General Assembly: GA Presentations: Presenter views and opinions do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the UUA.

The CUC and the UUA, What's the Story?

General Assembly 2001 Event 3058

Sponsor: Board of Trustees, Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)

Speakers: Rev. Brian Kiely, Rev. Katie Stein Sather, Larry Ladd, Gini Courter

"We are small and are going to be swallowed." For years this has been the fear of the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC). Last year, in Calgary, eighty-eight percent of the CUC delegates voted to negotiate for more autonomy.

"How do we deal with concerns that our needs are not completely served?" asked Brian Kiely of the CUC. "We felt we were unheard. This is about who is going to deliver services and who will pay for them."

In response, Gini Courter said the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Board had agreed to honor whatever the CUC voted to do and to stay with them in process.

How did we end up in a "divorce"? Saturday's presentations shed no more light on this than most divorce proceedings. There was more grief and pain than light and clarity.

Some things are clear. The 2002 UUA General Assembly in Quebec will not be affected, but soon after, on July 1, 2002, the UUA will transfer funds to the CUC and the CUC will take responsibility for delivery of all services to Canadian Congregations except for:

  • Ministerial Settlement and services to Settled Ministers, retired ministers and the Regional Sub-Committee on Candidacy;
  • Continental youth and young adult programs and services;
  • Sending a copy of Unitarian Universalist (UU) World magazine to each congregation, Minister, and Director of Religious Education in Canada; and
  • UUA commitments to existing extension projects.

Some details are potentially confusing. The UUA Board has no mechanism to remove a congregation from membership of the UUA, and has no plans to establish a mechanism. Therefore, every congregation that chooses to remain with the UUA will likely do so, by default.

The leaders of the St. Lawrence and the Pacific North West districts, which extend across the border, felt left out of the process and unsure what to do. Gini Courter said the transition team would meet in July and try to provide guidance.

To summarize:

  • What has happened? The CUC will separate from the UUA.
  • When? July 1, 2002, after the General Assembly in Quebec.
  • Why? There are no simple answers.
  • What will stay the same? Ministers will still move freely across the border.
  • What will change? The CUC will be responsible for most services to Canadian congregations.

Reported by Mike McNaughton.