Conference Calling 16

November 2007


In the Conference office it is pretty tough to thwart the onslaught of Christmas once the summer leaves start turning colour. It is a nice problem to have. A Christmas tree has miraculously appeared on my desk… again. The murmur of hummed carols is in the air. I expect snow drift in fake window panes soon. In days we will be surrounded by Christmas. Which is one reason I am so glad there is a brief pause this Sunday, the last day of the Christian year, to celebrate the Reign of Christ. I know any conversation about “reign” is problematic these days, but before taking the plunge into the easy sentimentality of a baby we need to pass through the day when we remember this baby is ruler, the powerless one is the all-powerful, the refugee is our true Home, the so-very-familiar one is the image of the invisible God. I don’t even know what all of this means, but I don’t want to miss out being confronted by it, even if on only one special Sunday to end our year.



As usual, the BC Conference Executive meeting earlier this month was a mixture of necessary routine and significant decision-making. Among other things, a budget approximately 10% higher than 2007 was adopted without higher allocation rates for Presbyteries. Recognizing a sale of property in Surrey was due to take place in 2008, several large financial grants were pledged. Major steps were taken to clarify exactly what the Executive feels needs to be accomplished over the next medium term. For more information on the Executive meeting, check out the BC Conference Executive Summary


New staff are expected soon to fill the positions of Conference Ministers for Native Ministry and Cariboo Presbytery. Julianne Kasmer has also been hired to help Comox-Nanaimo Presbytery determine its need for staff support over the coming years. Although not technically a Conference job, the work Jim Angus has been doing for the Native Ministries Consortium comes to an end due to a reallocation of funding from the General Council office. In 2008 a new part time financial assistant will be hired to help in the Conference office, and the Personnel Minister, Treena Duncan, will receive additional support as well. The new year will also likely see the hiring of a person or company to lead the property development at the Conference camps, as well as a person to provide overall leadership for the renewed Conference camping ministry.


Conference Minister for Kamloops-Okanagan and Kootenay Presbyteries, Kim MacMillan, has announced his retirement, taking effect at the end of June 2008. Kim is one of the veterans of the Conference staff, even though his energy and enthusiasm resemble those of an eager newcomer. Conversations will be held with the two presbyteries to determine how best the Conference might continue to support their ministry.


The Conference Executive pledged $500,000 to assist the Naramata Centre Capital Campaign to raise $3 million to upgrade the Centre. With this pledge the campaign is over halfway to its achieving its goal. More information on the Campaign


The Conference Executive also pledged $300,000 to the Vancouver School of Theology as our share of the cost of building the new archives where the BC Conference archives is housed. Already archival records are being moved into the new space. The grand, public opening of the new archives will be the evening of January 24, 2008. Watch for more information in December.


Since the sale of Camp Kwomais in August progress has continued on the Camp Future Project. Kootenay Presbytery has become clear about its hopes for how the Project will take shape in that Presbytery. Hard conversations continue in Comox-Nanaimo Presbytery to determine the best use of Moorecroft Camp. A new governance structure is being developed in direct consultation with camp boards and presbyteries. It is anticipated that in 2008 we shall begin the work of the capital development at Camp Future sites. And a budgeted commitment has been made to ensure camps not within the scope of the Project receive at least the same level of support from Conference as they did before the Project began.


The first two weekends in November found youth and youth ministry leaders gathering at the Naramata Centre for the annual BC Junior (grades 7-9) and Senior (from grade 10 to age 19) Youth Conferences. The theme this year focused on Jesus: who he is, was, and what he means now. The question from scripture "who do you say that I am?" was played with in many great and creative ways. A special thank you to all leaders who volunteered their time to work with the youth of Conference in a variety of roles. We are blessed with abundant and skilled leaders who go well beyond expectations!


The next General Meeting of BC Conference will be May 22-25, 2008 at Capilano College in North Vancouver. Detailed information will be coming to presbyteries early in February, as usual. We are still looking for volunteers in the Lower Mainland who would like to help out with the meeting. Contact Christine Ackermann at the Conference office for more information. The following year the General Meeting will be held May 21-24, 2009, place to be announced.


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 develop the program which is slated to begin in 2008. 

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