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Social & Ecological Justice Commission

This year as we celebrate Pentecost, our Social and Ecological Justice Commission comes to you with a request approved at the recent gathering of the Shining Waters Regional Council.

That motion requested that Communities of Faith in Shining Waters Regional Council:

  • engage in education and advocacy around the need for increased social assistance in the form of higher income rates and that these rates be indexed to the cost of inflation.

It also requested that each Community of Faith in Shining Waters Regional Council:

  • name a lead poverty advocate to connect with the Social and Ecological Justice Commission, this name to be provided as soon as possible – by the end of June if that can be achieved.

Please contact, Jeffrey Dale, Minister for Justice and Faith Formation with the name and contact of your community’s representative. (jdale@united-church.ca)

Pastoral Relations Commission

One of the mandates for the Pastoral Relations Commission is to support the health, joy, and excellence of ministry personnel through our Flourish program.  On May 17, Tim Hackborn, Indigenous Office of Vocation minister joined our Clergy Zoom Gathering and led us in a conversation about legacy: what is a true legacy that will have life-giving impact in a community of faith for seven generations.  On June 8, we hosted 60 ministry personnel for a Clergy Day Away with facilitators Christine Jerrett, Alydia Smith, and Saya Ojiri. The purpose of this day was rest, renewed connections with colleagues after two years of the pandemic, and spiritual nurture.

Finally, we held a M&P 101 workshop on May 4.  This was a shared offering with Canadian Shield Regional Council.  The purpose was to do a basic training for new M&P Committee members.  We are grateful for the many participants and their commitment to this important ministry of supporting ministers and lay employees who serve in communities of faith.

Pastoral Relationships Thriving with Equity National Research Project
Your story matters – toward thriving and equitable pastoral relationships.
If you were at the Regional Council meeting, you heard about the national Equity Research Project. The project involves all equity-seeking ministers and members who are engaged in a pastoral relationship (M&P, Board, Elders) to respond and share your experience.
Participate and find information by following this link: https://uccequity22.wixsite.com/equity22

Communities of Faith Commission

Elected Lay Reps – help us grow connections
A survey has gone out from the Commission to the region’s elected lay representatives to help us deepen connections in our region and identify opportunities for future learning.  Reps can take the 10-minute survey HERE, and we’d love to get responses back by the end of June so we can create plans for the fall and into the new year.

Requests for approval by Commission
A reminder that the members of the Communities of Faith Commission will not be available during the last week of July and the first week of August to consider any requests for approval including governance models, amalgamations, closures, collaboration agreements or property transactions.  Communities of faith are asked to be aware of this when submitting items for approval by the Commission.

Governance documents
Another reminder that the next date set for the Commission to consider communities of faith governance documents is October 4. For those communities of faith revising or updating constitutions or governance models please include information on the difference from the previous version, the rationale behind the changes,  what it is you are seeking to address, and why you saw the need to make the changes.  Please email your documents to Rachael Howes at rhowes@united-church.ca

regional meeting logo and header
Thank you for joining us!

In case you missed our regional meeting, recordings of both Friday and Saturday sessions are available on our website. For a summary of decisions please see our previous Currents edition. The Celebration of Ministry livestream recording can be found on our Celebration of Ministries page

We have had many requests to share various worship or presentation resources from the meeting. They can be found on our 2022 Regional Meeting page as they become available or see below.

Heather Menzies – Keynote Speaker
The manifestation of the spirit…for the Common Good. The Commons’ Heritage.
Presentation Notes

Video clip of Heather’s presentation – https://youtu.be/6G9e9u-KMXY
Niki Andre – Worship Leader
Video clip of Friday May 27 Worship – https://youtu.be/bm307-QWZFo
Video clip of Saturday May 28 Worship – https://youtu.be/9jqJ4eHVFZA

Éric Hébert-Daly – General Council Representative
Presentation – General Council Strategic Directions PowerPoint Slides

We look forward to seeing everyone at our next Regional Meeting!

Mission Support Grants at work in the region
AURA (Anglican United Refugee Alliance) is a Canadian charitable organization assisting in the sponsorship and resettlement of refugees. Their mission is to provide support and expertise to groups involved in refugee sponsorship and resettlement.

On World Refugee Day, each year on June 20th, the world commemorates the strength and courage of refugees around the world.  This year’s focus is on the right to seek safety, as every person has this right – whoever they are, wherever they come from, and whenever they are forced to flee.  AURA, the Anglican United Refugee Alliance, works together in partnership with a wide range of organizations, Churches, and community groups to help ensure this right is available to some of the most vulnerable refugees in the world.

Throughout the pandemic, refugee sponsorship has faced numerous challenges; changing procedures, extended delays, and constant varying travel regulations. Yet the AURA community has continued to find ways to engage, support, and welcome refugee newcomers.  Last year alone 75 sponsorship applications for refugees from 17 different countries were submitted. 59 sponsoring groups made up of 683 volunteers worked over 50,000 hours to support 217 refugees. Many of those volunteers and groups are United Churches often working with neighbouring Anglican churches or community groups – like the East Gwillimbury Group that includes Knox, Sharon-Hope, Mount. Albert and Virginia United Churches to give just one example.  (Check out AURA 2021 at a glance)

Last year also saw AURA’s work so highly recognized that the Federal Government, through Immigration Refugee Citizenship Canada, has awarded AURA a grant to use their model and manual of training volunteers in congregations to develop a National Online Training Platform. The Settlement Training and Education Program for Sponsors (STEPS), brings together a library of sponsorship training materials, best practices, guides, and resources into an interactive online portal to be used by refugee sponsors across the entire country.

AURA is so thankful for the dedication of all their refugee sponsors and their partnerships with the Anglican Diocese of Toronto and the Shining Waters Regional Council of the United Church. What started as the church’s response to the Vietnamese refugees 50 years ago and through continual support, is now allowing for better refugee work across the whole country.