Please join us via live stream on Zoom at 11:00am - Details Are Below

Sunday, November 1
Meeting Our Ancestors
Presented by Rev. Debra Thorne and a company of actors

Sunday, November 8
Love is on the Way 
Presented by Rev. Debra Thorne

Sunday, November 15     
National Service: “Sustaining the Light”     
Presented by  Rev. Debra Thorne (Nanaimo), Rev. Debra Faulk (Calgary), Rev. Wayne Walder (Toronto) and Rev. Diane Rollert (Montreal)
(This service will begin at 10am) 

Sunday, November 22
Celebrating Life: Meeting People Where They Are 
Presented by members of the Lay Chaplaincy Committee

Sunday, November 29
Church in the Era of Extreme Events: Reflections for our Fellowship from Resilience Thinking 
Presented by the Committee on Shared Ministry: Debbie Goodman, Fenella Lotzer, Tony Turner
November 2                    Vigil for Peace and Justice                       7:00pm

November  17 & 24        Race/Racism/Antiracism Workshop        6:30pm
Minister’s Message November 2020 Actively Engaged 
The Actively Engaged theme this month has me remembering those who have made themselves vulnerable in the work of social change. People who I will be highlighting in my services this month, like Withal and Martha Sharp, like Emily Stowe, the first woman doctor in Canada, like the social activist and songster Pete Seeger.  I am also thinking of actively engaged people in our movement right now. I think of those working toward political reform, those working toward racial and economic awareness, and those who are committed and sacrificing to change how we protect the earth and all her species.  

One thing I have been reminded of recently is that societal change usually takes many generations.  Gay Liberation was only a passionate idea in the mid 1960’s, today, some 60 years later, in most parts of Canada, and to varying degrees, LGBTQ? folk’s lives are much freer.   Racial equality has been on the long slow arc of justice, but today we may be seeing a seismic shift in awareness change.  This pandemic is giving us another opportunity to actively engage by experimenting with new technological forms of community, and new forms of a just and compassionate society.  

At the same time, being actively engaged means we also take care of ourselves so that we have the strength of heart and health, to play the long game. We must not underestimate the stress of these times. I encourage you to take extra care of your mental, physical and spiritual health.  Many of you are dealing with regular and extraordinary life challenges at this time, and need to put your focus and energy there.  Take care of your self and your family first. The world will go on.  There will be plenty to do, later. 

If you are in need of pastoral care, I have office hours available between Wednesday and Friday, by appointment.  Call or email me. 

With loving care, Rev. Debra
Race/Racism/Antiracism Workshop  (New Group - New Dates!)                                                                                                         
This workshop consists of three sessions: Tuesday, November 17, 24 and December 1 (6:30 to 8:30pm)                                    
Facilitated by Rev. Debra

This 3-session workshop supports your work toward appreciating anti-racism, by first exploring race from the white perspective. It will help you understand the barriers that prevent deeper understanding of what race is and how it affects all of us and the society that we create. We will use the book White Fragility by Robin Diangelo (available from the FUFON Library), and augment it with video’s and writing by Thandeka, Ibram X. Kendi and Debby Irving.

Max. 8 participants
To sign up, email
Vigil for Peace and Justice on the Eve of the American Election
November 2 at 7pm 

Rev. Debra invites you to light our chalice, in love and support for our American friends, families and the wider circle of Unitarian Universalists in the United States. This will be a time to honour the values we hold of peace, interdependence, equality and justice. We will respectfully hold in prayer our geographic neighbours that they have courage and resilience through the days ahead.  
A Zoom link will be sent out in the October 29th Weekly Update, and upon request. 

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

Our themes this year come from the Canadian Unitarian Council’s 5 Aspirations. This month we are exploring “Actively Engaged”.  When we are actively engaged, we strive to work joyfully for a just and compassionate society, experimenting with new forms of community. We are inspired by those who walked this journey before us and those who are breaking new ground today.

Sunday, November 1
Meeting Our Ancestors
Presented by Rev. Debra Thorne and a company of actors

What better way to recognize All Saints Day than to meet some of the actively engaged men and women who contributed to making and sustaining our faith.  Today you’ll hear from the colourful circus owner PT Barnum, and listen to a story by Robert Munsch, sing with Pete Seeger and learn the challenges of being the first woman doctor in Canada from Emily Stowe. These and a few more interesting ancestors will bring alive our tradition in surprising ways.

Sunday, November 8
Love is on the Way 
Presented by Rev. Debra Thorne

Motivated by their religious values, Rev. Watsill Sharpe and his wife Martha, left their children in the hands of their Unitarian congregation and boldly committed to a life threatening mission in Europe. For over two dangerous years they helped save scores of imperilled dissidents and refugees fleeing Nazi occupation across Europe. Their inspiring true story was moved by a powerful commitment to freedom and justice.
Sunday, November 15
National Service: “Sustaining the Light”     
Presented by  Rev. Debra Thorne (Nanaimo), Rev. Debra Faulk (Calgary), Rev. Wayne Walder (Toronto) and Rev. Diane Rollert (Montreal)

This service will begin at 10am. 

From the light of days remembered, to the fire that burns within us, Canadian Unitarian Universalists gather from coast to coast. We bring the stories of our living and the dreams of our youthful vision. We seek a new prophetic voice, to demand a deeper justice, built by our courageous choice.* In this dangerous and heartbreaking time, we need each other more than ever, as congregations, communities and as a movement. Together we are stronger.

*words from The Fire of Commitment by Mary Morn and Jason Shelton

Sunday, November 22
Celebrating Life: Meeting People Where They Are 
Presented by members of the Lay Chaplaincy Committee

Every life faces transitions with the passage of time; some are welcome and bring joy or celebration while others are uninvited and accompanied by loss. As Lay Chaplains we serve our First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo by helping people in the broader community mark their transitions in meaningful ways. In this service, your Lay Chaplaincy Committee members will share their inspiration, vision for the future, and provide some ideas for how you too can demarcate those moments in your own lives worth noting through celebrations, rituals, even pausing.

Sunday, November 29
Church in the Era of Extreme Events: Reflections for our Fellowship from Resilience Thinking 
Presented by the Committee on Shared Ministry: Debbie Goodman, Fenella Lotzer, Tony Turner

Many of us thought that the Covid pandemic would be the event that compelled the public to return to a respect for science and to a recognition of our interdependence. In reality, neither of these things has happened. We are likely entering a prolonged era of societal and environmental challenges, and our Fellowship can draw on lessons from nature in determining next steps and adjusting to the new reality.
Board Goals for 2020 - 2021

Although the statements of the Board Goals for 2020 - 2021 are not finalized, a clear direction has been set.  As of today, the goals are stated as:

1. Policy Development
  • Continue the development of a comprehensive set of approved FUFON policies that are accessible for viewing on Google Drive via the UFON website. 
2. Strategic Planning
  • Continue the development of a strategic plan for FUFON.
3. Manage Transition to Accountant
  • Manage the transition from having a Financial Officer to an accountant by determining the duties and responsibilities of a Board Treasurer and how the Treasurer will liaise with the accountant and the FUFON Office Administrator.
4. Manage FUFON’S COVID 19 Response
  • Manage FUFON’S COVID 19 response, including determining what needs to be done differently with respect to COVID 19, in order to maximize the number of congregants who wish to take part in FUFON activities, at the same time respecting the protocols on the BC CDC website. 
5. HR Revamp
  • Review all policies of the Personnel Committee and revamp its structure and composition to ensure its effective operation.
The Board is continuing to refine these goals and attach target completion dates, where possible.
Designated Charities for 2020 - 2021

The Ancient Forest Alliance, the selection for September to November, is a non-profit but not registered charity. Its status does not affect FUFON’s selection adversely. However, we do not issue tax receipts for the organisations we support in this way. 

The suggested selection of
Pacific Northwest UU Growth Foundation as the charity for April to June 2021 turns out not to be appropriate for FUFON as the CRA does not allow the Fellowship to contribute to non-Canadian charities. However, individual members are free to donate to the Foundation. Because of the support we have received from the PNWUU Growth Foundation, including recent support for purchase of technology, we should support them in turn. The Board encourages our members to individually donate to them as the Fellowship as a whole cannot.  For information on how to donate, contact
FUFON COVID Family Bubbles

Our theme for October was Radical Inclusivity. For some this has been difficult at our Fellowship, but we now have a plan that will help move us forward. Family Bubbles will be possible among our Members and Friends.

The intention of setting up FUFON Covid Family Bubbles is to meet the needs of the Fellowship’s membership for social interaction in this period of physical distancing. We are specifically thinking of, but not limited to, those who do not have friends or family, geographically close, with whom they are already in a bubble. (Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said that in Phase 3, people should limit the number of non-family members they socialize with to six people. But those six people must be consistent and cannot change regularly.)
A FUFON Family Bubble is an intentional social group of, not more than 6 FUFON members or friends, willing to limit their social interactions to those in the bubble. The six individuals, once committed, will treat each other like any other family bubble, visiting in homes, sharing meals, conversation, and activities. They will follow the BC Disease Control Guidelines for family interactions.

We have a list of folks interested in expanding their Bubble and more are welcome.

If you are interested in getting involved please call Lise at 250-755-1215 or contact Rev. Debra at
(FUFON Family Bubble Guidelines and details will follow)


At FUFON we have a small group of very dedicated people who have been bringing us the online Sunday Services. Also behind the scenes, Committees and the Board are busy carrying on the work of our Fellowship. The plans outlined here are contingent on people with a desire and a willingness to make it happen.
Hybrid Sunday Service Planning
Hybrid service means a Sunday Service that is delivered from multiple locations. (For example; the sanctuary and the studio and people’s homes.)    
The three areas of planning for hybrid services are: Audio Visual, Service Planning, and Greeting/Cleaning.
There needs to be one designated Leader per area.
  • A/V Team - Tony Turner
  • Service Planning - Rev Debra and designated Service Organizer
  • Greeting Team  -  Volunteer Leader needed
A/V Team
The goal of the A/V team is to create a high-quality visual and auditory experience for all who participate in services, regardless of their physical location. They do this by planning for, purchasing, installing and using appropriate equipment. They also find and train a roster of volunteers to operate equipment, manage technical rehearsals, and liaise with other aspects of Hybrid Sunday Service team.
Service Planning Team
The goal of the service planning team is to provide high-quality spiritual experience for all who participate in services, regardless of their physical location. The service organizers and the musical director will assure that the elements of the service are compatible with the available technology. They will keep themselves aware of the hybrid possibilities and limitations when designing the service.
Greeting Team
Will be responsible for setting up and coordinating how people are selected for participating in person in the sanctuary, how they enter and leave the building, how they move in the space. They are responsible for communicating and executing the hygiene and cleaning protocols. (ie. masks, gloves) according to the established cleaning a building protocol.

The three teams will be experimenting in the hall during October and November to make Hybrid Services a reality. We need your help to make it happen.
To join the A/V Team contact Tony at:
To volunteer for the Greeting Team contact Lise at:

Our target date for a full Hybrid Sunday Service is December 6.

The CRE has been busy behind the scenes with the development of some exciting things! 

Firstly, CREs from all over BC have been meeting together to discuss how we can best serve our high school age young folks. We sent out a short survey to discover how often they would like to meet together and what kind of topics they would like to explore. You will be proud and happy to know that the young Unitarian folks of BC are most interested in social justice and anti-racism. Well, to be honest, the most popular choice was social time, but that’s good too. We want to find ways to make connections now, that we can maintain and grow into the future when we can all be together again.

Thanks to the patience of Don Gayton, the email account is now active. I will be checking this regularly, so feel free to drop me a line!

I have spent some wonderful time touching base with the parents of our young folks the last couple of weeks, and thanks to their contributions, I am beginning to see how we can best serve the children in our church community. One popular idea is to have a story time once a week for the littlest folks (or whoever likes a story), So, once I have sorted out library books, we’ll start that part of the program. I’ll make sure it is in the updates and will contact parents and grandparents once we’ve set it up. I am so looking forward to seeing our young folks! 

Sibyl Birrell
Children's Religious Educator
A Note of Gratitude

As the rains began this week, I pulled out my sweaters from my seasonal clothing box and reflected on this past year. I have now been the Executive Director at the shelter for six months. It has not been what most people would call the smoothest six months. However, my transition to this role has been made smoother thanks to our shelter staff, Lois as the past Executive Director, the wonderful staff like Lise, John and Reverend Debra, the Board’s enthusiasm for the shelter program, and of course the tireless work of Kevan.

Another reason this has been successful is the continued support of the Fellowship. Your donations, supportive words, and keen interest in ensuring the success of the shelter program has been seen, felt and heard. When I was able to attend the Town Hall and AGM, the warmth and support was palpable even through a screen.  Your support has made our shelter a better place and helped us provide outreach and support to some of the most vulnerable in our community.  It has helped us adapt to the rapid changes of our world over the last six months and I am truly grateful. 

Fall is a time of gratitude for me.  This year, I am grateful to be part of the Nanaimo Unitarian Shelter team and to be able to support its continued journey.  

Sincerely, Isha Matous-Gibbs
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
Remembrance Day is a time to remember those who died in wartime, to consider why humans go to war, and to discuss how to strive for peace.

First Unitarian Church of Victoria is inviting you to a November 11th ceremony which includes Unitarians who have served in the Canadian Forces, and speaks to all who never want to see war again. 

The service begins at 10:30am on November 11th.
The Zoom link for this service will be in the Nov. 5th Weekly Update.

               CUC 2020 National Fall Gathering

The CUC National Fall Gathering will be held online via Zoom November 13th through November 15th. This three-day weekend consists of a number of gatherings and interesting workshops with UU participants from across the country.
  • The Regional Gathering for British Columbia happens Friday, November 13th between 7:00 and 8:30 PM PT.
  • On Saturday, November 14th there are a number of Workshop Sessions beginning at 10:00 AM PT.
  • The National Service, “Sustaining Our Light”, begins at 10:00 AM PT.
There is no charge for the Regional Gathering or the Sunday Service, but there is a sliding scale fee for the Saturday workshops and you must register by November 6th to obtain access to any of these sessions.
Full details are available at:

The National UU Service, "Sustaining Our Light”

The National Service, “Sustaining Our Light”, will feature four ministers, including FUFON’s own minister, the Reverend Debra Thorne.  Detailed information about this service can be found in this newsletter under “Sunday Services”.

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: November 27th
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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