Communities of Faith Annual Meetings
In September 2021, the General Council Executive extended the temporary suspension of the requirement for congregations or pastoral charges to hold an annual meeting and the temporary amendment of the responsibility of the congregation or pastoral charge to make a decision on the annual draft budget by allowing the governing body of the congregation or pastoral charge to fulfil this responsibility where necessary. Each of these temporary amendments is in effect until June 30, 2022. If you decide to proceed with a meeting, any electronic method is acceptable as long as the participants have the ability to communicate with each other orally or through typed messaging at the same time. As long as most members have and can use the needed technology, it is a reasonable choice to proceed with a meeting. If you have questions about the temporary amendments related to the Annual Meeting or the budget, please contact Jody Maltby (JMaltby@united-church.ca) or Kim Uyede-Kai (KUyedeKai@united-church.ca). For more information, see the Shining Waters website page on Annual Meetings.
The General Council Executive also extended the temporary amendments to pastoral relations policies for urgent decisions related to call or appointment and these are also in effect until June 30, 2022. If you have questions about the temporary amendments to the pastoral relations policies, please contact Dale Hildebrand (DHildebrand@united-church.ca) or Todd McDonald (TMcdonald@united-church.ca).
Please remember to send a copy of your Annual Report to the regional council office. An electronic copy can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org (preferred) or you can mail a hard copy to 59 Line 4N, Oro-Medonte, ON L0L 2L0.
Also, a reminder to update Church Hub with your new regional lay reps and church leadership. It would be appreciated that you also let the regional office know the names and contact information of your lay reps. Again, that can be sent to email@example.com.
Regional Council Meeting
General Council 44
- From Facebook to YouTube, there are many ways for people to participate throughout these next several months of GC44! These options are outlined here: https://generalcouncil44.ca/about/connect-gc44
- If people want to register to attend online as a visitor, they can do so at https://pheedloop.com/register/UCGC44/attendee/?
- Worship resources for congregations can be found on the website at https://generalcouncil44.ca/community/worship-resources-congregations
- The latest General Council news will be on the home page of the website: https://generalcouncil44.ca/
Pastoral Relations Commission
The Pastoral Relations Commission has approved a new policy in the area of Pulpit Supply. The policy provides direction in areas such as the frequency with which Communities of Faith can use one minister or Licensed Lay Worship Leader for pulpit supply. It also outlines eligibility for the pulpit supply list and accountability relationships. The policy is being sent to all Communities of Faith, Pastoral Charge Supervisors, and those who are on the Pulpit Supply list. It is also posted to the Shining Waters website here. The pulpit supply list itself is available from the Pastoral Relations Ministers (firstname.lastname@example.org – north of Highway 407; email@example.com – south of Highway 407).
The Commission also continues to work on putting into action the Equity Report recommendations. A multi-year implementation plan is being developed. However, some steps are happening now. For example, on February 4 – 5, Shining Waters pastoral relations liaisons participated in equity training that will equip them to incorporate broader and deeper equity issues with search teams.
As part of the Commission’s Flourish program to support the health, joy, and excellence of ministry personnel, we continue to gather ministry personnel monthly on Zoom to support and nourish our ministers. On February 15, Rev. Marlene Britton from the Office of Vocation will provide leadership in exploring collegial support and allyship.
Social & Ecological Justice Commission
The Commission is sponsoring a mid-winter event for Ministry Personnel; Moving Forward with Social & Ecological Justice in Communities of Faith
It will be held on Tuesday, March 8, 2022 from 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon. The guest speakers are the Hon. Rob Oliphant (Member of Parliament for Don Valley West) and the Rev. Eleanor Scarlett (Minister, Sheridan United Church, Mississauga). The event will cover: What will our preaching focus be? Who will educate and organize? How will we engage differing opinions? How will we sustain ourselves and our ministry call? The time together will also include:
-An opportunity to share stories of success;
-Time for learnings from not-so-successful experiences;
-And tools for organizing for local initiatives;
As well as engaging in breakout rooms.
Please contact Jeffrey Dale at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
Youth and Children’s Ministry
Wednesday, March 9th, 7 pm – 8 pm, Youth Ministry in these Changing Times. We will begin gathering together for intentional conversations regarding youth ministry in this fluctuating time of COVID-19 and how the church will engage youth and children moving forward. We will hear of the experiences at St. James United Church in Etobicoke. Zoom Link: https://united-church.zoom.us/j/93723351187
“Relationships Take Time” – Living into Right Relations Circle
The Living into Right Relations Circle of Shining Waters Regional Council seeks to bring good minds and good hearts to the church’s commitment to truth and reconciliation.
Meeting monthly on Zoom, the circle has widened over the past few years and now connects 18 communities of faith in the regional council. A time for sharing is always part of the circle when communities of faith pray together, share what they are doing in their right relations work, share resources they have found helpful, and hear about upcoming events. Most importantly, the circle being mostly non-Indigenous, is engaged in deeper, respectful listening. The questions by former Truth and Reconciliation Commission Chair, Hon. Justice Murray Sinclair, guide the spiritual roadmap to reconciliation, “Where do I come from? Where am I going? Why am I here? Who am I?” https://www.cbc.ca/radio/unreserved/national-day-for-truth-and-reconciliation-is-1-step-on-a-long-journey-says-murray-sinclair-1.6184561
Education is also an important step in right relations. Shining Waters website offers some resources: https://shiningwatersregionalcouncil.ca/right-relations/reading-viewing-lists/
At the January 2022 circle, Jonathan Hamilton-Diabo was special guest speaker. Jonathan serves as Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream in Theology at Emmanuel College, June Callwood Professor in Social Justice, and Special Advisor on Indigenous Issues with Victoria University. As a Mohawk person from Kahnawake and now urban, he shared wisdom on the importance of relationship in right relations work. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU8hg2-Izj4&t=13s
If you or your community of faith would like to connect to this expanding circle of right relations, please contact regional council staff support, Kim Uyede-Kai email@example.com 1-800-268-3781 ext. 6173.
The Communities of Faith Commission is in the process of identifying key directions that they want to pursue in addition to their responsive duties so that they can better support and encourage communities of faith. They spent some time considering the national strategic directions, call and vision https://united-church.ca/community-and-faith/welcome-united-church-canada/our-call-and-our-vision in light of their own work.
The Commission is also setting dates quarterly to receive any church governance documents that are to be reviewed by the region, and will publish those dates once they are set.
The Journey – Stewardship Best Practices spring cohorts
Don’t take our word for it. Here’s what Kathy Torhjelm from Brechin United Church in Nanaimo, BC has to say about the Stewardship Best Practices module: “I learned that Stewardship is Discipleship. I gained confidence to go out and invite others to support the essential work we do with the abundance we have been given.”
Online learning and coaching for your community of faith to increase the resources you have to do your mission. Want to know more? Check out the Stewardship Best Practices web-page, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New cohorts are running from the week of April 25 through May 19. Subscribe to the free monthly e-newsletter God’s Mission-Our Gifts for dates, times and registration link.
Community Ministry Cohort!
Fundraising and stewardship are vital to United Church Community ministries. To help you increase the resources you have for your ministry we are running a special cohort of the Stewardship Best Practices module for Community Ministries across Canada. Friday afternoons from 2-4 pm EST March 4-18. To sign up, or find out more, contact course leader Vicki Nelson.
Lenten Stewardship related Worship resources on the Stewardship in Worship page:
- 5-weeks of liturgy, complete sermons, kids/youth ideas. Loving our Neighbours: Five Sundays of Lent. Explore 5 new Lenten practices to help your congregation grow in faith. These don’t have to be used as part of the Called to Be the Church: The Journey – Congregational Giving Program, but they certainly can!
- Already used the 5-week Lenten worship series? Refresh it and all the stewardship worship series by using the Lectionary Worship Starters 2022.
Get ready for Lent! Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday) was traditionally a fat feast to give thanks for your abundance before the fasting of Lent.
- If you are having pancakes, be sure to offer a prayer of thanks for your abundance.
- Make Mardi Gras beads and string them with symbols of your abundance.
- Start a “___ jar” and make a gift to Mission & Service each time you do “____”.
It’s Annual meeting time, be sure to thank your leaders for their time, energy and all they do. Find the new Annual General Meeting worship resource here.
Enhance stewardship in worship
The act of making an offering is a central part of Worship. These free resources will help you lift up the offering and generosity as spiritual practices for followers of Jesus.
- Stewardship Seconds
- Offering Introductions
- Offering Prayers
Find them near the bottom of the Stewardship in Worship webpage.