Over the past few months the Board has been exploring ideas about the relationship of church and community. This month we heard from a guest, the Reverend Alexa Gilmour, Minister at Windermere United Church in Toronto. Alexa shared how their church moved from a small dying congregation to a thriving community centre with a variety of ways of connecting through use of their sign, a Stone Soup resource sharing program, digital connections and partnerships all based in the belief that the Spirit works in everyone. She challenged JBUC to continue the things it has begun through its neighborhood engagement and Social Justice Team, and encouraged us to listen to the community for where people are at and what deep longings for transformation exist among them. This would mean changes for us in the way we work and in our patterns of governance. The Board will continue to consider the ideas presented and will work at ways of keeping the congregation informed and engaged as we go forward.
In the meantime the Board was also dealing with the practical matters at hand: the work of the Thrift Shop, financial matters, a partnership agreement on how we can keep the current piano in the sanctuary, insurance issues, and gratitude for the Bystander Intervention workshop. Ministry and Personnel are busy with staff yearly work reviews and made the following statement. “This evaluation covers the period of January 2020 to April 2021, the unprecedented time of the world moving into the Covid 19 pandemic, which remains a major health crisis as this report is written. Due to the inability to have face to face gatherings this report does not include congregation feedback. All of the staff at James Bay United Church stepped up to the challenges presented and worked well beyond their job descriptions to deliver services and programs to the congregation. Without exception, the performance of our paid staff has been considered exemplary in this regard and they are due the sincere thanks from the entire congregation.” Our thanks to Karen, Gordon, Vanya and Daniel.