Conference Calling 29

September 2011

From: Doug Goodwin, Executive Secretary

Dear Friends,

As you will see below, I am now preaching regularly again after being blessed for the past eight years with the equally important task of listening to sermons. While much is different between these two roles, at the heart of both is the desire to sit under the Word, to hear God speak, to put one’s own life in the service of God’s.

In a society that puts so much demand on us to figure things out for ourselves and leave God aside, that is a counter-cultural discipline, perhaps a very important one as we continue to negotiate our way through a complex, awesome and sometimes frightening world.


I have been seconded by University Hill Congregation to provide half-time ministerial work during the medical leave of their minister, Ed Searcy, primarily leading worship and preaching twice a month. I will continue to work as Executive Secretary half-time. I am anticipating that most people most of the time will not notice too much difference as I expect to be in good contact through e-mail and telephone for both tasks. Conference will also be hiring people to do small, discrete pieces of work to ensure they receive the ongoing support needed. I am grateful for the support of both the congregation and the Conference that has allowed me to help out my home congregation in this way through the difficult days ahead.


Keith Howard is now back working with BC Conference as a quarter-time contract person. He will inaugurate a new position, that of Leadership Development Coordinator. This position reflects the continuing priority of BC Conference to focus energy and resources in the area of Effective Leadership. Keith will do this by developing and leading ongoing research and response to medium and long term trends impacting the United Church in BC, particularly as related to the development of leaders. In the months ahead Keith will find and develop information and resources that will help us better understand the church and society in which we now live. He will also be developing responses to those findings to support church leaders as they renew their perspectives and skills. Check out Keith’s regular blog here.


Doris Kizinna led a group on a tour of Guatemala in August. She is already planning another trip next summer. Ruth Stebbing is off to Croatia to attend a family wedding and, of course, to travel in a part of the world unfamiliar to her. Nellie Tang is still on sabbatical, returning to the office in early November. Beth Wertz is taking vacation later this month to help prepare for, and recover from, her son’s wedding. Scott Reynolds (Receptionist) attended a family wedding in Calgary and is now preparing to defend his Master’s thesis this fall on issues in Second Temple Judaism.


Although it feels like we are still cleaning up from our May General Meeting in Penticton, initial plans are already being put in place for the 2012 General Meeting. You may remember that we have a General Meeting two out of every three years. In 2012 the meeting will be held at the University of BC from May 31 to June 3. Over the next couple of months a planning team will come together to shape the meeting. Watch for more information on the Conference web page.


The Conference office has entered the social media world with a Facebook page. The page is intended to help provide informal information about the work of the Conference and, in particular, its staff. If you are on Facebook (isn’t the whole world on Facebook?) simply go to the Conference page and click on “Like.” You will receive automatic updates and messages on your own Facebook page.


Thirty-one youth and leaders traveled by bus across the country to the national Rendezvous youth gathering in Toronto this past August. Get a glimpse of their trip here.


The first grants have been made from the Vancouver Burrard ProVision Fund for a variety of projects within the Presbytery totaling almost $73,000. These funds became available as a result of property sales within the Presbytery and the subsequent joint planning of the Presbytery and Conference. The next application deadline for grants is February 1, 2012. Information can be found here.