Conference Calling 15

September 2007


Biblical insight sometimes comes from the most obscure places. Like most of us, I have my favorite Biblical passages but lately I read through the prophet Nahum. Nahum is nothing if not passionate, usually not in very attractive ways. But the book is all about the relationship of a persecuted people to an empire; one might expect unbalanced passion. It is full of graphic descriptions of destruction and positively gloats over the demise of the nation of Assyria (see chapter 3:19).

In a church that now likes to talk about “empire” Nahum becomes more significant. First, we can overhear the hatred felt by the persecuted toward the persecutors. If Nahum is part of “our people,” we know through Nahum what it feels like to wish for revenge and retribution against the powerful. Second, though, Nahum’s gleeful gloating should alert us to the tempting danger of being too self-righteous about being on the “correct” side of the empire/persecuted equation. No Biblical book should end with gloating over the end of a nation. As the church of Jesus Christ, we have no place for malicious smugness, no matter how hawkish the empire.

Camp Kwomais has been sold to the City of Surrey for use as a city park. The sale of the camp for $20,000,000 is part Conference’s Camp Future Project which calls for a multi-million dollar investment in church camping in the Conference. Major capital improvements will be made at several other camps throughout the Conference. In addition, an endowment fund will provide significant annual income to subsidize camp leadership, provide good governance, assist campers to attend distant camps, and support other camping ventures. Monies not needed for camping ministries will be invested to provide regular income for other church mission. Pictures

As part of its commitment to make “Effective Leadership” a priority in BC Conference, a new certificate program is being developed to help prepare ministry personnel better for leadership in a new century. Brenda Fawkes has been hired to spend the fall developing the program which is slated to begin in 2008. Contact Brenda at: blfawkes [at] shaw [dot] ca

Jim Angus, Co-Chair of the Native Ministries Council and former Moderatorial candidate, successfully underwent heart bypass surgery last week. Jim is now recuperating at home and looking forward to the renewal of his strength.

Missy Taylor has been hired as the new Conference office Receptionist. She is working every day from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Missy comes from Eagle Ridge United Church. Besides working at the office, she is also studying at Douglas College with the goal of becoming a teacher.

Searches will take place this fall for new Conference Ministers for Native Ministry and Prince Rupert Presbytery. A part time person will also be hired to help Comox-Nanaimo Presbytery determine its need for staff support over the coming years.

After first serving as a trustee for Camp Kwomais in 2003 and then being on contract with BC Conference since that time to provide oversight on our properties, Jim Ellis has decided to move on. Jim’s work has been instrumental in ensuring we are good landlords and property owners. He was also central to the early conversations about the future of the Camp Kwomais property. Jim and his wife, Lillian, are off soon for a well-deserved holiday in Hawaii. We will miss Jim’s dedication and competence at BC Conference.

Doris Kizinna led a group of ten young adults to Guatemala this August sponsored by the BC Conference YAYAEN ministry. The group participated in a “global awareness through experience” tour and visited orphanages, schools, hospitals, projects and human rights organizations in three locations around the country. The purpose of the tour was to educate participants on the realities of life in Guatemala and, through the practice of solidarity, to build connections and tell the stories on return. A presentation of the stories of the tour will take place at St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church, Vancouver, on September 30 following the worship service. All are welcome.

Treena Duncan moved last spring and is now living in a townhouse in Port Coquitlam with her children. This summer she took up “the outdoor life” and now claims to be an accomplished camper… with the sunburn to prove it!

Nellie Tang and her husband, Alex, took a troop of Scouts on a northern BC tour, with the highlight being a stay at Hartley Bay. Allowing the youth to learn leadership by actually exercising it, Nellie is now sick and tired of Spam and beans.

BC Conference is looking to hire a halftime person who will take on the task of leading our property development work. Most of the job will be providing leadership on the development of the Conference camps. We are looking for a person with extensive experience in the property development field who is now looking for an opportunity to lend that experience to the church for a time. Please pass this invitation to those who might be interested. More information can be found on the Conference web site, or call the Conference office.

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. 

If you have information you wish delivered, please send a note to Christine. Please keep the note short, text only, with no graphics or formatting. Thanks!

Back to Conference Calling Index