attendees from coast to coast; had our Annual General Meeting online; and created/sourced materials for our congregations about the pandemic, Zoom, and the realities of living in a virtual world—all while remaining in conversation with congregations and leaders to stay connected.

Our attention has also been focused on racial justice, addressing anti-black racist sentiments and behaviour, and on reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. We know that racial prejudice is pervasive, and we all have biases, whether we acknowledge them or not. In a June 2020 roundtable conversation, we heard from three prominent black Canadian UUs who shared their experiences of being targeted, ignored, and disrespected. It came as a shock to many participants that this behaviour exists in our UU communities, and that the three people are two ministers and a professor.

At a recent CUC national service titled “A Faith Worth Failing For,” we heard from more UUs who shared that sometimes they feel like they don’t belong to their congregation, that assumptions are made because of skin colour, and that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) are expected to explain and justify themselves over and over again.

We are holding a series of workshops, webinars, and roundtable discussions to inform and educate ourselves, and to jolt us out of our complacency. Canadians like to think that racism doesn’t exist in Canada. Yes. It. Does. Racism is alive and, unfortunately, well. The most insidious kind of racism is the type that hides behind facades of acceptance and welcome, when people don’t think they have biases and don’t engage in the work needed to become open, curious, and connected.

In February and March, the CUC offers several opportunities to all of us to learn and discover how we can be allies and companions on the path to racial justice and equity:


  • February 22 and March 6 & 13: Dr. David Wiley Campt Keynote Presentation and Workshops (See further details below!)


  • February 24: Elder’s Circle with Stephen Paquette – A gifted educator and cultural mediator, Stephen will share his Anishnawbe perspectives and teachings about the Creator, with the intention of expanding our understanding of how to be in stillness and deep connection with the land, and with each other. Elder’s Circles are an ongoing CUC initiative with Indigenous Elders; the next ones are on April 21 and May 19.

In May, the CUC holds its National Conference virtually. Themed “Sustaining Our Light,” we’ll focus on how we can maintain and spread our individual and collective lights. Registration opens on March 15, and we welcome you to join us!

Take care of yourself and each other, friends, and be well.

Vyda Ng
Executive Director
Canadian Unitarian Council | Conseil Unitarien du Canada

CUC Antiracism Programs with Dr. David Campt
“The Power of Dialogue: How to talk about racism while building deeper connections, greater understanding, and more empathy”
Monday, February 22, 2021 | 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM Eastern
Join Dr. David Wiley Campt in an interactive keynote where he explores race, unconscious biases, white supremacist thinking, and impediments to our ability to become allies. He uses his unique R.A.C.E. method of dialogue in transformative ways.
“Learn the R.A.C.E. method of dialogue for dismantling racism”
Saturday, March 6 & Saturday, March 13, 2021 | 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM Eastern
A dynamic 2-part workshop with Dr. David Wiley Campt that will prepare you to engage in transformative conversations around issues of systemic racism. Be ready for a hands-on and practical training that will help you feel confident moving forward. No prior skills or expertise required. All are welcome.
All In for Climate Justice: Food Equity and Sustainability
All Virtual – April 9-11, 2021
All are invited to join the UUA Office at the United Nations for their 2021 Intergenerational Spring Seminar, taking place online April 9-11. The virtual Seminar is proudly co-hosted by the Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth. Within the Seminar community, you’ll have the opportunity to develop skills to take action, expand your knowledge about the issues, build your justice network, and experience spiritual deepening and creativity! This year, registration (open until March 18) offers flexible rates for equity and accessibility.
International Women’s Day
March 8 – Resource packet from Int’l Women’s Convocation

IWC’s International Women’s Day Resource Packet contains a wealth of resources for UU congregations to plan a worship service honoring International Women’s Day and supporting IWC in its mission to empower women and girls worldwide. The UN theme for International Women’s Day 2021 — “Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World” — celebrates the enormous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Join IWC in celebration and action as they continue their efforts to put women’s leadership and contributions at the heart of resilience and recovery!

UN 65th Commission on the Status of Women
Virtual NGO Forum – March 15-26, 2021

Join the UUA Office at the United Nations and the International Women’s Convocation for their parallel events as part of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) NGO Forum. View the Events Calendar below for details about each of these virtual events. To participate, you must Register for the CSW forum.

“The Right to Joy: LGBTQ+ Women of Color”
Monday, March 15, 2021 | 12:00 PM Eastern | Hosted by UUA Office at the UN

“The Shadow Pandemic: Confronting Domestic Violence in India, Philippines, Transylvania”
Saturday, March 20, 2021 | 9:00 AM Eastern | Hosted by International Women’s Convocation

“Women’s Leadership Training: Innovations in India, Kenya, and Transylvania”
Wednesday, March 24, 2021 | 8:00 AM Eastern | Hosted by International Women’s Convocation

“Decolonizing Fast Fashion: A Living Wage and Good Working Conditions for Women of the Global South”
Wednesday, March 24, 2021 | 12:00 PM Eastern | Hosted by UUA Office at the UN

“Climate-Smart Strategies: Creating Bold Bolivian Women!”
Friday, March 26, 2021 | 1:30 PM Eastern | Hosted by International Women’s Convocation

Global Chalice Lighting
February 2021
From the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists
These words are offered by the Rev. Aryanto Nugroho, President of the Unitarian Christian Church of Indonesia.

Indonesian Original

Kita hidup di masa yang penuh kedukaan. Banyak yang kehilangan orang tercinta karena Covid. Banyak yang kehilangan penghasilan karena krisis ekonomi. Banyak yang menjadi korban bencana alam. Banyak yang menderita karena konflik di seluruh dunia.
Kita hidup di masa yang penuh ketidakpastian. Kita tidak mengerti kapan pandemi berakhir. Kita kesulitan mengetahui berita yang benar karena dikepung oleh dusta. Kita meragukan kejujuran pemerintah, kepedulian dalam masyarakat, ketepatan rencana-rencana kita, kebenaran dalam iman kita.
Kita berada di persimpangan, semakin kehilangan pengharapan atau semakin dikuatkan dalam iman, saat semua kesulitan seperti lembah kelam.
Kita berada dalam ujian, semakin egois untuk keselamatan diri sendiri atau semakin kuat dalam komunitas untuk selamat bersama.
Kita membutuhkan terang, tetapi apakah kita bersedia tenang dalam disiplin spiritualitas, ketika seolah semua energi tersedot untuk berpikir, bekerja, mencari nafkah; dan kita tidak ada banyak waktu
Lalu aku melihat, saat badai merubuhkan sebuah pohon beringin besar, ternyata badai itu tak bisa menghancurkan rumpun bambu. Aku memilih jalan rumpun bambu itu, dan tak ingin berdiri sendirian di tengah badai.
Aku memilih untuk tetap beriman seperti bambu yang berakar kuat
Aku memilih untuk tetap berpengharapan seperti bambu yang lentur menghadapi badai
Aku memilih untuk tetap mencintai seperti bambu yang membentuk komunitas kokoh
Demikianlah tinggal ketiga hal ini, Iman, Pengharapan dan Kasih, dan yang terbesar di antaranya ialah Kasih.

English Translation

We live in a time full of sorrow. Many lost their beloved one because of covid. Many lost their income because of economic crisis. Many become victim of natural disaster. Many suffer because conflict around the globe.
We live in a time of uncertainty. We don’t know when the pandemic will really end. We meet difficulties to define truth because hoax surrounds us. We question honesty of our government, empathy in our community, accuracy of our plans, and truth in our faith.
We are in a crossroad, going deeper in losing hope OR building stronger faith, for we face the valley of darkness. We are in an examination, living more egoistic lives to save our own self OR strengthening our community to survive together. We need the light, but do we have the discipline for spiritual works, because it seems all of our energy has run out, to think, to work, making income, and we don’t have enough time.
Then I see, that when a storm tears down a big banyan tree, the same storm can’t destroy a bamboo grove. I want to walk in that bamboo way, because I don’t want to stand alone in the middle of storm.
I choose to stay strong in faith, just as the bamboo has strong roots.
I choose to renew my hope, just as there is flexibility in the bamboo.
I choose to keep loving others, just as the bamboo grove survives together.
Right now, three things remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Additional translations in Spanish, Dutch, Cebuano, Portuguese, Swahili, Danish, Italian, German, Polish, and French are available on the ICUU’s website.

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