SOCIAL JUSTICE AT UCM

Our values are directly connected to our social justice work. We believe in the interconnectedness of all creation and the oneness of the holy and in the underlying principle of universal love.
We covenant to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of all people and respect for the interdependent web of all creation of which we are a part.

COVID-19 Around the World: How Can We Help?

Update June 2020

Kathleen Cairnie-Sorensen, Director of Lifespan Learning at UCM, recently sent an e-mail to the members of the Social Justice Action Committee.  She reflected on the effects of the pandemic on a country with a fragile infrastructure and substandard healthcare.

Kathleen taught English at a Theological College in Tanzania, East Africa for a couple of years and still has many friends there.  During the last couple of months, she has been receiving an increasing number of messages from people who are in extreme distress.

Robert, a former student of hers, is an ordained Anglican priest.  He lives with his wife and children in the city of Mwanza in northwestern Tanzania.  As a Community Development Officer for his church, he is paid from church revenues.  He is making a difference in his community.  Unfortunately, with no church services taking place, there has been no revenue and thus no salary.  He and his family exhausted their savings and were without food.

Tanzania is a unique and wonderful country but it has incredible challenges.  Some of the largest refugee camps circle its perimeter.  As one of the poorest countries in the world it is expected to pay to support huge numbers of refugees while relatively prosperous countries like Canada are chronically delinquent in their UNHCR payments.  The money that Tanzania uses to support those, who it now houses, comes from their health and education budgets.

In one camp alone named Nduta there are as many as 75,000 people living in such close proximity that social distancing is impossible.  Given the presence of co-morbidities like malaria, tuberculosis, HIV, and sickle cell disease the camps present a huge risk the everyone who thought they fled to safety. The only medical care is in the form of temporary tents staffed by Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

And up against this backdrop a population almost equal to Canada’s is starving.   A report ranking the least to most dangerous countries ranks Canada in the top 20 and Tanzania in the bottom 10.  The worst day in the trenches here may be better than any day elsewhere.

Information about aid organizations that work in Tanzania, can be found at: aidforafrica.org

Update from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)

While the COVID-19 pandemic has had profound effects here in Canada, refugees around the world have been pushed into an increasingly desperate situation due to economic downturns.  The pandemic has caused hardship in countries hosting refugee communities, which has increased the vulnerability of refugees.  Over 80% of the world’s refugees are hosted in low to middle income countries.  Groups at high risk of exploitation and poverty in this crisis include unaccompanied children, the elderly, LGBTI people and female heads of households.  UNHCR, continues to need financial support to assist refugees and internally displaced persons living in inadequate conditions with limited public health, sanitations facilities and social supports.

According to Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Gillian Triggs, “We are facing a global health crisis that is spreading human suffering and upending lives.  The COVID-19 pandemic has already overwhelmed the health care systems, economies and societies of some of the strongest countries in the world.  We must be vigilant in our support for the world’s most vulnerable people, including forcibly displaced and stateless people who now find themselves at even greater risk as the pandemic spreads across the rest of the world.  The pandemic compounds many of the longstanding issues faced by refugees, threatening not only their health and safety but their survival.”

UNHCR has been able to provide emergency cash to 200,000 Syrian refugees in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey who had not previously been receiving financial aid.  These five countries host more than 5.5 million Syrians, the biggest refugee group in the world. UNHCR does not have the funds to help everyone who needs it.  In Jordan, only 17,000 out of 49,000 recently identified vulnerable families received emergency cash.

Refugees from Syria are not the only group in need of immediate assistance.  UNHCR recently launched a US$ 186 million appeal to help refugees, internally displaced persons, host communities and returnees in the central Sahel region of Africa, which includes the countries Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad, Mauritania and Niger.  There are 3.1 million refugees in these countries.   Local communities have been generous, but they are at a breaking point.  In Burkina Faso the number of internally displaced persons has more than quadrupled from June 2019 to the end of April 2020, reaching 848,000.  In addition to core relief the UNHCR will support education, provide more shelters to reduce overcrowding and respond to sexual and gender-based violence.

Donations to UNHCR Canada can be made at: give.unhcr.ca

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), is another organization at the forefront of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  They treat tens of thousands of patients around the world for a variety of illnesses every single day.  MSF has urged leaders to demand pharmaceutical corporations to commit to selling any potential future COVID-19 vaccines at cost.  They are also appealing to governments to set up a fund to purchase vaccines for developing countries, putting the common good ahead of individual nationalist interests.  More information about Doctors Without Borders Canada and to how to donate, can be found at: doctorswithoutborders.ca

Help with Technology

The COVID-19 pandemic has put people across the GTA into crisis. Social Service workers are in need of technology to connect with people who are homeless, survivors of domestic abuse or experiencing mental health problems.  Your old cell phone, tablet or laptop could be put to use right now.  United Way Greater Toronto is partnering with Ruckify, an online rental marketplace, and the city of Toronto to help community groups get the devices they need to connect with their clients.  In a report on CTV News, Ruckify indicated that 33 community groups are in need of 1,000 devices.  An online donation form can be found on Ruckify’s website:

Community Relief

The Mississauga Food Bank

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on those living in poverty in our community.  The Mississauga Food Bank will require $840,000 to keep the shelves stocked during this crisis – $360,000 more than anticipated.  The goal of the food bank during this pandemic is to ensure those living in poverty can continue to safely access the food they need.

TMFB is not primarily government-funded and relies on the generosity of the community to support families in need. As such, they need financial resources to meet demand.  Please make a financial donation to The Mississauga Food Bank today. https://www.themississaugafoodbank.org/blog/covid-19-update/

Please note: Mississauga fire stations are not currently able to accept donations for the food bank.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it may seem that the media is painting a picture of doom and gloom.  There is good news.  Acts of kindness and charity abound.  In the face of adversity, new groups are springing up to help those in need.  The Good Neighbour Project is a GTA Facebook group mobilizing a task force of volunteers to help people who need delivery assistance for supplies and groceries during the pandemic.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/GoodNeighbourProject/about/

Irfan Mehmood of Brampton was inspired to help his community after he realized that many people were afraid or unable to leave their homes to buy groceries when the pandemic hit Peel Region.  For the last few weeks, Mehmood has been accepting non-perishable food items and delivering them to people he has heard of who haven’t been able to leave their homes or can’t afford groceries.

Anyone who’d like to contribute with food donations or by helping with deliveries can reach Mehmood at 437-993-4973 or through his Instagram page, @hypecarcare.

Global Medic is another Canadian organization that has stepped in at home and abroad.  They have been able to offer field hospital tents to health officials, hospitals and local agencies.  Their tents and donations of emergency food can also help food banks stay operational.  Hygiene supplies have been provided to local shelters.  Global Medic also has a stockpile of cleaning supplies that can be used to assist people who are self isolating.  Your gift to GlobalMedic will help agencies who service vulnerable populations and provide cash transfers to families who are struggling.  Manulife has offered to match donations up to $100,000.

https://globalmedichelps.ca

One effect of the pandemic that might be overlooked is the need for legal advice by individuals, non-profits and small businesses facing unprecedented issues such as loss of work, evictions, and loss of business.  Pro Bono Ontario helps Ontarians who have essential legal needs but can’t afford a lawyer.  They are providing a Free Legal Advice Hotline:1-855-255-7256 (Mon to Fri, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM).  Pro Bono Ontario is in need of both donations and volunteers.  Your gift ensures those in need have access to justice.

https://www.probonoontario.org/donate/

Canada Helps, a donation and fundraising site, maintains a list of organizations who are fundraising to help with the COVID-19 outbreak. https://www.canadahelps.org/en/donate-to-coronavirus-outbreak-response/

The Canadian Red Cross is also dedicated to supporting individuals, families and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Donations to the Canadian Red Cross can be made here:

https://www.redcross.ca/donate/appeal/donate-to-the-canadian-red-cross-fund#a0650cb6-ce29-4c40-b663-e749a0a9163f

The leading public health expert at the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, says prevention and inclusion must be at the heart of the response for displaced people, especially in areas with weak health services. The agency is working to slow the spread of the virus, reduce its impact and save lives. Please consider making a donation using the following link: https://give.unhcr.ca/page/57647/donate/1?ea.tracking.id=OL20_COVID-19#_ga=2.35648098.233444183.1585611529-1576550207.1585510909

While there is an urgent need for donations of money during this pandemic, many organizations are in need of volunteers.  Volunteer Canada, https://volunteer.ca/index.php?MenuItemID=355, is one place to find volunteer opportunities.  Spark Ontario is another organization playing a role connecting people with community response efforts to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  You can search SPARK’s website for specific opportunities to help people affected by COVID-19.  SPARK is also looking for organizations working to help people who are struggling as a result of COVID-19. https://www.sparkontario.ca/covid19

The Kid’s Kids Help Phone is on a mission to ensure young people are never alone as we all face an unprecedented global crisis. They are urgently in need of volunteers. ttps://kidshelpphone.ca/get-involved/give/you-can-ensure-nho-young-person-feels-alone-during-covid-19/

In the face of the pandemic, a new term is becoming popular: caremongering.  People are using social media to work together to help one another. The CareMongering – Mississauga facebook page exists to encourage and facilitate sharing and organization of community resources in response to COVID-19. The purpose of this group is to organize the local community on the grassroots level to ensure vulnerable community members have access to food and other necessities.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/caremongering/

Finally, I would like to remind the congregation that Canadian Blood Services asks Canadians to keep giving during the pandemic.  Patients will continue to need blood products throughout COVID-19, including many cancer patients and those with blood disorders. Widespread cancellation of group donations has increased the need for individual donors to book and keep appointments. Learn more about donating blood here: https://blood.ca/en

Judy Benger, Social Justice Action Committee

The current pandemic has left many people struggling to find the food and household supplies they need.  The Mississauga Food Bank has informed me that they need any kind of protein at the moment.  While it has been determined that an emergency food drive here at UCM is not feasible right now, I urge members of the congregation to consider making a monetary donation to the Food Bank.  If you do have surplus supplies, donations can be dropped off at the food bank offices at 3121 Universal Drive, Mississauga during normal business hours, or at your local fire station and select grocery stores.  The Mississauga Food Bank is also in need of volunteers.  Check out their website to find out how you can help. https://www.themississaugafoodbank.org

If you are delivering food to the MFB, please go to the rear of the building and LEAVE your donation at the top of the ramp. Then, with a glove or through your sleeve, ring the bell. You should immediately leave in order to maintain the social distance mandated to prevent any chance of infection. The Mississauga Food Bank is open Monday to Thursday from 9:30 to 5:00, and Friday from 9:30 to 1:00. A staff member at the Mississauga Food Bank always acknowledges your gift of a cheque, so please include your address.

Please also consider donating to The Compass.  They offer immediate assistance with food, then work with clients offering practical and spiritual support to the challenges that often come along with a low income.  The Social Justice Action Committee at UCM has met with The Compass to explore we can act in partnership to support the hungry and homeless in South Mississauga. While The Compass has had to suspend programs in light of the pandemic, they will continue to provide clients with food hampers.  Again, a monetary donation would be prudent in light of the need for social distancing.  If you do have food or personal care items you wish to donate they can be dropped off at The Compass at 310 Lakeshore Rd W. You are welcome to drive into the back parking lot to unload. Just knock and one of their volunteers would be pleased to help.  Check The Compass website for drop off times. https://thecompass.ca

To learn more about The Compass and a possible partnership with UCM, check out the UCM website at https://uucm.ca/social-justice/

You may be thinking about other ways you can help during this crisis.  Canada Helps is a donation and fundraising site.  Check this link to find organizations who are fundraising to help with the COVID-19 outbreak.

https://www.canadahelps.org/en/donate-to-coronavirus-outbreak-response/

On the third Sunday of each month, UCM takes up a collection for the Mississauga Foodbank.  We are a longtime supporter of the foodbank.  On occasion our children’s program volunteers in the warehouse.

The social justice committee has met virtually with Mike Giguere, new Chair of the Compass Board of Directors to explore a deeper and more meaningful community partnership between UUCM and the Compass Food Bank. The Compass has been responding to the burgeoning number of hungry and homeless in South Mississauga by slowly expanding its mission as a community hub in addition to a foodbank.

Of course they always need money but what they really hope to find at UCM are folks who have areas of expertise or know the social service network in Peel and are willing to give a few hours a year to help others plan their way out of desperation. There are so many ways we can help there: taxes, haircuts, referrals and safety planning, making calls with someone to find a service, drives, meal prep, community gardening guidance, legal support, community advocacy – I could go on and on. Even a shoulder to cry on or a willingness to listen is appreciated.

Once the Compass expansion is farther along the ways to help will expand too. They are a beautiful team of people and offer a chance to do something very meaningful in your own community and be part of the change. Speak to anyone on the Social Justice Action Committee if you can offer of yourself to our neighbourhood’s most vulnerable. Initiatives will begin when the city is safe to re-open.

Thanks,

Debbi Callander

Some of you may be familiar with Child Haven International, a registered charity founded in 1985 by Unitarian Universalists Reverend Fred Cappuccino, his wife Bonnie, and others.  In addition to their two biological children, Fred and Bonnie adopted 19 children from all around the world.  As their large family grew up, they turned their thoughts to helping destitute children in India.

Child Haven International currently has 8 homes, five in India, one in Tibet, one in Bangladesh and one in Nepal. These homes follow the ideals and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi. They accept children from socially disadvantaged situations without regard to race, caste, religion or culture. The children are raised according to the highest ideals of their own cultures, whether they are Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jain, Sikh, Buddhist or secular. They are provided full care through high school, followed by vocational training, granting them self sufficiency when they reach adulthood.

Child Haven also runs programs for women, providing employment, education, training, medical and legal aid. One of the cottage industries supported by Child Haven is the production of soya milk.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, Child Haven homes are limiting visitors and ensuring their compounds are sanitized. An unfortunate by product of the pandemic is that many Child Haven spring fundraising dinners to have had to be cancelled. Child Haven relies on these fundraising events to look after the children in their care. Child Haven International is a registered charity that is supported entirely by generous contributions from people like me and you. We are all connected, even to children and women struggling on the other side of the planet. Please consider a donation to Child Haven. More information can be found at their website: https://www.childhaven.ca/donate.html.

Judy Benger

 

Amnesty International Letter-Writing Campaigns at UCM

Our Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga has been sponsoring letter-writing campaigns every two months since 2015 based on Amnesty International Canada advocacy cases. We try to write our letters in a respectful tone, and choose cases where there is some hope the letter might have an impact.

 

Amnesty International Letter and Other Petitions – October 2020

UCM’s commitment to Amnesty International has continued during the 2020 pandemic. In April, we had a letter to a General in the Phillipines urging a release of protesters who were asking for more government food aid during Covid, and we had 2 petitions, one to transfer Toronto’s homeless population to empty hotel rooms, and one to support a a Global Ban on Conflicts during the pandemic. In June, we had letters supporting LGBTQ+ refugees who experience discrimination in American detention camps, and a letter to the PM asking Canada to rescind the Safe Third Party agreement that returns refugees back to the USA.

On Sunday, Oct. 4 we are sponsoring two email letters to the government of Rwanda to provide a fair trial to Pual Rusesabagina, and one to the Mozambique government  to stop criminalizing journalists and human rights defenders such as Bishop Lisboa.

The Oct. 4 service is entitled Unitarians in Burundi, and guest speaker Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana is speaking about “The Power of small gestures: story of Flaming Chalice International” an organization helping Unitarians in Burundi and refugees in neighbouring countries.

Amnesty International Letter and Other Petitions – June 2020

The Amnesty International group at UCM is asking members and friends to sign up to three Amnesty petition letters in conjunction with this Sunday’s focus on LGBTI rights:

The first is a letter to the Hungarian Commissioner of Fundamental Rights asking for an urgent review of the constitutionality of the Hungarain Government’s new law that prevents legal recognition of gender rights for transgender and intersex people. The link for this electronic letter is: https://www.amnesty.org/en/get-involved/take-action/hungary-trans-rights-gender-recognition/

The second is a letter written by our Amnesty group to Aaron Andrews, a supervisor of Detention and Deportation in Colorado urging the release of a transgender asylum seeker, Kelly Gonsales Aguiar, after two and a half years in detention, with prolonged periods of solitary confinement. You can print and sign the attached letter below and either send it by mail to Mr. Andrews, or scan your signed letter and email it to johnrowell99@gmail.com
https://Kelly_Aguilar_Amnesty_letter.02.docx

The third letter is an Amnesty appeal to Rescind the Safe Third Party Agreement for refugees and asylum seekers who are returned from Canada to the USA. This is in light of major abuses in the USA immigration detention system, such as the case of Kelly Aquilar. The link for this electronic letter is::https://takeaction.amnesty.ca/page/35380/action/1
You may edit any of the petition letters to personalize your own message.

 

Amnesty International Letter and Other Petitions – April 2020
We hope many of you signed the petition to Mayor John Tory, urging him to accelerate the relocating of Toronto’s homeless shelter population into hotels and empty community centres. The relocations in the past week have increased from 300 to over 1,000, but there are over 7,000 homeless people in Toronto, and Covid cases among the homeless are still rising dangerously. We must keep up the pressure, for the homeless, and for our own health and safety. The link again is: https://www.change.org/p/mayor-john-tory-mayor-tory-declare-homelessness-an-emergency-to-prevent-more-deaths-and-suffering

There is a world-wide online petition with Avaaz.org supporting the U.N. Secretary-General’s  call for a Global Ceasefire from all combatants and worn-torn country leaders. The petition was referred to in the wonderful “One World Together at Home” television concert last Sunday evening. Over 2.2 million people have signed this petition. The link is: https://secure.avaaz.org/campaign/en/global_ceasefire_loc/

Amnesty International believes in the power of the individual letters to make an impact on the consciences of politicians and military leaders, as A.I. has had many past successes in freeing persecuted individuals and groups. Our Amnesty team at UCM has prepared the attached letter for UCMers to print at home, sign, and put your city address below (optional). You may put the letter in an envelope yourself, or scan the letter and send it to johnrowell99@gmail.com and I will put several letters in one envelope. The letter this week is to a military leader in the Philippines  who arrested 21 people near Quezon City for protesting the lack of government food aid during the Covid crisis; the people were jailed for 5 days and face a fine of S30,000 CDN each for violating quarantine. Our letter urges peaceful dialogue rather than violent suppression to secure cooperation of people to follow social distancing. See the attached letter:
https://Phillippine_Covid_protest_letter.04.docx

In April 2019, our congregation sent over 35 letters to Prime Minister Trudeau urging the federal government to honour commitments to clean up the effects of mercury pollution on the Wabigoon and English rivers near Grassy Narrow First Nations reserve and provide health care services to adversely affected residents. We also addressed letters to the Supreme Ayatollah of Iran urging him to release Nasrin Sotoudeh from a 35 year/178 lash sentence for her advocacy of Iranian women’s rights.

In February 2019, we sent almost 40 letters to the  Mississauga Mayor and the Regional chairs of Peel and Halton advocating a ban on sales of single-use water bottles on municipal property, and we wrote to Provincial Environment Minister advocating the same ban for provincial parks and Ontario government properties.

In 2018, our Amnesty committee sent letters on the following issues:

  • Letters to the government of Ukraine to provide better protection to LGBTI advocates, and letters to Iran to pardon Atena Daemi, jailed for protesting the extensive use of capital punishment. (Dec.)
  • Letters to the outgoing and incoming Mexican Presidents to investigate the disappearance of 43 teachers college students who opposed drug cartels. (Sept.)
  • Writing to Crown Prince Mohamed bin-Salman to release 3 women detained for advocating women’s right to drive and to be free from male guardianship laws. (June)
  • We wrote to the premier of Newfoundland advocating strong environmental hearings on the potential mercury pollution from the Muskrat Falls hydro project, and letters to the President of Colombia asking their government to give safe harbour to trans-border indigenous people (Yukpa Tribe) fleeing Venezuel (Apr.)
  • Letters urging an end to defacto slavery in Mauretania, with personal letters to jailed anti-slavery advocates, and letters to the Indonesian government to better protect the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam from looting and discrimination.. (Feb.)

In 2017, we wrote letters on the Rohingya Crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh, evictions of Sengwer tribespeople from their homeland in Kenya Forest parks, promoting better Serbian protection of single male Syrian refugees, advocating for an ombudsman to ensure Canadian Mining companies respect human rights and indigenous property rights in Central and South America, and Canadian aboriginal issues such as Jordan’s Principle guarantees for First Nations children’s access to hospital services, better funding for First Nations primary schools, and for our federal government to sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

There was a strong history of advocacy of Amnesty International cases at UCM and UCSP (Unitarian Congregation of South Peel) by our elder member Ken Noble for many years, and we were inspired by his example to continue in his footsteps.

If you would like to join our Amnesty Group to help organize letter-writing or online campaigns or petitions, please contact John Rowell at johnrowll99@gmail.com, or Kathy Stobie at jimpcc170@gmail.com

Check out our Calendar

Petition on the Homeless

We are requesting that you sign an urgent online petition:

1. Petition to the Mayor of Toronto. This petition is sponsored by Change.org, advocating that the City of Toronto accelerate the relocation of homeless persons from crowded shelters into hotels and vacant community centre facilities. Only 313 people have been relocated so far out of more than 7,000 homeless residents in Toronto. A near complete relocation has been done successfully in Calgary, and it is an excellent opportunity during the Covid-19 crisis to do this in Toronto.

It is also an urgent health care issue for us all, as the Covid-19 outbreak is spreading rapidly in Toronto’s homeless shelters. If it gets out of control, it could reignite a major community spread of the Covid virus. We must act now.

Almost 40,000 people have signed the petition in this link below. Please  add your name and copy your friends on social media and emails:

https://www.change.org/p/mayor-john-tory-mayor-tory-declare-homelessness-an-emergency-to-prevent-more-deaths-and-suffering/u/26289599?recruiter=9439037&utm_source=share_update&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=share_twitter_responsive&utm_term=share_petition&recruited_by_id=ec513af0-bee7-012f-628d-4040acce234c

If you would like to join our Amnesty Group to help organize letter-writing or online campaigns or petitions, please contact John Rowell at johnrowll99@gmail.com, or Kathy Stobie at jimpcc170@gmail.com

Check out our Calendar

Pathways Update March 2020:
Pathway Housing Developments and Pathway Community Programs

The Pathway retreat in March endorsed an engineering and financial feasibility study for an expansion to the Arbour Mill social housing building in Cooksville. Our Pathway staff is expecting to  have market rent tenants who will have difficulty with April rent payments, and we will address these situations with compassion and responsibility.  Elizabeth Dumoulin, property and homeless programs coordinator at Norton Lake,  spoke eloquently about social programs in our Pathway buildings at our last in-person Sunday service at UCM. Several UCM members signed Pathway memberships at the service or took the registration forms home.

The address to send membership forms ($10 ) and donations to Pathway Community Programs is:  Pathway Non Profit Community Development Inc.,  3023 Parkerhill Rd, Mississauga, ON L5B 4B3. Or you could do an e-transfer to Pathway Non-Profit (add payee), and give their email contact: info@pathwayhousing.ca The phone number is 905.272.2285.

If you have questions about Pathway and/or PCP, you may contact John Needham or John Rowell.

Pathways Community Housing was founded by Solel Synagogue, Streetsville United Church, and the Unitarian Congregation of South Peel to address the need for affordable housing in Peel Region. Our mission is rooted in the conviction that of faith that all human beings deserve to have their fundamental needs met.

The mission of Pathway is: To provide decent and affordable housing that nurtures community and well being of people of no, low, or modest income. Members of the Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga remain involved as volunteers on the Board and in the Community programs at Pathways.
The exciting news from Pathways is that they are currently looking for new opportunities to build affordable housing in Peel. If you are interested in becoming involved in Pathways Housing, contact John Needham by emailing info@uucm.ca

Pathway Community Programs – Volunteers from the Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga provide breakfast club. Pathway Community Programs is a non-profit organization, which operates and oversees the Audrey Pritchard Breakfast Clubs at two locations in Mississauga, at Forest Ridge and Arbour Mill. They provide nutritious breakfasts and lunches-to-go to children and youth of low-income families. A part-time coordinator for each breakfast club is assisted by volunteers. Approximately 1600 breakfasts and lunches are served each month by these clubs.

To find out more about these great volunteer opportunities, contact Erica Lautenschlager by emailing info@uucm.ca

Check out our Calendar

The Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga has a long history of sponsoring refugee families to come to Canada.  Most recently we has assisted several families in Halton and Peel to come to Canada.

As a congregation, we have been very involved in assisting refugees.  Refugee populations may be particularly vulnerable during a pandemic.  UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and IOM, the International Organization for Migration, are concerned that international travel could increase the exposure of refugees to the virus.  They have had to take steps to temporarily suspend resettlement departures.  UNHCR has put out an urgent appeal to ensure that refugees are included in COVID-19 surveillance, preparedness and response activities. UNHCR’s preparedness measures will protect refugees, displaced people and their host communities before, during and after this global health emergency.
https://donate.unhcr.org/int/coronavirus-emergency/~my-donation#_ga=2.211616592.456079727.1584551338-1826831518.1584551338

Refugee Sponsorship Update March 2020:

We recently received good news that a new refugee family of 3 from Syria,  which is sponsored financially by relatives in Mississauga, but co-sponsored by UCM and the CUC for paperwork applications, has been accepted by the IRCC (Immigration , Refugee and Citizenship Canada) for sponsorship. There are still hurdles of getting medicals, final interview and police clearance completed in Jordan, but it looks promising they will arrive sometime in 2020.

UCM has signed a fundraising letter to support a family that escaped terrible violence in Zimbabwe and is stranded in Thailand awaiting full UNHCR refugee status. The family will settle in Barrie, Ontario, where their aunt is tirelessly organizing a fundraising campaign.  We will give more details in future communications.

We are continuing contacts with three refugee families, our first Syrian family of five who arrived in 2016, the Syrian family of seven who arrived in 2018, and an Iraqi family who arrived in February 2019. The first two families were active in ESL/LINC courses at the start of the COVID crisis, but are now awaiting the reopening of classes. The Iraqi family parents are both working, but in unsteady positions. All the families’ children are eagerly hoping for their schools to open again.

 

 

Our community has a long tradition of working for equality, inclusion, peace and justice.  Our aspiration is to transform of ourselves, our congregation, and the world around us into a place of greater compassion and justice.

As a member congregation of the Canadian Unitarian Council, we are committed to work with members of the indigenous community on Truth and Reconciliation.  We are on the path towards reconciliation and we are in the process of consciousness raising.    Check the calendar for Reconciliation events throughout the year.

In 2018, the congregation aims to become a Green Sanctuary.   This is a major project aims to assess and address our impact on the environment as a congregation and individuals.  UCM will engage with the broader community to bring about meaningful change to protect our beautiful earth.

Our Social Responsibility Committee meets regularly.  Check the calendar for the next meeting,

There are many ways that UCM acts for a better world.  Join in!

Check out our Calendar

The Unitarian Universalist Association’s (UUA’s) involvement in the United Nations can be traced to the early part of the 20th century. Both the Unitarians and the Universalists were active in the League of Nations Association and later closely monitored the creation of the United Nations.  The founding of the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO) can be traced to April of 1962.

The Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga is a Blue Ribbon Congregation.

In order to be a Blue Ribbon congregation, we undertake the do the following things:

  1. Have an Envoy, Youth Envoy, or Envoy Team.Envoys serve as the link between their congregation, the UU-UNO, and the United Nations. They promote UU-UNO education and advocacy in their congregations and bring local concerns to the international stage through the UU-UNO.
  2. Hold an annual UN Sunday service.In celebration of the founding of the United Nations on October 24th, 1945, the UU-UNO invites congregations to deepen their understanding of the United Nations by devoting one service in October to highlighting the work of the UU-UNO and reaffirming the connections between UU principles and vital issues dealt with at the UN.
  3. Have 15 members or 5% of your congregation donate.The annual contribution rate is $50 ($40 for ministers and seniors).
  4. Give the UU-UNO an annual budget line or collection plate. The offering at our UN Sunday service is donated to the UU-UNO!

 

 

TESTIMONIALS

  • UCM is a diverse and multicultural community of individuals ‘who are guided by compassion, reason and love on an individual search for truth and meaning’. “we collaboratively try to make sense of the world around us”

    David Armani
  • For Marc, Unitarian Universalism aligned much more closely with his views on life than the Catholicism of his youth, and gave him a community of people with whom to struggle with how to act justly in the world.

    Marc Xuereb
  • I love the great variety of people and opinions that can be found at UCM. I love that it's a safe space to engage in dialogue about things you might steer away from other places...

    Kristen

 

We strive to foster healthy relationships amongst and within UU communities
with the broader world and with all life

COMING EVENTS

23Oct

Online Event: Mindfulness Friday

Friday, Online
24Oct

Online Event: Fall Focus for Committee Chairs

Saturday, Online
25Oct

Online Service: Keeping Faith

Sunday, Online
28Oct

Online Event: Hearth Light

Wednesday, Online
29Oct

Online Event: Orientation to UCM

Thursday, Online
More events

JOIN US!


Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga

84 South Service Road
Mississauga, ON
L5G 2R9
905-278-5622
info@uucm.ca