2016 Annual Report
From the Chair
2016 witnessed the conclusion of 125 years of a Mission on the Hill, known as Sydenham Street United Church. A Faith Community that connected with the surrounding community through Worship, Baptisms, Marriages, Meals, Counselling, Socials and multiple other ways.
The History of this Faith Community is one that is rich and long. There are many pillars in this church that have supported, strengthened and lead this congregation through both challenging and inspiring times. Sydenham is a Congregation that is not afraid to have bold conversations and venture out on the edge; it celebrates diversity in all its’ forms; it strives to be inclusive, to embrace other faith traditions and empower and encourage all to experience God more deeply, serve God more faithfully and be the face of Christ in the world.
Also during 2016 we embarked on a new journey with Heritage United Church to explore the possibility of becoming a New Entity. We face this journey full of hope, optimism and faith. The work to get us to this New Entity was exciting, difficult and intense, at times making us anxious and perhaps just a little impatient.
This Transition Process had many moving parts working in harmony to meet and achieve the end results, being our new Community of Faith. The Transition Team, The Governance Committee, The Finance Advisory Committee, The Steering Committee, The Behavioural Covenant Team, The Joint Needs Assessment Com-mittee were all a part of the process and pieces of the moving parts.
In the early months of 2016, a small group of about fifteen people, gathered on a Saturday morning, in a workshop, facilitated by Rev. Gerry Hofstetter. The goal was develop a Behavioural Covenant that would guide our behaviours as members of the congregation as well as inhabitants of the earth. The group worked thoroughly and faithfully to produce The Behavioural Covenant which was then presented to the Congregation for approval.
The Transition Team led the congregation through a series of questions and discussions that helped to describe who we are as a Faith Community. The work was then compiled, the questions were tabulated and the results were presented to the congregation. This was good work done by the Transition Team.
The Governance Team was also created. The mandate of the Governance Team was to look at various models of governing structure, then create a model that is relevant for todays’ church. This committee devoted many hours of hard work and some critical thinking to produce a governance structure that was
presented to the Board and then to the Congregation. This would be a work-in-progress document as the Board would critique its’ functions and modify where necessary.
Another piece of work that got us to this New Entity was the formation of The Joint Needs Assessment Committee. (JNAC) The Committee worked extremely hard within a short period of time to produce a document that was presented to the Congregation for approval and then to Presbytery, declaring a vacancy as of January 1st, 2017. All these Committees, Teams and Groups were, as Rev. Wayne describes it “ Organs of the Board.”
As these many members and groups were involved in various pieces of work, still others were doing the ongoing work of the church. Fundraising Activities, Sunday Supper Program, Outreach Programs, Worship Planning, Sunday School Programs, Music Ministry just to name a few. This is where the church was at its’ best. Everyone participated in some way or another.
We extend our gratitude to Rev. Wayne Beamer for his leadership in the Transition Process and leading us through meaningful worship services. Our thanks to Rev. Bill MacKinnon for his leadership in Pastoral Care and for leading worship at Bell Lane. Thanks to Rev. Con Estoesta and all those who also shared Worship at Bell Lane. This is a meaningful Outreach Ministry and the membership look forward to worship each Sunday morning. Ngozi Nwokoro continues to be the constant presence there and Cynthia Advincula and Ruth Sylvester provide musical accompaniment.
The Official Board completed its’ work in June. The Official Board as it was known to be, was dismissed of its’ responsibilities and the New Board was formed under the New Governance Structure. Thanks to the members who served on the Official Board and on the Commissions for several years. Your hard work, time and commitment are greatly appreciated. Larry Pickard retired from the Treasurer’s role after thirty- four years. Our gratitude to Larry for his many years of service.
We also bid goodbye to our Music director, Richard Street, but welcomed Amy Di Nino, our new Music Director. We are excited to be working with Amy and looking forward to the new musical experience. Thanks to the Music Search Committee for a job well done.
Over the year, we laid to rest some of our pillars in the church. Shirley Allen, Dave Shiels, Ruth Wilbee and Marion McLellan, (Aunty Marion) are sadly missed.
We often times forget about the work of our Sunday School Teachers. Their work is of utmost importance as they prepare our young members for their journeys of Faith. We thank Jacquie Childerhose for her years of service as the Sunday school Superintendent and Teacher. Jacquie is a wealth of Church School and Sunday School resource and shares it willing with us all but especially, the children. We give thanks and appreciation to the Sunday School Teachers, Sally Lehtinen and Eva Partridge. And to Andrew and Charissa Advincula, Shelley Grisdale and Aileen Johnston who are the newest members of our Sunday School teachers. May you continue to be an inspiration to the children.
Special thanks to Aileen for all the work she does for the church and always going above and beyond her area of responsibilities. And thanks to Linda for always ensuring that everyone’s needs are met.
As we leave 2016 and 125 years of history behind us, may we do so remembering this:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and
not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
The road ahead may not be easy, but we live with the promise that God has a plan for us. Let us be open to the Spirit
Office Board Chair
Annual Meetings 2016
To say that this past year has been busy is an understatement. We began as two congregations filled with hope for our new relationship as we followed the Transition Team’s lead along a path to healing. At the outset of the year we were still smarting from the anxious and painful experiences of the last three or four previous years. We were tentative and feeling our way while we had one eye on the Gospel message and the other on the Christ Light that illuminated our path.
We as a congregation have concluded all but a few of the challenges set before us by the Transition Team at the start of their work and I have to say from a personal point of view that they have all borne fruit to some degree.
Some of them though have wrought significant change.
The Governance Review, the Holy Manners Behavioural Covenant, and the Financial Review have all helped bring fresh new ways of being Church to bear on our lives together as community.
The conversations that the Transition Team has had, and is going to have with the congregation have promoted integration of the two congregations while at the same time broadening the understanding we collectively have of ourselves.
That understanding necessarily must include our individual pasts, our united present, and our completely blended future.
What the future holds for Sydenham-Heritage United Church is beyond our understanding but it is not beyond our IMAGINING.
As we enter the final three months of the Transition Ministry we are going to be talking about our need to coalesce around a common vision of the Christ Life that we aspire to.
And that will call upon us to IMAGINE our lives together in community.
This process of IMAGINING we hope will draw out descriptions of ourselves together as a congregation the way we hope it can be.
We hope to discover where your passions lie.
We hope to discover how we can harness those passions so that we are all pulling in the same direction toward God’s Kingdom as each one of us lives out a disciples life. God bless you all.
PASTORAL CARE MINISTER’S REPORT
I had the privilege of leading worship on January 1, the first day of the amalgamated congregations. We had a full house for the New Year’s café and focused on two questions: “What is your best memory of Christmas this year (or any year)?” and “What are your hopes and visions for our new congregation of Sydenham-Heritage?” Responses and interaction were good and at times robust.
My pastoral responsibilities continued to include hospital visiting, and also visiting those who are in retirement residences, long-term care facilities and folks confined to their homes. It has been a blessing this year to be accompanied on many of these visits by members of the Pastoral Care Commission and others. The visits are always appreciated and shut-in members value the priority on pastoral care held by both Heritage and Sydenham. I also participated in Sunday suppers, Wednesday breakfasts, special dinners and responding to other pastoral needs as they arose. I have officiated at seven funerals and participated in
I am pleased to say that our Pastoral Care Commission is now a joint Commission with membership from both former congregations. A commission report will follow later in this document highlighting their ministry.
A recent policy change at Brantford General will have an impact on how we care for our hospitalized parishioners. Until now clergy have had access to computerized lists in the Spiritual Care office, which identify by faith group and congregation those people who wish to be so identified. This was the primary way of knowing who was in hospital, perhaps in particular those who are no longer active but still see themselves part of the church family. With increasing concerns about confidentiality and privacy BGH has ended this access. The result is that we have no way of knowing who is the hospital unless someone tells us. The
Chaplaincy department is looking at ways to make the system more user-friendly for community faith leaders. But at present this is the situation.
I am pleased to be working with Alison Miculan once again. Alison is doing a ten-month internship at Copetown United and I am serving as the off-site supervisor.
Sydenham-Heritage is a terrific place to be in ministry with an A-Team of staff colleagues and many supportive congregants. Future ministry staff will be lucky to be among you!
Some of the general comments articulated On New Years Day were:
Stay together, share together, work together, know each other better, pray together and to find real peace.
We are off to a good beginning!
Blessings, Bill MacKinnon
“Make a Joyful Noise” was the Theme crafted by Presbytery Chair, Adrianne Robertson. This Theme was lived out at each Presbytery Meeting by having each congregation sharing their Joys and celebrations. Each meeting opened with meaningful worship. Jacquie Chil-derhose from the Grand River Book Store brings
inspiring Book Reviews. The Presbyters are always informed about the developments at Five Oaks and Vicky Aldersley brings the news on Nations Uniting.
Peter Hartmans, our Persistent Friend brings news from the Conference and General Council. In the fall of 2015, Commissioners attending GC-42, were given the opportunity to share their experiences with fellow Presbyters.
Following the meal, each Committee provided a report on their respective work.
Currently there are forty-six congregations in Erie Presbytery and many of them take turns in hosting the Presbytery meetings.
In June of 2017, Nora Fueton was elected Chair of Erie. Her Theme for the 2016-2017 year is “Threads of Hope” .
PRESBYTERY EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
2016 - 2017
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OFFICERS
Chairperson - Nora Fueton
Past Chairperson - Adrianne Robertson
Chairperson Elect - Kim Shantz
Secretary - Karen Tobey
Treasurer - Norma Cronkwright
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE CONVENERS
Administration - Harold Wall
Agenda and Worship -Chair and Secretary
Faith Formation - Sheena Marini
Education and Students – Ted Black (Temporary)
Human Resources / Nominations - TBA
Mission, Outreach, Life and Public Witness - Barbara Fullerton
Pastoral Oversight - Barry Bain
Pastoral Relations - June Hibbert / Bob Thompson
Property - Paul Currie
Conference Committee Appointments for Erie:
Interview Board: Yvonne Wright; Christine Hossack
CIES (Hamilton Conference) 1) Marion Brown 2) Yvonne Wright
(Conference Internship and Educational Supervision Committee)
Respectively Submitted by:
Yvonne Wright & Tom Hunt