Conference Calling 17

January 2008


Paul’s opening words to the Corinthian church read last Sunday (I Corinthians 1:1-9) are remarkable. I thought he was speaking directly to us. It does not take long reading through the first letter to the Corinthians to realize that it was a very troubled church. People were dividing up on just about everything from marriage to food to leadership to life after death. They sued one another. Yet you would not have a clue about any of this in the opening lines of Paul’s letter. Instead, he talks about the wealth of gifts in that church. They have been “enriched,” “sanctified”, “graced”, “called”, “strengthened.” What gives Paul the confidence to say this, despite all the evidence to the contrary? “God is faithful.” When faced by a troubled and anxious church, Paul gives thanks and praise… because God is faithful. God keeps faith even when we do not – that is why we may hope. It is an almost unbelievable declaration. Thank God it is true.


Join the celebration as the grand opening of the new Bob Stewart archives occurs Thursday, January 24, from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. The archives is located at the west end of the Vancouver School of Theology, 6000 Iona Drive, Vancouver. During the redevelopment of VST the archives has been operating out of spare rooms and rented apartments. Now it will operate out of a state-of-the-art facility. By recommitting to the history of the church in this way, we are also expressing our hope for the continuing mission and vitality of the church for generations to come.


Since Conference staff are one of the major ways we respond to God’s mission in our world, it is no wonder changes happen so frequently. On January 1 we welcomed Ha'eis Clare Hill as halftime Conference Minister: Native Ministries. Clare had been doing this work by contract through 2007 but now is permanent staff. On July 1 we will welcome Michael Hare as the new halftime Conference Minister: Prince Rupert Presbytery. In the office our Receptionist, Missy Taylor, moves from part-time to fulltime on February 1 in order to provide more support to the Youth and Young Adult Ministry. Brenda Wolff soon moves to fulltime support in the Personnel ministry. With much greater funds now in our care, we are hiring a halftime support person to work with Nellie Tang to provide even better financial management. Before the next Conference Calling comes out we also plan to have a Property Development Manager hired to oversee capital development at the Conference camps and to provide research and advice on other property development issues in the Conference. Finally, we expect to hire someone before the summer to establish and oversee our renewed camping ministry.


BC Conference is searching for an enthusiastic, energetic, detail-oriented individual to fill the role of Assistant to the Finance Minister on a permanent part-time basis. If interested, read the job description and send your application to: apps6 [at] united-church [dot] ca


The BC Conference office is taking one step at a time to become more “green.” We recycle all of our paper and cardboard, are using 100% recycled paper, and are ensuring that blue box items are taken home for recycling. We are also experimenting with offsetting airline carbon emissions by contributing an appropriate amount to


Doris Kizinna is working on a project to start a library at the Instituto de Educacion Basica por Sistema de Cooperativa de Ensenanza in Chinique, El Quiche, Guatemala. The students are in grades 7-9, both girls and boys, and have very little access to books of any kind. Doris asks you to take the trip with her, perhaps not in person but in the form of a book or two or many. If you would like to buy a book, make a financial donation, or if you have some used Spanish language books you would like to share, specifically Spanish-English dictionaries, please contact Doris.


The theme “Reconciliation” will be front and centre at the 79th General Meeting of BC Conference, gathering May 22-25, 2008 at Capilano College in North Vancouver. Theme speakers are presently being confirmed. The Kerygma Café discussion process, used successfully at the last General Council meeting, will also be used throughout the meeting. Information packages will be sent to Presbyteries in early February. Once again there will be significant youth and children’s programming and participation.


The Conference Executive is presently working on establishing a comprehensive set of Ends policies. For the past eight years the Conference Mission and Vision statements have guided Conference decisions but experience has shown that they are not concrete enough to provide the type of direction the Executive now expects to be able to provide. You may wish to correspond with members of the Executive about what you think should be the “Ends” (what good will we provide? for whom? at what cost?) BC Conference should be pursuing. Contact information for Executive members can be found in the Conference Directory grey pages.


In preparation for greater capital development in the near future, upgrades to the infrastructure of Camp Fircom have begun with the replacement of the sewer outfall. Deteriorating infrastructure was one of the contributing factors to the closure of the camp two years ago. The Camp Future Project envisions significant investment in infrastructure, buildings and governance at Camp Fircom on Gambier Island.

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