Social Responsibility

Unitarian Universalism has a long history of leadership and participation in issues of social responsibility and social justice. Unitarians such as Emily Stowe, first Canadian woman doctor and Joseph Workman, considered the “Father of Canadian psychiatry, stood up for the issues of their day and took steps to make a difference in their time. Our fellowship has also played a role in being present for people in need and calling for responsible action to events and issues.

We actively engage in living our Unitarian Principles of :”justice, equity, and compassion in human relations”.

Here are a few of our social justice priorities:


FUFON members march annually in the Nanaimo Pride Day each June.



Unitarian Shelter

First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo started the first “low barrier” winter weather shelter in 2008. Initially housed in the fellowship’s sanctuary it is now located in the lower floor of our building.  We average 25 guests per night. Please visit our Shelter page for more information.

Refugee Sponsorship Campaign – Update to Dec. 31

The First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo (FUFON) is an inclusive community of 75 members and friends whose values are: the inherent worth and dignity of every person; justice and compassion in human relations; acceptance of one another; and peace, liberty and justice for all.  Another of our core values is social responsibility.  FUFON has been part of the Nanaimo community since 1960.

For the past 11 years, we have lived our values through managing a winter shelter for homeless people in Nanaimo.  In 2018, we expanded our social justice commitment by pursuing Refugee Sponsorship to help with the global refugee crisis.  Our application to sponsor a refugee was approved by the government of Canada on November 5th.

The person we are sponsoring has already fled their home and had to abandon family, friends and livelihood. They are currently living under persecution and risk of harm and human rights violations in a country that is not their own. They are a highly trained and experienced, English-speaking professional who has a lot to give to Canada.

As a government approved sponsor, we are required to raise all funds needed to support the refugee for a year, which support must be raised in advance of the refugee’s arrival.  Due to the incredible generosity of the community, families, friends, the congregation, and others supporting our campaign, WE HAVE RAISED EVERYTHING we are required to raise under our sponsorship agreement.  The Refugee Sponsorship Committee offers a heartfelt THANK YOU!

In early December, the refugee had a positive interview with Canadian immigration authorities. We are encouraged by this news and great support, and will continue fundraising efforts until Dec. 31st for anyone desirous of making a year-end donation.  Any additional amounts raised will be used for refugee expenses.  For example, the sponsored refugee may incur expenses to obtain BC credentialing.  And if not needed for this individual, it could help us with our next  refugee sponsorship!  Or, we can donate excess funds to another local refugee sponsorship.

Please click on this link to find the FUFON Refugee Sponsorship donation page:

On behalf of FUFON’s Refugee Sponsorship Committee, thank you.

John Soer, Howard Rose, Brenda Steward, Faye Shedletzky, Bob Goodman