KUF calls Rev. Beckett Coppola as its next settled minister

Kingston Unitarian Fellowship is pleased to announce the Reverend Rebecca “Beckett” Coppola as our next settled minister.

Beckett will arrive to KUF September 2017.

The Reverend Rebecca C. “Beckett” Coppola was ordained to the Unitarian Universalist Ministry on 29 January 2017 by Jefferson Unitarian Church and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder, Colorado.
She was the Intern Minister at Jefferson Unitarian Church in Golden, CO for the 2014-2015 church year, and is currently serving in a large hospital system in north-metro Denver as a Chaplain Resident.

Becketts professional interests (to name a few): adult faith formation, public speaking, Intergenerational community and social justice ministries as well the study of Buddhism. Non-professional interests: cooking, reading, meditation and yoga, movies and knitting.

We are very impressed by Rev. Beckett’s many strengths and talents. Beckett is an ardent collaborator who values the importance of partnering for lifelong growth.

Rev. Beckett is articulate, a deep listener, intelligent and able to engage people where they are. Beckett has strong organizational and administrational skills applied from a place of connection.

Kingston Unitarian Fellowship looks forward our future and fellowship with Rev. Beckett.

If you would like more details about Rev. Beckett, please visit

Q&A with the MSC April 23rd 2017

Join us after service on April 23rd for a question and answer period with members of the MSC.  This session is an opportunity for KUF members to understand the search process to date, what to expect from the upcoming Candidating Week and congregational vote. We will not be discussing the candidate at all, rather we will focus on how we arrived at this point and where we are going from here.

An informed and prepared congregation is our goal!

For those who want to read ahead, the “Keep Calm and Call a Minister” guide is available here.

Hope to see as many of you as possible on Sunday!

Kelli, Gordon, Mara, Kim, Bob and Sandra

Thoughts from your search committee

Members of the KUF Ministries Search Committee are asked to share why they put forward this candidate for consideration by the congregation. Here are their thoughts, provided for your information:





From Bob: The Ministerial Search Committee has unanimously chosen Rev. Beckett as our Number One Candidate. Rev. Beckett was my first choice and here is why:

  • She enjoys shared leadership, and has a wealth of administrative, and pastoral care experience.
  • She is a proactive listener, personable, caring, with a sense of humour and an infectious laugh.
  • She is intellectual but spiritual, living her Unitarian Universalist Principles.
  • She is well read, a good speaker, who places a high value on worship and will have an inspiring presence in both our local and the larger community of which KUF can be proud.
  • Her experience in this past year in systems thinking, organizational vision and clinical pastoral care will be a perfect fit with our congregation’s maturity and growth needs.

Rev. Beckett said her dream was to find a good match for her and land a wonder full UU congregation hoping for the same thing. I think we have found our dream too and we can “laugh, cry and worship together”.

From Gordon: I believe that Reverend Beckett’s combination of personality, education, experience and skill will serve KUF well.

During our weekend with Beckett, I observed many times, her ability to listen with empathy, and apply reason to the conversation. I believe her work style will be collaborative and team-oriented.     Through all the communication, MSC has had with Beckett; she has always been organized and quick to respond.

Beckett has a range of experience with people of different ages.

I believe that Beckett can bring to Sunday Services the balance that we want and also challenge us to look at our own boundaries. There will be ups and downs but it will be path that opens up opportunities for KUF to grow in many ways.

Finally, there is laughter. During our time together and each time we have communicated with her on Skype, there has been lots of laughter. What better way to start a relationship!!!

From Mara: Unitarians are a diverse group! The Ministerial Search Committee kept this front of mind throughout our search, referring constantly to the input we gathered from the congregation. The diversity of backgrounds, faith traditions, reasons people attend KUF, and what they wanted from a minister made it clear that we needed to find a minister who would listen, learn and adapt.

Beckett was that candidate for me. A recent graduate of divinity school, Beckett is keen to learn and grow with her congregation. She listens deeply and reflects on the speaker’s input. She wants to understand the congregation and looks forward to moving beyond the MSC’s description to hearing from everyone. She brings her own convictions, of course — there isn’t a Unitarian Principle she doesn’t embrace. But she’s keen to create the Sunday Services that meet the needs of the congregation.

Beckett also is keen to experiment. We want to change the order of service or the components of a service? Put it out to the congregation as an experiment. “We’ll try X for two months and see how everyone likes it.” I love the potential in that approach.

I love the diversity of views at KUF. I think Rev. Coppola will be the minister that encourages us to explore them, enjoy them and take our principles out into the world knowing we have considered them deeply.

From Kim: Meeting Beckett was a complete joy. She took the time to intentionally connect with all of us, and appeared to be genuinely interested in us as individuals, and about what we had to say about KUF. I approached Beckett with caution, since I was aware that she was a new minister, but was quickly pleasantly surprised on how her past work life seemed to prepare her for many of the skills needed to be a minister in a smaller congregation. We ensured that she has adequate support to meet this new challenge, and she went above and beyond what we were expecting, having family in Canada, a very solid professional support network, and even a connection in the Kingston area. We had many very intelligent conversations over the day and a half we spent together, and Beckett seemed quite well read in current events, UUA happenings, UU history, ecological issues, and a variety of theological and humanist topics. She seemed very eager to learn about Canadian politics (as well as other things about Canada), and asked many well thought out questions. I was quite impressed how Beckett approaches life with a sense of curiosity. It helped make me feel heard by her, and challenged in a gentle but powerful way. I enjoyed her laughter, and seeing how her cancer diagnosis helped her to reframe some things personally. Beckett showed us that she has what we are looking for, named very clearly in the surveys. She has an interesting and engaging way of approaching life both spiritually and intellectually, she cares for people, and listens deeply, and she is passionate about social action. I see Beckett as someone that I will enjoy exploring difficult topics with her in deep and meaningful ways.

From Sandra: Rev. Beckett has the wonderful ability to blend theological traditions. Her explorations and exposure to other traditions has helped her to become strong in her openness. She is an empathetic and compassionate listener but also an intellect and rational. She is passionate about Unitarian Universalism. With humour and curiosity Rev. Beckett will inspire us to deeper connections with each other and the larger community. I truly feel she is the ideal candidate for KUF.

From Kelli: At our neutral pulpit weekend, I was the first of the MSC to meet Beckett in person. I ran ahead to the cafe where we were to meet for lunch while the rest found parking. We shared a warm hug, happy that all had made it safely to our meeting spot despite the snowy winter roads. We sat and chatted while we waited and it was like having coffee with an old friend. When the rest of the group joined, Beckett easily made connections. She held space listening to each person and expressed a sincere interest in us as individuals and in KUF as a congregation. She spoke with passion about her Ministry, was organized and thoughtful in both her answers and her questions. I look forward with excitement to our Candidating Week so all members of KUF can start to form their own connections and experience her compassion and passion for Unitarianism first hand.

Candidating Week April 30th – May 7th Calendar of Events

Click this photo for a PDF copy of the entire week of events

What’s in store:

Want to know what is going on during Candidating Week April 30th to May 7th?  Click on the schedule above to find out.

We start and end our week with Rev. Beckett at Sunday Service where KUFers have the opportunity to hear a sermon and see her lead a service.  In between there are teas, a games night, a walk at Little Cat, theatre and committee meetings.

Events in blue are open to all.  Attend as many as you can!



Keep Calm and Call a Minister: Your Guide to Candidating Week 2017

This is an exciting time in our congregation! Now that we have a Ministerial Candidate, you may be wondering what happens now? This guide will provide answers to questions you may have.

Keep reading for more information or click the photo for a pdf copy of the guide.

Our next step is the search process is “Candidating Week”:

The Ministerial Search Committee has presented an excellent candidate, Rev. Rebecca C. “Beckett” Coppola, for your consideration. Candidating week is the time for the members of KUF to have an opportunity meet with our Ministerial Candidate and then to consider extending a call to ministry.

Candidating Week is the heart of the congregation’s discernment. There will be ample opportunities for you to meet Rev. Beckett and become acquainted with her personality and professional capabilities. Equally important, Rev. Beckett and will meet and interact with as many members as possible and learn about the different committees and groups that make up the life of our congregation.

When is Candidating Week?

April 30th – May 7th 2017

Candidating Week will start with Sunday Service on April 30th. This is your first opportunity to see Rev. Beckett in action and hear her first sermon. Shared Lunch with Rev. Beckett in attendance will follow and childcare will be available. During the week Rev. Beckett will meet with the Board, various committees, and will attend a variety of social events and potlucks (accompanied by a member of your search committee). Your second opportunity to attend a service with Rev. Beckett will be on May 7th. A full schedule of events will be made available soon.

It is highly recommended that all available KUFers attend both services.

We strongly encourage everyone attend at least one event during the week with Rev. Beckett, and take the time to say hello.  We know she’s incredibly excited to meet you all.

What to expect during Candidating Week:

In order to best meet expectations, it is important to consider what Candidating Week is and is not intended to be.

  • Beckett will not be presenting a program of any kind at the various meetings and social gatherings. Her purpose will be to meet congregation members and friends us and get to know us and learn a bit about us.
  • There will be open events planned but please note: not all events are open to everyone. Rev. Beckett will be meeting with various committees. These events will be open to members who sit on these committees. Other events are designed to accommodate KUF members over 70 years of age or the Senior Youth as examples. Attendance may be limited to people in those categories to ensure that Rev. Beckett hears from as many people as possible and so that members from every part of KUF have time dedicated to getting to know our potential new minister.
  • Candidating week is not the time to campaign for your pet project or advocate for drastic changes. Feel free to share your passions or personal thoughts but now is not the time to angle for endorsement of an agenda.
  • There will not be meetings or appointments available for individuals. While we have an entire week with Rev. Beckett, we have packed it with many activities. It is essential that our candidate have some down time to rest so she can be at her best when she is with us. She will also be meeting with with immigration lawyers, real estate agents and becoming familiar with Kingston and area. We want her to fall in love with us and where we live. Best to give some time for reflection and rest in order to do this.

How will we make our decision?

Candidate Week will culminate with a Special Congregational Meeting at noon on Sunday, May 7th 2017, immediately after service. The sole item of business will be to have the members of Kingston Unitarian Fellowship vote to ratify or to reject a motion put forward by the search committee to call Rev. Beckett Coppola as our next settled minister. A notice for the Special Congregational Meeting will be sent at least 10 days prior to May 7th. The motion will be included in the notice.

Important information about this meeting:

  • There will be childcare available
  • Beckett will NOT be present during this meeting
  • There WILL be an opportunity for questions and discussion prior to voting
  • This meeting will be open to all but only eligible members can vote
  • In accordance with our Constitution, only those who have reached the age of 18 and have been Members of KUF for at least 30 days prior to the meeting and who have made a financial contribution of record within the current or preceding fiscal year may participate to vote.
  • A sign in list of members eligible to vote will be available. This will allow us to determine whether 50% of voting members, which is quorum in this setting, are present.
  • Our Constitution does not allow for proxy or absentee votes, so please plan to attend in person (If you have questions or concerns about this please contact Joe Pater, Secretary at joelpater4@gmail.com or Daphne Hand, President at daphneh@kos.net)
  • The vote process will be managed by the Board of Directors
  • The vote will be by secret ballot

How many people need to vote in favour of the motion for it to be successful?

The bar is set high for this vote : Ministers are advised to accept a call only if the vote is at least 95 percent in favour. The Transitions Office normally discourages ministers from accepting a vote of less than 90 percent.

Your Ministerial Search Committee is confident that this bar will be reached or exceeded, but it is even more important for you to feel that way. Please participate in this important process by getting to know Rev. Coppola during Candidate Week and voting at the May 7th meeting.

How will we know if the vote was successful?

The result will be announced for all to hear, so that the amount of support of and opposition to the candidate is known by all.

Rev. Beckett is then made aware of the result. It is normal for there to be a short delay in the announcement as the candidate considers this information.

If the call is sufficiently strong, and is offered and accepted by Rev. Beckett, the ministry begins as specified in the agreement. Our new minister could potentially start in September 2017!

What if the vote fails?

If the vote fails, or if Rev. Beckett chooses not to accept the call, then the search process will end and KUF will proceed forward without a settled minister.  A search for a new interim minister will be convened, the current search committee will be disbanded, and a new search committee will eventually have to start over from the beginning.

A word on “calling” a minister:

The term “calling” a settled minister upholds the historic UU tradition of congregation polity (individual congregational governance).  Only the full membership of a UU congregation can “call” a settled minister (not the Board, not any faction of the congregation, not someone outside the congregation from above telling them who will be their minister). Calling a minister implies a special bond between minister and congregation. This is a distinctive partnership in which both “affirm their intention to share in a religious pilgrimage of mutual care, joy, forbearance, self-discipline, and a desire to serve the common good”.

We, the MSC, hope you will begin to see why we believe Rev. Beckett’s style and strengths are a good match for our congregation. We appreciate the great trust you put in us to choose the best for our congregation and we look forward to joining you and Rev. Beckett for a thoughtful and joyous week!

Kelli, Gordon, Mara, Bob, Sandra and Kim

An important addendum:

*********ALLERGY ALERT*********ALLERGY ALERT**********

We will need to be extremely careful when preparing and sharing dishes at our shared lunches and potlucks. Rev. Beckett has both food ALLERGIES and food INTOLERANCES. We want to ensure that she can eat with us and that everyone is safe and well during our time together.

In Rev. Beckett’s words:

“I appreciate your attention and care of my food allergy and intolerances very much!

I have a food allergy to shellfish (all clams, oysters, scallops, mussels, shrimp, crawfish, lobster, etc. etc.). If there are any hot dishes with shellfish in them I will have to leave. If there are cold dishes with shellfish in them I likely won’t eat anything.

I have food intolerances to gluten (wheat, barley, rye), eggplant, and quinoa. While these aren’t life threatening allergies exposure can make me very sick.

Thank you for your understanding, my apologies for any inconvenience, and please let me know if I should make arrangements to bring food that’s safe for me, which I am more than happy to do.”

**Please do not prepare any foods that include shellfish. You could consider not making foods that are included on the list of intolerances. Please label all dishes clearly on card stock. Below are resources that are useful so that we do not have cross contamination of foods when they are being prepared at home and when they are being shared at KUF. THANK YOU for your understanding and attention to this matter**

At our shared food events we will plan to:

  • Have foods that are Rev. Beckett safe on one table and foods that contain foods on the intolerance list on the other.
  • Each dish will be labeled.
  • Each dish will have it’s own utensil. Do not use a utensil for one dish and then use it again for another.
  • Wash hands after eating

Cross Contamination: http://www.allergysupportcentre.ca/cross-contamination.html

Kitchen Safety: http://foodallergycanada.ca/allergy-safety/at-home/

Seafood allergies: Health Canada


Examples of foods and products that contain or often contain seafood

  • Combination foods, for example, fried rice, paella and spring rolls
  • Garnishes, for example, antipasto, caponata (Sicilian relish)
  • Gelatin, marshmallows
  • Pizza toppings
  • Salad dressings
  • Sauces, for example, marinara, Nuoc Mâm, steak and Worcestershire
  • Seafood soups and broths
  • Spreads, for example, taramasalata
  • Surimi/Kamaboko
  • Sushi (e.g. California rolls)

Other possible sources of seafood

  • Deli meats, hot dogs (from gelatin)
  • Dips, spreads
  • Fried foods (from contaminated frying oil)






Mission Accomplished: We have a Ministerial Candidate!

The Ministerial Search Committee enthusiastically presents The Reverend Rebecca C. “Beckett” Coppola for your consideration as our settled minister. We know you will warmly welcome Rev. Beckett when she visits us for Candidating Week April 30th through May 7th

You are invited to find out more about Rev. Beckett by exploring her Ministerial Packet. Get to know her through her own words and photos.  The members of the Ministerial Search Committee with be sharing their thoughts about Beckett in the weeks to come here on the website.

We encourage everyone to plan to participate in the Candidating Week activities.  There will be a variety of opportunities to meet with her and see her in action each Sunday.

Please stay tuned for more details about the candidating process and the congregational vote.

The MSC wishes to thank the KUF congregation for the trust you placed in us to search for and find a candidate that is a great fit!  We have no doubt you’ll be impressed.



Gordon, Mara, Bob, Sandra, Kim and Kelli

The Pieces Are Coming Together

The members of your Ministerial Search Committee are thrilled to inform the congregation that we officially have a Ministerial Candidate! In March the MSC ranked all candidates being considered and sent that information to the UUA transitions office. Our “number 1” ranked candidate also listed KUF as their “number 1” congregation. We will be able to share details about our Ministerial Candidate once a background check is complete and the contract is agreed to.

So what happens now?

  • Channel the excitement! As a congregation, we captured the interest of nine highly qualified UU ministers. They were attracted to our vibrant community that we profiled in our Congregational Packet. Now is the time to review this inspiring collection of information about KUF that was created with your input and shared with our pre-candidates. Once we reveal the identity of the Ministerial Candidate we will share a link to their online Ministerial Packet with the congregation to review. You’ll soon see why we are so excited about this candidate!
  • Mark your calendars! Candidating Week will run from April 30th to May 7th. “Candidating” is the process by which the congregation meets the candidate and becomes acquainted with their personality and professional capabilities. Equally important is the opportunity afforded the candidate to meet us and learn about our committees, our practices, and our whole operating culture.
  • Stay Tuned! A schedule of Candidating Week events, including, meetings, greetings, potlucks, and other opportunities to meet the candidate will be posted soon. The MSC committee will be working with the Board, committees, staff, and members to cover keys areas of interest during weekday and evening activities. The week will start and end with Sunday Service on April 30th and May 7th with our candidate giving the sermons.
  • Plan to Vote! It is essential that as many KUF members participate in the vote to call a minister after the service on May 7th. We know that you will want to be informed about how the vote will work and what it will involve. We will post this information soon on the MSC section of the KUF website.

Our year in search is almost complete. Thank you for your love and support along the way!

Kelli, Bob, Gordon, Kim, Sandra and Mara

In the thick of it

Applicants unveiled! The Search committee was counting the minutes until the release of names and ministerial records was official at the beginning of January. We’ve now collectively reviewed the applications, and online websites (Ministerial Packets) of those ministers who have expressed interest in our congregation.  These contain extensive background detail, work history, sermons they have delivered as well as links to their Facebook and Linked-in profiles.

At the same time, interested applicants were reviewing the vibrant profile of our KUF community.  Your participation in the congregational survey, cottage meetings, individual conversations and strategic interviews formed the foundation for the information contained in the Congregational Packet we shared. You are invited to review our  Congregational Packet here.  This  inspiring collection of information about us attracted 9 applications from hopeful Ministers-in-search!!

After reviewing all 9 applications, we narrowed the field based on eight key areas regarding the qualities you seek in our next minister: 1. ability to lead inspiring and informative services, 2. ability to grow membership, 3. ability to lead, mentor and delegate, 4. ability to manage staff and administration skills, 5. interest in RE and other programs such as social justice, 6. authenticity, sense of humour, steady character 7. approach to community building and 8. embodies and promotes UU Values.

We then held 1 hour interviews via Zoom (similar to Skype) with the remaining 6 applicants during the past few weeks.

During our interviews with these ministers-in-search, we asked why they had chosen to apply to KUF.  Many if not all cited living our UU values through our connections in the community and social justice work.  All were impressed with our work on settling the Syrian Refugee family but also with our connection to Peace Quest, Child Haven, and Sustainability Kingston.  They were inspired by our youth travelling to the UU UNO this spring and many were excited about the enormous potential of our building.  It was clear to candidates that our congregation members are a committed, forward thinking bunch.  Remember to take a look at what we created together here: https://kufmsc.wordpress.com

Next Steps:

We are now in the process of reducing the number from 6 to the Final three pre-candidates and scheduling neutral pulpit visits with them in February and March.

Don’t forget!! Jacqui Williams from the UUA Transitions Office will be here on Sunday January 29, 2017 to present the Beyond Categorical Thinking workshop. Beyond Categorical Thinking workshop is offered by the UUA for congregations involved in the search for a new minister. The BCT program is designed to promote inclusive thinking and to help prevent unfair discrimination in the search process for a new minister. This program includes a Sunday morning service with BCT workshop facilitators followed by a three hour workshop. This opportunity allows the entire congregation fuller participation in the search process. It will allow us to explore our hopes and concerns for a new minister.

We hope you’ll plan to join us for this important workshop, Beyond Categorical Thinking, Sunday Jan. 29, 2017 from 12:30 to 3:30 pm at KUF, following shared lunch. Please RSVP to msc@kuf.ca.

We look forward to bringing you more exciting updates as we meet with our ministerial candidates!

In fellowship,

Kelli, Gordon, Bob, Sandra, Mara and Kim

Who are we and who or what are we looking for?

Thank you to everyone who came to today’s service exploring the concept of Ministry.  I hope you found the overview of the work and activities of the Ministerial Search Committee informative.
As promised here are the Ministerial and Congregational Profiles for you to read, review and give input on.  Just click on the links to read the documents and then email us at msc@kuf.ca with your suggestions and feedback.
The results of our Congregational Survey which informed the Ministerial and Congregational Profiles is also available for your review.  It will be included in the Ministerial Packet that we are creating for all interested candidates to peruse.
The MSC is grateful for the high response rate.  Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the Survey and participate in the Cottage Meetings.
We look forward to hearing what people think about our results.
Enjoy the snow!
Your MSC,

Kelli, Kim, Gordon, Sandra, Bob and Mara

PS: Don’t forget to mark January 29th on your calendars for the Beyond Categorical Thinking Service and Workshop!!