Well here we are with the festivities of Thanksgiving, the fun of Hallowe’en, the thoughtful moments of Remembrance Day behind us and the beautiful leaves fading and falling around us. What a lovely time of the year this is.
I must say I have been encouraged by the positive responses I have received from so many of you and I am really happy that the decision of your UCW Executive to produce a Newsletter is proving to be a good one. Thank you to those who have been in touch.
There seems to be quite a few things on the list which need to be shared so without further ado let me get on with it!!
Your Executive met on October 7 and joining us at that meeting was Iva Hancock who is spear-heading the organizing committee for our Annual Gathering and General Meeting to be held at Iva’s home church, Chilliwack United. April 24-25, 2020. As mentioned previously this is to be a truly combined effort with the UCW’s from Rosedale, Carmen, Mt Shannon and Agassiz United Churches all playing their part in the planning of this event.
Iva gave us an update on how the arrangements are coming along and it seems all is going very well with a Theme speaker, guest speaker, music people and Friday night entertainment all taken care of. I’m not going to tell you all the details yet as I have to keep some news for the next newsletter!!
I am wondering though, how the search for banners with anchors on them is going and also of course how you are coming along with your creation of new banners celebrating Pacific Mountain UCW. You will have 3 ½ months even after Christmas so there should be no excuses for us not having a wonderful “Banner Parade”
This talk of our AGM brings up another matter and that is the one of election of a PRESIDENT-ELECT.
Yes, it is in bolded capital letters because it is very important that we elect someone to this position at our Gathering in April. The President-Elect serves for one year and then will be President for 2 years and will finish off her term as Past-President for 1 year. A 4-year commitment in total and what a great 4 years it will be for you. If you have any thoughts at all that this is something you would like to commit to then please let me know, or contact to ask questions. Don’t be afraid of coming forward and offering yourself for this service if you feel this is something you would like and would be able to do. Please give this your prayerful consideration and as I said don’t be shy about offering if you think this is something you are called to do.
At the end of September our PM UCW treasurer, Lynn Lancaster, and I attended the annual meeting of the National UCW held in Mississauga, Ontario. Each of the 16 regions was invited to send 2 representatives. As usual a great gathering, a time to reconnect and to meet new ladies and to discuss common interests and concerns.
I am not going to attempt to cover the meeting in this Newsletter but hope our report may be able to be printed in the UCW Annual report which you will receive in Chilliwack in April. How does one put 5 days of activities into a few pages anyway?
One of the issues which I know is of great concern to many of you is the matter of the UCW not having a voting seat on the Pacific Mountain Region Council. You can rest assured that this is an issue that is of great concern to many of our UCWs as, of the 16 regions, there are only 5 that have extended an invitation to the UCW to have a representative on the Regional Council. So you see we are certainly not alone in this concern. Unfortunately, despite the frustrations expressed at the NUCW gathering this matter was not formally brought up for discussion with any decisions made as to how we were going to address this concern. Our National President, Beulah Haley from Newfoundland & Labrador, gave me the impression that the whole re-organization of our church was in early stages yet and maybe it was too soon to raise this issue with the Regions. It is interesting to note that prior to our reorganization in January 2019, the National President of UCW had a non-voting seat at the General Council Executive and now since January 2019 doesn’t even have that!!
However, at our P.M. Executive meeting on October 7 it was decided that a letter should be sent to Treena Duncan PM Region Executive Minister with a copy to the Region Chair the Rev. Jay Olson expressing our concern at the UCW is not being included in the decision-making process of our Region.
At the time of distributing this Newsletter not even acknowledgement of the letters (sent on October 22) has been received.
The following was included in the letter and as it contains some good information, I feel it is worthy of reprinting here for you all to read.
“Earlier this year a national survey was conducted to ascertain the contributions that identified members of the United Church Women make to the National Church, their communities and to their Local congregations.
The results of this survey were quite amazing and it is easy to see why so often it has been said that “if it weren’t for the women of the congregation and the members of the UCW this church would have closed long ago” – or words to that effect.
The survey identified 1026 known UCW units across Canada with a membership of 17,280 women. Of those 1026 Units 601 responded to the survey which is a response of 58% so the figures quoted are from those 601 units.
In 2018 the UCW contributed $1,133,000.00 to the National Mission and Service fund, they gave $2,312,489.00 for the maintenance and ministry of their own local churches and contributed $795,907.00 to community outreach.
3,962 UCW members were reported as serving on boards and committees in their congregations and 112 have trained and are serving the wider Church as Licensed Lay Worship Leaders.
These figures do not include the hours given to friendly visiting, the sending of cards on behalf of the congregation, donations of clothing, personal hygiene items and food items for local homeless shelters and foodbanks and many of the other things that the women of our churches participate in.
Here in Pacific Mountain region the UCW Executive is working hard on restoring a comprehensive communications network and with total numbers of UCW Units in our Region still a little uncertain there were 28 who responded to this survey indicating that in 2018 a total of $54,141.00 had been given to the National Mission and Service Fund, $219,573.00 had been given to local congregations, $51,643.00 donated to community outreach projects and that 238 UCW members served on congregational committees and 4 were Licensed Lay Worship Leaders. There was no doubt greater contributions made that were not reported.”
So there you have some good stuff to share with your units and I hope this helps make you realize what a very special part of our church that you all are and I wish to thank all the Units in our region who responded to the survey. NOW… keep in mind that all these figures relate to “Service” which is after all the 4th pillar of our purpose and not the first. As we age and feel less able to “DO” things we might feel we can no longer be a UCW Unit but that is definitely not the case. Remember the first 3 pillars, “Christian Witness, Study, & Fellowship”, these are the really important pillars and no matter how old we get we can still do these things pretty well I would suggest. I am really saddened when I hear of Units who use the excuse of “we are getting old and can’t do what we used to, so we think we are going to fold our UCW Unit”. Please don’t even consider that as an idea. Christian Witness – going to church on Sunday and learning the names of the children in the church school and speaking to them, Study – listening well to the sermon and giving it some careful thought, re-reading the lectionary reading for the day and giving it some more thought at home before you take your Sunday afternoon nap, & of course Fellowship – the very best part of being a UCW member, phone calls to those who can’t get out, a little note written on pretty paper and either delivered or mailed, a bunch of flowers from your garden taken to a shut-in – (when the season is right) So you see you can be part of a UCW Unit even when you are no longer able to make tea at the Christmas bazaar, or serve at a funeral reception, or take your turn to read scripture during worship. Just remember that “Service” was put as the end for a reason wouldn’t you think??
At the NUCW Gathering in September we were given an update on the Anniversary gathering to be held at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre in Sydney Nova Scotia, July 11-15, 2022. Theme to be “Continuing in Hope”. It is estimated that the registration fee will be in the range of $350-$400 which covers meals and then there will be hotel costs and travel of course on top of that, so as we will be going from one coast to the other we should all start saving!! Remember that in 2017 everyone came to Vancouver and what a great time that was. Grants of up to $400 each, from the Agatha Kaasa and Dorothy Amos Funds are to be made available to women seeking financial assistance to attend this gathering. A special application form is going to be created just for applications for grants for this event.
NUCW moved to send $1,000 for relief in the Bahamas through the UCCan relief fund.
After some discussion it was decided to maintain our Associate membership in the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women rather than contribute a considerably higher amount of money to become full members. This organization holds a world Convention every 5 years and the next is in Sweden in 2021. We have been experiencing some difficulty in communicating and getting answers to questions we have, so felt that in the meantime associate membership would suffice.
The “Women for Change – Zambia” our 60th Anniversary project is well underway and at the time of our meeting $18,232.00 had been received and $10,000 already sent to Zambia.
“Women for Change – Zambia” has its own face-book page and I understand good information is available through that route.
There is also a power point presentation on this project available and you can get a copy by contacting:
Pat Whitton, 206-325 Willowdale Cres. Sarnia, ON. N7T 7R2, Ph: 519-344-2564.
The Communications committee of NUCW will be working on improvements to the UCW website and to the Facebook page. Dissatisfaction was expressed re the difficulty in accessing the UCW information on the National Church’s website.
There was discussion on what it means to be a “member” of UCW. We realized that we have a number of women who are associated with UCW who are now attending churches where there is no UCW Unit. (Actually I am in that situation myself) In Pacific Mountain UCW we do not seem to have a tradition of a per-member assessment to help finance the workings of the UCW in our area as is the tradition in most of the other regions, along with the $1 per member which is requested to be sent to help support the National UCW. At this point the suggestion at National is that these “orphaned UCW members” could at least be counted in the statistics if they were to send a donation to the UCW treasurer for their Region. It maybe is an issue which you will see on our agenda for our gathering in April 2020!
Nancy Risto from Niagara Falls was elected President Elect and she will be installed for a 2-year term at our meeting in September 2020.
Now, on with a little news from our two former Presbyterials (I’m not sure what to call them any more, but despite any name changes they are continuing to do good things and have great fun)
Fraser UCW had a wonderful day at Agassiz UC at the end of September with over 60 UCW Members joining together for fellowship, a little education as they learned what it was like to be a missionary in Zambia, sharing as they swapped lunch bags and there was no “service” and no business!! All just fun and about $320 was donated to go toward the Women for Change – Zambia project which is our 60th anniversary mission endeavor. Thank you, ladies.
The former Victoria Presbyterial has also undergone a name change and from now on will be known as the West Coast Islands UCW. That group held its Annual General Meeting at Central Saanich UC – (formerly named Shady Creek- Brentwood Bay United Church,) at the end of October with 18 women present. Communication is proving to be a real challenge and one which must be addressed. There had been over 60 ladies at the annual “Day Apart” at Camp Pringle at the end of June and despite there being no power when they arrived at the camp the program got underway and when the power was restored later in the morning the coffee and muffins were served, the program continued and a good time was had by all. Our question is of course where were all these ladies when it came to the day for our annual General Meeting?
A heads up: I have had contact with Margaret Chalk whose home church, St Paul’s United in Princeton, will be celebrating their 100th Anniversary in 2020. If you have a connection with St Paul’s then please get in touch with Margaret (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further details. At the time of writing the Centennial Celebration weekend has been tentatively set for the weekend of June 7. 2020.
I hope I have covered the current news from National and more local streams of UCW and will sign off wishing you all the Blessings of the Christmas Season as it approaches, and as always—
Take care and stay safe.
Pacific Mountain UCW