What We Do Here
Courses & Programs for Adults for Fall 2019
Our programs will help to nurture your spiritual growth and to find community. We welcome all, members, friends and visitors, to engage in all of our programs. Come and learn, explore, and experience the many groups and activities here at First.
Unless otherwise specified, all programs take place at 175 St. Clair Avenue West.
For those programs with associated fees, please make cheques payable to “First Unitarian Congregation” and write on the memo line “Adult Program” and the activity covered. A sliding scale recognizes differences in ability to pay. If you are unable to pay the stated fee for the program, talk to the program leader and adjustments will be made according to your needs.
If you need childcare, please discuss this with the group leader who will contact the adult program committee about childcare requests.
We also actively encourage anyone who has an idea for a group or workshop that they would like to lead or develop to contact Angela to discuss it.
Read the complete Adult Program Guide for Fall 2019.
Angela Klassen - Director of Lifespan Religious Education (DLRE)
Angela joined the staff team at First Unitarian in June 2008 and recently celebrated 10 wonderful years of serving children, youth, young adults, adults and elders as Director of Lifespan Religious Education at Toronto First.
Reflecting on her early involvement as a young adult attending our Niagara and Hamilton congregations with her two young children, Angela credits these experiences with transforming the way her family engages with each other and the world. The key motivator for Angela’s work is to provide opportunities for similar experiences among all who attend our lifespan programs.
Angela has worked in the health care and non-profit sectors supporting both new ventures and legacy voluntary organizations. With an educational background in Classics and Business Administration, certificates in Volunteer Management, Congregational Leadership & Conflict Management and training in convening and facilitation, Angela served as Program Director at First Unitarian Congregation of Hamilton for four years before joining our staff team.
Angela loves to spend time in the kitchen, outdoors, making music and with family and friends.
As a white, university educated, cis-gender woman from a middle class, Protestant background Angela understands and accepts all facets of her identity as both assets and limitations to her work in the world.
Sunderland Hall, our main worship space, is an ideal place for showing artwork. The large skylight and high ceilings enhance the room while the gallery space has its own lighting to allow the works to be shown to their best advantage.
We also have a smaller display area in our library, where art from our members is displayed for up to two months.
The artists who display their work in these spaces often offer some pieces for sale, with a small percentage of the price going to the congregation. Please contact the artist if you are interested in purchasing a work.
Art in October: Phyllis Gordon
Phyllis Gordon’s art practice is based in drawing, collage, painting and printmaking. Her work reflects a strong connection to the natural world, particularly forests and trees.
Threatened Forests is a contemplation on the very immediate transformation to the land that we now face. It offers glimpses of the vigour and lightness of healthy trees alongside images of burning forests and the desolate and vulnerable trees that have survived fire. Gordon has spent considerable time directly observing the impacts of fire, intensified by global warming. This exhibit features ink drawings on paper and carved drawings/paintings on wood.
Gordon is a Toronto-based visual artist who regularly exhibits in solo and juried groups in the Greater Toronto Area and Southern Ontario.
Join us for the opening reception and artist talk in Sunderland Hall on Sunday, October 20 from noon to 1 pm.
The exhibit continues to October 27.
The following shows will be held in Sunderland Hall in 2019:
|January||Willowdale Artists Group||Jan 6-27||January 6||willowdaleartists.com|
|February||Sheryl Keen||Feb 3-24||February 3||sherylkeen.com|
|March||Members and friends of First||March 3-31||March 3|
|April||York Artists Guild||April 7-28||April 7||yorkartistsguild.weebly.com|
|May||Bill Ross and Randall Brown||May 5-26||May 5|
|June||Rama Fayaz||June 2 - July 14||June 9||Rama Painting|
|July & August||Avenue Road Arts School||July 16 - Sept 4||AvenueRoadArtsSchool.com|
|September||Jeff Mann||Sept 8 - 29||Sept 8||jeffmannart.com|
|October||Phyllis Gordon||Oct 6-27||October 20||phyllisgordonart.com|
|November||Sereen Azizz||Nov 3 - Dec 1||November 3||instagram.com/sereenscape|
|December||Indigenous artist Debra Vincent||Dec 8 - Jan 5||December 8||debravincent.com|
The following shows were held in Sunderland Hall in 2018:
|January||Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy||Jan 7-28||January 14 (Fundraiser)||escarpment.ca|
|February||Ato Seitu||Feb 4-25||February 4||inkphy.com/tag/atoseit|
|April||York Artists Guild||April 8-29||April 8||YorkArtistsGuild.ca|
|May||Joanna Strong||May 6-27||May 6||joannastrong.ca|
Colin van Zwijndregt
|June 3-24||June 3||saatchiart.com/vandenieuwegiessen|
|July & August||Avenue Road Arts School||June 28-Sept 3||AvenueRoadArtsSchool.com|
|September||Susanne Clark||September 9||susanneclark.com|
|October||Susan L. Brown||October 7|
|November||Martin Myers||November 4||martinmyers.ca|
|December||Métis artist Louise Lefebvre||December 9||mountaindrummer.wixsite.com/spiritcougarlefebvre|
The following shows were held in Sunderland Hall in 2017:
|March||Members and friends of First|
|April||York Artists Guild||YorkArtistsGuild.ca|
|July & August||Avenue Road Arts School||AvenueRoadArtsSchool.com|
|October||Barbara de Beaupré|
The following shows were held in 2016:
|January||Palette Expressions Group|
|February||Clayton King, Indigenous artist||WhiteBearArt.com|
|March||Members and Friends of First|
|April||York Artists' Guild||YorkArtistsGuild.ca|
|July & August||Artists’ Network|
|November||Jean Galt, Wendy Ounpuu & Wendy Dines|
The following shows were held in 2015:
|February||Judith Donoahue, Carol Harrison|
|March||Members and Friends of First|
|April||York Artists' Guild||YorkArtistsGuild.ca|
|July & August||10 Artists from the Don Valley Art Club||www.donvalleyartclub.com|
|October||Barbara de Beaupré|
|December||Amnesty International: In/visible Scars||Amnesty.ca|
Our Lay Pastors are specially trained and commissioned volunteer members of the congregation who extend the ministry of the congregation by creating a safe space for deep listening and reflection by any member or friend who requests support. Lay Pastors provide a safe space for spiritual discernment and growth, offering compassionate listening and presence.
Our Lay Pastors are Jeanne VanBronkhorst and Michael Stroh. Among them, they have backgrounds in social work and theology. They also have extensive experience and training in pastoral care. They are dedicated and well-equipped to help meet the growing pastoral and spiritual needs of our congregation. After many years of service as a Lay Pastor, Allan Brand now provides his support as Lay Pastor Emeritus.
To arrange meetings with a lay pastor you can contact them directly at their phone numbers listed in the Congregational Directory (available to members) or by email:
Pledge - redirect to Wufoo secure forms
Redirecting to https://firstunitarian.wufoo.com/forms/pledge-campaign-for-2020/.
Giving to First
|The easiest ways to make a one-time donation to
Toronto First are PayPal or CanadaHelps.
Pledges for Ongoing Giving
We are very grateful for the ongoing generosity of our members and friends who make financial contributions to support our programs and operations. First Unitarian Toronto is a registered Canadian charity (851846816 RR0001) and issues annual tax receipts.
There are many convenient ways to make a donation and we invite you to use whichever method or combination of methods are best suited to you.
If you are ready and able to give regularly to First, you are probably ready and able to participate in what we call “Pledging”. Our annual Pledge Drive occurs in the fall, when we provide our members and friends with information about this critical process for sustaining our congregation and planning our annual budget.
We ask members and friends to indicate ( i.e., “pledge”) an amount they are committed to giving over the course of the coming year. This stated financial commitment from each member, paid periodically, allows us to plan staffing and programs knowing there will be sufficient funds. If you give regularly (monthly, quarterly, annually) you will provide us with a predictable income. Of course, the amount is up to you; we invite you to give at a level that fits your circumstances and your values.
Ways to Donate
If you donate at least $20 in a year, you will normally receive a tax receipt from First Unitarian in February covering the full amount you donated in the previous year. It will come either by email (if we have your email address) or by Canada Post.
If you donate via PayPal or CanadaHeelps, the tax receipt will be generated by those sites.
Donate in the Collection Basket
- When you put a donation in the collection basket during the Sunday service, whether by cash or cheque, 100% of your donation comes to First Unitarian.
Donate using post-dated cheques
Donate using debit from your bank account
- When you donate via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), 100% of your donation comes to First Unitarian.
- We can set up a recurring donation on your schedule (monthly, quarterly, every two months).
Donate using your credit card
- First Unitarian supports donations using either Visa or Mastercard.
- When you donate via your credit card, the card takes a processing fee. 95-97% of your donation comes to First Unitarian. Please consider adding 3% to cover the fees.
- We can set up a recurring donation on your schedule (monthly, quarterly, every two months)
Donate via Paypal
- When you donate via PayPal, 100% of your donation comes to First Unitarian. (Paypal started waiving their fee for charitable donations in October 2018.) Learn more at PayPal.ca/GiveBack
- Your tax receipt will come from Paypal Giving Fund Canada with one email per donation.
- Paypal does not support automatic recurring donations.
- Donate online via PayPal. You can also use the PayPal app on your phone.
Donate via CanadaHelps
- When you donate via CanadaHelps, there is a processing fee of 3.5%, so 96.5% of your donation comes to First Unitarian. Learn more at CanadaHelps.ca.
- CanadaHelps supports automatic monthly donations.
- Your tax receipt will be available on CanadaHelps.ca. You can get one receipt for all your donations for a year.
- Donate online via CanadaHelps
Donate by Transferring Securities
- Giving stock directly to First may be more prudent than selling stock and giving cash because there may be tax advantages related to capital gains.
- Please contact your financial advisor to confirm the best arrangements for you. Use our Stock Transfer Form.
- Planned Giving is a way to express your support for First after you are gone. Read more about how to make your wishes known and select the most suitable way for you to plan this type of gift.
Deciding How Much to Give
We invite you to make a decision that suits your circumstances and your values. All levels of giving are welcome and you will not be questioned about your own decision. As points of reference, we suggest you consider: many UU congregations recommend 3% of pre-tax annual household income as a meaningful personal commitment. First is a completely self-funded community with an annual operating budget of approximately $600,000.
First’s operating budget supports our mission to Seek Freely, Connect Authentically, and Serve Passionately. The following pie chart represents our spending from an outcomes perspective. Each slice of the pie includes the direct costs of the outcomes and services listed, plus a share of the indirect costs of our overall infrastructure (i.e. staff, insurance, equipment, etc.) All of our outcomes are also greatly enriched by the many uncharted hours of effort and talent provided by volunteers:
Pause your mouse pointer over sections of this chart to see what that spending pays for,
or click on the chart to learn more:
How much should I plan to give each year?
The amount you pledge is a personal decision, but we ask that you consider 5% of your pre-tax income. Many religious communities ask their members to pledge 10% (this is called tithing). Many of our members pledge 5% or more, and some tithe.
The following table will give you a sense of the financial contributions made by other members.
In 2018, 219 households pledged a total of $375,000 for our operating budget.
|Amount pledged for 2018||Number of pledges|
|$250 to $499||26|
|$500 to $999||47|
|$1000 to $1799||49|
|$1800 to $2499||26|
|$2500 to $4999||30|
|$5000 and up||18|
Please consider beginning at a level that is manageable for you, then increasing your giving as you are able.
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” - Winston Churchill