Canadian Unitarian Council

Canadian Unitarian Council

Infobox Organization
name= Canadian Unitarian Council

formation= May 14th, 1961
type= Religious Organization
location= Canada
leader_title= Executive Director
leader_name= Linda Thomson

The Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) is the national body for Unitarian Universalists in Canada.

The CUC is a member of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists.

Principles and Sources

"The Principles and Sources of Our Religious Faith" from the Canadian Unitarian Council [ [ Principles and Sources ] ]


We, the member 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.

(Reproduced here with permission)

The current [ Principles and Sources] are based on the UUA's [ Principles and Purposes] . The CUC has created a [ task force] to consider revising them.


The CUC is 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). [ [ Regions of the CUC ] ] However, for Young Religious Unitarian Universalists (YRUU) programming in Canada, 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. [ [ Regions and Congregations ] ]

Member congregations are served by volunteer Service Consultants, Congregational Networkers, 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 education programming.


This section quoted from [ THE CUC: FROM COLONY TO NATION 1961-2002] by Rev. Dr. Charles W. Eddis:

The formation of the CUC was a long-held dream. Proposals to form a Canadian organization were made by G.C. Holland, minister of the Ottawa church, in 1898, Samuel A. Eliot, President of the American Unitarian Association in 1908, Charles Huntingdon Pennoyer, minister of the Halifax Universalist Church in 1909, and Horace Westwood, a Unitarian minister in Winnipeg in 1913. In 1946 The Commission on the Work of the Churches of the British Unitarians recommended that “the Assembly should interest itself in the formation of a Canadian Unitarian Association which many Unitarians there believe to be necessary.”

The first native seeds were planted with the publication of The Canadian Unitarian in Ottawa from 1940 to 1946, a small newsletter distributed with the newsletters of Canadian churches. After the Second World War, the growth of the Unitarians in Canada began to show the strength which would make some Canadian organization feasible, if not imperative. Unitarians, most notably Toronto ministers, generated considerable media attention from the centre of Canada’s English language media. The Unitarian Service Committee of Canada, founded in 1945, was receiving considerable attention both in city newspapers and on television, so much so that the word “Unitarian” became a household world, though its meaning was not that widely known. In 1946 there were six Icelandic Unitarian churches with 272 members, and five English-speaking churches with 1,049 members. The Universalists had five churches with 459 members. In 1961 there were three Universalist churches with 68 members, and three Icelandic and eleven English-speaking Unitarian churches with 3,476 members, and in addition 22 Unitarian fellowships with 773 members. The Universalists almost disappeared in Canada, outside of a small rural church in southwest Ontario, and were probably saved in the other two surviving locations by influx of Canadian Unitarians. By contrast, Unitarian membership more than tripled in the same fifteen years. In 1953 there were six Unitarian ministers serving congregations in Canada. Ten years later there were five ministers in the Toronto area alone.

In early April, 1961, a meeting with delegates from ten congregations was held in Montreal. The plan was approved 8 to 1, with the understanding that “The Council will function within the framework of the continental Unitarian Universalist Association.”

(Reproduced with permission)

Relationship to the Unitarian Universalist Association

Up until July 2002, almost all member congregations of CUC were also members of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). In the past, most services to CUC member congregations were provided by the UUA. However, with an agreement in 2001 between the UUA and CUC, from July 2002 onwards most services have been provided by the CUC to its own member congregations.

And it should be noted that the Canadian Unitarian Universalist youth of the day disapproved of this change in relationship. 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." [ Debating the autonomy resolution — Youth are worried]

The UUA continues to provide services relating to ministerial settlement as well as a vary minimal amount of the youth (14-20) and young adult (18-35) programming and services.

Unitarians and Universalists

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 the diversity, the abbreviation is often written as U*U (and playfully read as "You star, you"). [ [ Unitarian*Universalist-You Star, You! ] ] 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. [ Letters to the Editor — NO ASTERISKS PLEASE]


See also

*First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto
*Lotta Hitschmanova

External links

* [ Official site]
* [ Unitarian Service Committee of Canada]
* [ From Colony to Nation]
* [ UUWiki article on The Young Adults(AKA The Noble Birds)]

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