COMMITTEE REPORTS for the September Meeting of Council
Minister of Worship & Congregational Life Report
It is hard to know where to begin with regards to “goings-on” at FSA, especially concerning staff and general programming. But perhaps it is best to start with the many youth activities on the horizon. This week marks the beginning of ‘Treblemakers,’ a collaborative effort between the youth of FSA (and beyond) and El Sistema students. We have maintained that our relationship with El Sistema is not that of landlord-tenant but rather partners in a broader effort to have a positive impact on our community in the present and for many years to come. To that, we have teamed up—special thanks to Christina Lindsay and Chris Fischer—for this program, which includes dinner, choir, and an attempt at Glee-or something like it. Additionally, we have a special guest speaker/performer coming to FSA on October 1. The Saidat Show has worked with schools and other communities in Southwestern Ontario for some time, and we are thrilled that she will be with us, as part of an ongoing effort to uplift and discern for our youth and young children. We are also looking ahead to a New Member Sunday, as well as a series of inter-generational services throughout the Fall, including Christmas Eve.
Membership and Nurture
What a gift to work with Annie Jannaway, whose regular reports and recommendations have helped me to provide effective pastoral care and keep connected to what is happening within our community at FSA. We meet approximately once per month in my office, at Membership and Nurture meetings, and at staff meetings, as well as at Sunday Services. Our community has experienced difficult losses in recent months, alongside ongoing situations requiring regular care and outreach. I cannot imagine providing care as effectively without the diligence and compassion of Annie. I continue to lead once-per-month worship services at Richmond Woods as well, which average around 12-15 persons per meeting.
Phone Calls/Visits: 13
We pretty much have the rest of this year planned, thanks to effective and creative leadership from the staff and volunteers who are committed to the success of our Sunday programming as well as other offerings throughout the week. The new format options for Bible Study (Wrestling with Wisdom) seem to be going very well. In the previous two weeks, we have had between 20 and 25 participants, between our morning offering as well as our Zoom option on Thursday nights. The chosen book, God is a Black Woman, has sparked plenty of conversation and really invited every participant into their own journey of discovery. A very exciting time for us to be sure. I think that most people have really appreciated the shorter (6-week) sessions for Bible Study, rather than an indefinite meeting schedule. The breaks are necessary for successful planning going forward and it really seems to give people extra opportunity to reflect on the material covered.
Tentative Worship Schedule:
10/1 and 10/8: Joshua away, Rev. Karen Low preaching
—10/1 is World Communion Sunday
10/15: World Food Sunday/possible baptism?
10/22: Covenanting Sunday (Intergenerational) (Chris L., Chris F., Annie J., Karen L., Marilyn A., Kathryn S.)
—Rev. Kerry Stover suggested that since we have effectively reconstituted staff, including all members would be a good thing, which I agree. It will not be done at a later time but as part of our Sunday service. Kerry will be present, but has asked that we pay for the Pulpit Supply for Calvary.
10/29: All Saints/Reformation Sunday/Halloween (possible fundraiser later on for Refugee Support)
11/5: Remembrance Sunday (Intergenerational)
11/12: Anniversary Sunday/New Member Sunday
11/19: Terry Head Memorial
11/26: Red Scarf Sunday
12/3: Advent I, Lessons and Carols
12/10: Advent II, Communion
12/17: Advent III
12/24: Advent IV/Christmas Eve, Communion (Intergenerational)
Outreach and Beyond
As the aforementioned sections indicate, outreach is certainly part of our DNA. It is not a separate matter but is rather integrated into all of our programming, for which I am grateful. However, I remain committed to supporting the work of Affirm, which has resulted in joining with others (Sept 20) to offer another voice in opposition to the hateful rhetoric and protests specifically targeting members of the 2S-LGBTQIA+ community.
I continue to participate with and work on issues addressed by the Discipleship and Justice Commission of the ARW, and I have begun to build connection with affirming communities in Michigan who are inspired by our own witness at FSA. More to come on this for sure.
I have spoken with Sarah Campbell, Executive Director, of Ark Aid Street Mission, as it concerns an Out of the Cold Response this year. At this time, it is my understanding that we are being asked to consider offering a space for Emergency Shelter (the coldest nights, -15C), but even that is contingent on program funding and plans that are being developed
Minister of Music Report
As I write this brief synopsis, the FSA Senior Choir and Laudamus Bells have resumed rehearsals, and the Senior Choir has also returned to its regular weekly ministry of supporting and leading the congregation in song. This ensemble has so far welcomed a total of 6 new members, with a few other potential recruits waiting in the wings. (I had a modest growth target, I had thought, to reach 40 members, and we have already surpassed that total.) It doesn’t hurt that our average age is trending (slightly) lower!
This is a full and challenging season for the Choir, with the spring 2024 concert presentation of a major new oratorio, Considering Matthew Shepard (including, I hope, a few extra community singers from the Pride Chorus, London Pro Musica, London Singers, Fanshawe Chorus London, and Chor Amica). This performance will feature guest soloists, in addition to our own (all of whom, including our scholars, are returning this year), as well as a 10-piece orchestra.
The Choir will also be joining the FSA Strings in their fall concert on Wednesday, November 8 (singing three pieces) and preparing to join the Strings and London Pro Musica in the annual Singalong Messiah on Saturday, December 9. (Many choristers will also be invited to take part in the London RCCO Community Carol Service at Metropolitan United Church on Sunday, December 3.)
On Sunday, October 29 at 3:00 PM, I and some musical colleagues will be partnering to present a fund-raising concert for London Lifts, the Afghan refugee project to which FSA has been a key contributor. I will be joined by soprano Katy Clark, bass-baritone Chad Louwerse, and pianist Tracy Guo, for a Halloween-themed program, with details to come shortly. Stay tuned!
Saturday, November 4 will see First-St. Andrew’s host the Elora Singers for a day of workshops with conductors and choristers from across the region, culminating in a ticketed evening concert of music by William Byrd and others (including the participation of workshop participants in the choir for this event). Registration is now open on the Singers website.
Turning to the worship calendar for the fall and Advent/Christmas seasons, several services (approximately monthly in frequency) will be intergenerational services, incorporating fuller participation by our children and youth. These services will occur on October 22 (Covenanting Service for 4 members of FSA staff), November 5 (Remembrance Sunday), December 3 (Lessons and Carols for Advent), and December 24 (Christmas Eve). As an increase in the intergenerational aspect of worship was a major focus of the long-term planning process here at FSA, these services represent a significant step toward enhanced integration of all the members of the FSA community in the central activity and spiritual heart of our week together.
Continuing the intergenerational theme, this fall season marks the beginning of two new programs within our music ministry at FSA: “ReBELLS,” a beginning handbell and chime ensemble for children in grades 3 and up, starting on Sunday afternoons between 12:00 and 1:00 PM, from September 17, following worship; and “Treblemakers,” our name for three choral programs offered in collaboration with El Sistema, starting on Wednesday, September 20, beginning with dinner together at 5:15 PM and continuing with concurrent junior (ages 5-10) and senior (ages 11 and up) choirs, led by myself and by an El Sistema faculty member. At 7:00 PM each Wednesday, participants (who register in advance and pay a sessional fee to cover food costs) can choose between an all-ages Glee (singing/dancing/acting/design) class and a senior Leadership class taught by El Sistema Executive Director Clark Bryan.
Participation in Treblemakers will include two public concerts presented by El Sistema and our December 3 Lessons and Carols service at FSA. I am indebted to Christina Lindsay, our indefatigable Children’s Program Coordinator, for being such a driving force through the entire process of the creation and launch of this unique and enriching opportunity for our FSA families.
Outside of this collaboration, I have begun two other community initiatives that I feel align well with both the mission of FSA to bring about positive change through faith, service, and the arts. The first is participation as music leader in the revival of a London-based offshoot of a program born at Waterloo’s Martin Luther University College, the interfaith singing circle known as Inshallah. This group took root in London shortly before the pandemic, and its first leader subsequently retired and moved out of province; I know the founder of Inshallah and have agreed to assume local leadership. My hope is that we will grow in numbers and in energy to inspire transformation through sharing cross-cultural songs of peace and justice.
Secondly, I am now a co-conductor and pianist for the Aeolian Pride Chorus, a choir for members and allies of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community in the London region. This group has just started preparations for its 2023/24 concert season, and as it rehearses at FSA, it is another example of our collective support for something that a significant number of people in our city and area enthusiastically embrace and in fact need to experience connection with others like them, who may be living on the margins of our society. As an Affirming Ministry of the United Church of Canada, this outreach also aligns very strongly with our mission to be a safe space for all sexualities and gender identities. I look forward, with your support, to helping to nurture the continued growth of this Chorus in the months and years to come.
- Chris Fischer
Shared YYA Minister Report
I hope that all of you had a wonderful summer. There are so many amazing opportunities happening at First-St. Andrew’s this Fall.
1. Vacation Bible Summer Camp- “Arise and Shine’ was the theme of our summer camp this year. We welcomed 18 children from JK-Gr 6 each day to share their God-given lights and encourage them to shine their lights in the world. We tried to share this theme through the various activities that we did each day. We had many children and their families ask us if we would continue to lead camps again next summer.
With the success of the day camp, the SALT team had time in their work schedule to plan for other programming. We led 2 days of stand-alone camps at Siloam and one at Metropolitan. These stand-alone camps were very appreciated by parents who wanted a few days of programming for their children, but not a full week. 10-19 children attended these day camps.
2. SALT (Summer Adventure Leadership Team)-This name was developed years ago at Hyde Park United Church, and then the program was adopted by Riverside United Church. Riverside allowed me permission to take this name for the team of youth and young adults that are hired each summer to lead children and youth programming. Our summer staff really likes this name. Olivia Tuckey, our program director came up with a SALT logo, as well as a camp logo for future promotional material.
We hired 1 Program Director and 5 Youth Coordinators this summer through the Canada Summer Jobs grant. Each of the three churches paid an extra $200.00 to raise the Canada Summer Jobs minimum wage for the program director, due to the higher responsibilities that this person had. This is what the team accomplished this summer:
* 2-day staff training
* 2 full-week Vacation Bible Camps (Siloam and First-St. Andrew’s)
* 2 staff each week leading Sunday ‘day camp’ at Metropolitan each morning (due to the low numbers of registrations and cancelling the full week camp)
* Three stand-alone day camps
* Walking in the Pride Parade and making signs for the parade
* 3 youth events (5-12 kids at each)
* 1 youth-adult program ( 8 in attendance)
* 2 planned intergenerational campfires (that were rained out)
* 1 intergenerational karaoke and games night ( 30 people in attendance)
* 1 children and caregivers tea party
* 1 intergenerational Bingo Night (15 people in attendance)
* Future programming for youth, camps and intergenerational events
* Special projects that helped each of the churches (i.e. helping create and organize content for social media, helping the Sunday school curriculum)
* Final evaluation day which included a lunch and team bowling
Thank you for supporting this opportunity to continue to hire youth and young adults this summer. Not only are we providing full-time employment for young people, but also the opportunity for them to gain leadership skills, more confidence and self-esteem, and the opportunity for them to learn skills for their future.
3. Youth and Young Adult Programming-High school youth are meeting 3-4 times a month, and Young Adults are meeting 3 times a month for recreational events, outreach and opportunities for community building. We are having a sleepover for high school youth on September 29th-30th at Siloam. Our first back-to-school gathering was at FSA on September 15 with 10 young people in attendance.
5. Worship- I will be continuing to help lead worship when I am at FSA once a month. I will also be planning and helping to lead 2 intergenerational events this Fall. I am offering a teen class once a month at FSA, and Stephen Elson will be also leading teen classes 1-2 times a month. I am inviting teens to talk over to Metropolitan when I am with them for the opportunity for a teen class.
6. Thank you for the two weeks of holidays that I had in August. I enjoyed a family cottage week, and then another one at home, spending time with the boys before they went back to school.
- Marilyn Arthur
Membership and Nurture Committee
We are happy to report that Glenna Hall and Lillian Reid have assumed the position of co-chair for M&N effective now. Lillian will chair the meetings and Glenna will attend Council. Heather Locking-Cusolito will be responsible for meeting minutes and reports.
The work of pastoral care continues to be a major responsibility so we are all very thankful for the dedicated work of our Minister of Pastoral Care Rev. Annie Jannaway.
Bev Lindsay is looking for new members to serve on the Prayer Chain.
Gerry Meacham has written 4 letters of condolence or congratulation since our last meeting.
We intend to have a newcomers Friendship group at 9:30AM before Sunday service on October 22.
We anticipate having a new members Sunday to welcome new members to the congregation on Sunday, November 12 which is also Anniversary Sunday.
- Heather Locking-Cusolito
The White Squirrel golf tournament was held in June and brought in $11,200 which was distributed in the following way:
London Lifts (refugee sponsorship) $5,040
St. Paul's Social Services. $1,120
Los Quinchos. $1,120
There was $300. left, $100. of which will go to Margo for the wine for the dinner she donated.
Thanks to all for your support of this event.
The corn roast was held Sunday, Sept. 17 to kick off the fundraiser for Canadian Food Grains Bank. Donations are to be sent to St. Marys United Church.
Guest speaker was Nevin McDougall.
The Committee hopes to meet on Saturday, September 30 at the home of Margaret and David Wardlaw. It has difficult to have an earlier meeting in September due to illness and other scheduling conflicts. The Senior Choir and Laudamus Bells began rehearsals in early September and the choir has been singing in services since Sunday, September 10. The choir has already sung some exciting new anthems in services with more to come. The Laudamus Bells will be playing in the October 22 service. The senior choir participated in two Celebration of Life services – the first one for Stephen Adams (Sept 8) and the second one for Mary Ellen Gustafson (Sept 22).
Chris Fischer, Minister of Music, has submitted a full report for Council with details about the fall program including programming for children and youth. This is a very exciting re-commencement of programs for the children. ReBells began their first session on Sunday, Sep 17 and the choirs began on Wednesday, Sep 20.
The Music Committee will be focusing on budget planning for 2024 starting with the September meeting.
- Merran Neville
The Property Committee has tried to minimize any expenditures over the last several months. We have however encountered some unexpected issues which require an immediate response.
* Atrium Door - not locking properly - 2 service calls. Invoices to come.
* Sanctuary Lights - one pendant assembly fell and smashed on pew. An electrician has been contacted to inspect each fixture for safety. Estimate $2500.
* Boiler Maintenance - annual summer maintenance/inspection - invoice to come. Note: we won’t know until heating season starts if more repairs are needed.
* Fire inspections completed - no deficiencies noted.
In addition to these issues, the following work was completed over the summer largely by volunteers.
Grounds maintenance- Huston DeBrabandere, George Jolink, Paul Merritt
Daily Grounds Inspections- Huston DeBrabandere, George Jolink
Painting - exterior door - Ron Bradley
- Ministers Office - David Wardlaw, Steve Elson
Minor Repairs/improvements - David Wardlaw
Shed demolition/disposal - George Jolink, David Wardlaw, Connor Campbell, Peter Ross
Memorial Bench Installation- Peter Ross, Paul Merritt
Many thanks to all the ongoing volunteer support.
We have been without a Facilities Manager since early June. During this time Facilities email is monitored by Property Chair and some Onsite tasks are being covered by committee members. Office Manager has had to play a larger role when contractors come onsite and covering computer/network issues.
- George Jolink
Due to scheduling conflicts and illness, the FSA Planning Committee has not yet met this fall – but plans to do so on Wednesday October 4th 2023 – with an in-person meeting at FSA – the first in a very long time.
This meeting will focus on the work of a Strategic Planning Task Group made up of Barrie Evans, Kerry Hill, Sarah Campbell and Bonnie Adamson. This group has developed a draft strategy which will be discussed and then brought to Council for further discussion and decision-making.
Meanwhile Nancy Johnson, Kathryn Patton and Glenda Robinson – and others – are continuing to advance the notion of marketing FSA as a desirable wedding venue.
- Steve Elson
Stewardship Campaign – Fall 2023
Draft for approval by Council
What our stewardship means to others
It is proposed that the Stewardship Campaign this fall include a focus on personal statements from those who are our partners and share our space namely:
El Sistema Aeolian – Clark Bryan
Meals on Wheels London - Chad Callander
Ark Aid Street Mission – Sarah Campbell
They will be asked to talk about the alignment of their mission with that of FSA and how being connected with FSA is important to them. They will be asked to talk about what stewardship in this context means to them.
It is suggested that these testimonials take place at the beginning of the service – exact location in the order of service to be determined by Joshua.
Testimonials – Oct 29, Nov 5, 12
Nov 19 – testimonial from an FSA member – (yet to be recruited) - stewardship of our spiritual and physical space – noting our other partnerships – ELUCO, Camp Kee-Mo-Kee, Wright Dental Clinic, St. Paul’s Social Services, Climate Action London, Indwell. Los Quinchos, Grow a Row, My Sister’s Place, ANOVA etc.
Nov 26th – wrap up SUNDAY -
Another element will be the distribution and collection of giving pledge sheets for 2024. Pledge forms will be handed out and mailed out at the beginning – week of October 22nd.
It is proposed that the Stewardship Campaign be announced/initiated on Sunday October 22nd - and continue until Sunday November 26th – i.e., six weeks.
May try and get time to use the church mice (Charlie and Charity) to introduce this on the 22nd.
October 22nd - will include announcing who will give testimonials and when and also announce the distribution of pledge forms – pay attention to new members/adherents who can pick up the sheets in the atrium (to be confirmed).
- Steve Elson
FAITH FORMATION (CD + Worship)
Jo Ann Silcox, co-chair
Allyson Watson, co-chair
Christina Lindsay. staff
Marilyn Arthur, staff
Rev. Lawrence, staff
MEMBERSHIP & NURTURE
Jo Ann Silcox
Rev. Annie Jannaway, staff
COMMUNICATIONS & MARKETING (not a Council
Committee but reports regularly to it)
MINISTRY & PERSONNEL
Kerry Hill, chair
Merran Neville, chair
Jane Archer Smith
Chris Fischer, staff
Steve Elson, chair
Rev. Lawrence, staff
+Trustee Liaison members, John Eberhard, David Manness
George Jolink, chair
Laura Wood, chair, treasurer
Colleen Garrett, (contract bookkeeper)
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
(not a Council committee but reports regularly to it)
Paul Cooper, co-chair
Jackie Williams, co-chair
Rev. Lawrence, staff
+ advisors: Kaitlin Norman, Doug Jones, Del McLennan, Bob Schram, Michael Cooney
UCW(not a Council committee but reports regularly to it)
President: Laurel Kenney
Secretary: Helen Guthrie
Treasurer: Donna Fraleigh
Tidings Rep: Nancy Quinn
Correspondence Secretary: Millie Bates
Archivist: Millie Bates
Membership Convenor: Nancy Quinn
Bazaar Convenor: Glenda Robinson
Rummage Sale Convenor: Jan Hendry
Member at Large: Linda Badke
ARCHIVE OF COUNCIL MINUTES
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