Conference Calling 8

May 2006


You might be able to imagine the scurrying and incessant phone ringing here at the Conference office as we prepare for the General Meeting of BC Conference in Esquimalt May 25-28. And such activity is not confined to this office – all around Victoria a group of busy, dedicated volunteers are pulling together last minutes details to ensure that meals, beds, meeting space, transportation, and much more are awaiting the over 500 people who will attend the meeting. I am always amazed by the number of people needed – and the high level of dedication of those people – to stage a General Meeting. Many many thanks to all those involved.


Three workshop times will highlight this year’s General Meeting of BC Conference. Participants will be able to pick from a wide variety of topics and activities (many of them “child-friendly”) as they explore the theme “Roots and Shoots.” Significant time will also be spent on proposals that are directed to the General Council, as well as proposals for our own life and work. Reports, proposals and more can be found here.


Important elections will take place at the General Meeting for a President-Elect (who will become President in 2008), an ordered representative to the General Council Executive, and commissioners to this year’s General Council meeting. Please give these positions your thought and prayer. While there will be some time at the meeting to make nominations, pre-meeting nominations are preferred. You can find nomination forms here.


A new emphasis is being put on spiritual care, especially for ministry personnel. A Conference committee has been formed to focus in this area and already has started developing several exciting initiatives. We are beginning to recognize that our leadership not only need good skills and support structures but spiritual depth and health. The leaders who will help us move forward are those who are well-grounded in Christian faith and practice.


Treena Duncan, our Personnel Minister, would like to thank all those who provided support and encouragement for her during her surgery earlier this year. Treena is doing very well. As you can imagine, she hardly even slow ed down as she led workshops on conflict resolution, M&P committees, sexual abuse policy and, of course, continued to provide pastoral relations support and advice.


Recognizing the difficulty of finding volunteers these days, Ray McGinnis has been hired to ensure our Conference committees have their full complement of qualified members. Ray is keeping a list of committees and their membership needs. His task is to scour the Conference to find people who are qualified and willing to serve in one of the many areas of Conference work. Presently there is a need for people to serve in the Ministry and Personnel area, as well as in Finance. In time there will be a web site dedicated to informing people about the Conference committees and their membership needs. If you feel you may be qualified to serve on one of the Conference committees, or know someone who is, please feel free to let Ray know at: raymundo [at] writetotheheart [dot] com


The United Church is committed to assisting congregations and other ministries upgrade their technology. Matching grants are available. Find more information and application forms on the national web site here.


Congratulations and prayers are in order for Jim Angus, former President of BC Conference, who has been nominated for Moderator of the United Church.


Welcome to Blair Galston, new archivist for BC Conference. Blair began his work as half-time archivist May 1. Replacing Bob Stewart is a huge task but Blair comes well qualified. In the part of his life not consumed by archival digging Blair will also be pursuing his talents in music. Watch for and welcome Blair at the General Meeting of Conference later this month.


Conference Minister for Prince Rupert Presbytery, Charlotte Sullivan, is recovering after undergoing hospitalization for leukemia. Charlotte has responded well to treatment. Presently she is living in Vancouver so she can be close to the hospital as treatment finishes. We are looking forward to Charlotte’s full recovery and return to work.


Since my last Conference Calling I have lost a mentor and fellow pilgrim, June Lythgoe. I know many reading this could same the same thing about June, or about one of the other saints like Val Anderson who have recently died. Perhaps it is just my advancing age but I am more sensitive now to the truth of the biblical witness that we are, indeed, surrounded by a cloud of witnesses who have gone before us, family members who have faithfully prepared through many generations the path which we walk. Indeed, we are not alone.

Many people kept in touch with June’s illness and death through a blog created by her daughter, Shannon. The blog continues, including a fine sermon by David Boyd preached at a memorial service for June in Nelson. 

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