Greetings, members and participants in Pacific Mountain Region,
For someone who has been a participant in this area for as long as I have, I have to admit remembering all the name changes, new email addresses, web page address, new staff members, new Manual rules and more is a bit of a challenge. But it is also an engaging and often even fun challenge, one that holds open the promise of a more effective structure that can help all of us be the church of Jesus Christ in new, bold, life-changing ways.
Pacific Mountain Region: As of January 1, we are now the Pacific Mountain Region! Technically, we are also known as the Pacific Mountain Regional Council, a name you might see on some official documents and correspondence, especially from the General Council. But it is OK to simply use the clearer term Pacific Mountain Region. We are comprised of the pastoral charges and ministries that were part of BC Conference but have been blessed with the addition of Whitehorse United Church (and responsibility for the whole Yukon Territory), and Rundle Memorial United Church in Banff.
General Meeting: The first General Meeting of the Pacific Mountain Region will be May 30 – June 2, 2019, at the Langley Event Centre in Langley, BC. The theme will be “For Such a Time As This” (Esther 4:14). Travel costs are covered for all participants. Keep those dates open and watch for more information and on-line registration soon.
Members of the General Meeting: The members of the General Meeting are:
- all United Church ministry personnel;
- all non-UCC ministry personnel who are appointed to work in a United Church community of faith;
- lay people who are elected by their communities of faith on the following basis:
- one representative from each community of faith with 100 or fewer members;
- two representatives from each community of faith with 101 to 200 members;
- three representatives from each community of faith with 201 to 300 members;
- four representatives from each community of faith with more than 300 resident members.
When communities of faith elect their representative(s), please remember that it is vital to the life of the church that people selected to be members of this meeting are prayerful, discerning, committed to and engaged in the life and work of the Church of Jesus Christ. A wide variety of peoples, voices, life experiences and cultures contributes immeasurably to our discernment together. Among our numbers we need people with spiritual gifts of discernment, vision, humility, compassion, justice, leadership, and wisdom. We need people who are good listeners, consensus builders, and passionate advocates.
Region Assessment: Communities of Faith should already have received their assessment notices from the General Council office. If you have not replied to the GC office yet, you are encouraged to do so soon. The assessment notice is not as clear as it should be (and will be next year!) about the Region assessment. At the top of the notice there is a Summary that breaks down the General Council and the Region assessment amounts… but following that the Region assessment amount does not come up again. No matter what choice you make, the Region assessment (10% of the General Council assessment) will also be charged to you. Even if you select the box that seems to indicate only the General Council amount, you will be charged that amount and the Region assessment (as indicated in the Summary section). The General Council office will bill you (or transfer from your account) one payment each payment period that you select and will distribute the Region share to us.
Indigenous Ministries: Representatives of the indigenous communities in the Region met in January to prepare for the changes they will experience as they become members of the National Indigenous Council. They also decided that they would exercise their right to “dual membership” and also be full members of the Pacific Mountain Region. The gift of having indigenous communities an integral part of the life of the whole Conference continues in our life as a Region.
Children, Youth and Young Adults: The 2019 Region budget significantly increases budget for children, youth and young adult ministries. We have now hired our program staff people: Pamela Evans (full time, working from the Region office); Robin Murray (half time, working from her home in Nelson); and Sarah Prestwick (half time, working from her home in Duncan). Pamela begins April 1; Sarah and Robin began February 1. Soon we will also select a full time support person who will work with both this team and Mary Nichol who is now full time working in children’s ministries. We are also financially supporting both the University of Victoria and University of BC chaplaincies $50,000 each.
Staffing: Staffing is almost in place for the Region now… but not quite. We are presently trying to finalize the hiring of a new Receptionist, and will soon begin the search for a support person for the children, youth and young adult ministries. Once a clear plan is finalized, we also plan to hire a full time person to be working in indigenous ministries. In the meantime, many thanks to Kimiko Karpoff, who has been working month to month as our Receptionist, and Belinda Burke, who has been doing the same as a support person for youth and young adults. Their good natures, competence and flexibility has made this difficult transition time far easier for us all.
Region Executive Minister: My work as Executive Minister ends at the end of June 2019. A process is in place to select a new Region Executive Minister who will be working for Pacific Mountain and Chinook Winds (south Alberta) Regions. If all goes well, a new person should be selected and known within a month.
Commission: The Pacific Mountain Commission (the former BC Conference Executive) has been working to ensure the vision for the work within the Region takes into account the many new realities the communities of faith and the church as a whole are encountering. It has also been working on a plan for a Region Executive that will be elected at the General Meeting, replacing the present Commission. The Commission next meets March 7-9.
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 communities of faith, among the youth and children (the first course in the new certificate program for children and youth ministry was held in January), 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. And, of course, much snow shovelling at the office!
Staff E-mail: [first name initial and last name]@united-church.ca