Summary James Bay United Church Board
January 31, 2024

The Board met each Wednesday in January dealing with a variety of matters. In particular we looked at the job description for the Transitional Supply Minister who we hope to have with us for a few months when Hilde finishes her time with us. We are very grateful that Hilde has agreed to stay until after the Annual General Meeting which will be held on April 3 this year.

As many of you know, the Board called a “pause” on new programming at the church in November. We lifted that pause this week and put in place a process for people wanting to start new things at the church. Those asking to start new programs are to go to the minister to present their idea and clarify details. If the minister approves the program, then they can go forward with booking space with the Administrator and advertising and presenting the program. Having a coordinator means that the whole picture can be viewed which should be helpful.

We are beginning plans to participate in the Pride Parade again this year on July 7. Watch for notice of a concert in the church featuring Daniel Morel coming up soon. Daniel has been supported by JBUC as he transitioned from unhoused to housed and now is presenting blues concerts with Lonnie Glass—the duo performing as Big Train. The concert will assist with his on-going costs so donations will be appreciated (not tax deductible.)

The Interim Finance Team is moving toward the year end statements and sorting all the details related to that.

We are starting the process of looking for new Board members for the coming year. If you have gifts and interests that would serve the Board or any of its Teams, please speak to any member of the current Board. It is a mix of challenges and joys—a great way to offer service to the well-being of James Bay United Church.

Summary James Bay United Church Board
January 10, 2024

The church Board met hearing reports from the Pastoral Care Team that they sent 80 cards over the Christmas season. We are grateful that the church can keep in touch with so many of you through the Pastoral Care Team.

We welcomed our new Interim Finance Team, Franklyn Roy, Hazel Blennerhassett and Alan Thurston. They are quickly learning the JBUC finance systems and eccentricities. Currently the Board is working on the Social Justice work and its finances. Cliff Boldt has agreed to look after the roster for Sunday morning counters.

Chairperson Deborah Davis has made announcements the last two Sunday regarding the recommendation by the Pacific Mountain Region that we hire a short term Transitional Supply minister. We trust that the work done by this person will help us get the governance and administrative dimensions of our work in a more solid position before bringing in a new permanent minister.

We were sad to say goodbye to Barb Whitney who has served as Elder on the Board. We are very grateful for her long time commitment to the work of the church. Blessings and thanks, Barb!

Summary of James Bay United Church Board Gathering
November 25, 2023

Due to health and other issues, a group of five members of the Board met for an informal meeting. The United Church requires that the minister called or appointed to the congregation be present for a meeting to be official—but Hilde was unwell. The decisions needing motions from the smaller group were ratified later by the whole Board. 

The Board has been working to update its policies over the past few months. It was determined that a special meeting will be held in February to try to complete them. Many are simply asking James Bay United Church to follow the procedures of the United Church of Canada. Once the policies are updated, they will be available to the congregation and staff in a binder in the office. Minutes also are/will be available in the office for anyone who wants more detail than in the monthly newsletter summary.

Gordon Miller, while working as the Communications staff person, will also be assisting the Board to learn more about the platform the church uses for its website and many other things. We hope to have a permanent Communications contract person in place by February. 

An important action by the Board was approval of a Remit (vote by Regions and Congregational Boards of the United Church of Canada) regarding a change in the structure of the United Church. There has been an Indigenous Council for many years, but at the last General Council, the Church consented to having a remit to restructure the church to have two streams—one with the familiar pattern of General Council, Regions and Communities of Faith and the second a stream of Indigenous self-governance not bound by the same rules and patterns as the settler church. For further information see  This is one step in how the United Church is participating in reconciliation.

Summary James Bay United Church Board
October 25, 2023

The Board met on Wednesday with a gathering with Gail Miller from Pacific Mountain Region to talk about how we can do a strategic plan for the church. We need the plan to clarify what the directions the Board should be leading in as well as to have a written plan for when church people are applying for grants. Keep tuned in as more information about the process and congregational involvement will be coming.

Following the time with Gail, the regular Board meeting occurred. Each month we deal with matters sent to us by the various Teams (eg. Ministry and Personnel, Worship, Finance, etc.) The Worship Team is aware of the increased spread of Covid and so encourages use of sanitizer when arriving at the church as well as encouraging use of masks. Our treasurer, Kathleen McDonald Date, noted that a new sump pump has been purchased for $2800—an unbudgeted but necessary item. Procedures for counting of Sunday offerings are being updated.

The CEBA loan from the Federal Government will be paid off in November. The Search Team continues its work toward finding a new minister when Rev. Hilde’s term is done.

The Board is attempting to get polices in place for the good management of church life and so that common practices are used in all of the situations that arise. This is an ongoing process with a few being done each month until completed and placed in a policy book in the office. Also in the office, the full minutes of Board meetings will be available for anyone who wants more detailed information about what happens at the Board than is contained in the monthly
newsletter summary.

Summary of James Bay United Church Board Meeting
September 20, 2023

The Board held a very full meeting on September 20 confirming decisions from the summer as well as doing the needed tasks for fall planning. We started the meeting with Kim Tadei reading the United Church Creed reminding us that we are not alone—we live in God’s world. When we gather as a Board we are aware that we are in God’s world and that we are working for the well-being of James Bay United Church, one part of God’s world. 

We were very happy to recognize the group that is working on Reconciliation with First Nations People as a “Team” of James Bay United Church. This means it is an official part of the church program and reports to the Board along with other Teams such as Pastoral Care, Thrift Shop and Property. 

We continue to regularize processes of the church. There will be a form for people requisitioning the church for payment/repayment of expenses so that those signing cheques can cross reference receipts and requisitions. Also the United Church has policies on screening of staff and volunteers who are working with vulnerable people. Our Ministry and Personnel Team has developed a form using self-declaration of information to meet this requirement.

Our finances are increasingly complex partly because of the grants that our various ministries have received to aid their work. These grants are for specific things (e.g. the Thursday community lunch) and cannot be used for anything else. So while the bottom line looks healthy, some of the money cannot be used for things that must be paid like staff salaries or church building operational costs. This means we have a deficit in useable funds.

The Board is grateful for the leadership and support of our minister, Rev. Hilde. We also expressed our gratitude for the presence and gifts that Chris Bodnarchuk has offered to the Board as she steps down from this work. We continue in thankfulness for the many other gifts she offers to the church as a greeter, offering counter and her delicious goodies at coffee time.

James Bay United Church Board
Summer of 2023

The Board met on July 11, 2023 trying to get all the needed work done on a very full agenda with the transition in ministry leadership. 

At the July meeting, Karen helpfully provided hand-off notes for the Board with details about the life of JBUC that the Board needs to be on top of. She also provided a list of all the Teams and Team volunteers in the church—an impressive list! Thank you to all the people who give your time and talents to keep JBUC functioning as a creative spiritual home. 

The Search Committee continues its work to find the right permanent minister. We are delighted that they found a 6-month term Supply Minister in the person of Rev. Hilde Seal to work with us. 

We examined the contracts for our three positions (Arts Ministry, Social Justice Ministry and Communications) since the year terms for those contracts are coming soon. Some changes will be happening. After the July Board meeting Christine Chepyha has indicated she will not be renewing her contract as Communications Manager so the search is on for her replacement. 

While the Board did not meet in person during the month of August, numerous emails dealt with emerging issues. Gail Miller from the Pacific Mountain Region staff of the United Church was appointed as Pastoral Charge Supervisor during the period when we did not have an incumbent minister to oversee any problems, offer information, be present at any meetings and participate in any significant decisions. The terms of Hilde Seal’s contract were confirmed by the Board. Jamie Waters was hired to fill in due to Dylan’s medical leave. The Ministry and Personnel Team prepared an information guide for the use of our new minister outlining a lot of the workings of JBUC. As well the Board is putting polices in place for numerous areas of church life. These will be especially helpful when someone says, “What happens about….?” 

Finances continue to be a concern as we look at some major upgrades to our buildings (both the church and Thrift Shop) next year. This year our day-to-day expenses are outweighing our income. Our hope is that a Fund Development Team to oversee fund raising, grant procurement and community relationships will soon be in place. The month of October will feature our usual Stewardship letter asking for financial commitments as well as a fund-raising concert to keep the lights on.

The Board had “A Day for Clarity” on September 2 from 9:30am - 3:30pm to look at who we are as a Board, what we see in the church that is working well, what needs improvement, and what is ahead. We will be working on a Strategic Plan for the church as well as sorting out the responsibilities of the Board, the Minister and other staff. It was a full and rich day as we deepened relationships, shared ideas and looked at what is needed for the continued well-being of JBUC.

James Bay United Church Board Summary
June 20, 2023

Deborah Davis, Colleen Nichol and Karen Dickey attended the Pacific Mountain Regional Annual Meeting in Abbotsford on behalf of James Bay United Church.The Social Justice Report indicated that more volunteers would be useful at the Thursday lunches as the lunch is growing. Let Joanne Keelan know if you would like to help out. 

This year JBUC will have a presence at the Pride Parade in Victoria. This will allow us to emphasize our church as one “Opening doors to God’s love” with a banner, books marks to hand out and people in the parade on July 9. Everyone is welcome to participate.

The board will meet for a planning day in August to work on our priority setting and look at leadership required by the church in this transition time. As Karen winds down her ministry at JBUC the Board needs to be able to pick up loose ends. The Worship Team is looking for feedback about worship and for volunteers to lead worship occasionally. The hope is for lay-led worship once each month to enable our new ministry person to focus on all of the dimensions of ministry in the ¾ time position. 

Our revenues so far this year are coming in at an appropriate rate to meet the budget but some expenses have been higher than budgeted especially issues related to the buildings and insurance. 

James Bay United Church Board Summary
May 23, 2023

Our new Board Chairperson Deborah Davis is keeping busy getting up to speed on how James Bay United does things and in leading discussions at the Board. At this meeting she invited us to spend some time exploring the roles and structures of our Board and Teams, and at Fund Development for the church. As well, she led a discussion on policies. JBUC Teams follow the guidelines laid out by the United Church in a series of booklets for different areas of church life (Ministry and Personnel, finances, etc.) but has few policies for our specific situation. While we want to be flexible, we do need policies for a variety of circumstances. The first focus will be on dealing with emergencies, clarifying policies and procedures regarding first aid, safety in the building, kitchen procedures, keys, and police records checks. 

Along with all of this, Deborah has agreed to represent JBUC at the 2023 Pacific Mountain Regional Annual General Meeting as our lay delegate along with our minister, Karen Dickey. 

Pride Sunday is coming up and it was agreed that JBUC will have a separate entry in the Pride Parade this year to focus on JBUC and our 'rallying cry' of Opening Doors to God’s Love. Information will be in the newsletter so that you can join in the parade! 

The Worship Team is preparing for summer worship with a variety of leaders from the congregation. 

Summary of James Bay United Church Board
April 25, 2023

We were pleased to welcome Deborah Davis as the new Board Chair at this meeting. Time was spent on a first round of getting to know each other. New perspectives add insight to the work needed by the Board. Deborah introduced two areas of work: the potential for a Fund Development Team and the reality that our Policies and Procedures protocols are in need of work. You will hear more about the former in the next few weeks as a group is created to do long-term financial planning and relationship building to help stabilize the funding of JBUC and all its projects and ministries. The policies and protocols work needs to be ongoing to be brought up to date.

We acknowledged with regret the resignation of Dorothie Lindquist as a Trustee of JBUC. She has served faithfully in this role for many, many years and we are grateful for her work and deep care for the church. At the next congregational meeting a new trustee may be named but the roster is sufficient for the moment. Thank you Dorothie!

Jennifer Turner’s year-long contract as church musician soon comes to an end and the Board was delighted to shift her status to a salaried employment agreement as of May 1, 2023.

Vanya Smith’s employment agreement for the Office Administrator position will be amended from 20 hours a week to 24 hours a week as of June 1, 2023.

A proposal from the Property Committee to remove the pews and risers from the chancel to make the space more usable was accepted. The renovation (funded by an anonymous donation) would make the space more flexible for Sunday morning choir leadership and for Arts Ministry events in the church. 

The Thursday Community Lunch program is thriving with leftovers taken to those sheltering in Stadacona Park, and with music featuring currently and formerly unhoused musicians, and occasional screenings of videos by the Existence Project.

The Financial Report included the pledges and actual donations made thus far as a result of the Annual Meeting toward the costs of getting our new minister. You can still make a donation if you have not yet fulfilled your pledge or if you want to make a new one now. The success of pledges obtained through the matching funds effort, for hiring of a new Minister, including interviews, and moving expenses, is encouraging, and greatly appreciated.

Summary of James Bay United Church Board Meeting
March 28, 2023

Property Team has been looking into the possibility of getting a Heritage Grant to help with costs of needed repairs to the church. The Thrift Shop also needs repairs including a new roof but it is not eligible for the Heritage Grants as it has not been designated as a Heritage Building. An assessment with a five year plan of what needs doing will be undertaken in the next few weeks. 

Barb Whitney offered a history of James Bay United Church from Pioneer Churches of Vancouver Island and the Salish Sea by Liz Bryan published by The church, built in 1891, is one of the few surviving wooden buildings of the era. 

Plans were finalized for the Annual Congregational Meeting which will be held on Thursday, April 13th at 7pm with in-person and Zoom options available. Be sure to put it on your calendar and plan to attend.

The Search Team is well underway having received its training from the Region and determined how it will work together.

The Thursday Community Lunch program that Joanne Keelan has organized continues to grow in attendance, with guests coming from both the housed and unhoused communities. Most weeks, Sinan brings boxes from the Capital Region Food Share Network, for use in preparing the lunch and to run an informal food bank on-site for guests of the meal. 

The African Heritage Association of Vancouver Island (AHAVI) continues to have youth drop-ins at JBUC two Sundays per month.

The Healing Pathways group had a successful weekend training event and is continuing its ministry at the church.

Summary of James Bay United Church Board Meeting
February 22, 2023

The Board continues to be busy! Fortunately, we have approved a budget to propose at the Annual Meeting. Our treasurer, Kathleen MacDonald-Date presented the 9th iteration to the Board trying to get all the information pulled together. Gratitude was expressed for her diligent work. While the regular operating expenses can be met within the budget framework, the costs related to calling a new minister such as interview costs, potential moving costs and possible higher salary expenses present us with a challenge. At this stage specifics of those costs are unknown so we have included likely expenses in the budget. It is a busy church and all of the programs and staff require resources to keep so many diverse things happening.

The Annual Meeting will be held April 13 at 7pm with Zoom and in-person options. Get it in your calendar now—more details will follow our next Board Meeting.

We accepted the resignation of Doug Lunam who has chaired the Pastoral Care Team and represented them on the Board for some time. We will miss his warmth and humor as well as his significant contributions to the work of the Board.

Everyone at the Board was delighted with the large turnout for the Congregational Meeting which approved the Congregational Profile. The minor changes suggested were made by the Profile Team. The Team is in the midst of getting it posted to the United ChurchHub website and once it is approved by the Pacific Mountain Region, then the actual search for the new minister will begin. The Board is in the process of setting up the Search Team who will be trained by the Region and then be able to look at potential candidates.

A Membership Sunday will happen prior to the Annual Meeting. Anyone who wants to transfer their membership from another congregation or to join with a profession of faith should contact Karen or the office for more information. We are eager to celebrate your presence with us.

Summary of James Bay United Church Board Meeting Board
January 17th, 2023

The Board met on Tuesday, January 17 with most of our time spent on the first draft of the 2023 budget. Although the figures for 2022 are not finalized yet, we are delighted that the revenues exceeded the budget by a significant amount and costs were close to budget leaving us with a much smaller deficit than expected. This is good news, especially as we know that there will be extra costs in the coming year as we seek a new minister when Karen retires in July. Interviews, moving, a new computer and various other expenses will be incurred in order to get an effective minister who fits with the congregation. The Board examines each line of the budget to see if it is realistic.

The Congregational Profile Team is working on the material that the United Church requires us to prepare—a Living Faith Story that tells about the life of our congregation, statistical material conveying the demographics and financial state of our community and the job description. The congregation will be asked to participate in a meeting on February 19 after worship to consider the Profile so that it can be posted on the United Church Website where ministers looking for positions can see it.

The Reports sent to the Board by the various staff and teams are inspiring to read. We have a great community of staff and volunteers providing a rich ministry to the James Bay Community and beyond.

Summary of James Bay United Church Board Meeting
November 29, 2022

Much of this month’s Board Meeting was hearing reports of all the activities going on in and through James Bay United Church. 

The Board spent time learning with United Church of Christ resources about part time ministries and how churches can thrive with part time leadership in conjunction with strong lay leadership. We noted that Kelby and a group of volunteers are busy with the Arts ministry with programs going and being planned. Sinan continues his work, along with others, with the unhoused, recently housed and on issues of food insecurity. Jennifer met with representatives of the Worship Committee recently. Everyone is pleased with the work she is doing with our Sunday morning music. The Thrift Shop continues its work serving the community and enhancing the financial resources of JBUC. Joanne Keelan and her Team have started a Thursday morning brunch at the church. We are grateful to have these people and many others giving leadership for James Bay United. 

The Board is moving toward preparing the budget for next year. The congregation passed a deficit budget this year, but we are delighted that the deficit will be lower than expected. 

Now we look forward to the celebration of Christmas. Watch the newsletter for special services and events. And the Board offers its best wishes for a blessed Christmas season to all of you.

Summary of James Bay United Church Board Meeting
November 1, 2022

As usual the Board covered a range of topics. Finances are always a key agenda item. Once again we celebrated the hard work of the Thrift Shop volunteers and the steady and substantial income from their work. Money is also coming from Jazz Night and donations are made for Social Justice work. However, the response to the Thanksgiving appeal was lower than anticipated—we hope people may continue to make special donations before the end of the year. We are concerned that little revenue has been marked for livestreaming. It costs about $12,000 per year to stream the service each Sunday but is appreciated by people unable for health reasons or who live in places other than Victoria to attend Sunday worship in-person, as well as by a large “unknown” group of people (95 people watched all or part of the livestreamed service last week.) This is a valuable ministry of the church in terms of worship, pastoral care, and outreach so we are committed to continuing it. 

Volunteers are needed in a variety of areas (e.g. education, finances, follow-up with new people.) Specifics will be noted in upcoming newsletters and announcements.

The work of the search process is beginning with Gail Miller from the Pacific Mountain Regional Council named as our liaison. A committee to prepare a profile about the congregation is being established.

Judy Krzesowski and Carol Garceau have requested to engage JBUC as a center for a Healing Pathway ministry (formerly known as Healing Touch). The Board has approved this in principle and will be receiving more information as it becomes available.

If you are around the church building, you will notice how well-kept it is with the ongoing upgrades and maintenance by Bev Tracey and the Property Team. Much gratitude to them.

Summary of James Bay United Church Board Meeting
September 27, 2022

The Board was pleased to welcome Chris Bodnarchuk as a new Board member. We were also pleased that Andre Fortaine has agreed to join the Ministry and Personnel Committee. More members for the Board and the various Teams will be needed as Steve Nichol has decided to end his time on the Board, Ministry and Personnel Committee and Trustees at the end of this year. 

Our finances are doing well, especially thanks to the work of the Thrift Shop volunteers. Although we are in a deficit (as we budgeted), our income has kept a steady pace. Unfortunately interest rates are down so the Victoria Foundation transfer is not as much as usual. The money to pay off CERB loan (the money loaned to us by the Federal Government during the pandemic) will be taken from the Grace Fund. 

The Worship Team is seeking people to share in worship leadership. A workshop on the practical process of preparing worship led by Charlotte Caron is coming up. Watch the newsletter for timing and details. 

As part of the church’s stewardship, a Thanksgiving letter is going out to the congregation, and a brochure is being prepared for the larger community.

The event on Sunday with Kelby MacNayr and Sinan Demirel speaking in worship followed by lunch with them, Christine Chepyha and Jennifer Turner went very well. There was a good turnout and people were engaged with questions and discussion. The Board was positive about the possibility of doing an Enrichment Time after church service once a month (maybe the third Sunday of the month) with 1 or 2 Teams sharing about their work.

Season of Creation begins on Thanksgiving Sunday through to November 13th. This year’s theme is “Lifting up our experiences of the sacredness of creation” when we will explore the sacredness of creation in our faith traditions combined with learning more about an Indigenous relationship with creation.

Our participation in the Art Walk was hugely significant. We hosted 13 artists (of 24) and several hundred people each day of the event.  There was real appreciation of our space as an exhibiting venue. 

The busy fall season has begun again!


James Bay United Church Board Meeting Summary
August 30, 2022

Congratulations were given for all the workers and great fun at the Community Picnic
on Sunday. It was a fine event engaging many people from the community and with lots
of help from church people.
Contracts for our new workers were discussed again. We are pleased to report that
Christine Chepyha has been contracted to be Communications Coordinator for the
coming year. She filled in last year when Gordon was on medical leave so is familiar with
the work. There will be opportunity for the congregation to meet Christine, Sinan
Demeril, and Kelby MacNayr one Sunday in September.
Besides the Communications contract, Christine will continue to work with the
Community Choir which will be starting up again for a new season quite soon.
The Thrift Shop continues to thrive, bringing pleasure to volunteers and to customers as
well as assisting the church to meet its budget obligations. We are grateful for their
Along with the delight of preparing for our new workers and fall programs, the Board
deals with things like getting email systems updated, receiving reports from various
Teams that keep the church going and other administrative tasks.

James Bay United Church Board Meeting Summary
August 9, 2022

The Board met to deal with a variety of things related to the upcoming season. Primarily we sorted the job contracts for new staff members (Kelby MacNayr for the Arts Ministry and Sinan Demeril for Social Justice). We are working to get a Communications person in place and are hopeful that an announcement may be made soon.

All of this is, of course, the result of Gordon Miller’s retirement. We recognize the diverse and extensive work that Gordon has done in the James Bay Community and with the church. So much changed during his five years—especially the changes brought by the pandemic and his leadership into the technological world of live-streamed services, email newsletter and social media connections. His adaptability has enabled us to function in new ways.

We are excited that the Community Choir is starting up again under the leadership of Christine Chepyha. Watch the newsletter for more details regarding registration for the fall.

A report was also received from Sarah Hovey regarding the Art/Creativity workshops she has started. We are grateful for these rich aspects in our Arts Ministry.

Doug Lunam continues to do birthday phone calls on behalf of the Pastoral Care Team . We are eager to add new participants in the church to his birthday call list.

And to close on an equally positive note, our financial situation continues to hold its own. We are grateful for the generosity of the donors (including the Thrift Shop) for the resources to carry on the ministries of James Bay United Church.


Staffing Announcement

As we anticipate Gordon’s retirement this Fall, we are excited to announce that we are moving forward with a plan to enable JBUC to grow the significant work started with the Communications and Neighbourhood Engagement position over the past few years.

Many of the small groups at the Annual Meeting said that they thought the job needed to be divided. So three part-time people will be hired, starting with one-year contracts — one in the area of Social Justice Ministry, one in the Arts, and one in Communications.

The Board had an opportunity to meet with Kelby MacNayr and Sinan Demeril and through our fruitful conversation with them, the Board has determined that they will fill two of these one-year positions.

Kelby has been very involved in curating Tuesday Night Jazz and is excited about potentials for advancing the Arts Ministry. He comes with an impressive range of networking connections combined with a wonderfully creative imagination and energy for expanding and enriching this valuable JBUC ministry.

Sinan is social justice activist with a vast experience in working with grassroots groups to address homelessness in Canada and the US. He now lives in James Bay and is deeply passionate about making a positive difference in his own community. He will be a highly effective person in our Social Justice Ministry position.

The Communications position is still in the works. But in the meantime, keep your eyes open for an announcement about a late summer picnic for the congregation to get to know these people.

Summary of James Bay United Church Board Meeting
June 24, 2022

The Board was pleased with the Reconciliation Grant service on June 19. Thirty-five people put slips onto the offering plate naming their commitments toward reconciliation with First Nations people, plus there were many donation envelopes. Some people who did not bring offerings wanted to add their donations so the money will be forwarded this week to the City Family and we will learn the amount at that time.

The Worship Team is busy preparing for summer services. Karen Dickey will be on holidays from after the first Sunday in July until the second Sunday in August. Jennifer Turner will also have a break. Fortunately we will have a rich variety of people will be sharing in the worship leadership.

The Board has determined that three one-year contracts will be offered to continue the work started with the Communications and Neighborhood Engagement position over the past few years.

The budget passed by the congregation at its Annual Meeting requires us to raise a substantial amount of money for our many ministries in the church, in the community and on-line. We are planning that September will be a time of reflection about how it matters that JBUC is in this place in the past, present and future with a special stewardship service at Thanksgiving.

Blessings as we live into the summer season know in the church year as “ordinary time.”