What We Do Here
Giving to First
|The easiest waysto make a one-time donation to
Toronto First is through 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 CanadaHelps, the tax receipt will be generated by CanadaHelps.
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 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
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 March: Members and Friends of First
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 some of the excellent creative work produced by our members and friends, from March 1 to March 29, 2020.
Please join us on Sunday March 1 for our opening reception, from noon to 1 pm.
Library Exhibit: Botros Durra, “Nostalgia”
From the moment I came to Toronto, 6 months ago, I was fascinated by its diversity and inclusiveness. Its people’s care and warmth have reminded me of my home country, the way I like to remember it, before the war. It was the place where I studied Performing Arts, and where I shaped my perception and aesthetic sense.
Now, Toronto is enriching my experience and opening new doors that I have never thought existed; even when I am not holding a brush or in front of a canvas, the city keeps me imagining and painting. My paintings for this exhibition are dedicated to everyone who can relate to “nostalgia”.
The exhibit runs until the end of March.
The following shows will be held in 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|
|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|
Are you interested in being a lay chaplain?
First Unitarian will soon need a new lay chaplain. Our Lay Chaplains perform weddings, funerals, memorials and child dedications for non-members. More information is available at FirstUnitarianTorontoOfficiants.org.
- being a member in good standing of the Congregation of at least one year;
- the ability to interview and work with clients in tailoring ceremonies to their requirements;
- the ability to work flexible hours, with a peak period on weekends between May to September;
- the ability to interpret Unitarian Universalism to clients;
- the ability speak effectively in public;
- the ability to communicate easily with people;
- and the ability to deal with administrative aspects, e.g., email, record keeping.
- A driver’s license and a car are assets.
If you are interested in this 3-year role:
- Please speak with one of our current Lay Chaplains;
- Review the Lay Chaplaincy Manual,
Applications should be received by March 31st.
Peter Brydon, Chair, Lay Chaplaincy Committee
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.)
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.