What We Do Here

In the Library, now usually on the fourth Sunday of each month, from 12:15 to 1:30 one or two facilitators initiate our discussion of a selected topic by each presenting a 20 minute review of a relevant book from our collection, followed by questions and discussion open to all.

Sample topics are Unitarian history, defining the sacred, peace and social justice, interfaith dialogue, feminist perspectives, mysticism, science and religion.

If you’ve ever wished to explore faith matters further by reading, why not drop in on that book review circle. You’re not expected to read the book beforehand (though perhaps you will want to afterwards).

Please cast your mind ahead to the themes for our next season:

  • January – Creation
  • February – Love & Justice
  • March– Simplicity
  • April – Resistance
  • May – Compassion

If you wish to suggest a topic, or a book you’d like to review, please contact the coordinator by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Past Book Talks: (Some reviewer's names are linked to the texts of their talks.)

Date Topic Talks
February 19, 207 Love and Justice
  • Nancy Lee on In This Together: Fifteen Stories of Truth and Reconciliation edited by Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail
  • Bill Belfontaine on The Book of Forgiving by Desmond Tutu
January 22, 2017 Creation
  • Fred Lautenschlaeger on Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We're in without Going Crazy by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone
  • Ruth Tait on The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson
December 4, 2016 Expectation
  • Lynn Hughes on Christ for Unitarian Universalists by Scotty McLennan
  • Gerta Moray on Mystical Landscapes exhibit at Art Gallery of Ontario
November 6, 2016 Blessing
  • Lorraine Wilson on Blessings: Prayers and Declarations for a Heartful Life by Julia Cameron
  • Herb Wright on The Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenaar
October 2, 2016 Letting Go
  • Judy Magney on Learning To Fall - The Blessings of an Imperfect Life by by Philip Simmons
  • Terri Palmer onThe Waste Makers by Vance Packard
September 11, 2016 Invitation
  • Peter Hughes on introductions to UUism
May 1, 2016 Tradition
  • Lynn Hughes on Thoreau as Spiritual Guide and Emerson as Spiritual Guide by Barry Andrews
  • Carol Damioli on the essay Western Secularity by Charles Taylor in Rethinking Secularism, edited by Craig Calhoun et al
April 3, 2016 Revelation
  • Michael Battenberg on The Search for Meaning: A Short History by Dennis Ford
  • Peter Hughes on Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation by Elaine Pagels
March 6, 2016 Renewal
  • Ellen Campbell on The Selma Awakening by Mark Morrison-Reid
  • Lorraine Wilson on Our Grandchildren Redesigned: Life in the Engineered Society of the Future by Paulette Regan
February 7, 2016 Reconciliation
  • Jeanne VanBronkhorst on her new book Dreams at the End of Life
  • Lee Doran on Unsettling the Settler Within by Paulette Regan
January 10, 2016 Resilience
  • Claude Marchand on An Joseph Anton: A Memoir (2013) by Salmon Rushdie
  • Lee Doran on Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (2011)
December 6, 2015 Wonder
  • Stephanie Gannon on An Altar in the World (2010) by Barbara Brown Taylor
  • Gerta Moray on Walden by David Henry Thoreau
November 1, 2015 Integrity
  • Beth Guthrie on The Deserter's Tale by war resister Josh Key (with the help of Lawrence Hill)
  • Gilbert Salgado on The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King (2012)
October 18, 2015 Grace
  • Tanya Cothran on Everyday Grace: Having Hope, Finding Forgiveness And Making Miracles by Marianne Williamson
  • Claude Marchand on Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
September 13 2015 Promise
  • Lynn Hughes on A House for Hope by John Buehrens and Rebecca Ann Parker in Rethinking Secularism, edited by Craig Calhoun et al
  • Peter Hughes on Walking Together by Conrad Wright
May 3, 2015 Story/Stories
  • Fred Lautenschlaeger on Aesop's Fables
  • Claude Marchand on The Truth About Stories (2003) by Thomas King
April 12, 2015 Sustainability
  • Doug Campbell on The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality (2011) by Richard Heinberg
  • Peter Brydon on This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein
March 1, 2015 Freedom
  • Tanya Cothran on The Spirit and Forms of Freedom in On Being Human Religiously by James Luther Adams
February 8, 2015 Evolution
  • Curtis Murphy on Revolutionaries: Unlocking the Cultural and Spiritual Potential of Science's Greatest Idea by Carter Phipps
  • Michael Battenbergon The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal (1992, repr 2005) by Jared Diamond
January 11, 2015 Character
  • Daniel Deller on The Soul’s Code by James Hilman
  • Peter Hughes on Character from Emerson’s Essays, Second Series (1844)
December 14, 2015 Embodiment
  • Ben Robins on Body, Spirit and Democracy by Don Hanlon Johnson
  • Gerta Moray on Out of Time: The Pleasures and Perils of Ageing (2013) by Lynn Segal
November 2, 2014 Vulnerability
October 5, 2014 Awakening
  • Lorraine Wilson on Awakening by Surya Das
  • Avril Siddle on For Joshua by Richard Wagamese
September 7, 2014 Kinship
  • Peter Hughes on Universalism: A Family Religion from the Journal of UU History
  • Lynn Hughes on Marmee and Louisa by Eve LaPlante
June 1, 2014 Play
  • Louise Joseph on Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart by Kornfield & Feldman
May 4, 2014 Honesty
  • Doug Campbell on The Secular Conscience: Why Belief Belongs in Public Life by Austin Dacey
  • Daniel Deller on Days of Destruction by Chris Hedges
April 6, 2014 Wonder
March 2, 2014 Knowing
  • Doug Campbell on How the Idea of Religious Toleration Came to the West by Perez Zagorin
  • Peter Hughes on Three Prophets of Religious Liberalism: Channing-Emerson-Parker by Conrad Wright.
February 2, 2014 Passion
January 5, 2014 Discipline
  • Tanya Cothran on Simply Pray by Eric Walker Wikstrom.
  • Meghan Edmonds on Buddhism Without Beliefs by Stephen Batchelor.
November 3, 2013 Courage
  • Michael Battenberg on The Courage To Be by Paul Tillich.
  • Gillian Burton on A Year to Live (1998) by Steven Levine.
October 6, 2013 Purpose
  • Ted Wood on A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (2006) by Eckhart Tolle.
  • Gerta Moray on The Prophethood of All Believers (1985) by James Luther Adams.
September 9, 2013 Listening
  • Janice Tait on Ego, hunger and aggression (1969) by Nahlah Ayed.
  • Faye Perkins on Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup.
June 9, 2013 Perspectives on the Middle East
  • Claude Marchand on A Thousand Farewells by Nahlah Ayed, and The World As It Is by Chris Hedges.
May 5, 2013 Outstanding Unitarian Women
  • Lynn Hughes on The Lives of Margaret Fuller: A Biography by John Matteson.
  • Gerta Moray on Daughter of Boston: The Extraordinary Diary of a Nineteenth-Century Woman by Caroline Healey Dall.
April 28, 2013 Confronting Death
  • Wanda Morris on Death with Dignity: The Case for Legalizing Physician-Assisted Dying and Euthanasia by Robert Orfali.
  • Jeanne VanBronkhorst on Dying Well: Peace and Possibilities at the End of Life by Ira Byock.
April 7, 2013 Life Strategies
  • Stan Yack on The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
  • Margaret Rao on Navigating the Coming Chaos: A Handbook for Inner Transition by Carolyn Baker.
March 3, 2013 Meditation and the Brain
  • Lorraine Wilson on The Mind's Own Physician: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama on the Healing Power of Meditation by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
  • Gillian Burton on Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves by Sharon Begley.
February 3, 2013 Powers of the Unconscious
  • Mary Armstrong discusses her book Trauma Therapist, A Memoir of Healing and Transformation.
  • Gillian Bramwell on Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behaviour by Leonard Mlodivnow.
January 6, 2013 Anthropology of Religion
  • Michael Battenberg on Religion Explained by Pascal Boyer.
  • Jack Dodds on In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion by Scott Atran.
December 2, 2012 The Basis of Morality
  • Fred Lautenschlager on The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt.
  • Doug Campbell on Can We Be Good Without God? by Rob Buckman.
November 4, 2012 The Historic Jesus
  • Peter Hughes on Did Jesus Exist? by Bart Ehrman.
  • Eleanor Johnston on The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity by Cynthia Bourgeault.
June 3, 2012 Liberal Religion Before Alain De Botton
  • Peter Hughes on A People’s History of Unitarian Universalism by John Buehrens.
  • Doug Campbell on God's Dog: Conversations With Coyote by Webster Kitchell.
May 6, 2012 Between Hope and Dismay
  • Claude Marchand on The Better Angels of Our Nature by Stephen Pinker.
  • Doug Campbell on Time for Outrage by Stephane Hessel.
April 1, 2012 Spiritual Journeys
  • Lorraine Wilson on My Spiritual Journey by Dalai Lama.
  • Diane Wagner on My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor.
March 11, 2012 Religion, Philosophy and Neuroscience
  • Gill Bramwell on Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us About Morality by Patricia S. Churchland.
  • Ted Wood on Why God Won't Go Away, Brain Science & The Biology of Belief by Andrew Newberg, Eugene D'Aquili and Vince Rause.
February 5, 2012 Reflections in Captivity by Social Activists
  • Elizabeth Guthrie on Captivity: 118 Days in Iraq and the Struggle for a World Without War by James Loney.
  • Janet Hall on Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle by Ingrid Betancourt.
January 8, 2012 Unitarians on the Political Path
  • Carl Baar on Stephen Fritchman: The American Unitarians and Communism: A History with Documents by Charles Eddis.
  • Margaret Vandenbrouke on The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett.
December 4, 2011 Unitarian Insights From Science
  • Fred Lautenschlaeger on his new publication The God Deception - Our Sun shines Light on the Path Towards Peace among Abrahamic Religions.
  • Gerta Moray on Emerson: The Mind on Fire by Robert D. Richardson Jr.
November 6, 2011 Our Histories
  • Lynn Hughes on Guarding Sacred Embers: Reflections on Canadian Unitarian and Universalist History [published in 2011 by the Canadian Unitarian and Universalist Historical Society].
  • Janice Tait on Invisible Influence: Claiming Canadian Unitarian and Universalist Women's History ed. Jean Pfleiderer, Heather Fraser Fawcett, and Kathy S. Sage
June 5, 2011 Spiritual Autobiography
  • Lynn Hughes on The Confessions of St. Augustine by Patricia S. Churchland.
  • Gerta Moray on Hundreds and Thousands: the Journals of Emily Carr.
May 1, 2011 National Memory and Social Justice
  • Ronnie Rusk on Long Shadows by Erna Paris by Patricia S. Churchland.
    This book explores how countries manipulate their history, confront painful episodes in their past and try to resolve a sense of guilt and responsibility by bringing about justice.
  • Alan Brand on I Shall Not Hate by Dr. Izeldeed Abuelaish.
    This book argues for implementing tolerance as an alternative to trying to invent justice.
April 3, 2011 Myth and Insight
  • Janice Tait on Women, Androgynes, and Other Mythical Beasts by Wendy Doninger O’Flaherty .
    This book examines conceptions of the relationship between women and men as expressed in the animal symbols and sexual metaphors of Hindu mythology.
  • Lorraine Wilson on The Sh'ma and Its Blessings by Dr. Izeldeed. Abuelaish, an intriguing look at 2.000 years of insight and commentary on the oldest and best known Jewish prayer.
March 6, 2011 Ethics in a Secular Age
  • Fred Lautenschlaeger on The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values by Sam Harris.
  • Sarah Sackville McLauchlan on The End of Ethics in a Technological Society by Lawrence E. Schmidt.
January 9, 2011 Economics and Social Justice
  • Camla Draven on Economics for Everyone by Jim Stanford.
  • Peter Brydon on Empires of Food: Feast, Famine and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations by Evan D.G. Fraser and Andrew Rimas.
June 13, 2010 Buddhist Perspectives
  • Chris Moore on How To Know Yourself by the Dalai Lama.
  • Peter Brydon on Empires of Food: Feast, Famine and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations by Evan D.G. Fraser and Andrew Rimas.
May 2, 2010 Feminism
  • Janice Tait on ReVisions: Seeing Torah Through a Feminist Lens by Rabbi Elise Goldstein.
  • Kate Chung on Raging Grannies
April 11, 2010 Environment and Global Social Issues
  • Claude Marchand on Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization by Lester Brown.
March 7, 2010 Unitarians and Reformation History
  • Marvin Anderson on Divided by Faith: Religious Conflict and the Practice of Toleration in Early Modern Europe by Benjamin J. Kaplan.
  • Peter Hughes previews his forthcoming book Declaratio: A Revelation of Jesus Christ Son of God by Matteo Gribaldi (previously attributed to Michael Servetus).
February 7, 2010 Meditation and the Brain
  • Lorraine Wilson on My Grandfather's Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge and Belonging by Rachel Naomi Remen.
January 10, 2010 Is There Moral Progress?
  • Doug Campbell on Long Shadows: Truth, Lies and History by Erna Paris, a book that confronts the 20th century's worst tragedies.
  • Larry Wulff on In Between: Memoir of an Integration Baby by Mark Morrison-Reed.
December 6, 2009 Liberal Islam
  • Lynn Hughes on on a book of essays on Muslim liberals.
  • Gerta Moray onWestern Muslims and the Future of Islam by Tariq Ramadan.
November 6, 2009 Science and Soul
  • Gill Bramwell onThe Constant Fire: Beyond the Science vs. Religion Debate by Adam Frank.
  • Lorraine Wilson onThe Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul by Mario Beauregard and Denyse O'Leary.
October 4, 2009 Faith and Service
  • June Sanderson on a biography of Lotta Hitschmanova.
  • Eryl Court on a biography of Lester Pearson.
May 3, 2009 The Anthropology of Religion
  • Chiara Catterwell on the University of Toronto’s current course offering on this interesting topic.
April 5, 2009 Social Action – Heeding the Call
  • Kate Chung on Off Our Rockers – and into Trouble: The Story of the Raging Grannies by Alison Acke and Betty Brightwell.
  • Steve Watson on Hope and Despair: My Struggle to Free My Husband, Maher Arar by Mario Monia Mazigh.
March 1, 2009 The Challenge Of Atheism – Some Recent Replies
  • Gerta Moray on I Don’t Believe in Atheists (2008) by Chris Hedges.
  • Doug Campbell on Dawkins' GOD: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life by Alister E. McGrath.
February 1, 2009 What Does the Environment Want?
  • Janice Tait on The Revenge of Gaia by James Lovelock.
  • John Cummings on Heat: How to Stop the Planet From Burning by George Monbiot. [Recent books like An Inconvenient Truth explain what we're doing to cause global warming and the catastrophes it will soon cause. Heat is devoted entirely to answering the question “What do we do to stop it?”]
January 4, 2009 Spirituality and Healing
  • Lorraine Wilson on Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal by Rachel Naomi Remen.
  • Gillian Burton on When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult by Pema Chodron.
December 7, 2008 The Art of Union with Reality – A Discussion of Mysticism
  • Lynn Hughes on Practical Mysticism by Evelyn Underhill.
  • Ronnie Rusk on Daoism, A Beginner’s Guide by James Miller.
November 2, 2008 Scientific Hypotheses on Religion
  • Michael Battenberg on Reinventing the Sacred: A New View of Science, Reason and Religion by Stuart Kauffman [Kauffman is a complexity theorist out of Calgary who is interested in the evolution of complex systems].
  • Gill Bramwellon The God Gene: How Faith Is Hardwired Into Our Genes by Dean H. Hamer.
October 6, 2008 Discovering Unitarian History
  • Peter Hughes, editor of the new online Dictionary of Unitarian and Universalist Biography, talks about this publication.
  • Gerta Moray on Unitarians in Canada by Philip Hewett (2nd ed. 1995).
May 4, 2008 Claims of Justice and the Environment
  • Margaret Rao on Blessed Unrest, How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming by Paul Hawken.
April 6, 2008 What Does Buddhism Offer Unitarians?
  • Janice Tait on Buddha by Karen Armstrong.
  • Lorraine Wilson on Embracing the Beloved: Relationship as a Path of Awakening by Stephen and Ondrea Levine.
February 10, 2008 The Challenge Of Non-Violence and Pacifism
  • Lynn Gordon Hughes on Christian Non-Resistance (1846) by Adin Ballou. [Adin Ballou was a 19th century Unitarian whose writings inspired Tolstoy and Gandhi.]
  • Gerta Moray on on Angela Gordon and Tobias T. Gibson, “The Fist of Pacifism,” from Justice and Violence: Political Violence and Cultural Transformation, edited by Allan Eickelmann et al.
January 6, 2008 Problems with ‘God’
  • Rod McLeod on God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens.
  • Sue McLeod on Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris.
December 9, 2007 Meeting Other Faiths
  • Doug Campbell on Encountering God: A Spiritual Journey from Bozeman to Banaras by Diana Eck.
  • Ellen Campbell on The World's Religions by Huston Smith.
November 4, 2007 The Unfolding of the Sacred in Women
  • Gilliam Bramwell on The Feminine Face of God: The Unfolding of the Sacred in Women by S. R. Anderson & P. Hopkins.
  • Niki de Villiers on The Politics of Women’s Spirituality by Charlene Spretnak.
October 7, 2007 Why Read Unitarian History?
  • Gerta Moray on For Faith and Freedom: A Short History of Unitarianism by Charles A. Howe.
  • Marcia Bell on a book on USA Unitarians/Transcendentalists.

The 2017 Spring Dinner Series is here with an exciting roster of dinners.

Sign up in Workman Hall after Sunday services or contact Nancy LeeThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Come as a guest. Leave as a friend!


The Dinner Series is a fundraiser for the congregation offering opportunities to get to know one another better in small gatherings in members’ homes. Guests pay to attend and the money all goes to First.

Hosts are eligible for a tax receipt for their expenses.
If you would like to host a dinner, please contact Nancy LeeThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The youth group at Toronto First meets every other Sunday during service (10:30am to noon), September through June, in room 306. This group is empowerment-focused and youth-driven. Anyone aged 14 to 20 who is interested in meeting new people, joining in discussions, experiencing youth-oriented worship, and organizing or participating in other fun youth events is welcome to join us. As well, we travel together to attend other U*U events, workshops, and conferences: this past year as close as Toronto's east end and as far away as New York City. Our programming is supported by adult advisors, but is largely self directed.

For 2014/15 we will be focusing on planning a social conference for other U*U youth, as well as attending the Canadian national youth conference in Ottawa in May!

Currently on hiatus for the summer, our first official meeting back will be September 21st, followed by a pizza lunch and discussion for youth and parents after service.

For a more details about our schedule for the rest of the year, or just for more information regarding the youth group, please drop us a line by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For more information about youth ministry at the national level, please visit the CUC Youth Ministry page.

ArtShow

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.

Artists interested in exhibiting their work in our Sunderland Hall gallery are invited to contact the Arts Committee chair by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Art in February

&lquote;"Jordan

Jordan Clarke uses the female form to explore themes of self and identity. A mixed-race woman, she uses her background to explore and question identity and all the contradictions that come with being mixed-race. The central focus of her work is empowerment through self-representation.

Something In-between invites us to see ourselves and each other in new ways. By forming a strong black identity, one that is inclusive and celebrates individual uniqueness and diversity, Clarke calls us to rise above the divisive colonial legacy of shadeism.

"The women in my paintings are aware, confident, and empowered in their skin. They are affirming what is true for them — they are a collective of Black self-love".

Jordan Clarke is a Toronto-based artist.

The exhibit runs in Sunderland Hall from February 5 until February 26.

Art in March

&lquote;"Jean

&lquote;"Wendy

First Unitarian has a long tradition of celebrating our artists, dating back to Arthur Lismer of the Group of Seven.

All are invited to view the excellent creative work produced by our members and friends, from March 5 to March 26, 2017.

Please join us on Sunday March 5 for our opening reception, from noon to 1 pm.

 

 

 

Library Exhibit: Indigo and Rust

&lquote;"Linda

This exhibit of fabric art by Linda Heron is in the Library during March and April 2017.

Linda says: I have always loved to stitch since childhood. Quilting began for me in 1978 and continues to this day, but with the explosion of contemporary textile works, I became interested in using hand-dyed fabric, especially the magic indigo, and lately other local natural dyes and rusting. I love to work with the organic patterns that emerge. Adding hand stitch is slow and meditative and very satisfying. Inspiration comes from Nature herself and beautiful traditional textiles I’m exposed to as a volunteer at the Textile Museum of Canada.

To purchase a piece, please contact Linda This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

2017 Exhibitions in Sunderland Hall

Month Artist Show Dates Reception
  (12 pm)
Learn More
January Michael Battenberg Jan 8-29 January 2 michaelbattenberg.com
February Jordan Clarke Feb 5-26 February 5 jordanclarke.ca
March Members and friends of First March 5-26 March 5  
April York Artists Guild April 2-30 April 2 yorkartistsguild.weebly.com
May Nancy Bennett May 7-28 May 7 nancybennett.ca
June Irene Sakata June 4-25 June 5 irenesakataarts.com
July & August Avenue Road Arts School July 2 - Sept 3   avenueroadartsschool.com
September Simon Schneiderman Sept 10 - Oct 1 Sept 10 lipmanart.com/blog/simon-schneiderman-1/
(co-sponsored with Shir Libeynu)
October Barbara de Beaupré Oct 8-29 October 8  
November Nick Biagini Nov 5-26 November 5 digitalconsciousness.com/galleries/NickBiagini
December First Nations Art Dec 3-31 December 3  

Last Year’s Shows

The following shows were held in Sunderland Hall in 2016:

Month Artist Learn More
January Palette Expressions Group  
February Clayton King Aboriginal artist WhiteBearArt.com
March Members and Friends of First  
April York Artists' Guild YorkArtistsGuild.ca
May John Visser JohnVisserArt.com
June Susan Farquhar susanfarquhar5.wordpress.com
www.susanfarquhar.ca
July & August Artists’ Network
September Steve Rose SteveRose.ca
October Shir Libeynu ShirLibeynu.ca
November Jean Galt, Wendy Ounpuu  & Wendy Dines  
December Aboriginal Art  

 

Shows in 2015

The following shows were held in 2015:

Month Artist Learn More
January Michael Battenberg MichaelBattenberg.com
February Judith Donoahue, Carol Harrison  
March Members and Friends of First  
April York Artists' Guild YorkArtistsGuild.ca
May D.D. Gadjanski ddgadjanski.com
June Randall Brown  
July & August 10 Artists from the Don Valley Art Club www.donvalleyartclub.com
September Shir Libeynu ShirLibeynu.ca
October Barbara de Beaupré
November David Connolly  
December Amnesty International: In/visible Scars Amnesty.ca

 

 


     Make your pledge    
 

First Unitarian relies on donations. We are very grateful to members and friends for their gifts to our community. The generous support we receive maintains our treasured institution where we live into our mission to Build a Better World. We know that our community Changes Lives and can change the world.

Annual Pledge Drive

Members of Unitarian congregations are asked to support their congregation with a pledged donation each year. At First, our Pledge Drive is in the fall. (Read about this year's campaign, and about our special 3-year Momentum Campaign). We ask members and friends to indicate (to “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. The amount is up to you. Unitarian Universalist congregations generally endorse 3% of annual pre-tax household income as a benchmark pledge level for those who are able. We invite you to make a decision that fits your circumstances and your values.

Payments can be made by cheque, cash, or automated deposit from your bank account (this last method is most preferred due to its reliability and regularity.)

We know circumstances can change and pledges can't always be fulfilled. We understand and ask that you simply advise the congregation’s Bookkeeper if you must make a change to your pledge so we can adjust our cash flow expectations accordingly.

The Annual Pledge Drive to fill the 2017 Operating Fund has already begun, and will run from October 2 to November 6. This year, our themes are Sustainability and Momentum, and we are asking members and friends to:

  • Sustain the value of your existing Operating pledges by adding 2.5% to the amount to keep pace with inflation;
  • Continue to pay into your existing 3-year Momentum pledge;
  • Use the easy, confidential, online pledging form;
  • If required, add or update your banking information by contacting our bookkeeper Marsha Michael.

 

To sustain both our Operating and Momentum Funds, we are also aiming to bring many new friends and members into the pledging process. Every year we lose some pledges due to natural life circumstances. At the same time, we welcome new members and friends into our community. If you have not pledged previously, you can learn more about this important act of generosity and commitment. Team Generosity loves to talk about this part of our fellowship! Please contact us anytime.

Online Pledging

Pledging can be paperless, saving hundreds of dollars previously spent on stationary and postage and many hours of volunteer and staff time. Via email members and friends receive a link to an online pledging form where they can enter pledge information quickly and confidentially. That form has basic encryption to protect private information, and we don’t ask for bank account or credit card numbers online. Responses are added to our membership database and enable Team Generosity to monitor pledge drive results.

Not sure how much to pledge? Please consider these points of reference when making a decision that fits your circumstances and your values. We respect your privacy in this process - individual pledge amounts are treated as confidential and access is limited to only those who need to know. One-time donations are received with gratitude at any time and can be made by contributing a cheque or cash in an identified envelope during Sunday services or at the church office, or by donating online via Canada Helps.

Learn more about how we manage our money.

Team Generosity is Karen Dunk-Green, Wayne Lepine, Mo MacMahon and Janet McCausland. We would be happy to answer any of your questions; please feel free to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Deciding How Much to Pledge

Thank you for thinking about an annual pledge to First. Pledging tells our staff and elected leaders what resources they will have available for programs and services during the year. We invite you to make a decision that suits your circumstances and your values. As points of reference, we suggest you consider First’s annual operating budget and the recommended Unitarian Universalist practice: 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 $500,000:

How First Raises Money

 

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:

Spending our Money

Pause your mouse pointer over sections of this chart to see what that spending pays for,
or click on the chart to learn more:

Pledging as a Percentage of Income

The following chart provides a range of possible pledge levels based on different incomes and different choices about portion of income dedicated to the congregation. Many Unitarian Universalist congregations recommend 3% of pre-tax household income as a meaningful benchmark for many congregants:

Pledging as a % of Income

One Time Donations

A one-time donation may be made conveniently through Canada Helps.

Other Ways of Giving

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.

First also welcomes donations of publicly traded securities. Such gifts can be not only a great benefit for First, but may also offer a welcome tax break for the donor. Giving stock directly to First may be more prudent than selling the stock and then giving the cash to First. Here’s why:

  • Say that 10 years ago you bought shares in a corporation for $15,000. Now that stock has a market value of $20,000 and now you want to give $20,000 to First. If you sold the stock, you would have to pay taxes on the capital gain of $5000 ($20,000 [the sale price]) minus $15,000 [the price you paid]). That might be as much as $1,000 or more. Thus after taxes you would have less than $20,000; say, $19,000 to give to First. On your taxes you would claim that $19,000 on your taxes as a donation.
  • Now let’s say you didn’t sell the stock but instead gave it to First. In that case you would not have to pay the capital gains tax. First would receive the full $20,000 in stock you would claim a donation of $20,000 on your taxes. Please contact your financial advisor to confirm the best arrangements for you.
  • You may also choose to give some, but not all shares. In this example, you might decide to give $10,000 in stock and keep the rest. Remember that you get a tax advantage only if there is a capital gain. If the shares have lost value, it is probably more advantageous to you sell the shares, take a capital loss, and donate the cash. A gift of mutual funds might also be exempt from a capital gains tax. Again, please confirm the best course of action with your financial advisor.

 

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