September Theme: ReOpening and the Art of Belonging  
All September services will be on Zoom via live stream at 11:00am
as we prepare for in-person services starting in October.

Details are below including our Zoom service link.

Sunday, September 12
Deep Waters: Ingathering Water Ceremony                  
Presented by Rev Debra Thorne

Sunday, September 19
ReOpen to Belonging

Presented by Rev Debra Thorne

Sunday, September 26
A Multi-Layered ReOpening  

Presented by Debbie Goodman, Larry Boldt and Beth McLin  
September 19              Annual General Meeting 
Begins ~12pm 
(after the Sunday service)

With joy and expectation, we begin a new year together. Although we can’t predict what this year will bring us, I do know that we have very nearly come through the liminal time, that ‘in-between time’ that began March 15, 2020, and that we will be reopening. Reopening how and reopening when is still up in the air. As I reflect on what reopening means, I realize that there are layers and layers to how and to what we are reopening.

Like many of you, the pandemic revealed so much that is not right, not good, not ok about the society that we live in. The revelation of the impact of residential schools and the deaths of so many children rocked the colonial history. The revelation that the Black Lives Matter movement showed clear inequities built into Canadian social systems. The continuing experience of the climate emergency penetrating our heated bodies and clogging our lungs. No, the effects of the pandemic are not over yet and when we think of reopening, do we really want to go back to the way it was? Or do we want to reopen to a way of living that is more honest, more equitable, more loving?

It is for these reasons the Sunday Services team and I have chosen ‘ReOpening’ as the meta theme for this year. The strategic plan asks us to reopen with careful reflection and with attention to the personal and spiritual meanings of reopening.

This we will do, with your participation.  We will move with gentle awareness into the process of reopening the Fellowship, reopening to our vision of who we are in this post pandemic world. Part of the process of reopening will be to respond to the grief we have been through, the loss of so much and so many people. Our reopening will ask us to look deeply for our resilience because the changes we face will not always be comfortable nor easy.

And finally, this reopening will be joyous. Joy in the face of social upheaval and climate change is an act of spiritual power. It is rooted in reality and our choice to rise up from our love of life, not fear of death.  

This is going to be a powerful and exciting year of reopening, and we are going to celebrate our ReOpening through the lens of Creativity. Human creativity has always been what moved our species forward. The creative human imagination has evolved through the arts and the sciences our understanding of who we are and what we are capable of.

Later in this newsletter, you will see the plan for our monthly themes inspired by the creative. This coming year will be rooted in the learnings from the pandemic, flourishing in a celebration of human creativity.

Warmly, Rev Debra
Hiiye’yutul tst ‘u to’ mukw stem ‘I ‘u tuna’ muka
Everything in nature is part of our family; we are all family
 September Theme: ReOpening and the Art of Belonging  

All September services will be on Zoom as we prepare for in-person services starting in October. 
To join any of our upcoming services on Zoom,
please click on this 
SERVICE LINK a few minutes before the service


Sunday, September 12
Deep Waters: Ingathering Water Ceremony                  
Presented by Rev Debra Thorne

After a summer of rest and renewal, and a year and a half of social restrictions we begin the 2021-22 year with hope for worshiping, singing and celebrating together in-person again. As the hybrid service model is still a month away, we will be regathering online for this first Sunday Service of the year. Rev Debra will welcome us back, reminding us to look into the deep waters of our lives for the resilience we need to meet the current challenges.

You are invited to participate in the service by sharing how the waters of this earth have given you joy and brought meaning. You can drop off your water at the Unitarian Hall, (front door please) between 10am and 2pm on Saturday, September 11. Please label the container. If you are not able to drop your water off, there will be communal water available for the service. 

Sunday, September 19
ReOpen to Belonging

Presented by Rev Debra Thorne

In the season of Sukkot, the Jewish festival of harvest in a time of exile, we reflect on what it means to belong. We ask ourselves: Who are our people and how do we know they are our tribe? What sustains us? The Jews were sustained by God’s protection. Does our living tradition, the covenants we make and the principles we affirm, sustain us through the days of drought and turmoil? 

The Annual General Meeting follows this service.

Sunday, September 26
A Multi-Layered ReOpening  

Presented by Debbie Goodman, Larry Boldt and Beth McLin  

We approach this season of ReOpening with our hearts and minds and souls. Asking ourselves What does it mean to open up after a season or two of being closed, being cut-off from the people we love, missing holy days of celebration and grief sharing, not being able to be touched or to touch others? What does it mean to open up to a society revealed as unjust, discriminatory and racist? Four community members share their personal thoughts and feelings about a multi-layered Reopening.  
This year our meta theme ‘ReOpening’ will be inspired by human creativity.
Each month in our Sunday Services, in special events, workshops and discussions we will explore one of the creative arts. 
September:  ReOpening and the art of Belonging
October:  Non-Fiction as the art of Truth Speaking
November:  Painting as the art of Observation
December:  Drama as the art of Empathy
January:  Music as the art of Discernment
February:  Textiles as the art of Forgiveness
March:  Fiction & Poetry as the art of Hidden Wisdom
April:  Dance as the art of Embodiment
May:  Gardening as the art of Nurturing
June:  Singing as the art of Communion
We are very pleased to have some good news to share:
We have a full slate of board members to be elected in September!

Slate of new Board members:
        Don Gayton - Treasurer
        Bill Woolverton - Member-at-Large
        Linda Reid - Member-at-Large
        Debbie Goodman - Member-at-Large.  

With Brenda Stewart, Ron Wilson and Wiley Fargen continuing.

We are thrilled at how people in our community have stepped up to fill the Board voids. 
Nanaimo Unitarians are following the Provincial Restart Program Guidelines and the latest updates. As of the changes announced August 24th, we are able to plan for the reopening of our building to members and renters in September.  

The Sunday Services will continue to be online through September. 

The planning team will use September to prepare for hybrid (meaning both in person and online) Sunday Services. Assuming there are no new provincial restrictions, the first hybrid Sunday Service will be October 3rd. There will be more detailed information in late September on attending services in person.  

Whether you are vaccinated or not, we ask that you wear a mask in the building. And remember, please do not attend in-person if you are ill. There will be restrictions on capacity in the building.

If you want to use a room for your group or committee meeting, contact Lise for booking. She will inform you of the protocols. If you choose to meet in-person, you are asked to ensure that participants have the option to join via Zoom as well. 

If you would like more information, here is the current Guidance for Worship Services.

Thank you for your patience as we move the community forward with respect and care. 

The Covid Advisory Task Force
Ruth Anderson, Tony Turner, Lise Smith, Dorothy Mandy and Rev Debra 
The FUFON Board invites anyone interested in being a Delegate to the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) and, in particular, the upcoming November CUC special meeting on the 8th Principle, to please put your name forward.

We would particularly like to encourage folks who identify as Indigenous, black, or person of colour, and those under 40 years of age, to please consider representing your spiritual community.
If you would like to put your name forward to be a FUFON Delegate, please send an email to the Board Chair, Ruth Anderson, at, by the deadline of September 15.

PLEASE NOTE: FUFON is entitled to two delegates with staggered two-year terms. One selected Delegate will be asked for a two-year commitment, the other for one.

You are also asked to commit to the following:
1.  Read the Dismantling Racism Study Group Final Report
2.  Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions 94 Calls to Action.
3.  Read the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.
4.  Provide informed representation of the views of congregants by being available         via email, Zoom or in person to receive congregant input.
5.  Commit to attending all of the CUC open forums on the 8th Principle.

The dates of the CUC open forums on the 8th Principle are Sundays at 4pm PT for 1.5hrs on: Sept. 19th, Oct. 3rd, Oct. 17th and Nov. 7th. These meetings are cumulative, meaning that one builds on the last one, so participation at all of them is important. Zoom links will be offered closer to the time.

This is an exciting time for Canadian Unitarians as we consider an 8th principle and the related calls to action. Our Delegates will represent the fellowship’s voice in the national conversation.  
CUC link is here.


At FUFON we create spiritual connection and
bring compassion, discovery and social justice to life.
Make Peace with the Earth
September 18 at 2pm
Feeling a little anxious about the climate crisis lately?  Take a moment to “Make Peace with the Earth”. The Green Faith Circle of Nanaimo, of which FUFON is a part, will be hosting an hour long program outside at the Bethlehem centre September 18th at 2:00pm. With song, meditation, the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address and other offerings, we hope to focus our collective spirit towards a greener world. The complete details are here. Bring along a self contained snack for an informal gathering afterwards.

More on the Green Faith Circle here where you will also find the entire program, responsive readings, and songs etc. on Sept. 18th. 
Although summer is traditionally a less busy time at the shelter, due to folks camping outside in the good weather, this July was quite busy, as 55 distinct individuals were served for a total of 646 bed nights. For four days, the Shelter was able to open early; at 1pm instead of 5pm, to give our guests reprieve from the dangerously hot weather conditions. Being able to get out of the hot sun in an air-conditioned building with access to cold water was a relief for many of our guests who may have had difficulty finding a cool spot to pass the time. Any time the temperature is over 30 degrees, we have the go ahead from BC Housing to bill for extra hours for early opening.

We are still seeking a qualified applicant for the role of executive director, as filling the position has been more challenging than anticipated. In the meantime, a Shelter Interim Team (SIT) has been formed to make decisions and fulfill tasks that the executive director would normally have done. The team is made up of FUFON board members, Shelter Advisory members, Shelter employees and Reverend Debra. We meet generally biweekly to communicate new information and delegate tasks that must be taken care of. One development that created a big learning curve for most of us is the formation of a union among our Shelter employees.

The employees have voted to become members of the BC General Employees Union (BCGEU) and will be following the Master Agreement for Component 3. The Shelter Interim Team met with a representative of the BCGEU who explained how the process will work and what the employer needs to do. The union certification will benefit our Shelter employees in that they will receive health benefits, be eligible for a pension plan and be governed by the collective agreement. We hope to work collaboratively with BCGEU to ensure a fair and equitable workplace where positive relations between the employer and employees are maintained.

We are currently undergoing our yearly audit and it should be completed by month end. Huge thanks to Marla and Lise who spent many hours over the summer preparing the information to be forwarded to the accountants.

With the lessening of restrictions of COVID protocols, we are now able to invite volunteers back into the Shelter. If anyone would like to help out from 5 to 7 pm on any evening, kindly touch base with someone involved with the shelter and they can connect you with our Shelter coordinator. As usual, donations of socks, underwear, sweatpants and shoes are always appreciated.

Debra Librock
Unitarian Shelter Advisory Committee Chair
Unitarian Shelter     595 Townsite Road     (250) 754-3720
The answering machine is checked daily for messages and calls are answered as possible depending on staff and client needs. 

Shelter Facebook page:                
Contact the Outreach Program c/o or 250-758-1601

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


Deadline for submissions is the 15th of the month
Next publication date: September 24th
Contact the newsletter editor at

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First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo
First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo
250.755.1215 or email us at        595 Townsite Rd. Nanaimo BC  V9S 1K9 

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