Conference Calling 12

January 2007

Bobble Head JesusFriends:

A bobble-headed Jesus arrived in the Conference office last week, the same one as in the Emerging Spirit advertising campaign.

I have enjoyed the Emerging Spirit campaign, and if a bobble-headed Jesus in "Chatelaine" helps people talk about Jesus, I think that is fine.

But having one displayed in the office - that seems to be a different matter. An ad is an invitation to conversation. A bobble-headed greeter in the office seems more like a proclamation, and, if so, a dubious one.

Yes, I get it that the image reminds us of humour and play, and that can only be a good thing. But in a culture where the multi-billion dollar industries of play, entertainment and diversion are endemic, I suspect an alternate voice needs to be sounded, even in a church office. Where else will people hear that "through Jesus God was pleased to reconcile all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of Jesus' cross"? The reconciliation of all things, all peoples, all of nature, needs much more than a bobbing smile.

Let's not take ourselves too seriously, but for the sake of the world let's not take the gospel without the seriousness the world deserves and needs.


With many decisions yet to be made in the Camp Future Project, some people have wondered what is now different from the time before the Conference Executive decisions in November. I usually tell people that the Executive gave the 'green light' to proceed with the Project. Before November we were engaged in putting together a vision and plan that looked both adventurous and feasible. That vision was adopted. Since November we have been planning for action, to put the vision into place.

To lead this work through the next year I have contracted with a Camp Future Project Manager. Terry Harrison will be the new 'face' of the Project, working with Presbyteries, camp committees, congregations, a realtor, and the public on making the Camp Future Project a reality. A member of Pilgrim United Church in Victoria, Terry comes with a great deal of project management, communication, and political experience. If you are engaged in the Camp Future Project in any way, expect to meet her in the months ahead.


Former Finance Minister and longtime friend of BC Conference, Art Jones, passed away December 3. Even after retiring from the Conference office Art was a regular presence here, especially at audit time, serving as our accountant. His contagious laugh, constant good humour, and financial acumen will be greatly missed.


Due to the success of a remit from the General Council, the number of lay representatives from congregations attending Presbytery meetings has changed. Soon there can be one representative for every 100 resident members, up to a total of four.


We are awash in energy and excitement with many great events planned for this Winter/Spring. The Yayaen Executive has begun their project to visit each Presbytery in BC Conference over the next 15 months. They will do a presentation at a meeting of each presbytery and hold either a rally or youth event as well. They began with Victoria Presbytery last month and small groups will be traveling throughout the conference this year. For updates on Yayaen visitation events check out

Children and Youth Leadership BE STILL Retreat at Rivendell, February 4-7; a few spaces remain.

Youth Conferences Visioning Meeting, BC Conference Office, February 22, 7-9 pm. Come and bring your input on the possibilities for future youth conferences. Those who cannot attend can send your thoughts to Doris Kizinna


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 April 26-28. 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.


As one more sign of the changing times, BC Conference rarely sends out information any more by Canada Post. Instead, we rely upon e-mail messages. Occasionally we use direct e-mail to everyone we know with e-mail, like we are doing now for Conference Calling. Usually, however, we rely upon our voluntary e-mail lists to get information out. If you have not signed up for at least one of these lists, you are missing out on important information about the life of the United Church in BC. 


Friends of Conference, and even the merely curious, are invited to an Open House Barbecue at the BC Conference office on Monday, June 18, 12 noon until 4:00 p.m. We have already put in our order for good weather (remember what good weather used to look like?) and are debating the merits of a multitude of menu ideas. Come to meet the office staff, check out our office, and hang out with other Conference friends. The Conference office is located at 4383 Rumble Street, Burnaby. 

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