James Bay United Church Board Summary
June 6, 2024

Do you know how many times money is mentioned in the Bible? That was Greg’s question in the Board development section of our Board meeting this week. Take a guess—and then ask a Board member if you want to know! The Board went on to talk about creating a Fund Development Team—a Team to look at the long-term goals of JBUC and how we can work toward enabling these through bequests, fund raisers, social enterprises (Thrift Shop, rentals, etc.), grants and other options. More to come on this as the Board develops terms of reference for this potential team.


The Board is also working on policies and procedures for a variety of areas of the church’s life so that our many programs, volunteers and staff are all on the same page. This is an ongoing project with many facets including things like building use, financial procedures, emergency procedures, and counting the Sunday offerings. This is slow work but will be helpful in the long run so that people taking on new tasks can see what and how things are done at JBUC.

James Bay United Church Board Summary
May 9, 2024

The Board meets every two weeks to deal with emerging issues as well as its usual duties. Our excitement for this meeting was seeing the new roof on the Thrift Shop. This will enable the Shop to keep its valuable work going without concern for further leakage problems.

Each meeting Greg, Our Transitional Supply Minister, is doing Board development with us. This meeting we focused on the Mission of the Congregation and the relationship of congregation, Board and Teams in working toward the mission. Greg is hard at work with the Board, the staff and the various teams.

We continue to need a Fund Raising Chair, a Treasurer, and a Board Chair. If anyone is interested please talk to Greg or a Board member. In the meantime the Interim Finance Team is serving the Treasurer role as they work on the Finances, and Colleen Nichol and Martin Stewart are acting as Interim Co-Chairs for the Board.

The Interim Finance Team is working diligently. Right now much energy is used catching up on bill payment, and helping the new bookkeeper as she gets on Board with our computer program, the United Church payment system, the bank accounts, etc. We are all grateful for the donations made by supporters of JBUC. The easiest method of payment for the church is direct deposit though the bank. Some people, especially those supporting the Arts Ministry use the Canada Helps button on the website, which is great, but they do charge a 4% fee. Brian Troutman is now the Programs Financial
Report Liaison—a role which enables the Finance Team to have clear and consistent financial reports from all of the different staff, programs and teams.

Gwenna Moss has offered to work on getting archival material from the church into the United Church archives of Pacific Mountain Region. This has not been done for years and so it is a big project. Gwenna will be seeking volunteers to help go through material over the summer.

James Bay United Church Board Summary
February 28 and March 5, 2024

On February 28, the Board received a letter of resignation from Vanya Smith, our Office Administrator. Vanya has been in that job for 12 years through many changes in personnel, technology and congregation members. She will continue to work for the next while as the year-end work is completed and the Annual Meeting has happened. And there will be opportunities to express thanks for the work done and friendships she has enjoyed at JBUC. The Board is now moving to look at next steps and how to best get the Office Administrator’s work done.

As well we are seeking a Communications person as Gordon will conclude his interim work at the end of April.

The Interim Finance Team has been working hard to get the year end financial materials completed and the 2024 budget prepared. The Board endorsed a new grant application for the Community Lunch program and are hopeful that it will be successful.

The budget was passed at the March 5 meeting and is ready to be recommended to the congregation at the Annual Meeting on April 3. A big item in the budget is work to renew the Thrift Shop roof which we will propose be funded out of the Grace Fund. It is essential to get the repairs done so that their great work can continue!

Plans were finalized for the congregational lunch following worship on March 10.

Thanks to Colleen Nichol for getting it organized!

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 www.gc44.ca.  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. 

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