Our FUFON Story
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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 and are sponsoring a Syrian refugee.
The First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo was founded in the late 1950’s and 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, The Nanaimo Fellowship hired Marian Stewart, a ministerial intern shared 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 to accept a position in Saskatoon. Rev. Samaya Oakley was hired as our half time developmental minister from 2013 through 2017. For the 2017-18 Fellowship year, the Rev. Meg Roberts provided consulting ministry services to the fellowship for twenty-four hours each month. Since August 2019, Rev. Debra Thorne has been the Fellowship’s 2/3 time minister.
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! The Fellowship also is sponsoring a Syrian refugee.
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
Our Fellowship is a registered charitable institution. In 2005 we also became a registered Society, with the name: First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo.
Covenant of Right Relations
After much energy and effort by our Committee on Shared Ministry and input from our members, we completed our Covenant of Right Relations in 2014. View it on this link:
Conflict Resolution Policy
Our growing membership encourages everyone in the Fellowship to be part of the engagement and ongoing unity. Conflict, however, occurs in any successful group so we developed a policy to guide us along the way.
Links to other Unitarian Organizations
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: