Joint Congregational Meeting Summary

Joint Congregational Meeting: Summary

The Joint Congregational Meeting of the Brookfield Pastoral Charge took place on Saturday, 11 May 2019 at 10:00 a.m. in Hunter River Community Hall. There were 54 persons in attendance, together with Rev. Thomas Kay, Stated Supply and Rev. Steven Stead, Interim Moderator.

Following up on the two visioning meetings held in May 2018, the purpose of the meeting was (a) to give feedback on the events of the intervening year and attempts at renewal within the three congregations and, (b) to garner congregational input on options for moving forward by way of an “advisory vote.”

Introduction and Devotions

Rev. Kay opened the meeting with a few comments on the context of 40 years of decline and how it has impacted churches in the Presbytery of PEI. This led into a devotion based on Deuteronomy 30: 19-20 and Moses’ challenge to the Children of Israel to “choose life” as they faced the challenges and decisions that would face them as they moved into the Promised Land.

Rev. Stead then led in prayer.

Feedback

Rev. Stead moderated the feedback session of the meeting while Rev. Kay took notes.

Positive feedback included the benefit of set times and weekly services at each of the three churches; easier to invite people to church when services are weekly; increased fellowship after worship (Hunter River); completion of needed renovations (Hunter River); more talking and visiting before and after worship (Brookfield).

Negative feedback included not getting to see people from the other congregations, and missing visitors from the other congregations in worship.

Asked about possible “tweaks” going forward, earlier summer worship time was mentioned for Glasgow Road, and the need to provide something for children on Sunday mornings at Hunter River.

In a more general comment, it was noted that all three congregations are and have been in a continuing state of membership decline and that it is getting harder to recruit volunteers. The load is falling increasingly on the same small group of people in each church.

Decision

Following a brief refreshment break, Rev. Kay gave a short presentation clarifying the process of amalgamation, specifically that one congregation does not subsume the others but rather that all congregations cease to exist, and a new congregation is formed with a new session, organizations, etc.

Rev. Kay then outlined the voting process as an “advisory vote” to give guidance to Session in its deliberations, and that any proposed changes to congregational status arising from those deliberations would need to be voted on by each congregation individually. The ballots were then distributed.

The ballots having been collected were then counted by one elder from each congregation in the presence of Revs. Stead and Kay.

Rev. Stead then shared the results with the meeting.

A total of 54 votes were cast with a total of 19 voting for Option 1, 6 for Option 2, and 29 for Option 3. Of those voting for Option 3, 20 voted to continue with the current weekly worship format (Option 3A), and 8 for a return to the former rotating format (Option 3B). 1 person voting for Option 3 did not give a preference.

Voting by Congregation

Brookfield Glasgow Road Hunter River TOTAL

Option #1 7 6 6 19

Option #2 1 3 2 6

Option#3 2 (A) 9 (A) 9 (A) 20

6 (B) 2 (B) 8

1 (No option) 1

TOTAL 10 25 19 54

Rev. Stead moderated discussion following the announcement which included various questions and comments from the floors such as, “where is the hope here for young families,” and concern that we have chosen a path of inevitable slow decline. On a more positive note, others asked what might yet be done to foster renewal moving forward.

Next Steps

The Joint Session met at Brookfield Church at 7:30 pm on Monday, 13 May to review the input from the meeting and, after considerable discussion and in light of the advisory vote, agreed to continue with Option 3(A) for one year.

Respectfully submitted,

Rev. Thomas J. Kay

Announcements May 12

Central Queens United Church, Hunter River, is excited to host the Summerside Community Choir on Sun., May 26th at 7:00 p.m. This wonderful choir, composed of approx. 55 members, will be performing a variety of songs from Verdi to fun and popular East Coast songs. The concert, entitled “The Singing Heart”, will also include talented performers from the 2019 Music Festival.
Admission: $12 at the door with light refreshments served. Doors open at 6:30

MAY DATES

– May 13th, Monday – Joint Session meets in Brookfield at 7:30 pm

– Here are the birthdays/anniversaries for this week and the Prayer list.

Birthdays…May 12th..Christina Ford

May 16th..David Axworthy

Anniversaries…May 16th.. Ralph and Thelma Cruwys

– Prayer list…Eric Weeks, Grant Smith, Robert Rackham, Ena Hill, Garth Matheson, Alysia and Carl(Rev Thomas and Rev. Cathy),David Stevenson, Don MacDonald, Kenny Cousins,

Sonny and Dorothy Clow, Heather Ford, David MacIntyre, Eddy Dykerman, Eric Shaw, David MacLean, Irwin Campbell, Aneilia River Watts,

If there are any questions or concerns about something that’s happening or not happening in the Charge, please speak to Rev. Kay or an Elder.

Our regular weekly events for the charge…..

– Prayer meeting – at Phillip and Shirley Weatherbee’s house on Tuesday evening 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm. All are welcome.

– Youth Group – Thursday evenings at Central Queens Elementary School Gym.

Start up time is 6:30 pm wrapping up at 7:45 pm. All youth Grade 3 and up are welcome.

***Annual lobster/ham take out will be Saturday May 25-any volunteers will be appreciated-more info to come!****

Way Ahead- to be considered for the May 11 meeting

THE WAY AHEAD: NEXT STEPS – JOINT CONGREGATIONAL MEETING
Saturday 11 May 2019, 10:00 AM – 12 NOON
Hunter River Community Hall

Please read the following carefully and prayerfully before the meeting on 11th May.
This study paper does not advocate any particular option
but is offered to help focus our decision-making process.

Introduction
In the Spring of 2018 we conducted two very well attended visioning events to look at the long-term future and viability of our congregation(s). The theme for the event was taken from Jeremiah 29:11—
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

The event also addressed the potential for amalgamation and, in a “straw poll” exercise, approximately half of those present indicated a preference for amalgamation into one church with (when combined) an almost equal number preferring options other than amalgamation into one.

In light of the input from these meetings, the Joint Session recommended an experimental year to try some outreach opportunities and assess the potential for growth in each congregation, with the promise that we would return to congregation in May 2019 to assess progress and determine next steps. The most impactful change has been the move to weekly worship services at set times in each church.

On Saturday, 11 May 2019, we will gather the congregation(s) again for the promised assessment and to make some choices about “next steps.”

The Assessment
The first part of the meeting on 11 May will be given over to input “from the floor” inviting your responses to one simple question: “In this experimental year, what have you found helpful and what have you found unhelpful?”

The Decision
It is often said that the worst part of any illness is waiting for a diagnosis. The same is true in the current process, we need to bring the waiting and uncertainty to an end so that our ministry and mission can find its focus and direction.

Because we are a charge of three individually constituted congregations the options outlined below will be put to the meeting on 11 May in a secret ballot as an “indicative” or “advisory” vote to guide the Joint Session in making a formal recommendation to the congregations.

Each congregation will then need to vote independently to adopt any proposal arising out of the 11 May meeting. The process may seem cumbersome but is essential to protect the rights of each congregation.

Wisdom and Faithfulness
As we move through this process we want our decisions about the future of our congregation(s) to be both wise and faithful. Wise, in that we have carefully considered the opportunities and challenges raised by each option. Faithful, in that the decisions we make help fulfil the mandate we have been given by Christ to “make disciples.”

The Options
The potential viable options have really not changed since the original visioning meetings a year ago but are laid out below in more detail than before.

OPTION #1
Amalgamation into a single-point charge at Brookfield.

OPTION #2
Amalgamation into a two-point charge at Brookfield and Hunter River.

OPTION #3
Maintain the status quo at Brookfield, Hunter River and Glasgow Road.

Amalgamation into a Single Point Charge
Option #1 involves the amalgamation of all three congregations into one congregation with one building at Brookfield, which has the largest Sanctuary and hall space with a full kitchen and two washrooms. The building is structurally sound and with a new steel roof but is certainly in need of updating and a fair amount of “cosmetic” work.

The advantages of amalgamation into one are what they have always been: the Brookfield building has high visibility and easy access on Hwy 2 and is fairly centrally located in terms of the current congregational living patterns – including Hartsville, should that congregation at any time choose to be folded into the charge.

Option #1 gathers all the congregations’ people, activities and resources into one. Advantages include an immediately viable Sunday School, combining of the great musical talents currently spread across the charge, more people to share the leadership/work load, and the renewed energy that comes from working together.

Amalgamation into a Two Point Charge
Option #2 involves the amalgamation of Glasgow Road and Brookfield into one congregation at Brookfield, with a second point at Hunter River.

Amalgamation of Glasgow Road and Brookfield would gather the great majority of active young families with children under one roof, utilizing the Brookfield building to take advantage of its location and size for current and future programs/outreach. It garners some, but not all, of the advantages listed for option #1.

Maintaining a presence “in the village” allows us to take advantage of Hunter River’s location, including its proximity to the school, as a community hub and a focus for outreach and creative ministry, although to release that potential would require making the Sanctuary a useable multi-purpose space.

Option #2 would also maintain 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. services allowing us to offer different worship experiences.

Maintain the Status Quo
If option #3 is interpreted strictly in terms of keeping all three church buildings, it means returning to the previous rotating worship schedule.

If option #3 is interpreted in terms of maintaining the current weekly service at each church, it means that a second part-time minister is required.

Maintaining the status quo is a legitimate choice. It is also the most comfortable and least disruptive option since it means that all three church buildings remain open and no difficult decisions need to be made; however, potentially, it may also be the riskiest decision as it does not address the steady decline of recent decades or the concerns of young families with children looking for viable programs.

If option #3 is chosen, no further confirmation is required by individual congregational meetings.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
What will it cost?
Currently, each congregation carries the costs of maintaining and operating its own building/programs while also contributing to the Joint Charge budget mainly, but not solely, to cover the costs of stipend and housing for the minister. The cost of stipend and housing remains unchanged in all three scenarios, while options #1 and #2 reduce operating costs or, more pro-actively, release funds to be used to encourage outreach and growth.

Using the information provided by each congregation’s annual reports, the costs for 2019 break down as follows (rounded up to the nearest dollar):
Operating Expenses Dues/Pension* Joint Charge
Hunter River $5,900.00 $1,800.00/1,200.00 $21,000.00
Brookfield $7,700.00 $1,484.00/1,207.00 $15,000.00
Glasgow Road $7,060.00 $1,607.00/1,500.00 $21,000.00

*Dues includes Presbytery and Synod Dues which are calculated as a percentage of the “dollar base”, and Presbyterians Sharing which is a suggested allocation accepted (or rejected/amended) when the budget is considered at the Annual meeting.
*Pension is the “employer” portion paid to the church pension plan by each congregation. It is calculated on the congregation’s “dollar base”.

The “dollar base” is the congregation’s regular annual income, not including fund-raising for capital projects, debt repayment, or donations to Presbyterians Sharing, PWS&D or other mission projects. Neither the dues nor the pension contributions would be much impacted by an amalgamation.

Why does Glasgow Road close in both Options #1 and #2?
The issue with Glasgow Road is one of size and location, but primarily location and visibility – it has a beautiful site, but it is the smallest, least central and least visible of all three churches.

If we amalgamate, what happens to the buildings?
In any amalgamation all the assets of the amalgamating congregations become the assets of the new congregation, including buildings. Any surplus building(s) would be sold and any income derived from the sale(s) would belong to the new amalgamated congregation, although a minimum 5% would need to be paid to the PCC.

In terms of building contents, as much as possible, memorial items (e.g., stained glass, sacred furnishings, etc.) would be integrated into the building retained for use or, where necessary, offered as mementos to the original donors or their families.

Will Rev. Kay stay or leave?
Rev. Kay has made it clear that he is willing to continue to serve the congregation no matter what decision is made subject to the congregation’s invitation and the presbytery’s approval. Rev. Cathy’s status depends more on which scenario is adopted and any other options open to her, and needs to be negotiated with her accordingly.

Will we lose people?
Yes. No matter what decision is made we will lose someone. But we have been losing people for a long time – especially young families as they drift away from church altogether or have moved to other churches which have more to offer them and their children.

Will amalgamation solve all our problems?
No. Amalgamation is only a step -admittedly a very big step- towards creating the conditions in which the congregation may flourish, but none of the options outlined above is “THE” answer. We will still have to engage in more creative and active outreach if we hope to have a long-term future in our community.

A decision about our future direction needs to be made,
and is the congregation’s decision to make.

Announcements May 5

 Joint Session met this past Monday. Here are  few highlights…

                   – meeting was opened with Scripture and Prayer from Rev. Thomas

                   – Rita MacRae attended the workshop for session clerks on writing minutes and presented a report

                   – Easter Sunday 11:00 am loose offering is to go to the Good Sam fund $266.00

                   – Rev. Thomas and Rev. Cathy will be away on vacation and will miss Sunday June 2nd and 9th

                           Rev. Thomas will be attending General Assembly and they will be visiting family also.

                           Rev. Thomas is to arrange pulpit supply.

                    – Joint Session decided to have one joint service each of the Sunday Revs Thomas and Cathy are away.

                           June 2nd, 11:00 am in Hunter River

                           June 7th, 11:00 am in Glasgow Road 

                   – Joint Session decided to provide child care for the charge meeting May 11th Rita MacRae is to arrange

                   – discussion on the Next Steps information sheet resulted in a slight change, further discussion and a decision to distribute via The Scoop

                              with paper copies to be made available on Sunday so every member and adherent has a copy  *a copy is available under the heading “Way Ahead-to be considered for the May 11 meeting” added as a post on this website!*

                   – next meeting set for May 13th, 7:30 pm in Brookfield

                   – Rev. Steven Stead closed with Prayer

                                                                      

 

                                                                                MAY DATES

                                     – May 4th, Saturday, 9:00 am – 1:30 pm – Mikinduri Children of Hope is having their annual Book and Yard Sale at the Eastlink Center.
                      There is a huge selection…something for everyone. Admission is a $2.00 donation or a full blue bag of clean clothing.
                      Anyone wishing to donate pre-loved items, we will be accepting donated items at the Eastlink Center Thursday, May 2nd from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm
                      and Friday, May 3rd from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm.(sorry we cannot accept baby equipment, tires, old computers, TVs except flat screens and encyclopedia sets.
                      For more info or to volunteer contact Karen – 902-887-2517 orkandgmckenna@pei.sympatico.ca. To have larger items picked up contact Ernie Gallant – 902-566-3463.
          
                                      – May 5th, Sunday, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm – The final session of Griefshare had to be cancelled last week so it will conclude this week instead.
                                                                                                                   Hunter River at above time.
                                     – May 11th, Saturday, 10:00 am – There will be a Charge Meeting in Hunter River Community Hall to assess progress and determine next steps following
                                                                              the past experimental nine months of outreach opportunities and potential growth of our congregations. This is follow up to last spring’s meetings.
                                                                              I have attached the information sheets again. Please review and attend the meeting.
 

                                    

               – Here are the birthdays/anniversaries for this week and the Prayer list.

                                                          Birthdays…May 5th..Conner VanEwyk, John Cummings, Brian Weaver

                                                                               May 6th..Dwayne VanEwyk, Shelli MacPherson

                                                         Anniversaries…May 8th..Peter and Monica Joostema

                                                                                                                                                                                                

                     – Prayer list…Ena Hill, The Family of the late Shirley Dickieson, Garth Matheson, Alysia and Carl(Rev Thomas and Rev. Cathy),David Stevenson, Don MacDonald, Kenny Cousins,

                                               Sonny and Dorothy Clow, Heather Ford, David MacIntyre, Eddy Dykerman, Eric Shaw, David MacLean, Irwin Campbell, Aneilia River Watts,

                                      

                  

       If there are any questions or concerns about something that’s happening or not happening in the Charge, please speak to Rev. Kay or an Elder.

              Our regular weekly events for the charge…..

                                    

        – May 5th, Sunday – GriefShare in Hunter River 2:00 PM- 3:30 PM (final session)

                                    

        – Prayer meeting – at Phillip and Shirley Weatherbee’s house on Tuesday evening 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm. All are welcome.

                                 

        – Youth Group – Thursday evenings at Central Queens Elementary School Gym.

                                      Start up time is 6:30 pm wrapping up at 7:45 pm. All youth Grade 3 and up are welcome.

                                      Come on out for some fun, games and fellowship!! Remember…no school, no youth group.

 

Central Queens United Church, Hunter River, is excited to host the Summerside Community Choir on Sun., May 26th at 7:00 p.m. This wonderful choir, composed of approx. 55 members, will be performing a variety of songs from Verdi to fun and popular East Coast songs. The concert, entitled “The Singing Heart”, will also include talented performers from the 2019 Music Festival.
Admission: $12 at the door with light refreshments served. Doors open at 6:30

New Year Bible Study

Power and Glory, a fourteen-part study will be offered on Sunday evenings, 7:00-8:30 p.m., 06 January – 14 April 2019 (no meeting 17 March), with the location rotating around the three churches in the charge as indicated in the outline below.

(Click on link below to open outline in a new tab)
Power and Glory

Advent Schedule

Please join us in the Season of Advent as we prepare to celebrate the Birth of Jesus!  Advent begins on Sunday, 2 December and continues through Sunday, 23 December.  Join us at any of our three churches on the first three Sundays of Advent, and at Glasgow Road for a joint celebration on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, 23 December.

Hunter River, weekly at 9:30 a.m.
Brookfield, weekly at 11:00 a.m.
Glasgow Road, weekly at 11:00 a.m.

Church Picnic

Click on a photo to enlarge.

Joined Community Living in the Grace of God