Who We Are


Our FUFON story

First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo (FUFON) is an inclusive growing religious community of over 75 members and friends. Drawn from all areas of central Vancouver Island, we meet for worship and community at Unitarian Hall in the city of Nanaimo. We welcome all who share our philosophy regardless of age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity. We provide a full range of programs including Sunday services, a children’s religious education program, a dynamic choir, open to all, and opportunities to meet in small and large groups for spiritual enrichment and fellowship. Living our principles of social responsibility, we house and manage a low barrier winter shelter for homeless people in Nanaimo in the lower floor of our building.

Our Beginnings

Our fellowship was founded in the late 1950’s when members of a discussion group decided to formalize their gatherings and formed the Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo. They received official status in 1960. From then until 2004 the fellowship rented various premises and slowly grew our congregation. In 2004 our members made the momentous decision to buy our present building at 595 Townsite Rd in Nanaimo and call it home.

Ministry at FUFON

In 2006, we hired a ministerial intern along with First Unitarian Church of Victoria to provide ministerial services, extending it a second year.  Ministry proved to be so successful we engaged the Rev. Karen Fraser Gitlitz to be our half time minister. Rev. Fraser Gitlitz  left the fellowship in 2012 and the fellowship hired Rev. Samaya Oakley to be our half time developmental minister. Currently we do not have an engaged minister but continue to provide weekly services presented by guest ministers and lay led personnel.

Social Responsibility

In 2009, in consultation with the city and community our fellowship opened the only low barrier extreme weather shelter for homeless people in Nanaimo. It continues to this day managed by our fellowship and located on our lower floor. In 2016 our Welcoming Congregation proudly marched in Nanaimo’s first ever Pride Parade!

Our FUFON Community

The one constant in the 50 plus years we have been operating as a fellowship is the strength of our community. We value friendships and learning from each other. We value the range of ages that compose our community (currently babies to 90’s!). All are vital contributors to our fellowship.

Our Mission Statement


Constitution and Bylaws, Covenant of Right Relations

Our Fellowship is a registered charitable institution. In 2005 we also became a registered Society, with the name: First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo. Under the B.C. Societies Act, we are required to make a copy of our new constitution and bylaws available to all members. To see them, please click on the following link:

Note: A task force (Jim Horncastle, chair) is currently updating our Constitution and Bylaws. All members (and friends) are urged to read the current bylaws and communicate any changes/improvements at a town hall meeting scheduled for the near future. Thank you for attention to this important task.

Constitution and Bylaws

Covenant of Right Relations

After much input, energy and wonderful efforts by so many of our Fellowship, we completed our Covenant of Right Relations in 2014 which can be viewed on this link:

FUFON Covenant Of Right Relations

Conflict Resolution Policy

Our growing membership encourages everyone in the Fellowship to be part of the engagement and ongoing unity, but conflict occurs in any successful group, so we developed a policy to guide us along the way.

FUFON Conflict Resolution Policy Dec 2016

We are associated with the Canadian Unitarian Council, and the Unitarian Universalist Association in the United States. To see their websites, please click on the following links: 

Canadian Unitarian Council

Unitarian Universalist Association