We Are Unitarians!
Unitarianism is an open-minded and individualistic approach to religion that gives scope for a very wide range of beliefs and doubts. Religious freedom for each individual is at the heart of our religion. Everyone is free to search for meaning in life in a responsible way and to reach their own conclusions. In line with this approach to religious truth, Unitarians see diversity and pluralism as valuable rather than threatening. We want religion to be broad, inclusive, and tolerant. Unitarianism can therefore include people who are Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Pagan and Atheist.
Unitarians believe that religious truth is not necessarily or primarily laid down either in scriptures, by a holy person or by a religious institution. No individual or group in Unitarianism makes an exclusive claim to the truth. Within certain core values (our Principles) each Unitarian can believe what they feel is right
Unitarians believe religion should make a difference to the world and are often active in social justice and community work. They were among the first congregations in Canada to welcome LGBT members as clergy and as members. Fufon is a Welcoming Congregation. www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/unitarianism
In 1961 Unitarians and Universalists in the United States merged to form the Unitarian Universalist Association. Together they agreed upon our seven Principles and six Sources. While Canada remains officially “Unitarian”, members embrace the values of both “U’s” and some Canadians describe themselves as Unitarian Universalist.
Our Mission Statement
Our FUFON story
First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo (FUFON) is an inclusive growing religious community of over 65 members plus friends totalling approximately 100 people. Our members, drawn from all areas of central Vancouver Island, 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 offer a full range of programs including Sunday services, a children’s religious education program, a dynamic music program and opportunities to meet in small and large groups for spiritual enrichment and fellowship. And we have a lot of fun doing it! 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 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 stayed for four years. She 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 ministry and lay led personel.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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: