Conference Calling 28

April 2011

From: Doug Goodwin, Executive Secretary

Dear Friends,

I live a dual Christian life. On the one hand, I am privileged to work for BC Conference, with a team of fifteen other staff and several contractors, with millions invested and huge projects underway, a ten year financial plan, increasingly clear mission goals and structures to help achieve them. On the other hand, I am a member of a relatively small congregation, that owns no property but rents worship space, which has a budget with a bottom line that is black for the first time in a while.

We take up a special offering in order to mail information to our neighbours – no big development projects ongoing and none on the horizon. I love both worlds, for quite different reasons, but both feel grounded in what it means to follow Christ in this time and this place. There is not only room for both; I think there might be a need for both.



Scott Reynolds has been hired as our new Receptionist, keeping the office phones open each day until 3:00 p.m. Scott had been filling in on a temporary basis since Missy’s departure last fall. Paul Davis (Cariboo Presbytery) has returned from sabbatical sporting a well-earned tan. Nellie Tang (Finance Manager) is planning her sabbatical starting in July. Doris Kizinna (Youth and Young Adults) is planning to lead a trip to Guatemala in August. Meanwhile, Ruth Stebbing battles a miserable cold!


The third and final phase of the “Sowing Promise, Growing Leaders” leadership development program for Ministry Personnel took place in April, again planned by Treena Duncan and led by the Rev. Peter Short and a leadership team from BC Conference. The positive response to the program has been overwhelming as Ministry Personnel grew closer together as they reexamined their call to ministry. We expect that an evaluation of this work will lead to plans for the further development of leadership development in the Conference.


After a number of years of conversation, debate and planning, Camp Moorecroft was sold in February to the Regional District of Nanaimo for use as a park for $4.8 million. Monies from the sale have gone into our Camp Future funds awaiting future decisions about the next steps in the Camp Future work. We were very pleased to be able to sell both of our camps so far (Kwomais and Moorecroft) to public governments for use as parks.


We are looking forward to the national intercultural gathering “Behold!” being held at UBC May 12-15. While this is an event primarily organized by the General Council, the Conference and many BC people are also involved. Past events across the country have been life-changing for many. Check it out.


Historically the United Church has supported campus ministries at the University of BC and the University of Victoria. In fact, BC Conference has a long-standing special allocation of the Presbyteries to support these ministries, presently $36,250 each annually. Other national church monies have recently dried up, though, so both campus ministries are looking for new funding. Keep these ministries in your thoughts and prayers as you consider the future of our church and its work.


For those of us connected with the planning, the General Meeting of BC Conference seems right around the corner. It will be held at the Penticton Conference Centre May 26-29, 2011. Guided by the Isaiah passage “… then your light will rise” (Isaiah 58: 10) we shall be looking at the church and faithful public witness, exploring this theme with theme speaker Marilyn Legge and a number of workshops. Music will be led by our very own Linnea Good and Company. Registration and information about the event are all on-line at the Conference web site. Please register on-line soon. If you need assistance, just call the Conference office.


Numerous conversations have sprung up over the last two years where congregations are talking about working together. Property development is often a part of those discussions. The Conference is sponsoring two workshops focusing on issues related to property development, the faithful stewardship of our rich land and building assets, and how they might best address the spiritual needs and demands of our communities. The first was held in March with about 80 participants. The second will be April 30. See video from the first gathering and information about the second on the Frameworks 2011 website.


The Certificate Programme in Youth Ministry began its 8th session at the beginning of January.  The programme is offered this year by BC Conference and has 7 students:  Barb Cave (Vancouver), Christopher Bochon (North Vancouver), Michelle Sylvest (Rossland), Dara Shutty (Victoria), Kim McNaughton (Dunster), Rev. Hilde Seal (Parksville),  and Joanne Koster (Salmon Arm). The group meets 7 times throughout the year learning about Principles and Practices of Youth Ministry, youth culture, United Church Doctrine and Polity, History of the Christian Faith, and Spiritual Practice. They also engage in practicum experiences, are connected to a mentor in the wider church, and have to complete a final project, readings and write their own Theology of Youth Ministry. Main coordination and leadership of the programme comes from Conference Staff Doris Kizinna.  Rev. Brian Thorpe, David Hatfield, Tim Scorer, and Rev. Maya Landell will share leadership in some of the gatherings. The next intake for the Certificate Programme will be in January 2013. Please pray for these students as they deepen their response and leadership with youth in a United Church context.