CUUWA International Women’s Day service, 2021

The recording of the 2021 CUUWA IWD Service, featuring an original sermon by Reverend Kathy Sage and original artistic creations including Dreaming, Demystifying, Decolonizing, Dreaming, Devoting by Ilara Stefaniuk-Gaudet, songs by Rev. Wendy Luella Perkins, and poems and readings by CUUWA members, can be found here or under videos on our Facebook page.

Here are some ideas for consideration about how to utilize this 2021 Canadian Unitarian Universalist Women’s Association International Women’s Day Service.

This IWD Service was a live “Zoom” on March 7, 2021 with several pre-recorded segments. For several years, the CUUWA has encouraged each Canadian UU community to hold an IWD Service closest to IWD which is March 8th.  May this service inspire your community to begin planning next year’s IWD service! The Web page of CUUWA has files of previous years services and the resources are available to you.  

We recorded this “Zoom Service” and have made it available for use by UU congregations and groups across Canada, and beyond, with the stipulation that 1) you give credit to the CUUWA and provide links to our website, 2) we do not ask for payment for use, provided you are not charging for viewing, or for use in any publication without the written permission of the CUUUWA and the creators of specific music and art that are included in your use, 3)  We ask that you consider compensation to two artists if you are using the Service for a congregational service.  Here is the information to provide artists’ fees to Rev. Wendy Luella Perkins, musician for her original work and Ilara Stefaniuk-Gaudet, the artist/animator for Dreaming, Demystifying, Decolonizing, Dreaming, Devoting. This is not required, It is a hope that you will recognize these particular creative ministries. Support Wendy Luella at: and Ilara at:

The composer of the Grand River Unitarian Congregation “Covenant” graciously offered their beautiful music for our use.  The lyric composer of the music in ComUUnion, Liz James and the video producer also offered their creativity for this project which has been available on YouTube for some time.  Do consider thanking them for their creativity and generosity! A zoom “guest preacher,” would be compensated for a Sunday Service.  In this case, Rev. Kathy Sage chose to try something totally new, and write a “sermon” and have it “animated.”  This was inspired by a 6-minute creation by Liz James and Ilara Stefaniuk-Gaudet, entitled “Hope and Orange Trees.” Kathy is retired and has “retired” from preaching, and requests that your normal “guest preacher” budget go to Wendy Luella and Ilara. Deep appreciation to all of the creative talent!  Please note that the service includes three original Canadian UU women music composers, and UU artist/animator Ilara Stefaniuk-Gaudet (they/them).  Both artists received initial compensation for their commissioned creations. Deep appreciation to all of the creative talent! Please note that the service includes three original Canadian UU women music composers and a UU artist animator (they/them). As well, thanks to CUUWA council member, Jo-Anne Elder for the Land Acknowledgment, Chalice Lighting, (original response by Wendy Luella), and the Responsive Reading (original sung response by Wendy Luella), and Tech Weaving and consulting by Margaret Linton. The material by Jo-Anne Elder and other poetry can be found in the CUUWA’s Sacred Space package, linked to our home page at

Ideas for use. Find out more about the 20-minute sermon and animation here.

  1.  The service, with some skill from your tech staff and volunteers, could be used for a Sunday Service. Please listen to the entire service early in your planning so that you can decide if it is appropriate for your context. If so, see notes below about how it might be “paused,” and your welcome, your offering, etc. could be inserted, and encourage members to help with technology.
  2. The Service could be used for a small group. Parts of the service could be used for Adult RE. The Service could be shared with individuals (especially isolated during lockdown). 
  3. The 20-minute animated Dreaming, Demystifying, Decolonizing, Dreaming, Devoting could be used with additional links to use with other learning about the Doctrine of Discovery, related to indigenous issues in Canada, racism in Canada, white privilege, femicide, and intersectionality. That packet is being developed and will be posted on the CUUWA website and Facebook page.
  4. The video can be used to encourage discussion about Indigenous and racialized women in Canada, as part of learning about the proposed 8th principle.
  5. Please let Kathy Sage (email coming) and the CUUWA know how you are using the material, so we can pass along your thanks to the creators. 

Run sheet

The following time markers identify break points when you can insert elements (Welcome, Offering, small group discussions) that you would like to include in a live or streamed congregational service.

Start: You can offer your congregational Welcome and indicate that this is a pre-recorded service. Invite them to learn some new songs and be ready to silently add their land acknowledgement.

1:14 Start with a Prelude or Opening Song with Wendy Luella singing : “We’re Gonna Rise” “What do I choose to give Oxygen to: On the Way from Here to There.”

10:10 Welcome and Territorial Acknowledgement and Chalice Lighting

15:45 Responsive Reading with Sung Response: “There Shall be Room for All”

21:28 is the 20-minute segment that is the Focus: Dreaming, Demystifying, Decolonizing, Devoting

45:00: Reflection: “Words on the Wall” is the original composition from the Grand River Congregation, which is a reflection on a reading in Singing the Living Tradition (the grey hymnal) #471. This is here to help people gather their thoughts after the Focus. You may want to invite listeners to begin to connect what they have heard with your congregation’s or learning group’s ongoing work around racial justice. You might ask: “What ‘Words’ are on our wall?” (mission statement, covenant, principles) and “How do they help us engage with this work?”

49:43 “ComUUnion” is a video that was created after a (primarily) Young Adult UU gathering in 2015. The words were composed as one way of wondering “is there room in our faith communities for innovation and new ideas, or does the weight of tradition rule?” It may be a useful prompt to wonder about demographics in your congregation, about the people who “are not there to say these words.” It could also be a useful prompt to wonder about how taking extended time to explore together can help us find new ways to listen deeply to others. The words echo the use of “hearing each other to speech” as Nelle Morton is quoted in the Dreaming segment.