59 Line 4 North Oro-Medonte, ON L0L 2L0 | Phone: 1-800-268-3781
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What is Flourish?

Flourish is a program designed to encourage and support the health, joy and excellence of ministry personnel in Shining Waters Regional Council.

Ministry is a challenging profession and calling:

stacked stones on the beach



Flourish connects

Flourish provides opportunities for clergy to be with one another, to share experiences of ministry, to share challenges and opportunities, and to talk about what it means to be a minister in the United Church of Canada.

Flourish nourishes

Sometimes what we need is time away from our responsibilities as church leaders. Flourish provides time and space to retreat, to engage in personal reflection, to be ministered to as ministers, and to have fun with colleagues.

Flourish enhances

Flourish provides programs and events to help ministers continue their life-long learning. Through conferences, webinars, special courses and other learning opportunities, Flourish connects ministers with people and resources who help build the skills and knowledge that ministers need to inspire and lead in their ministry, and to respond to the constantly emerging needs of their congregations, communities and the wider world.

Clergy Peer Learning Groups

Clergy Peer Learning Groups are all about ministers helping ministers thrive.  After two years of COVID-19, ministers have spoken about growing isolation.  The purpose of Clergy Peer Learning Group initiative is to provide a safe and supported space for up to eight groups of ministers to meet in order to decrease feelings of isolation and more importantly, to provide a space for new learning rooted in Deep Spirituality, Bold Discipleship, Daring Justice.

Participation in Clergy Peer Learning Groups have proven to support minister’s health and joy in many ways: ministers are better at balancing their personal life and ministry;  ministers are more active in community outreach, as are the congregations they serve; the kind of shared ministry that ministers experience in peer learning groups is also reflected in the churches they serve and among area churches; ministers with a history of peer group participation lead with congregations that grow in their vision and ministry. (from So Much Better: How Thousands of Pastors Help Each Other Thrive, Chalice Press, 2013).

If you have any questions please contact Todd McDonald at tmcdonald@united-church.ca

Clergy Peer Learning Group Resources

So Much Better: How Thousands of Pastors Help Each Other Thrive, Chalice Press, 2013 – Meant to both inspire and inform pastoral leaders, So Much Better examines the impact of peer group participation on pastoral leaders, their families, and ministries.


headshot of Janet Gear
logo for Theological Banquet

Repair the building; call a half-time minister; spend the emergency fund; support the community kitchen:  With every decision, communities of faith and their leaders are rightly preoccupied with discerning a faithful future in the midst of the realities they face.  This discernment is difficult in part because by asking a committee, congregation or denomination as a whole the question “where is God calling us?” we tend to assume that we all speak the same language about God and hold similar beliefs about the purpose of the church and its place in the world.

If we pause to uncover and parse the variety of theologies living within a given community of faith, we are better able to navigate the empowering alliances and potential collisions among diverse and largely unspoken understandings of God, church and Christian life.

Rev. Janet Gear is a theological educator and ordained minister currently working in the Office of Vocation. She has produced a workshop series offering a community the lens and language to appreciate its theological diversity that can serve both to inspire faith and clarify leadership opportunities.

The purposes of the Theological Banquet workshop, and supporting materials, are to:

  • Affirm and articulate the lived faith of those in your community,
  • Deepen an appreciation of theological difference within a community of faith, and
  • Build capacity for theological interpretation of community life.

More information about the Theological Banquet workshop series can be found at the Leadershift program of Pacific Mountain Regional Council. For more information on how to purchase and organize this workshop please see https://leadershiftuccan.org/the-theological-banquet.

If you would like to preview the videos offered for sale before purchasing, please send an email to theologicalbanquet@united-church.ca. Through a special arrangement with Pacific Mountain Regional Council, Shining Waters ministers can be provided with a free time-limited access code.


Medical Assistance in Dying: Following Our Call to Care

lit candle behind a bible with pages foled to make a heart shape

With Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) now legal in Canada, people participating in United Church of Canada communities of faith are faced with their loved ones choosing such assistance in dying, or considering this option themselves.

The Church concludes: “The choice of assisted death must be a free and informed decision by an individual who, with the support and accompaniment of others, sees this as one option among many in determining their future, and not as the only option that must be taken due to a lack of choice when facing terminal illness. Our communities of faith need to be safe places for discerning, thoughtful conversations about these options.”

“Those facing the end of their lives, and their families and friends, must feel that they will not be abandoned by the church at any point. This is an imperative for a church that, in the words of A New Creed, trusts in God and proclaims that in life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us. We are not alone.”

MAiD Resources

MAiD Presentation by the Rev. Dan Hayward from the January 31, 2023 Minister Zoom Gathering  – PowerPointPDF of slides
A liturgy “Anointing at the Time of Death” written by the Rev. Alan Hall – June 4, 2020 (with permission for you to use)
A link to the liturgical resources on the UCC website: https://united-church.ca/worship-theme/death-and-dying
A link to the United Church’s revised statement on MAiD (2020): https://united-church.ca/news/revised-statement-medical-assistance-dying


illustration of two trees leaning over title that says Trauma Informed Ministry

Trauma Informed Ministry: A Primer for Ministers and Ministries

Rev. Diane Strickland is a UCC minister who has done extensive research, writing and training on Trauma Informed Ministry. Ministry personnel are often on the front lines of dealing with the trauma of congregants and community members. And yet they don’t always feel equipped to the many traumatic situations that are brought to them.

Rev. Stickland has produced a primer on Trauma Informed Ministry that has four objectives:

1. To introduce trauma basics so you can recognize potential symptoms of trauma.

2. To begin establishing a theological foundation for understanding trauma.

3. To provide a practical framework of principles for effective and faithful Christian ministry to those affected by trauma and traumatic experiences.

4. To plant expectation within the community of faith for being transformed by this ministry.

Trauma Informed Ministry review sample – (PDF |  11 pages) For those interested in this book, the sample includes the Cover, Acknowledgements, Table of Contents, and The Introduction (which names the six principles developed later).

Ordering and Licensing Information document (Word | 1 page) a document that might answer any additional questions on ordering and licensing the primer.

Licensing Terms for Trauma Informed Ministry (PDF | 1 page) a document that outlines the licensing terms for the primer.


In the spirit of of helping ministers to grow and learn, here are some links to other Con-Ed possibilities for you to explore:

LeaderShift – A program from Pacific Mountain Regional Council. Responsive, faithful church leadership means having the inner and outer skills necessary to lead spiritually, creatively, and Biblically – yet, leading faithfully in turbulent times can be challenging, confusing, and even lonely. Created to tend that very duality, LeaderSHIFT provides key learning opportunities and effective support for church leaders — as they manage change, and live their call.

ChurchX – Connecting resources to ministry. ChurchX is an e-learning platform built to support mission and ministry. See their catalogue of courses available.

Emmanuel College Continuing Education Events and Courses – Emmanuel College supports its alumni/ae and local religious communities by offering a variety of continuing education programs and initiatives to further interfaith dialogue and for ministry professionals to replenish their spiritual wells.



Ministry Vitality – UCC resources to support ministry leaders in establishing healthy and vital pastoral relationships. Includes benefits and leaves, policies, and networking opportunities.

heart shape in a cup of latte

Ministry in a Digital Age

Rev. Andria Irwin from Pacific Mountain Regional Council discusses tools and tips for conducting effective on-line ministry (from November 2, 2021 forum with Shining Waters ministry personnel).

Staff Support



Pastoral Relations Minister

Phone: 416-231-7680  |  1-800-268-3781
Extension: 6235
Email: tmcdonald@united-church.ca

Serves in: Shining Waters Regional Council

Location: Teleworks and works in the Guthrie Office.

Role: Todd encourages and supports ministry personnel toward health, joy, and excellence in ministry practice.

Contact Todd about: Conflict Resolution; Finding A New Minister; Licensed Lay Worship Leaders; Licenses To Administer Sacraments; Pastoral Relationships Policy; Resources for Transition Times; Retirement; Sabbaticals; Sick Leave; Short Term Supply Ministers; Visiting Minister Options. Todd is responsible for all the Communities of Faith and ministry personnel in the region that are located north of Highway 407.




Phone: 416-231-7680  |  1-800-268-3781
Extension: 6147
Email: EPark@united-church.ca

Serves in: Shining Waters Regional Council

Location: Teleworks from home

Role: Eun-Joo encourages and supports both communities of faith and ministry personnel.

Contact Eun-Joo about: Conflict Resolution; Finding A New Minister; Lay Employees; M+P Committees; Licenses To Administer Sacraments; Pastoral Relationships Policy; Resources for Transition Times; Retirement; Sabbaticals; Sick Leave; Short Term Supply Ministers; Visiting Minister Options.  Eun-Joo is responsible for all the Communities of Faith and ministry personnel in the region that are located south of Highway 407.