Conference Calling 11

November 2006


Snow is very much a mixed blessing in the Vancouver area. Today I am grateful for the mountains white in relief against the blue skies, for they remind me of the winter mountains of Hazelton… and somehow they whisper that our friend and colleague Charlotte Sullivan of Hazelton is at home, at peace, gathered into the soul of the land and people she loved. Charlotte passed away Monday, a shock to us since she had successfully fought cancer this past year and was returning back to her Conference staff job, looking forward to getting back to full time work in the new year. Charlotte was a respected hereditary chief among the Gitxsan, a much consulted advisor for numerous United Church ventures with First Nations, a longtime United Church member, a faithful servant to Prince Rupert Presbytery and the Native Ministries Council, a colleague and a friend. God has blessed us. Even in such a time, through Christ the victory is ours. Thanks be to God.

After almost three years of research, discussion and planning, the BC Conference Executive gave the “green light” to move forward with the Camp Future Project. Many decisions remain to be made but the Executive decision moves the Project from the conversation stage to the implementation stage, a major step forward. “Conference Calling” is not long enough to provide you with all the information you may want so please check out the Camp Future Project Summary

If you cannot access this document, write an e-mail to Brenda Wolff at the Conference office or call her [1.800.934.0434 or 604.431.0434] and she will make sure you get a copy.

I am excited to let you know that Christine Ackermann has been hired as the new Assistant to the Executive Secretary. Christine begins December 1. Christine comes highly recommended from Shaughnessy United Church where she has been working as the office secretary. She replaces Nan Koldewijn who left the office this past June.

Nan, by the way, was honoured by the BC Conference Executive at its November meeting for her many years of diligent and faithful service to the Conference. She reports that her summer knee surgery went well and that she is looking forward to full recovery.

With front page news coverage and interviews from as far away as Europe, New Zealand and Australia, the Emerging Spirit campaign “launched” in November. The public face of Emerging Spirit is called “Wonder Cafe” with the Wonder Cafe website as the place interested people are directed to go. Congratulations to Keith Howard, director of the project. Check it out at:

Following his experience at the General Council meeting this past summer and a reassessment of his priorities, Foster Freed resigned as the BC Conference Ordered Representative to the General Council Executive. In his place the Conference Executive elected Heather Burton who will serve until a new election can be held at the next General Meeting of BC Conference, in May 2008.

After six years of following the Policy Governance system of governance, the General Meeting in May asked the Executive to lead a review to ensure the system is working well for the Conference. At its November meeting the Executive adopted a plan to begin the review in the Spring of 2007, likely hiring a contractor who will work with a three member oversight group.

The Policy Governance system emphasizes “listening to the ownership,” ensuring the voices of the constituency are heard by the governing body. To help meet this commitment the BC Conference Executive decided to meet in Prince Rupert in April 2007. Hopefully it will be able to gather with many of the First Nations United Church people from Prince Rupert Presbytery to hear firsthand what life and faith is like in First Nations’ villages.

The Conference office staff decided that instead of hosting our usual Christmas open house this year, in 2007 we would like to host a pre-summer, outdoor barbecue at the Conference office for all of our friends who would like to drop by (date to be announced). Because December is such a busy time for all of you, it is a slow time at the office (thank you!) so it is also a time when staff take compensation time off, making hosting a party difficult. We are disappointed not to be hosting you in December but look forward to seeing you when the good weather has returned.

Since there is no General Meeting of the Conference in 2007 (we meet two out of every three years) the Celebration of Ministry worship service will be held at St. David’s United Church, West Vancouver, in the afternoon of May 26, 2007. Watch for more details coming later.

The BC Conference staff will be off on retreat December 4-6. All the staff gather off-site annually to build better relationships with one another and to take a more “balcony level” view of the work they are engaged in. This year both Blair Galston (Archivist) and Christine Ackermann will be joining us for the first time. While together we will also remember our friend, Charlotte, grateful for her time with us, confident in the sure knowledge that she – and we – are secure in the hands of a loving God.

Back to Conference Calling Index