Please join us via live stream at 11:00am
Details are below including our Zoom service link.

Sunday, April 4
Not Dead Yet!
Presented by Rev Debra Thorne

Sunday, April 11
Riding the Waves: National UU Youth and Young Adult Communities through the Pandemic
Presented by Casey Stainsby

Sunday, April 18
This Sacred World
Presented by Rev Debra Thorne

Sunday, April 25
Earth Day: A Spiritual Quest
Presented by the Environmental Justice Task Force

April 24     Radical Care & Communication Workshop   10am
As I write to you, the spring weather is beginning to take hold and we are all looking forward to seeing each other in person very soon. ‘What a year it has been’, is one sentiment I’ve heard many times this past month, as we mark one year of pandemic restrictions. It has been, and continues to be, a year of unveiling. A time of seeing altogether how the human world is structured; who benefits, who is left out, where the gaps are, and what is really important to us.
Recently, some friends and I were hanging out on Zoom. One person asked an intriguing question: 'When we are out of the restrictions and life returns to normal, what do you not want to lose of your pandemic experience?' What followed was a wonderful sharing of the deep and meaningful experiences that we have had this past year. One person remembered how quiet the city was in the first weeks and realized how the usual noise and motion of the city impacts their body and nervous system. They didn’t want to lose that insight. Another said they had become intimately more aware of the natural world, the trees, the birds and the animals in their neighbourhood.  Another realized how much money they spent on inconsequential things before the pandemic. Another didn’t want to lose remembering the value of their relationships. 

In many ways this past year has been very difficult but I think it has been hugely informative as well. I look forward having a similar conversation with you, and invite you to ask the people that are close to you right now: What do you not want to lose from this last year?  

Warmly, Rev Debra

Rev Debra Thorne 
Hiiye’yutul tst ‘u to’ mukw stem ‘I ‘u tuna’ muka
Everything in nature is part of our family; we are all family


At FUFON we create spiritual connection and
bring compassion, discovery and social justice to life.
 Theme for April is Actively Engaged
To join any of our upcoming services on Zoom,
please click on this 
SERVICE LINK a few minutes before 11 a.m.

Sunday, April 4
Not Dead Yet!
Presented by Rev Debra Thorne

We knew the sun would return. We knew that the colour of spring would explode into life again. What’s the big deal about resurrection?  Does life triumph over death? Why not the other way round, that death triumphs over life? Is it taboo to say that we are all going to die and that’s ok?  Some folks are looking forward to the next adventure.

Sunday, April 11
Riding the Waves: National UU Youth and Young Adult Communities through the Pandemic
Presented by Casey Stainsby

In her position as Youth and Young Adult Program and Events Coordinator with the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC), Casey has been privileged to journey with Unitarian Universalist teenagers and young adults across the country through this upside-down year. In this service we will explore how the pandemic has been particularly tough for young folks, as well as some of the creative and resilient ways that these communities have managed to transform, all while holding on fast to that which matters most to them.

Casey Stainsby grew up in the Vancouver Unitarian Church and is now a member of Victoria First, as well as working for the CUC the past 3 years as their Youth and Young Adult Staff person responsible for groups and conference organizing. She was also the Youth Observer to the CUC Board (YOB) when she was a teenager.  

Sunday, April 18
This Sacred World
Presented by Rev Debra Thorne

Many indigenous people live in balance with their environment because they hold sacred all that sustains them. The indigenous religion of Japan, Shintoism, is based on a deep respect for the environment, drawing wisdom and inspiration from the natural world for over 2,000 years. It has no founder, no dogma and no sacred text. Shinto is a way of life, based on relationships of balance and harmony with the sacred world. Can the ancient religions save our modern world, so hellbent on self-destruction?

Sunday, April 25
Earth Day: A Spiritual Quest
Presented by the Environmental Justice Task Force

Brenda Stewart, Dorothy Mandy and Brian Short, all members of the Environmental Justice Task Force, will expound on what drives them to be environmental activists and explain what Earth Day means to them.  
BC Assessment Appeal Successful

Marla, as chair of the Joint Finance Committee, was asked for help by Katherine Ball, chair of the Joint Building Committee in appealing an increase in the assessed value of our property.

The Fellowship’s property is made up of  two separate lots. One being the building at 595 Townsite the other 591 Townsite being the parking lot with an alley between the two lots.

The 595 Townsite lot is zoned Community Service One (CS1) which includes churches and we have been receiving Permissive Property Tax Exemption of 49.5%

591 Townsite is zoned Local Service Centre (CC1) and does not receive an exemption from property tax. The BC Assessment amount increased by 38% on this lot from $204,500 to $282,600.

Marla filed a “Notice of Complaint”, including in the “Grounds for Review” an appeal of the dollar valuation of the parking lot and the percentage for the Permissive Exemption for both the Primary property type: Church with adjacent parking lot.

Scott Little, the local appraiser with BC Assessment, in conversation with Marla, made a recommendation to increase the exemption for 595 Townsite to 100%, which is appropriate for “most places of public worship” as long as the primary use of the property is church operations.

The review panel accepted his recommendation as did Marla, on our behalf.

The challenge to the dollar value of the parking lot was not successful. Vacant lots have sold for double the value of our parking lot.
We will have to go through City of Nanaimo committees and council to request a permissive exemption from property taxes for 591 Townsite (the parking lot) since it is a separate legal lot and technically regarded as vacant land. Our occupancy limit requires the use of the parking lot and Marla will proceed with that appeal process.

Thank you, Marla, for your considerable effort and congratulations on your success on our behalf. 
April 24 at 10am
Deep Listening is an intention and a skill in presence. The power of being fully seen and heard without judgement, allows shy hearts and souls to show up. In this workshop we’ll practice listening without making up stories, or trying to solve problems. We’ll explore the generosity of silent companionship and the impact of full presence.

This workshop will support those who want to deepen their personal relationships and for those who would like to offer pastoral care in the FUFON congregation.

Reserve your spot by emailing

Thanks to those of you who have already supported the 2021 Canvass.
If you haven't already done so, there is still time for your generous pledges.

Be mindful of the Treasure Principle:
Invest your money, time & energy where it will matter most in your life.

Your 2021 Canvass Team:  Don Gayton, Jane Nares, Marla Thorburn
On March 11 representatives from local religious groups gathered in Maffeo Sutton Park to offer the City of Nanaimo 75 trees and bushes to mark the Green Faith Day of Action and to tell the Mayor and Council that their green programs are appreciated and to not stop!

Representatives from the United, Anglican, Unity, Unitarian, Quakers, Sikh and Bahai communities organized to present the trees. Pictured here is FUFON member Frances Deverell and Sikh friend Sukhjindar dropping off their trees. Mayor Krog, flanked by Councillors Don Bonner and Erin Hemmens, thanked the Nanaimo Green Faith Circle for being the proactive citizens that he especially likes to work with.  

Alternative Transport Options for Reducing our Carbon Footprint
This is the first in a series of articles by the Environmental Justice Task Force to assist the Fellowship and its members to reduce our carbon footprint. Some alternative transport options also enable members and friends to connect.
A number of members and friends ride bicycles. While this is not for everyone, biking can be safe along most routes. We suggest that people bike with buddies who are more comfortable and know safe biking routes. There are also members who might offer coaching services. Once we are meeting at the Fellowship we could install a bike rack or locker.  Bike route maps can be found online and can be posted at the Fellowship. People with extra or unused bikes could lend them to those without bikes. There are also YouTube videos and other tips about safe bike riding online. Members and friends could form a team or teams on
The Fellowship could organize carpooling once in-person services are allowed and physical distancing is relaxed. For those who only use a car occasionally, consider joining the Modo car sharing cooperative
A number of members already have electric cars and bicycles. Join the Mid-Island Electric Vehicle Association, or check out to find out more. The Fellowship could consider installing a 240v plug for portable chargers before eventually installing a level 2 charger.
There are transit schedules and routes on-line at This site includes a route planner, including walking distances to, from and between bus stations. Consider making an outing by bus with other people.
Walk as much as possible.
Start a group at
If you want to pursue any of these options, including being connected with a bicycling buddy or coach, or have further suggestions please e-mail me at
The Task Force will be looking for testimonials from people who have reduced their emissions through alternative transport choices.
Bill Woolverton
The Children’s Religious Education program continues to tick along, with meet-ups and stories for all ages at Sunday Service. We have had our meet-ups at regular times each week, but we will be sending out a few questions to families with children in the little folks group on Wednesdays, as times change, so does availability and we are going to contact families to make sure we are still meeting a need with our meet-ups as they are. 

We were able to discuss our priorities and goals during our committee meeting, using some of the questions and issues posed by the strategic planning document. We attended the strategic planning meeting and gave feedback regarding the children’s religious education program. It was good to have an opportunity to consider the CRE as part of the whole. This year has felt a little disconnected because we haven’t worked in person together.

This week we will attend the Experifailurephenomenon event hosted by the Canadian Unitarian Council. It is a panel discussion of the trials, errors and successes of this year in the online Unitarian RE programs across the country this year. It should offer insight and ideas for moving forward and developing the program as things continue to change this year.

Sibyl Birrell
Children's Religious Educator
By the time you are reading this newsletter, the extreme weather shelter at St. Peter’s Church will have closed its door for the season. A pizza and wrap-up party is in the works for staff and volunteers. It's a good time to brainstorm on what worked and what could be improved upon for next year if we are asked to manage the extreme weather shelter again. St. Peter’s Parish had 432 guests in January and 404 in February.

Kudos to Isha, Kevan and all of the others who worked so hard to get the extreme shelter functional in an incredibly short time frame. The neighbouring community had no issues with the way the shelter was operated, and this demonstrates the level of professionalism that was employed. The extreme weather shelter served its purpose: providing safety and warmth through the cold winter months for those in need. 

The Unitarian Shelter had 679 guests in January and 585 guests for February, which represents about an 80 percent occupancy, a good number to allow for physical distancing. The Unitarian Shelter will carry on through the summer, as it continues as a year-round shelter. The renovations in the kitchen are almost complete with new flooring, cabinets and counters. Hopefully when the Covid risks are a thing of the past we can offer a tour for FUFON members and friends to see the renovations, or just have a look at the shelter if they have never been down before. 

Staff and guests that want a Covid vaccine are now beginning to receive them. Island Health nurses come right into the shelter to administer the vaccine.  Homeless people are a priority as they often have secondary health issues, they have a more challenging time with sanitizing, and a person contracting the virus could become very ill on the streets. 

Apparently, we have been getting quite a lot of donations, which is helpful, as always. The Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Helping Wheels program has chosen the Unitarian Shelter as their charity of the month. They will be presenting a cheque for $1000.00 and a short video will be filmed for television and online advertising is to be donated as well! In addition, the BC Gaming commission has awarded $11,000.00 towards the outreach program. Those funds, along with some other donations, will allow our Outreach program to continue into the next year. If anyone is interested in contributing, the greatest need at this time is socks, underwear as well as sweatpants. 

Now that spring is here, watch for the garden that our guests will be planting at the back of the Fellowship!

Debra Librock
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
We celebrate community member, Lynda Archer, who had an article published in the First-Person column in the Globe and Mail this month.

To read her story follow this link:

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: April 23rd
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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