The purpose of our Vision Statement is:
- To capture an inspiring vision for our future
- To use as the basis for developing a strategic plan for the next three years, a blueprint to help us realize our vision
- To help us make an informed decision on the future of our building
Our Unitarian faith has challenged traditional religious dogma for the last 500 years. Although our roots are in the Judeo-Christian tradition, we draw inspiration from many spiritual sources. We are a tradition that values deeds, not creeds, and a commitment to social justice. We are self-governed and concerned about the here and now issues that really matter in our daily lives.
Our Unitarian community is committed to helping our members and friends live meaningful lives, fostering concern for the lives of others. We use reason and conscience as our primary religious guides and encourage each person to chart his or her own spiritual journey. We covenant with each other to observe the seven Unitarian/Universalist principles for living ethical lives.
1. Our congregation
We will be a vibrant community, energetic, passionate, and forward-thinking. Ours will be a place where we find connection, meaning, and a sense of purpose that carries over of dedication, compassion, and commitment to one another and to the larger world.
We will all feel we belong. We will treat one another with respect, love, and compassion. We will address conflict to foster healthy relationships.
Membership, Diversity, and Growth
We will be committed to building an enduring community, supporting one another and those who will come after us. We will live out our First Principle by celebrating differences and creating an environment that is welcoming to all people who share our values, regardless of any ascriptive characteristic. We will seek connection with groups with diverse identities to broaden our understanding and ability to act justly in the world.
- Our Children
We will be a family-friendly congregation, welcoming families of all kinds. We will create enriching spaces and programs in which our children can grow and thrive, and we will learn the lessons that they teach us. In the process of raising spiritually healthy children, we will support parents and ensure that they can actively participate in our community.
- Our Youth
Our youth will be an integral and vital part of our community, where they can express themselves in an open, non-judgmental environment. We will support them in pursuing their unique dreams and aspirations. We will provide them with leadership opportunities and, in return, receive the unique gifts they have to offer. We will help them bridge the gap and foster their continuation into young adult and adult membership.
- Our Adults
We will support our adult members through the various stages of their lives as they grow and learn from one another and face the joys and challenges of life.
- Our Elders
We will draw on the wisdom of our elders, learning from them individually and as a community. We will care for our Elders, in health and in illness, and help them prepare for life transitions that come with aging. We will address the limitations of age and make our programs and services accessible.
We will offer study and exploration groups of many kinds, for all ages. Based on our principles, these programs will provide a wide variety of experiences to connect, to learn, and to grow. We will also provide opportunities to socialize and celebrate together.
2. Our religious quest
We will deepen and enrich the diverse spiritual lives of our members, in accordance with our Unitarian principles, by encouraging and celebrating a variety of expressions of spirituality. This will be a place where we can heal ourselves and join with others to heal the world.
Our services will be a chance to recharge, regroup and engage the world again. Our services will be transformational. They will be relevant to our daily lives and the issues we face. They will address our spiritual, intellectual, and emotional needs. Words, music, art, and rituals will inspire and challenge us.
Our services will be enhanced by congregational singing, musicians, choirs, and other art forms.
We will draw inspiration from our Minister and encourage participation from members of the congregation.
Small group ministry
We will minister to each other in many ways, including through
- affinity groups (e.g. men, women, youth, parents, elders)
- spiritual practice groups (e.g. Buddhist, Jewish, Humanist, Pagan)
- Living in Spirit groups
We will provide loving support and care to members who need help while facing life crises, family problems, job loss, illness, and death.
Our children will be nurtured through a liberal religious education that includes an indepth exploration of Unitarianism, an introduction to other faiths, and a sound grounding in ethical living. We will support and promote life-long learning to enhance our religious understanding and develop ourselves as effective human beings who make a difference in the world.
Commitment to the larger community and working to bring about positive change is a spiritual practice. We will put our faith into action by initiating and actively supporting a variety of social action projects as a congregation and as individuals. In support of our principles, we will be in the forefront in the wider struggle of justice for all.
Reflecting the values of our Unitarian faith, our lay chaplains will provide quality milestone services (weddings, child dedications, memorial services, etc.) to members of the wider community.
With our fellow Unitarians, we will actively support national and international networks such as the Canadian Unitarian Council, our partner church, the International Association for Religious Freedom, interfaith groups, and the UU-United Nations Office.
We will create a climate of security and abundance through effective use of our resources (leadership, volunteers, staff, finances, communications, and property).
Our democratically-elected Board of Trustees will be empowered to conduct our affairs through policy development, congregational consultation, and long-range planning. Reflecting the concerns of the congregation, Board decisions will be implemented by staff and volunteers involved in all aspects of congregational life.
Our organizational structure will effectively support the work of the congregation.
Volunteering will be a spiritual practice that will help our members feel useful, connected, and enjoy a sense of achievement.
We will look to our adult members to take responsibility for the governance, program design and delivery, and resource management of our community. Youth and elders will have the opportunity to participate and contribute as fully as possible. We will encourage members of the community to take on leadership roles as they are able.
As a volunteer organization, we will expect members to serve as well as being served.
We will treat our staff with respect, offer competitive wages and benefits, and provide opportunities for personal and professional development.
We will expect members to contribute financially to the best of their ability to build an enduring community and to make a difference in the world. We will operate in a fiscally sound manner.
We will communicate information, ideas, and initiatives to our members quickly and effectively.
Our external communications will enhance our image, support our vision and attract an increasing number of visitors.
Our congregation will be visible in the community as a strong, alternative, religious voice. Our website, www.FirstUnitarianToronto.org, will provide timely information to members and friends and serve as an outreach tool to the wider community.
Our building will be a place where we feel at home and are proud to welcome visitors. It will enhance our spirituality, community-building, hospitality and social responsibility activities.
Our building will meet the physical needs of all our members. It will have adequate resources to accommodate all the activities in our vision. Our building will be accessible to people coming by car or TTC. Our building will be green.