This is a strange time for all of us, but we are lucky to be part of loving, cautious and connected community. As I write this, I see signs flowers breaking through and lovely sunshine and somehow these signs of new life are a bit at odds with our life experience at this moment in time. However, we are an Easter people and we know that a different reality awaits us, and I am grateful that for all of you as we encounter this Lenten experience. Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s words are a great summary of our call to be church during this time: “Clean hands, clear heads and open hearts!”
Thank you to everyone to came to be part of our Townhall online meeting today, Wednesday March 18th. Our next Townhall online meeting is scheduled for Wednesday March 25, from 1 – 2:30 pm. Here is the link to the March 25th Zoom call: https://united-church.zoom.us/j/497880582
To follow are five updates from me, for our region:
- General Meeting
- Celebration of Ministry
- Support for Ministry Personnel and Staff
- Employment Questions
- Website Links
1. May 2020 General Meeting: The venue where we were holding our meeting is closed until the end of May, which necessitates the postponement of the May 2020 General Meeting. PMRC Executive will be meeting on Friday, March 20th to discuss how we will proceed, and we will keep you informed as decisions are made. We will be considering all the options including an electronic meeting, or holding the meeting at a different time.
2. Celebration of Ministry: The postponement of the General Meeting has implications for those anticipating ordination and commissioning this year. We will ensure that a Celebration of Ministry service happens at the earliest possible opportunity.
3. Support for Ministry Personnel and Staff: I wanted to take this opportunity to remind you that our Employee Assistance Plan is available, and they do offer online services. Additionally, the Spiritual Care Network is offering Spiritual Companioning for those who seek some additional support through this time. Please contact Rev Karen Millard at email@example.com and she will connect you with a spiritual conversation partner.
4. Employment questions: It is our hope that every effort will be made to maintain ongoing employment for everyone during this difficult time. Ministry personnel will be busier than ever trying to stay connected with folks and ensure that social distancing does not become social isolation. We hope that other employees can be re-deployed to support members of the congregation and community in other ways, if their traditional employment tasks are not required during this time. If under exceptional circumstances financial concerns are such that you must consider changes to employment terms, please be in touch with your Regional Minister before taking any such action. As a region, we will be exploring options to support Communities of Faith in this difficult time. Also please note that non-profits and charities will also be eligible for government assistance, as detailed in here: Helping Businesses to Keep Their Workers
5. Website Links: We are keeping the PacificMountain.ca website up-to-date with notices from myself, other Regional staff, with online worshiping community resources, and resources for pastoral care and wellness. Key links you may want to bookmark are:
- Supporting One Another in Times of Traumatic Events
- Creative Ways to Worship, at a Distance
- Encouraging Givings in Times of Church Closures
- Online Engagement Sessions & Book Study through LeaderShift
Executive Minister, Pacific Mountain Regional Council