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Conference Calling 27
From: Doug Goodwin, Executive Secretary
One of the things I have felt good about in Conference’s recent work is our ability to plan better. We now have a financial plan leading to 2020. The Camp Future Project, conceived in 2004, has now seen major capital development at two camps. Prioritizing “Effective Leadership” in 2005 has meant a revamping of the personnel services Conference provides our ministry personnel and presbyteries. But I think God may be trying to tell me something lately about planning.
I finally got around to reading John Ralston Saul’s book “Voltaire’s Bastards” about how rationalism and the technocratic world can be – and has been – destructive. A wise Korean friend gave me the gift of a small book on the Taoist philosopher, Chuang Tzu, who casts doubts on any human ability to really know and certainly control life. And then the lectionary readings lately have been Paul’s reminder to the Corinthians that God’s ways are foolish to the world’s wise, and that somehow the way of the cross is closer to God than the best of our wisdom.
I do not pretend to understand Saul, Chuang Tzu or even Paul, but I think I am hearing something about trusting the future to be in God’s hands. For the moment I will continue to plan, not out of any anxiety that our future is lost if we don’t, but in the confidence that God is actually creating and can take even our humble work, transforming it into the new thing springing forth (Isaiah 43: 19).
Missy Taylor finished her work as Receptionist in the middle of October last year. Since that time Scott Reynolds has been filling in on a part-time basis. Interviews for a permanent Receptionist take place within a week. Paul Davis is on sabbatical from January through March and Nellie Tang is starting planning for her sabbatical later in the year. Ruth Stebbing and Beth Wertz just returned to the office after a two week cruise together and with family through the Panama Canal. Meanwhile Doris Kizinna should be lounging on a Maui beach with her mother even as you read this note!
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
The “Sowing Promise, Growing Leaders” leadership development program for Ministry Personnel began in October with a very well-received week planned by Treena Duncan and led by the Rev. Peter Short and a leadership team from BC Conference. Participants are presently working with mentors before coming back together again in April. The early success of the program has led to plans to continue this program, perhaps every other year.
RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL RESPONSES
BC Conference is responding to the Indian Residential School experience in several ways. First, we hired a Mobile Counselor who began work in November providing counseling and psychotherapeutic services to survivors of residential schools and their families in four northern communities. Irene Champagne comes to us with a wealth of training and experience in this area and has already developed significant relationships in those communities. Second, a number of BC people have committed to attend Alternative Dispute Hearings where survivors can tell their stories in a semi-judicial manner. Representing our church are: Marion Best, John Cashore, Doug Goodwin, Eva Manly, Jim Manly, Jane Miller, Peter Newbery, Lorraine Powell, Fraser Simmons, Bob Smith, and Janice Young. Finally, Conference is helping bring an ecumenical group together to prepare for the Truth and Reconciliation process and, especially, the national gathering which will be held in BC.
CAMP FUTURE PROJECT
Although it seemed almost like an impossible dream five years ago, construction at both Camp Pringle and Camp Fircom has been recently completed. This $10-11 million capital investment in church camping was a significant, but not solitary, goal for the Camp Future Project. Improved governance and financial support for these ministries continues to receive the attention of the Camp Future Project Manager, Terry Harrison, even as conversations continue with Kootenay Presbytery about their future hopes for church camping.
GENERAL MEETING 2011
The General Meeting of BC Conference will be held at the Penticton Conference Centre May 26-29, 2011. Guided by the Isaiah passage “… then your light will rise” (Isaiah 58: 10) we shall be looking at the church and faithful public witness, exploring this theme with theme speaker Marilyn Legge and a number of workshops. Music will be led by our very own Linnea Good and Company. Registration will be available soon; keep your eyes on the BC Conference web site for updates.
You cannot live in the Lower Mainland these days without being confronted with “property development.” The United Church is a property-rich people. Increasingly property development is a real stewardship and mission issue. “Frameworks: 2011” is a two-part educational event that will focus on issues related to property development, the faithful stewardship of our rich land and building assets, and how they might best address the spiritual needs and demands of our communities. Participants will have access to experts in the areas of real estate, property development, architecture, legal concerns, church polity and green buildings. The two sessions are being held March 12 and April 30. See more at the Farmeworks: 2011 website.
SPIRITUAL CARE BLOG
The Spiritual Care Network is hosting a blog. New posts will be put on the blog by noon on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week. Instead of sending out a newsletter we have decided to post a series of posts to the blog in hopes that there can be real conversations and opportunities to engage with the thoughtful posts of the bloggers. If you have an article you would like to post, send it to bwolff [at] bc [dot] united-church [dot] ca (Brenda Wolff) and she will post it for you. If you would like to ‘comment’ you can do that by clicking ‘comment’ at the bottom of each post. When asked to choose your profile, you can choose ‘anonymous’ so that you don’t need to sign in, but remember to sign your name at the end of your comment (and don’t forget to hit the ‘post comment’ button)!
Property sales in the Lower Mainland over the last two years have resulted in the establishment of significant ministry funds that will provide financing for mission projects in the Conference. While most of the immediate benefit will be seen in the Lower Mainland where these sales have occurred, over time more money will become available for the entire Conference. Terms of reference and management structures are being finalized for these funds at the present time. Watch for more information in the near future.