February 2019 Newsletter
All are Welcome to
Our Upcoming Sunday Services

Services start at 11:00am    More details and bios below
February 3
Ministry Together  
Presented by Rev. Debra Thorne

February 10
Our Goldilocks Earth
Presented by Rev. Frances Deverell

February 17
Presence, Trust and Listening
Presented by Leah Hokanson

February 24
Trusting the Mystery
Presented by Danielle Webber
January 26
Candidate Week with Reverend Debra Thorne
February 3        

February 1       Spaghetti Night & Sing-along         5:30pm doors open 

February 17     New Member Ceremony              

At FUFON we create spiritual connection and
bring compassion, discovery and social justice to life.

February 3
Ministry Together  
Presented by Rev. Debra Thorne

Through Candidating Week as we journey deeper together, we will be getting closer to understanding what ministry is and how we might ‘do’ ministry together.  A simple job description doesn’t touch on  the mystery in ministry; that ineffable something that is sometimes felt, sometimes seen, sometimes known. The question is, can we capture it together and ride it into the future? 
Rev Debra Thorne has served Beacon Unitarian Church in New Westminster for seven years.  Ministry is her second career after three decades in the performing arts as actor, director and instructor. Rev Debra discovered the Unitarians in her early twenties and has been proudly supported in her journey toward ministry by the Vancouver congregation. She is currently serving her colleagues as the Minister Observer to the Canadian Unitarian Council Board, and she is in her last year on the CUC Nominating Committee.  She has two daughters Casey and Lucy who are in the mid-twenties, and her partner Theo Boere lives here in Nanaimo.

February 10
Our Goldilocks Earth
Presented by Rev. Frances Deverell

Water is one of the four sacred elements and its flow through the life cycle connects us physically and spiritually to all other beings.  This Sharing Our Faith service will kick off a year of study for Unitarians on our relationship with water, both at home and around the world.  We will also explore a few ways Unitarians are engaging with water issues across Canada. Does FUFON want to join our fellow UU’s in the effort to become aware of and engaged with water in our lives? 

The collection will be taken on behalf of the Sharing Our Faith program of the Canadian Unitarian Council. The fund is distributed to congregations with important growth projects.  Please plan to be generous.  Cheques welcome.  Please make them out to: Canadian Unitarian Council. You can receive tax receipts from the CUC for your contributions.

Rev. Frances Leigh Deverell served as minister for 3 Unitarian congregations before retiring in 2010. This followed a 25-year career in Management Training and Organizational Development.  She is the author of Finding Common Voice, the Canadian congregational handbook for social responsibility.  She serves as Past President of the Canadian Unitarians For Social Justice. She is chair of the Criminal Love and Justice Group of the Canadian Unitarian Council working on crime prevention and aboriginal justice issues. Her areas of interest include First Nations, Human Rights, Climate Change, and Democracy. You will find her personal website at, featuring her oil paintings and her community work. Frances and her husband, Ron Wilson, live in cohousing (Pacific Gardens) in Nanaimo. Her daughter, Karen Abramson, lives in Coquitlam.

February 17
Presence, Trust and Listening
Presented by Leah Hokanson

"Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have" (Eckhart Tolle). When I read this I realize that some part of me gets it, while another part doesn't quite believe it, or trust it. Why is this? And what actually is the Present Moment? I invite you to both wonder with me what it means to trust the present moment, and to explore -- through sound and listening -- how we can bring more presence to a future-driven world.
Leah Hokanson is a pianist, vocalist, choral director, and facilitator. She directs the Life Journey Singers, and The Song Keepers Women's Choir (Gabriola) where she lives. Leah is FUFON's beloved Music Director and facilitates a new program: the Nanaimo Sounding Circle.

February 24
Trusting the Mystery
Presented by Danielle Webber

Is it possible to sit with the mystery of a situation, to not try to find an answer, a resolution, an explanation, but to just witness and experience the mystery? In an age where answers to many of life’s questions lay at our finger tips, or as closely to us as the nearest smart device, what would it be like to sit with the mystery, and to find trust in it. Can we focus on warm and fuzzy feelings that mystery can bring into our lives, rather than attempting to answer them away? Let us spend this morning together, in a time when our society is obsessed with certainty, and find trust in the mystery of it all. 

Danielle Webber is a third generation UU, growing up in this tradition with a father steeped in UUism from childhood, and a Grandmother who is a Minister of Religious Education. She decided to become a minister in 2012 while completing a Bachelor’s of Art in Psychology and Religious Studies and completed the Masters of Divinity in 2016. 

Living and working in Kelowna, Danielle has now served Unitarian Communities in 4 provinces, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and now British Columbia. While in seminary, Danielle spent most of her studies focusing on the social justice issues of Aboriginal Peoples of Canada, as well as the messy dynamics of building relationships amongst churches and other organizations to focus on creating a world of justice, equity and compassion for all. In turn, she focused this work into a thesis project for a Master’s degree in Leadership Studies, completed May 2018. 

Outside of her UU faith Danielle enjoys knitting, reading fantasy fiction and spending time with her partner Adam, exploring the mountains and lakes of their new home.  

By the day this newsletter arrives in your inbox, we will be about to embark upon our candidating week with FUFON’s ministerial candidate, Reverend Debra Thorne.
During this week, there are several opportunities for each of you to spend time with Reverend Thorne, get to know her, and to hear her speak.  Here is the current schedule, which is a work in progress as of this date.  Please read next week’s Weekly Update for the final schedule:    
*Only eligible members who are present may cast votes.
Candidating week activities are intended to help us all make an informed decision on whether or not we will call Reverend Thorne to be our new minister.  We cannot overstate the importance of taking advantage of Debra’s availability during her visit with us.
So we hope there is at least one event you can attend beyond the worship services on January 27th and February 3rd when Reverend Thorne will be headlining. 
After the service on February 3rd, we will be holding a general congregational meeting. The purpose of this meeting will be to vote on whether we should call Reverend Thorne to be our new minister. The meeting will be open to all, though only eligible members will be able to vote.  As provided by our bylaws, the vote will be conducted by secret ballot and proxy voting will not be allowed.  Please note that, while our bylaws require a “yes” vote of 75% or more for approval of a special resolution, most ministers will not feel comfortable accepting the call of a congregation if the “yes” vote is less than 90%. 
So what will happen after the vote?  If we vote to call Reverend Thorne, she will have the opportunity to accept or decline that call. If she accepts, we have a new minister beginning in August!  If the vote fails, or if Reverend Thorne chooses not to accept the call, then the search process will end and we will continue to look for a new minister. 
With that said, your Ministerial Search Committee has spent the last several years working very hard to find someone that we were unanimously enthusiastic about presenting to you. Reverend Debra Thorne is this candidate and we hope that you will share our enthusiasm for her as the perfect match for our new minister. 

Additional Information about our Ministerial Candidate: 
Reverend Debra Thorne is an experienced UU Minister with a Masters in Divinity from the Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago. She has been an active Unitarian for decades prior to attending seminary and has experience working in the trenches doing committee work and lay chaplaincy, and serving in various leadership roles. Her first career was in film and performance arts. 
Lastly, the members of the Ministerial Search Committee are grateful that we had this opportunity to serve our community and want to thank the Fellowship for entrusting us with this important selection. 
Your Ministerial Search Committee: 
Bob Goodman, Dennis Lawrence, Beth McLin, and Howard Rose

In creating the beloved community here at FUFON,
we remember that relationships are more important than the issues

We, the members and friends of FUFON, commit to:

a) consider our personal responsibility in the community
b) come from a place of compassion and integrity in our communications with others
c) work to uplift congregational life
d) be mindful of the breadth of diversity in our congregation
e) engage in conflict respectfully
Friday, February 1st

Doors open at 5:30     Dinner is served at 6:00

We provide spaghetti with both meat and vegetarian sauces and garlic bread.
You are invited to bring either a salad or a dessert to share.
Join Rob Stewart for sing-along after dinner
Your Fund Raising Team is delighted to be planning several major fundraisers to help meet our goal of $10,000 by the end of June (our fiscal year).   We have raised over $2,000 so far and are well on our way!  Our motto is “Fun While Fundraising”.   Each event helps us connect with one another, celebrating our fellowship, as we reach our target goals.

Many thanks to our faithful Book Table organizers, Nuria and Paul Courtin.  Their ongoing book sales average $100 per month!     

To date, we have had two successful events: 
            1.  Our 2nd intergenerational bottle drive, bringing in $800 and
            2.  Our 2nd annual Holiday Bake Sale, which brought in $500

Many thanks to everyone for their support
and the volunteer help making both events successful.
We have three major fundraisers in April, May and June this fiscal year, so mark your calendars!  You won’t want to miss the fun and fellowship!
Our 3rd Intergenerational Bottle Drive
Saturday, April 27th

10 AM – 2 PM at the Bottle Depot on Kenworth Avenue. 

Our enthusiastic young people canvass neighbourhoods with our volunteer drivers, bringing their collected bottles to the bottle depot, where we have a team of sorters separating the bottles for collection. 

We will be looking for volunteers:  
the young people to canvass and about 5 volunteer drivers, and 5 volunteer sorters.

Please save and bring those holiday bottles; see if we can surpass $800.  
For information contact Julie Rogers.

Our First-ever Spring Bazaar! 
Saturday, May 4th 10AM – 4PM 

Held in our hall and possibly our parking lot – depending on the number of booths etc.  Under the direction of Ron Wilson, this will be a Quality Bazaar, open to the wider community as well as FUFON, with quality items sold at different tables – jewellery; women’s clothes and accessories; household items; quality books; music and movies; children’s toys and games; preserves, baking, and cookbooks and more.  There will be a silent auction for items valued at $50 or more.  Definitely a buzzing, exciting day! 

We are looking for volunteers to man the tables. 

We welcome all your contributions; set aside those quality items that you no longer use and that you would love to contribute to such an event!  Let Ron know if you would like to man a booth and what kind of items you are collecting.

Note: let us know if you need storage space for the items you would like to donate; and, please ensure that all household furnishing item donations can be carried by one person.
Our Annual Goods and Services Auction
Saturday, June 15th

Always great fun – this auction is for our Fellowship only and starts with a delicious potluck supper. 

We will auction goods and services, various creative social events and gatherings, family friendly events, and other items such as theatre tickets or cruises or whatever folks sign up to offer. 

Hugh Morrison, our coordinator, will post sign up sheets and organize an efficient way of bidding.  

: This year, we will NOT have a silent auction since it takes place as part of the Spring Bazaar.
You may not think that attending Sunday Service regularly is a responsibility of membership however being an active participant by attending as often as you are able is another way of serving the congregation. Attending regularly is also a benefit as it allows you to keep abreast of the many and varied FUFON events, enhance friendships, meet new people and enjoy the sumptuous pot luck snacks following the service!

The membership committee has received numerous comments from recent visitors/newcomers about how friendly and welcoming our Fellowship is.  Thanks goes out to everyone for making our visitors feel so warmly welcomed…we encourage you to keep it up!

We are planning a New Member Ceremony on Sunday, February 17th when we will welcome some of our FUFON friends into membership.  Look for their bios in the March newsletter.

And lastly, the membership committee wishes to express our gratitude and appreciation to the Life Journey Singers who are now offering ‘Comfort in Song Outreach’ once a month to FUFON members who are in care facilities, in hospital or are homebound.
Your Membership Team:
Sharon, Joan, Lise, Bev, Karen and Sandy

The New Year rang in with joy at the Unitarian Shelter with a special breakfast being put on for shelter guests. On the menu were breakfast casseroles, fruit, sausages, as well as coffee, tea and juice. Guests enjoyed the festive breakfast and being able to stay a little later to enjoy the food and company.  As there were extra gift items left from Christmas, the folks were also given a care bag with toiletries, socks, snacks and a coffee card. A big shout out to all the FUFON volunteers who came out early in the morning to help with this event, as well as the members of the community who premade all the delicious food. Simple gestures seem to mean a great deal for folks that are often forgotten by the rest of society.
As usual there was an abundance of items donated in December which has allowed us to share with the community partners. Some donations of note were from the Grade 7 class at Brechin Elementary who did some fund raising which will continue into the New Year. To date they have donated 50 pairs of new socks with more items to follow. Two children decided to forgo Christmas presents from their Grandparents and donated thirty $10 gift cards to Tim Hortons for our guests. The Two Chefs continue to donate their time and money suppling a weekly meal as well as preparing at the New Year’s Day breakfast. We also had an anonymous donation of a large amount of pizza for the whole shelter to enjoy. There was so much pizza that we were able to serve it on two occasions! Guests enjoyed their gift bags as well as the Make it Merry cards that were created by thoughtful members of FUFON.
In other news, the City of Nanaimo has renewed the funding for the shower contract until December 31, 2019. Showers will continue to be accessible for those in need at the Caledonia Street facility operated by the Unitarian Weather Shelter.
Our neighbours in the community have been good to us and we want to return that goodwill in the new year. One of our first projects will be to have a new fence constructed along the back wall of the property, as the fence has no doubt suffered damage as a result of shelter guests hanging out.
Lastly, we will be recruiting more volunteers in the coming months for support and recreation purposes for our guests. If you are interested in doing some volunteering with the shelter, talk to Lois or Kevan.

Wishing everyone a year filled with peace and love!

Debra Librock
Unitarian Shelter Chairperson

Unitarian Shelter

595 Townsite Road     (250) 754-3720

There is an answering machine attached to the phone so it is checked daily for messages and answered when staff are not busy with guests when they are in.

Tacos, Music Tubs, and Marching Ants –
Messy UU Church Rocks!

It was taco time at our Messy UU Church in January, with a tub of music and a song about marching ants, plus bulb planting for spring. Are you intrigued?
Then come to our next Messy UU Church on Friday, Mar. 1st, when we go on a journey, yet to be determined.  Everyone welcome!
Fenella Lotzer, Tony Turner and Ruth Anderson spent an intense and exciting weekend at the Vancouver Unitarian Church Jan. 12th-14th learning how to become trainers for the Our Whole Lives program.
We’d like to start the program in the fall, focused on youth ages 13 to 14. It will take a lot of planning and work, but this is a wonderful program to offer our youth.
Our chair, Krista Whaley, is going to survey other UU congregations and other local churches to find out how to make our thriving children’s religious education program grow even bigger and stronger.
We’re also hoping to have an intergenerational service organized by the children sometime in the spring.
Rebecca Manuel has stepped down from the CRE Committee to take a well-deserved break from her FUFON duties. 
A large part of our success over the past few years has been due to her enthusiasm, inspiration and organization for Messy UU Church, which has brought so many families to FUFON.
Who can forget the giant tires from Kal Tire that she arranged for an obstacle course, the huge paper pom-poms, or the imaginative crafts and art projects that she dreamed up for our Messy UU Church kids!
Thank you so much, Rebecca. You have made a huge contribution to the lives of our FUFON kids, and their parents, too.
Kathryn Hazel
Children’s Religious Education Committee


Deadline for submissions is the 15th of the month
Next publication date:  March 31st

First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo
First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo
FUFON uses Fair Trade coffee.
Our hall is wheelchair accessible through the front door.
We have a T Loop system for those persons having a T Loop switch.

250.755.1215 or email us at
Our mailing address is: 595 Townsite Rd. Nanaimo BC, V9S 1K9 

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