Conference Calling – November 16, 2018
From: Doug Goodwin, Executive Secretary
Greetings, members and participants in BC Conference.
This is edition #3 of what should be a regular update on how plans and decisions are emerging for the transition of BC Conference (and Whitehorse and Banff) into a new Pacific Mountain Region starting January 1, 2019.
At its November meeting, the Pacific Mountain Region Commission approved an assessment on the Communities of Faith within the Region. The assessment amount will be 10% of the General Council assessment. This is equal to under ½% of Community of Faith income. This amount was earlier approved by the General Meeting of BC Conference when it met in June.
Congregations should be receiving their assessment notices by the end of November. These notices will include both the General Council and the Region assessment amounts. Both assessments will be paid to the General Council. The Region assessment amounts will then be remitted to the Region.
Communities of Faith are reminded that previous to 2019 they paid their assessments directly to Presbyteries and the Conference. Starting in 2019 a new General Council assessment was added. Monies that are returned to the Regions from the General Council in 2019 are far lower than what Regions have been working with to date; in BC the loss is several hundred thousand dollars annually.
A Region assessment allows the Region to make up some of that loss. It also ensures that the Region and the Communities of Faith have a direct financial relationship. This gives the Communities of Faith better control and accountability over the mission, operations and services of the Region.
Communities of Faith are also encouraged to consider together both of their methods of funding the work of the General Council: the assessments and the Mission and Service Fund. Previous to 2019 only the Mission and Service Fund funded the work of the General Council. Starting in 2019 the General Council assessment will also fund this work. Balancing the Community of Faith’s contributions to the General Council and the Region between these two funding streams is appropriate and faithful.
General Meeting: The first General Meeting of the Pacific Mountain Region will be May 30 – June 2, 2019, likely in the Lower Mainland. Keep those dates open.
Staffing: Since my last update October 1, a number of staffing changes have taken place. Mauricio Araujo has been hired as the Administrative Assistant to Doug Goodwin. A search is underway for three people to work in youth ministry in the Region, one full time in the Region office (and responsible for the Lower Mainland), and two half time people to work in different locations elsewhere in the Region. A search is also about to begin for a new Receptionist. Doris Kizinna will be finishing her work in youth and young adult ministry at the end of this year after almost 20 years. Lisa Anwar will finish her work in Native Ministries, also, at the end of the year. Mary Nichol increases her staff time to full time to enhance children’s ministry.
Children, Youth and Young Adults: The 2019 Region budget significantly increases budget for children, youth and young adult ministries. It will now be about 23% of the total program expenditures of the Region. There will be one full time children’s ministry staff, one full time youth and young adult staff, and two half time youth and young adult staff. They will be supported by a full time support person, as well as by significant program money. Not counted as part of that 23% is Campus Ministries which will still be supported at 2018 levels despite the loss of Presbytery income for that work.
Indigenous Ministries: Lisa Anwar ends her half time work at the end of this year. Plans are presently being developed (including this weekend at the Native Ministries Council meeting on Quadra Island) for a full time person to work directly with the indigenous communities within the Region. This person would be located in the north with access to the coastal and more interior communities. We are presently hoping this might be shared work with the National Indigenous Council of the United Church.
Presbyteries: As the Presbyteries hold their last meetings, the Region is preparing to take on the responsibilities and ministries that the Presbyteries have been doing. Remaining Presbytery financial assets will be transferred to the Region to help fund all the new work the Region must do, including finding funding for Cluster support. The Region staff team will be able to pick up some of the responsibilities Presbyteries had, but we will also need other methods of ensuring the discernment and decision-making formerly done in Presbyteries can still be done by those most affected. It will take some time to establish new ways of working together; it will not all be finalized by January 1… but we should be close!
Pastoral Relations: BC Conference underwent major changes in the ways it took on the work of pastoral relations (the relationships between congregations and their personnel), but the change into being a Region has brought additional change. The General Council takes on some of the work previous done by the Conference through its Office of Vocation. Brenda Fawkes has been hired by the General Council for this work in the Pacific Mountain and Chinook Winds (south Alberta) Regions. With a good staff team already involved in pastoral relations work, we are expecting a fairly smooth transition in this area.
Life Goes On: Meanwhile, even while immersed in transition work, the day-to-day life of the church goes on. There is a great deal of exciting things happening in congregations, among the youth (who just had close to 200 gather for Evolve), in the property work (we have four major projects now under active construction, including the construction of a new Region office), in numerous LeaderShift programs, in the development of the Contemplative Justice network, and in the busy, full tasks of supporting ministry personnel and congregations in transition.