December 2020 Takeaways

Christmas Season Begins

In December fewer committee meetings took place and no reports were received from Property Oversight, Property Development or Worship committees.


CHAIR: Mark Paetkau

  • During the final meeting of this iteration of council, time was taken to reflect on the gifts of all committee members who have completed their terms with Council and to celebrate their service.
  • All incoming members were invited to attend this meeting as well, and a welcome extended (see list in November Takeaways).

Arts Committee

CHAIR: Heather Swallow

  • The committee set up the Advent installation out of doors on November 28.
  • This year’s conditions seemed like a good time to revisit Poinsettia Prayers and we decided to let go of this tradition. It is unlikely to be revived, so we thank Catherine Evans for spearheading this Christmas tradition for many years.
  • We tried out a virtual advent calendar as a new tradition this year with great success. Many members of the community shared traditions, recipes, music and art each day. Many thanks to Deborah Laing and especially Maureen Maclachlan for all the work in wrangling content, writing blurbs, and coordinating gift-giving days.

Children Youth and Families

CHAIR: Kathryn Urquhart

  • Nothing new to report, but hoping folks take the opportunity to watch the pageant at 4pm on Christmas Eve. [If you missed it you can still watch on Youtube:]

Coordinating Minister’s Report

  • The Advent services have had a great number of views – the greatest number since Easter.  Both Christmas Eve video services will be short, and congregants will be invited/encouraged to view both the 4 pm and the 9 pm.  Services on December 27 and January 3 will be held on Zoom. 
  • Reflected in the proposed budget is an allowance for increased spending in technology that will allow for live-streaming of our worship services. 
  • Presently, there are still a few folks that are not engaged with our “online” activities.  Pastoral Care members have a list of people they will be calling at Christmas to stay in touch.
  • Marc Coulombe, our Regional Minister from Pacific Mountain Region, has agreed to attend our January Council meeting to lead a one-hour discussion aimed at identifying steps to engage a facilitator and begin a facilitated visioning process.

Finance Committee

CHAIR: Julie Poznanski

  • While offerings are below budget at the end of November, they are ahead of last year. The November letter and statement did result in a strong month, a helpful reminder especially for those who give annually.  Overall, we expect a strong year under the circumstances as people continue to show their commitment and care for the work of our church. Donations from new contributors indicate we are reaching people in new ways.
  • Monies have been reserved in the capital fund for the corner lot purchase, which subsequently closed on December 17.
  • The preliminary 2021 operating budget reflects increased activity as operations build back.  With continued uncertainty around return to in-person gatherings and facilities use, the budget assumes return to normal operations by September. There are a number of new initiatives introduced in the budget, including live streaming, as we adapt our long-term programming.

In-reach Committee

CHAIR: Sally Ball

  • No Roll Report for December.

Ministry and Personnel Committee

CHAIR: Arthur Ross

  • Following staff reviews, amendments to reporting relationships will be made for some office staff

Outreach Committee

COUNCIL REP: Maggie Hosgood

  • Donations for Christmas at Springhouse were very generous and covered the cost of pyjamas and gift cards for the residents there.  John Maclachlan did all of the purchasing!
  • First United received a delivery of Tim Horton’s gift cards and plastic ponchos from congregational donations.
  • Outreach has invited the new minister at first,  Cheryl Bear, and the new chaplain for Indigenous people,  Bev Brown, to come to our next meeting,  January 14, for discussion and advice on our work with First, especially with regard to Red Women Rising, a report on survivors in the DTES. Members of the congregation who wish to read the report are invited to attend the meeting and be part of Pacific Spirit’s work in the Partnership Circle. [Red Women Rising Report]
  • For the 10th year, Outreach spent $400 - $500 from the Gifts with Vision catalogue to support people in other parts of Canada and around the world.  To participate visit:

Spiritual Nurture Committee

CHAIR: Chris Epting

  • The December hosted coffee hour had at total of 89 participants.
  • Study groups and gatherings: The Question Faith Group has started meeting again this December. Most people have purchased the reading material. And the second bible study on Isaiah will start on January 6that 4pm. The Third Place meetings are now virtual.
  • We discussed the possibility of creating a “Lent Calendar” similar to the advent calendar.  We need to determine if any easy technological solution is available. 


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