Also on Saturday we heard updates from Peter Chynoweth (President of Conference) and a report from Lynn Maki (Conference Executive Secretary). Peter shared that a discussion is being held to determine whether or not a Conference Annual Meeting will be held in 2011. Hopefully a decision will be made on this issue at the Conference Executive Meeting in October. Peter also noted that some visioning work is happening within the Conference as well as some work around becoming an Affirming Conference. Referring back to the idea of a golden time of change, Lynn talked about the major changes that were discussed and approved at the May meeting of General Council Executive.
At this meeting of NLP we were blessed to have a presentation from Marie Wilson and Justice Murray Sinclair from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission dealing with the legacy of the Indian Residential Schools. Both of them spoke of how they personally have been touched by that legacy. They detailed what the Commission is, how it was formed out of the settlement agreement, and what it has been asked to do during it's five year mandate. Key issues they mentioned were: that this is a Canadian issue, not an aboriginal issue; that despite all that we have heard and done thus far, we are only at the beginning of a long long process; and that a huge piece of the needed work is in education. Marie pointed out that in all measure of societal malfunction aboriginal women and children are over-represented in Canada and that while Canada as a whole ranks 3rd worldwide in Quality of Life, the aboriginal community in Canada ranks 47th and such a discrepancy is part of our national shame – a term Justice Sinclair used to describe the whole Residential Schools history and legacy.
And of course what would a Presbytery meeting be without items of business. Here are some of the highlights from the Ministry Group and committee reports:
Nominating – Laurie Pals from Fairview was named as Stewardship & Mission Education Convenor
Living The Faith
- is looking at a Spring retreat around supporting music ministry in congregations using the resource “Singing Faith Alive”
- is committed to having a book display at the February Presbytery meeting
- is looking forward to the possibility of a conference youth event happening in Grande Prairie in the spring of 2012
- is looking into creating a lending library of resources within NLP
- brought forward motions regarding Mission Support Grants to South Peace and Fort Nelson Pastoral charges. While both of these were wholehertedly supported there was some discussion of how these grants fit into the missional plan and priorities of the whole Presbytery. This latter issue will need more discussion.
- the Interim Budget for 2011 was presented. Based on the currently available information it includes a budgeted deficit of $7 800. The Presbytery portion of the budget works out to $26 per identifiable giver within NLP (add in the Conference Assessment and that number roughly doubles to $53 per identifiable giver)
- welcomed 2 new ministry personnel to the Presbytery: Gord Waldie at St. Paul's United in Grande Prairie and Laura Machin at Hillcrest United in Fort Nelson.
- brought forward a motion to approve in principal a pilot project involving ministry resource sharing involving Peace River-Nampa, Grimshaw-Berwyn and Rev. Janice Walls
- the committee is asking Living the Faith to work out a way to provide worship resource support to congregations that are currently without ministry personnel.
- information was shared about work being done at the conference level regarding Overtime Guidelines and also guidelines regarding Licensed Lay Worship Leaders
- a clergy retreat is being planned, hopefully in conjunction with the February Presbytery
- shared that we have 2 students and 1 inquirer in the Presbytery at present.
- also listed and reaffirmed the 12 Licensed Lay Worship Leaders in NLP
The meeting concluded Sunday morning with the handover of the Presbytery banner to St. Paul's United in Grande Prairie and then Presbyters joined the congregation of WUC for worship and lunch. Monday morning the long bus trip home began...
A great big THANK YOU goes to the folks of Whitehorse United Church. The consensus of Presbyters was that they were wonderful hosts. The food was great, with the local options (bison, elk, moose, salmon, sourdough pancakes...) making the experience truly memorable. And all the other little things that made the weekend run smoothly may not have been noticed but we know that they were there. Thanks again, and you may have set a standard other hosts will have a struggle to meet or beat.