Conference Calling 25

March 2010

From: Doug Goodwin, Executive Secretary

Dear Friends,

As often happens, a conversation with one of our younger clergy turned to how stressful it is to be in ministry these days. For the first time it struck me: one of the reasons it is so stressful is because we have such high hopes for the future. A hopeful future calls us… and we are eager to get there, the faster the better! If we didn’t have such hope we could probably just relax and guard our pension funds. The tension between “what is” and “what is to come” has been very familiar to Christians for millennia: “Come, Lord Jesus!” We have millennia of practice in “waiting”, not stress-free waiting unfortunately, but waiting with patience and expectation, following a call rather than building a planned future. Lent is our reminder that the journey is not one success after another but is a faithful following, even to the cross, of the One whose future is life for the world.


Without the usual venue of a General Meeting, the Celebration of Ministry service to ordain, commission, recognize and receive those entering ordered ministry in The United Church of Canada will be held on June 6, 2010, at 4:00 p.m. at Canadian Memorial United Church, 1825 West 16th Avenue, Vancouver. A reception will follow.


I will be away on sabbatical April through June 2010. Filling in part-time during my absence will be the Rev. Dr. Brian Thorpe, a former Executive Secretary. Those who know me will not be surprised to hear I will spend significant time doing research on United Church governance. I will also take a short course on how church bureaucracies can assist in mission, and will be stage manager at the inaugural Uniting General Council of the World Communion of Reformed Churches in Grand Rapids, Michigan.


The United Church has tried to respond to the legacy of residential schools in numerous ways. Another significant act of reconciliation is presently being put into place with the hiring of a “Mobile Counselor” who will work directly with survivors of residential schools in four northern communities. This is an undertaking of BC Conference, with matching financial assistance from the General Council. We hope a counselor will be in place in the Fall 2010.


In a changing world it is important for church leadership to continue to develop their understanding and skills. The Conference is launching a leadership development program for Ministry Personnel beginning this fall. The program is based on addressing three distinct but related aspects in the life and work of ministers: (1) spiritual discernment and nurture; (2) practical knowledge and skills in leadership; and (3) collegial relationships in ministry. Leadership is being offered by the Rev. Peter Short and a leadership team from BC Conference. The program includes two residential events, October 17-22, 2010 and April 1-6, 2011. Keep these clear on your calendar! More information will be coming soon.


Plans are being put into place for visits of the Moderator, Mardi Tindal, to BC Conference. On April 19 she will be at West Vancouver United Church and April 20 at Canadian Memorial United Church, Vancouver. From April 22-25 she will be in Haida Gwaii with Prince Rupert Presbytery, the Native Ministries Council, and a youth gathering. Mardi returns to visit Fraser Presbytery on May 14 and a Vancouver-Burrard Presbytery event on May 15, then immediately heads to Kootenay Presbytery until May 18. She returns again in January 2011 as a presenter at Epiphany Explorations. Clearly the Moderator likes BC Conference!


As a first step in encouraging spiritual leaders in First Nations communities to find their leadership role in the church, a Native Ministries Education Fair was held at the end of February in Prince Rupert. Presentations from Martin Brokenleg, Conference and General Council staff, and VST faculty, helped people better understand and consider the various types of ministry, lay and ordered, that the church needs. In a related venture, Prince Rupert Presbytery is planning a series of Vacation Bible Schools throughout the Presbytery, with assistance and leadership from youth and others from around the Conference.


Thank you to Elinor Morrissey who has been serving as the office Receptionist lately. Elinor is filling in for Missy Taylor who returns April 19 from her time at Winter Session at the Naramata Centre.


Check out pictures of construction at Camp Pringle and Camp Fircom. The summer camping program at Camp Pringle should not be significantly disrupted while summer camps are planned to begin again at Fircom in 2011.

This fall should also see the sale of Camp Moorecroft which will free up more resources as the Camp Future Project continues toward its goal of providing a high-quality, sustainable camping ministry in BC Conference.

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