Our Fellowship is in search for a Consulting Minister

First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo

Ministerial Search

The First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo (FUFON) is looking for a consulting minister to lead us into the future.  We are located on beautiful Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada in a region with a population of 167,062.  As an affordable harbor town, Nanaimo offers residents the west coast lifestyle with breathtaking scenery, outdoor recreational activities, a vibrant arts scene, and a burgeoning local food culture.

About Us

Our Fellowship began in 1960 and met twice per month for over forty years.  That changed in 2004 when the Fellowship purchased a building in Nanaimo, hired its first professional minister, and began weekly Sunday Services.  Currently, we have 70 members and 30 individuals who identify as friends and average 51 adults and 8 children for Sunday Services.  We are an older congregation, mostly female and mostly married.

Recent Initiatives

We became a “Welcoming Congregation” in 2016 and participate with a large contingent in Nanaimo’s Pride Parade and festival.  Last church year, we initiated the Messy UU Church, a family-oriented Friday evening program, which has helped our congregation attract younger families to our Sunday program.

Six years ago, the Fellowship changed its governance model.  Previously, there were two boards; one for the Unitarian Foundation of Nanaimo, which owns and operates the building, and one for the Fellowship.  The new model has only one board that operates more like a policy board with the committees of the Fellowship reporting to it.  Recently, all Fellowship committees have reviewed and revised their mandates and a Covenant of Right Relations was developed and approved by the congregation.  Last year, we updated our bylaws.

Over the past three years, we have been upgrading our building with new bathrooms and an expansion of our children’s RE classrooms.  Currently, we are remodeling our kitchen.

The Ministerial Search Committee surveyed friends and members to identify the desired qualities and priorities for the next minister in addition to identifying aspirations for the future.  The results form the basis for the following desired future and anticipated challenges reported by our congregation.

Desired Future

Our greatest desire is to grow the Fellowship especially by attracting more families and young adults and, ultimately, to become a pastoral size congregation.  We hope this would also help increase pledges in turn supporting a greater engagement for the minister and improvements to our facilities for additional programming and other activities related to a vibrant Fellowship life.  We envision becoming a more visible presence in the broader community, province, and nation; improving our governance practices to align with our UU principles and further refining our processes to ensure right relations with all; and coming together to identify a vision for our role with the Unitarian Weather Shelter (Nanaimo’s only low-barrier shelter, which we operate out of our building’s basement).

The Minister We Are Looking For

  • We seek someone who can help us achieve our desired future! That means our ideal minister will be growth-oriented, forward thinking, and charismatic.  We desire sermons that inspire and challenge us intellectually and are followed by warm interactions as we invest time and energy in getting to know each other.  Our survey respondents identified three duties as most important for our next minister:  (1) Sunday Sermons; (2) Building Community Within the Fellowship; and (3) Expansion of Membership and Vitality.  When asked how the minister should prioritize ministerial responsibilities, these same themes appear with the number one priority being Spiritual Leadership; the second, Congregational Growth and Leadership; and the third, Facilitation.
  • While we want to be entranced by your sermons, struck by your warmth and charm, and delighted with your ability to attract new folks to our doors, it is only fair that we share with you challenges you may face with our congregation. After all, we are a mature and gifted group.  And, while we express desire for change, we will still want to keep many of our long-standing traditions.  Change may be hard for us at times.  You, as our spiritual leader, will need to engage us in creating that future even as you guide us.  Survey respondents suggested that you, as our minister, will need to be comfortable with a shared leadership role and competent and experienced in managing conflict in constructive ways.  We seek a leader who will walk side-by-side with us on our journey and is willing to go all in.
  • If this sounds like a good fit for you, we would love to speak with you. Interested candidates can reach the Search Committee by emailing the Committee Chair at goodmanvi@gmail.com.
  • Additional congregational survey information is available upon request and more information about FUFON is available on UUA’s Settlement System.



Unitarian Shelter


February 24, 2018
The shelter now has its own Facebook page where we’ll be posting updates, information and links to useful and interesting information about homelessness.
Check it out and please Follow to stay on top of what’s happening.

Jan 26, 2018
A new partnership between the City of Nanaimo and the Unitarian Shelter.
November 1, 2017

Serving our community for the tenth year.
Contact us:
Shelter Coordinator Kevan Griffith: 250-754-3720 | kevan.s.griffith@gmail.com
Executive Director Lois Peterson: 250-758-1601 | shelter@ufon.ca

We acknowledge the vital support of the following government funders:

logo city nanaimo logo bchousing

In December, with so many calls on everyone’s generosity, we were gratified to receive such great support from our community.
Along with a hearty shout out to our very generous Unitarian Fellowship members and our neighbours and friends who made individual cash donations, and to everyone who provided warm clothing, sundries and seasonal gifts for our guests, we offer a huge THANK YOU to

  • Residents of  buildings managed by Northern Properties Limited
    who selected The Unitarian Shelter as recipient of their charitable giving this year – presenting us with a cheque for $4,000.
  • Indie Entertainment, who dropped off Blessings Bags for our shelter guests.
  • Nanaimo Seniors’ Village residents who collected socks, gloves, hats and other items for shelter guests.
  • The Rotary Club of Nanaimo sponsored a Clothing Drive at which our friends and neighbours donated coats, jackets, pants, sweaters, sweatshirts and pants, socks, hats for shelter guests.
  • Motherload Transport partners and colleagues presented a very generous cash donation. 
  • Central Drugs at 2220 Bowen Road  supplied a quantity of vitamins for shelter guests. 
  • Protection Island Lions Club made a cash donation to support shelter activities and services.
  • The Unitarian Shelter was the grateful recipient of a $5,000 donation from the ‘Compassion in Action Transferable Fund‘ held by the Vancouver Foundation.

YOU can help, too!
Please select the Paypal button below, or contact us at shelter@ufon.ca.


The Unitarian Shelter

For the past nine years, men and women have found overnight respite from the streets, a hot meal, clean clothes and a non-judgemental welcome at the
Nanaimo Unitarian Shelter at 595 Townsite Road, Nanaimo, BC.

Open seven nights a week from 6pm to 7am November through March, the shelter is funded through the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and by generous cash and in kind donations from members of the First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo and individuals, businesses and organizations in our community – and beyond.

YOU can help, too!
Please select the Paypal button below, or contact us at shelter@ufon.ca.


Shelter Coordinator: Kevan Griffith
250-754-3720 | kevan.s.griffith@gmail.com

Executive Director: Lois Peterson
250-758-1601 | shelter@ufon.ca

To make a donation to the Unitarian Shelter via Paypal
please click on the button below.


We are very grateful to individuals in our community – and beyond –
who support us through their individual cash and in-kind donations.

And for the support of the following businesses and organizations:

Canadian Tire – Nanaimo North   |   Coast Wholesale Appliances    |   Trees Dispensary
The Country Grocer   |   Gold and Silver Man  |  Marina’s Taverna     |     Midland Tools       Quality Foods – Bowen Rd |   Save-On Foods – Brooks Landing | Townsite Grocery
The Unitarian Church of Victoria |  Vancouver Island Student Union – Organization for Social Change | Home Depot

If YOU would like information about how you can help, please contact us.

Supporting the Humpback Whales

 Jackie Hildering, of MERS (Marine Education & Research Society) gave an absolutely magnificent presentation in April titled Humpback Comeback. She has volunteered to return to speak on another subject of whales.  Below is their post on the MERS FB-page.

Unitarian Shelter in the News

As the snow is falling outside again today on January 10th in Nanaimo, lit is comforting to know that 25 of Nanaimo’s homeless people will have a warm bed and a meal for the night at the Unitarian Shelter.  It is also comforting to know that this service is appreciated by the Nanaimo community as a couple of recent articles in the Nanaimo News Bulletin testify.



Unitarian Shelter News

Our very own Marla Thorburn, newly appointed Unitarian Shelter Interim Executive Director, and Shelter Coordinator Kevan Griffith recently appeared before the Nanaimo City Council to apply for urgently needed funding for the continued operation of our shelter in the coming winter.  Please watch the city council proceedings (start at count 2:20) http://www.nanaimo.ca/meetings/VideoPlayer/Index/SOC161024V?start=8461

Theme Based Ministry

Welcome to Theme Based ministry!  

We are happy to continue this popular feature in our fellowship life!

Theme based ministry is a way of deepening our experience together in our services, small group reflection circles, readings, resources, and spiritual practices. 

This year our thematic ministry moves on from examining the inner aspects of how we live our lives, into how we, as a people, can begin to effect change in the world. Our theme shifts into the theme of “what does it mean to be a people of …

September:    Anticipation

October:         Faith

November:     Inquiry

December:     Vulnerability

January:         Possibility

February:       Passion

March:           Prophecy

April:              Yearning

May:               Imagination

June:              Inspiration