HIGHLIGHTS OF THE REGIONAL COUNCIL MEETING
October 15 – October 18, 2020
Please be sure to send in your Feedback Form by October 30 so we can incorporate your insights.
President Gary Clark’s theme for the meeting was “Honey from the Rock” drawn from Psalm 81: 11 where God’s care is expressed with this powerfully imagery.
The theme was woven through the reports in the workbook and the worship services led by the worship team of Kate Ballagh-Steeper, Sidney Elias and Brad Inglis with support from the singers of Trinity United Church, Kitchener. Linnea Good’s song, “Honey from the Rock”, set the theme to music.
Our Generation: The Mission & Service
Thank-you for your offering, made at the Celebration of Ministry on Sunday, October 18 as part of the Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council meeting. The offering will go to Mission & Service, making possible even more programs and activities to transform and save lives, inspire meaning and purpose, and build a better world.
We thank Parliamentarian, Tim Reaburn, for his assistance in our business proceedings.
Western Ontario Waterways is an Affirming regional council! The decision to adopt the Action Plan was passed by a majority of more than 99%! Many thanks to the tri-regional Affirming Network who prepared the material and led the presentation! Now we focus on how we live into this plan as a regional council ensuring that sexual orientation or gender identity are not barriers to participation.
Remit The regional council endorsed the proposed change to Section 10 of Polity in the Basis of Union to replace the words “men and women” to read: The Order of Ministry shall be open to persons of all gender identities.
The pre-meeting Affirm webinar can be found on the regional council’s YouTube channel. The webinar focuses on the distinction between sexual orientation and gender identity. Sexual orientation is who one finds attractive; gender identity is how one sees oneself.
Many, many thanks to the members of the regional council who added their pronouns when they introduced themselves! This is one way to embrace our Affirming mandate!
We thank Deborah Deavu who served as Equity Monitor. Deborah will review her insights with the Executive to help us learn from her experience and develop a position description for this role. The Equity Monitor is attentive to how privilege is empowering some and disempowering others.
Thanks to Treasurer, Brent Caslick, who reviewed 2019 and shared the principles behind the 2021 budget that was adopted. In 2021, the regional council will use reserve funds to invest in ministry. It is anticipated that the reserves will increase by a similar amount through the regional council’s interest income and share in the legacy of disbanding congregations.
Additionally, in the pre-meeting financial webinar, also found on the YouTube channel, funds have been established for specific purposes. These will soon be added to the website with grants available by 2021.
Thank you to all who attended! Over 200 people registered for the meeting. For each of the five business sessions, over 150 people were present. This means most people attended many sessions. Thank you for this generous gift of your time and for the blessing of your wisdom. It was a joy to be together!
Special thanks to President Gary Clark for his leadership, to Secretary Rod Coates for his notetaking and to the regional council staff who were key to meeting preparation and operation!
Let’s do this again!
As instructed, the Executive will plan a spring meeting. At this point, it appears that will continue to need to be a virtual meeting. Please be sure to send in your Feedback Form by October 30th so we can incorporate your insights.
Mark your calendars now for May 28, 2021 when the Hon. Senator Murray Sinclair will be meeting with Western Ontario Waterways, Antler River Watershed and Horseshoe Falls regional councils with a focus on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to the Church!
Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council had the privilege of ordaining: Rebekah Duncan, Gail Fricker and Kellie McComb in a Celebration of Ministry service hosted by Avondale United Church, Stratford.
Avondale United Church was also home for President Gary Clark, Secretary Rod Coates, Executive Assistant Sue Duliban, and Executive Minister Cheryl-Ann Stadelbauer-Sampa throughout the meeting. The congregation’s gracious hospitality was much appreciated. Special thanks to their worship leaders, Rev. Keith Reynolds, Rev. Kathi Urbasik-Hindley and Dan Van Winden and soloist, Susan Walker, and the Avondale United Church choir for sharing their gifts with the regional council.
We give thanks for the dedicated service of the following retirees: Scott Boughner, Janet Eriksen, Mary Fletcher, Keith Lockhart and George Russell.
The candidates and retirees were celebrated with video clips and PowerPoint presentations.
Jubilands are those celebrating 50 years or more since the date of their ordination. We honour the lifetime of service given by:
50 Years: John Buttars, Donald Linkletter, Karl Sievert
55 Years: Henrik Dykman
60 Years: Cecil Wittich
65 Years: Calvin Evans, George Moore, Lorne O’Neill
The regional council is DELIGHTED to welcome Mark Laird to the role of President-Elect. Mark’s acceptance speech spoke of his openness to responding to the church’s need, inspiring words that invite each of us to consider how we are doing that.
We give thanks for the following who have joined the Executive and Commissions:
Executive: Terry Smith, Heather Leffler, Andrea Allan
Covenant Commission (CC): Margaret Bakker, Judy Chalmers, Norm Eygenraam, Arthur Hills, Matthew Lindsay
Human Resources Commission (HR): Douglas Hayward and Mel Spencer
Mission and Discipleship Commission (M&D): Edith Coyle, Rodger Filsinger, Gail Fricker, Jenn Hind-Urquhart
There are still vacancies on the CC and M&D Commissions. If the presentations from these Commissions interested you, please submit an Expression of Interest for the Executive’s consideration.
With thanksgiving for the ministry they offered and for the witness they provided, the regional council remembered these ministers and congregations: Terry Fletcher, B. Jeanne Wright, Don Parr, David Chesney, Donald Pletsch, Ohane Sarmazian and Lester Phillips
We remember the following congregations: Emmanuel United Church, Sebringville; Chatsworth United Church, Walters Falls United Church; Holland Centre United Church; Marsville United Church
How are you Called to Be the Church as a member of the Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council?
Connecting, Supporting, Transforming is the Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council’s (WOWRC) purpose statement. WOWRC fulfills this goal in part by connecting communities of faith with one another and with the United Church as a whole.
In the regional council, there are decision making bodies and resource pools. Details about the work of each can be found in the Governance Handbook.
The decision-making bodies of the Executive, Covenant Commission, Human Resources Commission and Mission and Discipleship Commission meet regularly to make the decisions entrusted to the regional council.
At the 2020 fall meeting, the regional council filled vacancies through the election of new members. There are still opening on the following commissions:
- Covenant Commission
- Mission & Discipleship Commission
These positions are open to anyone who is a full member in good standing in a congregation within the bounds of the regional council.
If you are interested, please complete an Expression of Interest Form. This information will then go before the next Executive meeting and you will be notified.
If you prefer a more time-limited involvement, please volunteer to assist in one of the resource pools. Details regarding the resource pools are also in the Governance Handbook. All resource pool volunteers will be contacted directly by the Commission selected.
Either as a member of the resource pool or one of the decision-making bodies, you will have the opportunity to learn more about the church and develop skills of benefit to your home community of faith.
If you have questions about the work of the Commissions and/or Executive, feel free to contact President Gary Clark, or the Commission Chair for more details.
- President Gary Clark
- Covenant Commission Chair Ann Harbridge
- Human Resources Commission Chair Micol Cottrell
- Mission & Discipleship Commission Acting Chair Bruce Dickson
Thank you for your prayerful discernment of how you might serve.