What We Do Here
Giving to First Unitarian
First Unitarian Congregation relies on your generous support to fuel our work to seek freely, connect authentically and serve passionately. Your donation is an important way to ensure our services and programs connect with members, friends, and the wider world.
There are two easy ways to make an online donation to Toronto First.
- Through CanadaHelps: Go to our page at CanadaHelps, FirstUnitarianToronto.org/CH, and make the donation. CanadaHelps will deduct a 3.5% admin fee from your donation—please consider adjusting your gift to accommodate the fee.
To support First Unitarian services, programs, and our work in the wider world, please pledge to give monthly. Thank You!
Pledges for Ongoing Giving
Our annual Pledge Drive occurs in the spring when you are asked to commit to an amount you can give over the course of the program year. Your stated financial commitment allows us to plan staffing, services and programs knowing that there will be sufficient funds. Giving regularly (monthly, quarterly, annually) provides your faith community with a predictable income.
We are very grateful for the ongoing generosity of our members and friends who make financial contributions to support our programs and operations. The First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto is a registered Canadian charity (851846816 RR0001) and issues annual tax receipts.
Ways to Give
If you donate at least $20 in a year, you will 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.
Give 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).
Give 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. Please consider adding 3-5% to cover the fee.
- We can set up a recurring donation on your schedule (monthly, quarterly, every two months)
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
- If you donate via CanadaHelps, the tax receipt will be generated by 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.
Donate using post-dated cheques
Donate in the Collection Basket (not currently available)
- 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.
- 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 supports your values. All levels of giving are welcome. The amount you pledge is a personal decision, but we ask that you consider at least 3% of your pre-tax income. Many of our members pledge 5% or more. (For reference, some religious communities ask their members to pledge 10%.)
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.
Virtual Art: Helena Wehrstein
Although we cannot view her artwork in Sunderland Hall, please meet Helena Wehrstein:
“Based in Toronto and Hillsburgh, Ontario, I am a mostly self-taught artist. Breathing new life into old stuff is my passion. Stuff that is unused, unwanted, discarded. I reclaim, reuse, recycle, upcycle stuff from friends, yard sales, the street, second-hand stores, my basement and wherever.
My relationship with this stuff is ambivalent: I am appalled by the over-consumption and planned obsolescence that produces it, but at the same time, I am inspired and excited by the art possibilities of stuff that would normally be thrown out or would languish in cupboards and basement nooks for next of kin to dispose of. I hope to make a point about this wastefulness and do my little bit to keep some of this stuff out of the waste stream.
I enjoy taking things apart (computers, cables, cell phones, electronic devices, watches, etc) to discover the treasures within. My work is largely guided by the materials I have at hand. Once they are collected, sorted and managed, I love playing with colour, shape, texture, exploring different techniques to create moods and to express my ideas in both playful and serious ways. And then…sometimes, I like to make art just for the hell-of-it!"
20% of sales will go to First Unitarian.
The following shows are planned for Sunderland Hall in 2020:
|Shirley Dawson, Valerie Prideaux,
|Jan 12 - Feb 23||January 12|
|March||Members and friends of First||March 1-29||March 1|
|April||York Artists Guild||April 5-26||April 5||yorkartistsguild.weebly.com|
|May||Helena Wehrstein||May 3-21||May 3||helenawehrstein.com|
|June||Helen Kong and Sorlie Madox||June 7-28||June 7|
|July & August||Avenue Road Arts School||July 1 - Sept 9||AvenueRoadArtsSchool.com|
|September||Carol Harrison||Sept 13-27||September 13|
|Ocotober||Peggy Bell||Ocotober 4||peggybellartist.com|
|November||Pat Dumas-Hudecki||November 1||dumas-hudecki.com/paintings|
|December||Indigenous artist Diane Montreuil||Diane's Art Connection|
The following shows were 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 Aziz||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 congregation gathers on the traditional lands of the Anishnaabe Mississauga, the Haudenosaunee, Ojibway/Chippewa, and Wendat peoples. This territory is the subject of the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, and is also covered by the Upper Canada Treaties.
As a congregation, we are striving to help heal the wounds of our past and our present, in the essential and ongoing work of reconciliation.
Courses & Programs for Adults
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.
Issues and Ideas
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 Current Season:
- December: Revelry/Celebration
- January: Broken and Whole
- February: Radical Inclusion
- March: Owning Our Story
- April: Our Whole Lives I
- May: Our Whole Lives II
Past Book Talks: (Some reviewers’ names are linked to the texts of their talks.)