Conference Executive March 12-14, 2009

BC Conference Executive March 12-14, 2009 Summary of Actions

The BC Conference Executive met March 12-14, 2009 in the Mountainview Room at the Conference office in Burnaby. What follows is a list of significant actions and decisions of the Executive.

Ethnic and Intercultural Ministries: As part of its commitment to “listen to the ownership”, an evening was spent conversing with Maki Fushii and Steve Willey, General Council staff people working with intercultural ministries. A better understanding of the multicultural realities of BC was sought. The opportunities and difficulties of becoming a more intercultural church were discussed.

Policy Development: Significant time was spent reviewing the financial and assets policies adopted by the Executive. Numerous suggestions were made for improving the policies. The Finance Council will take the many ideas and produce revised policies for consideration by the Executive at its next meeting.

General Meeting: Ideas for how the Executive wants to communicate with the rest of Conference at the General Meeting were discussed. Several issues need direct Conference input, including the issue of the membership of the Executive. Presently most Executive members are chosen by Presbyteries and Conference Councils. A report to the Executive suggested that a direct election of members at the General Meeting might allow more transparent accountability, as well as the possibility of selecting people with specific skills needed for good governance. It was also recognized that there is a tension at General Meetings between “doing business” (which is both necessary and expected) and “inspiration” (which is usually most memorable about such events). The Executive also heard from the Chair of the Agenda and Planning Committee, David Ewart, about the logistics for the meeting.

Monitoring Executive Secretary: As happens at every meeting, extensive time was spent monitoring the work of the Executive Secretary against the established policies of the Executive. The Three Year Plan adopted at the previous Executive meeting is proceeding well, with the key goals of increasing Personnel services and establishing financial stability proceeding on schedule. Developing a communications plan and establishing a Corporations Committee are slightly behind schedule. Doug reported that on July 1 there will be sixteen Conference staff people (not all full time) as well as numerous contract people working on behalf of the Conference.

Audited Financial Statements: Draft audited financial statements for 2008 were presented and adopted. Several significant accounting and auditing changes have been made in the past two years. Conference finances are very solid, despite investment losses in 2008. Due to cautious investment practices Conference losses were much less than the average market loss.

General Council Executive: Heather Burton and Marion Carr reported on recent General Council activities. In particular, they spoke of the new General Council Aboriginal Ministries Council which was recently established. The Council means all of the First Nations congregations in the church have a common forum for discussion and work. They also noted that the Emerging Spirit program will soon finish and is presently being evaluated by an independent professional team. Heather noted that there is a pervasive “them” versus “us” attitude between all levels in the church which is hurting our sense of community.

Camp Future Project: It was reported that significant progress has been made in the development plans for Camps Pringle and Fircom. Construction will begin in a major way in 2009. Conversation continues with Kootenay and Comox-Nanaimo Presbyteries about the future of a camping ministry within those Presbyteries.

Next BC Conference Executive Meeting: November 5-7, 2009

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