Conference Calling 13

March 2007


Good Friday has long been a special time of worship for me, especially when held in near silence by candlelight. Easter, of course, is a great celebration, though I have a feeling there is lots of room for more exuberance in most of our congregations. Over the last few years, though, I have become increasingly conscious of that day stuck between Friday and Easter, Holy Saturday, the day that is not quite crucifixion, not quite resurrection. It is not the day of death, nor is it the day of new life. It is the in-between day, the day of wondering, befuddlement, doubt, waiting, fear, and hope beyond hope.
Look around our church – signs of Good Friday are not hard to find; neither are signs of new life and resurrection. Most commonly, though, I think I see congregations living in a Holy Saturday, getting by faithfully day by day, not trapped in death but not caught up in new life either. For them, hope is mingled with fear, and faith with doubt. What is longed for is not yet here; watching, waiting, wondering dominate.

The good news is that Holy Saturday is part of our Christian life, too. Just as on Friday and Easter, Christ joins us on our Saturday journey. The in-between day Christ may be just who many of us need right now on our walk in that troubling territory between death and new life.



The Moderator, the Rt. Rev. David Giuliano, is making an official visit (his first!) to BC Conference in April. He will start by joining the BC Conference Executive and the Native Ministries Council in Prince Rupert April 26-28. He then flies to Kootenay Presbytery where he will participate in worship at Cranbrook United Church on April 29, followed by a gathering with people from across the Presbytery that evening, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., in Creston United Church. Another plane trip will bring him to the Lower Mainland in time for an afternoon meeting on Monday, April 30, in Fraser Presbytery. On Tuesday, May 1, he will share lunch with the Conference staff. From 2:00 – 4:30 p.m. on that day people from across the Lower Mainland are invited to meet the Moderator in the Mountain View Room at the Conference office, 4383 Rumble Street, Burnaby. Dinner that day sees the Moderator joining youth leadership from the area and, finally, that evening, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., he meets with youth, young adults, and their leaders.

Summary of public events:

  • April 29 Kootenay Presbytery contact David Boyd
  • April 30 Fraser Presbytery contact Rod MacKinnon
  • May 1 Conference Office, Burnaby contact Michelle Slater
  • May 1 Youth and Young Adults contact Doris Kizinna


As part of its commitment to "listen to the ownership," the BC Conference Executive is meeting April 26-28 in Prince Rupert. Much of the meeting will be spent with the Native Ministry Council to talk about the experiences of First Nations people and congregations in the United Church. Also joining the meeting will be the Moderator, the Rt. Rev. David Giuliano, and the General Secretary, Nora Sanders.


In the year that there is no General Meeting of BC Conference a special gathering is held for the Celebration of Ministry worship service. This year it is being held on Pentecost, May 27, at 4:00 p.m. at St. David's United Church, West Vancouver. Eleven people will likely be ordained, commissioned, recognized, or admitted. You are encouraged to join in this special time of worship in gratitude for the rich gifts God is granting the church through these people.


The Conference Executive has recognized that spiritual care for ministry personnel in the Conference is a high priority. A network of people planning for and providing spiritual care has been formed and will be meeting once again in April at the Rivendell Retreat Centre to build on past work.


A revised sexual abuse policy has been adopted by the United Church which goes into effect in June 2007. Training in the policy is mandatory for presbytery "Officers of the Court" and anyone previously trained who wishes to continue as a consultant. Two training sessions are planned for this Spring: April 19-21 on Bowen Island, and May 22-24 at the Naramata Centre. Contact the Conference office for more information.


The next step in the Camp Future Project will soon be completed with the signing of a contract with a real estate firm that will supply consulting services and act as the Conference agent. A firm has already been chosen and a contract should be signed within the next two weeks. The addition of a real estate firm will allow the conversations about each camp property to be fully and accurately informed. Once this work is underway attention will shift to building the governance structures that will be needed to operate the Conference camps. Terry Harrison, as the Camp Future Project Manager, is providing the leadership for BC Conference on this Project.


Congregations and Presbyteries are reminded to get applications for licenses to authorize marriages into the Conference office ASAP.


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.


Hawaii seems to be the most popular destination spot for staff holidays. I joined my family on Maui for a week in February; Nellie Tang is there now cruising the islands. Kim MacMillan, though, heads to Nepal in April to finally do the trekking he had originally planned to do on his sabbatical. And Paul Davis is presently in the Caribbean. Everyone seems to be seeking a little bit of sun! 

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