January 13, 2019

Reported to the Congregation on January 13,

by Lynn Oliver, Board Vice-Chair

Good Morning;

For those of you I have not had the privilege of chatting with my name is Lynn Oliver and I currently hold the position of Vice-Chair on your Board.  My role on the board is to aid in communication between the congregation and the church board.

If you attended a Sunday service late in November you would have heard Rev. Bill speak of an up coming meeting, he was attending with Waterloo Presbytery Support Minister, Paul Miller, regarding complaints from 4 members of Trinity. 

I want to remind you that Trinity has been operating without an M&P committee since 2016, and as such Paul Miller, in his role as Presbytery Support Minister, has been helping the Board deal with M&P concerns as they arise.     The meeting held early in December was attended by Bill, Paul, a support person for Bill and the Chair of Presbytery`s M & P Staff Committee.

The complainants asked that their anonymity be kept intact so concerns were discussed at a general level.  It was acknowledged that the journey from a larger church to a small church is a painful one for many people.  Paul acknowledged the progress our congregation has made over the last year and hopes that this unnecessary conflict not jeopardize our progress. Paul commented that one of our entrenched habits at Trinity is to believe that a change in ministers will resolve the congregation’s problems.  The hope from this meeting is that is not be the desire.  It is a habit we can no longer afford to indulge as we actively and intentionally seek a new way forward.

Bill has always been open to feedback and encourages each and every one of us to continue to provide him this such respect.

In the end all 4 members have received a follow up communication from Paul and no further action by Presbytery was recommended other than an admonition to all parties to treat each other with respect and courtesy during this challenging time.  He also urged the congregation to consider serving on a reconstituted M & P Committee as support from Paul Miller and Presbytery ended Dec 31 2018 with the restructuring of Presbytery to WOW – Western Ontario Waterways.

Helping to support Ministry & Personnel relations is an area of ministry critical to the healthy functioning of our church family.  If you are interested in considering sitting on the M & P committee please let myself or Katherine Bitzer know.   In the meantime, I encourage you from the bottom of my heart to not engage in parking lot conversation but bring your concerns to the person you have issues with or myself.  

December 23, 2018

Reported to the Congregation on December 23, by Barbara Bitzer, Coordinator of Worship and Music

Good morning. My name is Barbara Bitzer and I am the worship and music coordinator under our new governance structure. In that role the Board tasked me with finding a replacement for our Director of music, Gord Allgeier.  The position was advertised as a temporary contract position from January to June next year.

I enlisted the help of Jen Spaulding and together we interviewed several applicants, but felt that none of them were a good fit for Trinity. And then we had a brilliant idea – would any of the choral scholars be interested.  We approached two of them and I am delighted that they have said yes.  So, I am very pleased to announce that Hayden Kerry and Chris Clarke will split the responsibilities – Hayden will be the choir director and Chris the pianist beginning on January 6th.  I think you will all agree that they have shown us their skill and leadership over the past two months – especially last week. They are enthusiastic and excited to be taking on these roles and I know you will make them welcome.

December 16, 2018

Reported to the Congregation on December 16, by Lynne Green, Chair of the Transition Team

Good morning! I’m Lynne Green, Chair of the Transition Team here at Trinity. Every few weeks a Transition Team member endeavors to let you know where our work is at. We last met at the end of November. Our conversations are always rooted in Trinity’s ongoing collective voices and actions, including that which have been expressed through the feedback we gathered from the congregation last spring, the “What if” stories, the “four corners” data. The commonalities that are emerging in our words and actions are showing the Transition Team some direction in who we are, what we want to do and who we want to be:

 Currently, we are-

  • a United Church presence of open dialogue, interfaith connection and spiritual nurturing through hospitality and music

  • a central place in Kitchener where God is calling us to Ministry; a place to gather, to reset, to feel and experience God’s love and joy, discern God’s plan and then scatter into the community to live out our faith

  • a place of worship and prayer for all faiths, of pastoral care, learning and sharing

  • a place where spiritual and religious questions can be explored through music, art and dialogue

    a Church of about 200 members who have a lot of energy, varied skills and a willingness to adapt in order to offer a relevant ministry

  • mostly older

  • mostly longstanding members

  • busy! 

  • welcoming and accepting of others 

  • we value community partnerships and mission in the community, music, shared meals and hospitality

  • going to continue to meet as a worshiping community

We are not, right now-

  • going to amalgamate with another congregation nor will we disband

  • going to spend all our money right now nor are we going to give it all away

  • going to take on a big mission project; rather we will continue our smaller good works and will work towards a project or projects that inspire work in the future

Hopefully, some of this speaks to you. Do we all agree on everything? No! We are a group of rich and varied voices and ideas, so we don’t and won’t agree on all points. As always, we invite your responses. As the Transition Team meets in this latter half of our second year of transition as a Church and faith community, we will continue to hold up a metaphorical mirror in order to catch the rich and varied energies and sparks that emanate as members of our congregation gather for worship and in committees and teams.

So what are our next steps? Our Board Chairperson, Katherine, on behalf of the TT, has submitted a request to Cathy Stewart-Savage, one of our Presbytery representatives, to initiate a JNAC process. We have to do so in order to be able to post for Ministerial staff in the upcoming months. We meet next as a Transition Team on  Monday, December 17th. At that time, we will receive the report from Cathy from Credence which will summarize the data and feedback gathered from recent staff interviews that were conducted. 

We will be discussing this new data, along with all the information that we have gathered, at our first meeting of 2019, scheduled for January 12th. At that time we plan to meet for a longer block of time in order to focus on JNAC details and staff needs, leading to a draft of a posting for a new Minister.

The focus of our work from January to June, 2019, will be on staffing needs, recruitment and hiring. We will continue to work on refining and defining who we are and what we are about at Trinity United Church, including mission and service that is continuing to mold and shape. Thank you for your ongoing presence, voices, involvement and energy.


December 9, 2018

Reported to the Congregation on December 9, by Jane Maass, Presbytery Rep.

Presbytery/Conference Change in Governance

As you are likely aware UCC  has made a big change from a four-level governance system to a three-level system by combining Presbytery and Conference which is being called Region.  We are part of Region 8 which has been named Western Ontario Waterways or for abbreviation WOW.

 This name was chosen to represent all the region, is easy to remember and straight forward to spell, to reflect the geography of the region especially its rivers and Lake Huron- Georgian Bay shoreline.  The name honors the traditional pathways through the area and pays tribute to the presiding All Native Circle Presbytery for Ontario and Quebec Great Lakes Waterways.  It clearly identifies to us and others where we are living out our faith.

Our executive minister is Cheryl-Ann Stedelbauer-Sampa from London Presbytery and executive offices will continue to be on Hwy 6.

So far, those of us who have been Presbytery Reps continue to act as church reps to WOW.  Volunteers from this group are a part of a commission to help plan how we move forward.

It has been suggested that as part of our Region locally we try working in clusters.  The first one for KW will be at Forest Hill on January 22 at 7pm-9pm and we are to be prepared to describe  what we do well as a church.  Please think about this and let me know since I represent you the Trinity congregation.

December 2, 2018

Reported to the Congregation on December 2, by Lori-Ann Livingston-Breathwaite, Social Justice Coordinator

I’m Lori-Ann. I’m the first social justice coordinator under the new governance form. I thought I’d tell you a bit about what’s happened this year on the social justice front, and some ideas about how we’d like to move forward.

In the past month, I’ve put in about 16 hours in meetings, corresponding with prospective community partners and committee members, and also dealing with other requests for support.

I have formed a small but mighty group of people from the congregation who are interested in social justice, and I have also met with the worship and faith development coordinators, Barbara and Vi, to make sure that what we do in social justice is rooted in our faith and worship. You will see some interesting programming next year, and possibly a challenge during Lent, and maybe even some cooking. I know, big surprise there!

Last year at this time, we named three primary partners for 2018; those were:

1.     Kairos;

2.     Five Oaks Retreat Centre, and 

3.     Social Development Centre.

Each was recently given a donation of $1,000. For 2019, we have decided to continue supporting these three organizations with our annual donations.

In addition, six Sundays in 2018 specifically informed the congregation in order to establish or build relationships, with each speaker also receiving $1,000. The congregation also spent two Sundays learning about other ministries, laying the groundwork for Trinity’s plans for the future. These included the Toronto United Church Council tour of ministries in the GTA, and a workshop with Katja, Janet and Ron. The other services and workshops included:

  • Emmanuel UC Community Lunches presentation;

  • Waterloo Region Sexual Assault Support Centre;

  • Healing of the Seven Generations;

  • Social Development Centre, and

  • Reception House.

I would love to know what actions, big or small, you took after those services and workshops. I’d like to determine if those outreach Sundays were useful to you, or if they spurred you to action. It would help inform our path forward.

We have also fulfilled our commitment to the Mission and Service Fund. We have $500 remaining in our budget for 2018, and the committee has decided to allocate that to purchasing fleece blankets for the Y’s emergency shelter program.

Moving forward, we’d like to forge closer ties with St. Matthews. I can say honestly, I have gotten to know Pastor Sebastian fairly well, and I’ve entrusted him with Garrett on many occasions. They’re pretty good people, welcoming, and committed to service. But, in what other ways are we engaging with their outreach? Are you willing to volunteer for their events or initiatives? Are there community projects we can work on together?

We also have had a request from Rishan – I don’t have a lot of details yet, but you might remember that Trinity held money in an account and dispersed it for Rishan. Her cousin is in a refugee camp and she has approached us for sponsorship.