Canadian Unitarian Council

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Canadian Unitarian Council
Conseil unitarien du Canada
Canadian Unitarian Council logo.svg
The official logo of the CUC, based upon the flaming chalice motif and featuring a maple leaf.
ClassificationUnitarian Universalism
Executive DirectorVyda Ng[1]
AssociationsInternational Council of Unitarians and Universalists
Headquarters400-215 Spadina Ave. Toronto, Ontario, Canada
OriginMay 14, 1961
Congregations46 (includes emerging groups)
Members3,804 members.[2]
PublicationsCanadian Unitarian,[3] Canadian Unitarian eNews[4]

Canadian Unitarian Council (French: Conseil unitarian du Canada) (CUC) formed on May 14, 1961 to be the national organization for Canadians who belong to the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) (the UUA formed a day later, on May 15, 1961). Until 2002, almost all member congregations of the CUC were also members of the UUA, and most services to CUC member congregations were provided by the UUA. However, after an agreement between the CUC and the UUA, most services since 2002 have been provided by the CUC to its own member congregations, with the UUA continuing to provide ministerial settlement services; some Canadian congregations have continued to be members of both the CUC and UUA, while others are members of only the CUC.

The CUC is currently the only national body for Unitarian Universalist congregations in Canada, and is a member of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists.


A map of all four CUC regions

The CUC is made up of 46 member congregations and emerging groups,[5] who are the legal owners of the organization, and who are, for governance and service delivery, 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).[6] However, for youth ministry, 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;[7] the organization as a whole is governed by the CUC Board of Trusties (Board),[8] whose mandate it is to govern in the best interests of the CUC's owners. The Board is made up of 8 members who are elected by congregational delegates at the CUC's Annual General Meeting; this consists of two Trustees from each region, who are eligible to serve a maximum of two three-year terms. Board meetings also include Official Observers to the Board, who participate without a vote and represent UU Youth and Ministers.

Service delivery[edit]

As members of the CUC, congregations and emerging groups are served by volunteer Service Consultants, Congregational Networks, 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 and youth and young adults are served by a Youth and Young Adult Ministry Development staff person.

Annual Conference and Meeting[edit]

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 ACM features two addresses, a Keynote and a Confluence Lecture. The Confluence Lecture 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, and starting in 2017 the conference portion will only tack place every second year. Past ACMs have been held in the following locations:

Date Location Theme Keynote Confluence Lecturer
1985 London, ON
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 Growing Together In Diversity and Strength
May 17–20, 2002 Kelowna, BC Renewing Our Strength David Crawley
May 16–19, 2003 Winnipeg, MB Getting to the Heart of It Rabbi Neal Rose & Carol Rose Rev. Dr. John W. Baros-Johnson
May 21–24, 2004 Edmonton, AB We Are the New Pioneers Honourable Lois Hole Rev. Ray Drennan
May 20–23, 2005 Hamilton, ON Getting To Know UU Susan Walsh Rev. Susan Van Dreser
May 19–22, 2006 Saint John, NB Riding the UU Tide Dr. Allan Sharp Rev. Peter Boulatta
May 18–21, 2007 Vancouver, BC Diversity in Community Rev. Bill Phipps Rev. Christine E. Hillman
May 16–19, 2008 Ottawa, ON The Web of Life – In our Hands Will Brewer & Allison Brewer Rev. Meg Roberts & Rev. Brian Kiely
May 15–18, 2009 Thunder Bay, ON Answering the Call Rev. Chris Buice Rev. Dr. Stephen
May 21–24, 2010 Victoria, BC How Shall We Live? Dr. Paul Bramadat Rev. Jane Bramadat & Rev. Wayne Walder
May 20–23, 2011 Toronto, ON Trust the Dawning Future David K. Foot Rev. Diane Rollert
May 18–20, 2012^ Ottawa, ON Spiritual Leadership Symposium Rev. Erik Walker Wikstrom#
May 17–19, 2013 Calgary, AB Diversity: Creating a Shared Understanding Rev. Mark Morrison-Reed Rev. Shawn Newton
May 16–18, 2014 Montreal, QC Building Beloved CommUUnities: Sacred Spaces Beyond Walls Rev. Meg Riley Rev. Carly Gaylor & Rev. Jeffrey Brown
May 15–17, 2015 Ottawa, ON Seeking Justice in a Changing Land Matt Meyer Rev. Stephen Atkinson
May 20–22, 2016 Vancouver, BC Bolder Ways of Being Rev. Melora Lyngood
May, 2018 Hamilton, 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 Canada instead of a local congregation.
#Not a keynote presenter or lecturer, rather a symposium "Provocateur".
*Upcoming locations [9]

Principles and sources[edit]

The CUC does not have a central creed in which members are required to believe, but they have found it useful to articulate their common values in what has become known as The Principles and Sources of our Religious Faith, which are currently based on the UUA's Principles and Purposes. The CUC had a task force whose mandate was to consider revising them.[10]

The principles and sources as published in church literature and on the CUC website:

The Principles and Sources of our Religious Faith


We, the member congregations of the Canadian Unitarian Council, covenant to affirm 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.


The living tradition which we share draws from many sources:

  • 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.

Grateful for the religious pluralism which enriches and ennobles our faith, we are inspired to deepen our understanding and expand our vision; as free congregations we enter into this covenant, promising to one another our mutual trust and support.

Formation and relationship to the Unitarian Universalist Association[edit]

The CUC formed on May 14, 1961 to be the national organization for Canadians within the about to form, UUA (they formed a day later on May 15, 1961), and until 2002, almost all member congregations of the CUC were also members of the UUA and most services to CUC member congregations were provided by the UUA. However, after an agreement between the UUA and the CUC, since 2002 most services have been provided by the CUC to its own member congregations, with the UUA continuing to provide ministerial settlement services, and also since 2002, some Canadian congregations have continued to be members of both the UUA and CUC while others are members of only the CUC.

The Canadian Unitarian Universalist youth of the day disapproved of the 2002 change in relationship between the CUC and UUA.[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.[11]

Name of CUC and playful abbreviation of Unitarian Universalist[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 this diversity, some members of the CUC abbreviate Unitarian Universalist as U*U (and playfully read it as "You star, you").[12] 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.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "CUC Staff". Retrieved 2014-02-18.
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-15. Retrieved 2016-12-29.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-07-09. Retrieved 2015-06-09.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-11-10. Retrieved 2016-12-31.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Congregations". Retrieved March 31, 2014.
  6. ^ Regions of the CUC Archived July 7, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Regions and Congregations Archived April 7, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "CUC Board of Trustees". Retrieved July 7, 2015.
  9. ^ "Annual Conference & Meeting". Retrieved Oct 9, 2013.
  10. ^ "Principles and Sources". Archived from the original on 2014-10-31. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
  11. ^ "Debating the autonomy resolution — Youth are worried" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-07-10. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
  12. ^ Unitarian*Universalist--You Star, You! Archived July 10, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Letters to the Editor — NO ASTERISKS PLEASE" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-07-10. Retrieved 2012-02-16.

External links[edit]