June 18th, 2017 update

My name is Ginger Comission and I am a member of the Board of TUC.

Today I have a number of updates for you.

1)     As you may or may not know, last Sunday's update contained the news that Rev. Tiina Cote tendered her resignation from her role as the Minister of Trinity United Church, Kitchener, effective Friday, September 8, 2017.  A copy of her resignation letter is in the eblast sent out Friday June 16/17.

We thank Rev. Tiina for her ministry with us, the gifts she has brought and shared, and will begin to make plans for a farewell service for her on Sunday September 10/17. There will be more news about this forthcoming.

2)     The Board held a special meeting with the Re-development committee this past Thursday June 15/17 and further discussion and planning about the shared information will continue at the next Board meeting this Tuesday June 20/17.

3)     Paul Miller, from Presbytery, attended the meeting June 15/17 and provided process information and support for TUC Board about the process for obtaining an Interim Minister which will be acted upon promptly.


We will be posting the TUC staff vacation schedule and coverage plan in the next eblast and bulletin. 

Rev. Tiina is away          June 16 to July 29/17

Robert is away from      July 3 to 21/17

Dorothy is away from    July 28 to Aug. 8

Katharine Edmonstone – Pastoral Care Ministry - will help provide pastoral coverage during Rev. Tiina's holidays.  Rev. Chris Fickling from St. James’ - Rosemount UC is also available if needed by Katherine during Rev. Tiina's absence.

Katharine Edmonstone (c)  519-571-8471

Rev. Chris Fickling        (w) 519-742-1002 

Also there is newsletter coming out later this month. 


June 4, 2017 update

In the fall your Board invited Betty Pries of the L3 Group to conduct an interview and survey process with members of the congregation.

In her December report Betty outlined a work plan to respond to three key areas: the ministry relationship, leadership and governance challenges, and the absence of purpose and vision for the future. The action plan included:

(a)    Clergy coaching sessions to support challenges of change

(b)    A series of  7 meetings with Trinity leaders (Board, Ministry Team, Steering Committee)

(c)  three facilitated conversations with the Congregation. 

This work concluded on May 16th, a final report has now been received.

First we learned that communication was insufficient and we had some significant TRUST issues; lack of trust between the congregation and leadership and between the Board and Ministry Team.

This generated a number of action items…

  • Communication efforts with the congregation have  been increased, inclusive of posting board meeting minutes on the website and a monthly mailing to those not online.
  • Our current governance model was reviewed and consensus reached that the Board, the Board Chair and Minister and Ministry Team must nurture a closer relationship with one another, to work in a manner that is more collaborative, transparent and builds trust. 
  • Action items were identified to support this and a first step was to hold overlapping monthly meetings with a meal and an hour of joint discussion. This began in March.
  • There is still work to be done on decision making, clarifying policies and roles and responsibilities.

We have extremely important decisions ahead, and many in the next month or two.

Betty reminded us it is imperative that we develop the capacity to have healthy and effective conversations and disagreements with one another.  To disagree well depends on a foundation of trust between Trinity’s leaders and the congregation and between our leadership bodies.  Disagreeing well depends on developing skills and practices for transparency, intentionality and mutual respect. This too is a work in progress.

Another priority highlighted by the congregation was more clarity in vision, purpose and identity. Essentially the WHY question… why are we even thinking about redevelopment?

Trinity’s mission has at times been hampered by divisions in the congregation and leadership.  Trinity needs to tie its upcoming decisions to its sense of mission, to its vision, identity and purpose.

We believe Trinity is committed to deepening a sense of community and common purpose, ‘such that we are all pulling in the same direction’.

We identified and confirmed a number of factors about our purpose: 
(excerpts taken from L3 Closing Report)

  • The congregation is committed to its Christian identity and this identity must define Trinity’s sense of purpose   
  • Trinity is committed to being in the core, this is central to Trinity’s identity and creates a natural sense of mission to people in our surrounding neighbourhood  
  • Our history with refugees continues to define a sense of purpose
  • We wish to understand the needs and be a place of welcome to millennials.  This demographic is energizing and represents possibility for the future of Trinity.                                                                                   

Decision making needs to be tied to our mission and purpose and four filters will be used when processing decisions about our future:

  • Does it reflect an authentically Christian response?
  • Does it nurture the health and vitality of our congregation?
  • Does it offer hope and peace to people in our local community?
  • And is the time right?                         


Betty had asked the Congregation to wrestle with two pivotal questions:

(a)  How do you have redevelopment conversations from a place of gift and grace rather than curse and judgement?

(b) How do you become the people you need to be in order to do what you are called to do? 

You, the Congregation suggested the following:
(excerpt from L3 Closing Report)

  • Accept decisions with which we disagree and practice acceptance and moving on
  • Listen for the kernel of wisdom in each person, especially when someone (including ourselves) is not at our best
  • Focus on the problem as the problem, not the person as a problem
  • Seek first to understand, then to be understood
  • Accept and incorporate our differences in embracing the future

May 7, 2017 update

Some unfortunate news about the stove in the main kitchen...    

The Church is required by law to have an inspection each year to review the state of our fire management systems. The results of the inspection are filed with the City of Kitchener before they issue us a license for our facilities. 

The latest inspection uncovered a serious problem with the fire suppression system that supports our gas stove in the main kitchen.  A ballpark figure for the cost of repairing this system is $4,500.

Given the state of our financials and where we are at in our redevelopment process, this is a big expense that doesn't seem prudent at this time.  The rest of the kitchen is still fully functional and of course we continue to have stove facilities in the Kitchen of Joy.

We are in conversation with our insurance broker to learn what specific conditions need to be met to satisfy our insurance policy, as the system currently does not meet compliance.  All of our community partners who use the kitchen have been notified that the stove can no longer be used for reasons of safety and liability.    

April 16, 2017 update

Good morning! My name is Katherine Bitzer, and I am Chair of the Board here at Trinity.  A brief update as our journey continues with Betty Pries of the L3 Group. 

In broad terms, during this time of congregational renewal, Betty's work is helping us to discern and take concrete action steps with regard to the direction in which Trinity is being called at this time.  Following the last congregational conversation with Betty, the joint leadership of Trinity:  the Board, the Ministry Team and the Steering Committee, met with Betty on April 3, and will meet again on April 18.  These working sessions continue to build upon Trinity's conversation about developing a clear and shared sense of PURPOSE and IDENTITY.  Central to this conversation is the WHY question: Why are we redeveloping?  And what is our purpose in the downtown core of Kitchener?  We are also examining the governance structure at Trinity to ensure that it will help to animate our developing PURPOSE and IDENTITY during this time of transition.  This discernment is challenging, but also exciting. 

The work of the joint leadership team will be brought forward to the congregation once again next Sunday - April 23 - when Betty facilitates another conversation following the service.  I do hope you can join us.    

April 9, 2017 update

At our recent Annual General meeting, it was brought to the attention of the entire group and leadership team that there is a concern about scents and moulds that might inhabit St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church. The concern was heard and the Board raised it in a meeting with leadership at St. Matthew’s this past week. Some reassuring information was discussed.

We can share with you that before we move in to the chapel space at St. Matthew’s, the space, currently occupied by the Ethiopian community, will be cleared of all items-rugs, drapes, cushions – all fibers that hold scent. Further, we anticipate cleaning, painting and freshening the spaces in order to eliminate any and all lingering scents. St. Matthews shared that they have recently installed a new ventilation system in the chapel area to help to deal with the incense rituals of an orthodox faith.

A direct question was asked about mould. The St. Matthew’s team said that mould has never been diagnosed/identified and treated. They will ensure that an appropriate inspection is done in advance of our occupation of the space, and that appropriate follow up is completed.

The leadership team also discussed how to further improve consistency and clarity in our communications during this time of redevelopment and relocation. The Board responded by designating Lynn Oliver as a ‘communications point person.” Any time that a question or concern comes to you, you are encouraged to contact Lynn, who will receive questions and concerns, provide answers where she can and will ensure that what she can’t answer will be communicated to the Board.