Written by Shannon McAdam
Canada West Mission Centre Co-President
Thank you to everyone who was able to join us for this year’s mission centre conference either online or from one of our in-person sites! All four of us on the Mission Centre President team were warmly hosted by the congregations we were in: Becky in Edmonton, Kat in Calgary, Gwyn in Chilliwack, and myself, Shannon, in Regina. It was so good to see many of you “in the flesh” and to share meals and conversation.
Our business meeting went very smoothly and quickly! Many thanks to all those who attended our pre-legislative sessions on Sunday and Wednesday before conference to ask your great questions. Also thanks to Dar for the financial update and Q&A session provided Saturday morning. We did have some discussion as to whether we should move our mission centre conference to another time of year so we have more financial information for our decision-making.
A highlight of the morning was a call-to-action video from Caitlin about our camping programs. Thank you to those who have already raised their hand to say they wish to support this important ministry with their time and talents.
In the afternoon we heard from a few folks who had attended Community of Christ World Conference about their experiences, and also heard an update from Art Smith about the Canada Church.
The highlights of our business meeting included:
We passed our 2024 budget with no amendments. You can view all the details by downloading the program in our Conference Hub website here.
I highly recommend you take some time to review the full program as you will find not only our business meeting and financial information, but also reports from congregations, from our Mission Centre staff, and about the programs like the Seventies Project that your donations are supporting.
And of course we had wonderful experiences of worship and fun. Each morning an Evangelist led us in spiritual practices before starting our day. Kat hosted a rousing virtual campfire with song leaders from all over the mission centre. Chilliwack hosted our Sunday morning communion service where our Apostle Art Smith offered a stirring message.
We look forward to doing it all again next year!
Greetings from Becky (Rebecca) Middleton!
As the newest member of your Mission Centre Presidency team, I would like to introduce myself. For any of you who don't know me, I am a Beer from BC on my mother's side, a Levitt from Alberta on my father's side, and a Middleton from Saskatchewan on the married side!
I have been the pastor of the Senlac congregation for more years than I remember and I am familiar with many of the congregations across the mission centre.
I have been involved with the Bridge of Hope campaign in the past as well as with World Accord and the projects in Honduras, working alongside my husband Doug. I have currently been on the advisory team for family camp at Hills of Peace as well as being involved in all aspects of staffing at HOP in the past.
I am humbled to be asked to join the Mission Centre Presidency Team and I hope to be an asset for the team and lend my support in any way I can. We look to move forward with succession planning so that each one involved with mission centre administration may be mentored and introduced to the needs of the mission centre in a way that is not overwhelming, but instead is an enjoyable experience.
Thank you to the team for asking me to be involved and thanks to you all who have entrusted me with this position. Please feel free to reach out to me as one of the Mission Centre Presidency team with any thoughts or concerns you have. I will try my best not to disappoint you!
Written by Gwyn Beer
Canada West Mission Centre Co-President
Please welcome Rebecca (Becky) Middleton to the Canada West Mission Centre presidency! Some may wonder why we are adding a fourth person to the team. Succession Planning is why. When I agreed to be part of the volunteer mission centre team I was asked to commit to 2 years. Well, 2 years is over and I am just starting to understand the needs of all of you! I am not going anywhere this year but retirement is calling me. With succession planning, I can leave and in a few years might step back into the team.
Becky will be adding her thoughts and ideas on what our mission centre needs. She will be learning alongside us. As we continue the journey, Becky will learn some of the pieces that we have learned. I am sure she will discover things we haven’t!
Becky and I are first cousins. Becky’s mom Mable and my dad Alfred were sister and brother. Even knowing her all my life, I am sure to find out so much more about her and how capable she is.
Succession planning has begun in the mission centre. From the beginning of the new volunteer team, we have been mentored by Steve Thompson, Art Smith and Dar Shepherdson in the ways and means to navigate within the church. Lisa Neudorf mentored showing me how to work with REGGIE. Andy McArthur and Briana McKenna worked with Jean Cravy to help with succession in the camp director field for Canada West. More plans are coming to assist the Mission Centre to meet the needs of the members.
As we approach Mission Conference, consider whether you can extend mentorship in some areas or whether you would like to be mentored in some of the areas of the church that you are interested in volunteering for.
Mission Conference is coming next weekend. Whether you’re at a host site or in your living room, I hope you’re able to join our gathering.
This year we are going to share in a campfire as our Saturday night activity. Campfires are so wonderful; I remember spreading blankets out on the ground that all overlap each other, seeing sparks fly up into the canopy of stars, laughing so hard, then singing beautiful harmonies together. We can’t capture all of this magic inside and online, but I imagine that we can all find a friend or two, tune in online and create our own ‘campfires’ with a collection of candles and by lowering the lights.
I’m excited to hear new campfire songs and familiar songs with different verses or motions. I look forward to settling into a contemplative space at the end of the night as we listen to some of our Wise Ones. We’ll have a good time resting in the Spirit together.
So if you’re excited to lead a song or skit from wherever-you-will-be on September 23, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can plan ahead, you can be spontaneous, just come and make some memories!
When our hearts are true but our way is unclear, courage is what sustains us! Join us at our Mission Centre Conference, September 22-24, as we share courage to act and build.
We welcome you to join online or to gather at satellite sites of Chilliwack, Calgary, Edmonton, and Regina. For the first time, you can vote based on membership, not on being elected as a delegate. So come, share in the life of our church in Western Canada so that we may build our vision of God’s peace among us and build our courage to act as we build toward that vision.
Yours in Christ,
Gwyn, Kat, and Shannon
by the CEM Mission Centre Presidency Team
As the Mission Centre Presidency Team assumed our roles in April, the next challenge was planning for the October 2022 online conference. That took considerable preparation in a few short months but plans for this year's hybrid conference have necessitated even more planning.
Our conference planning team, led by Pat Pallister, has been meeting bi-weekly for months to ensure the 2023 hybrid conference experience is efficient as well as meaningful. As you know, while some may choose to zoom into our conference, others have the option to gather in person at the Woodfield congregation. Our theme is “Courage to Live Gods Will”. A beautiful artistic rendition of that theme has been created by Shone Carson and Michael Pickard. We have also asked camp directors to involve the children in drawing pictures about what it means to them to live Gods will. We look forward to a calendar of their compiled artwork.
During World Conference, we found the blend of business legislation interspersed with moments of joyful singing, prayers and meditation, during times of pause or consultation, brought such a sense of spiritual formation that we wanted to share that with you. So, we have also asked our Evangelists to work with others to prepare these blessing moments. If you are musically inclined, play instruments or like to lead songs please offer your help to the Evangelist group for that purpose.
In response to feedback from the last CEM conference, you will see some changes this October. We formalized our advisory Mission Council for consultation on emerging issues. We are working with Canada West Mission Centre to formalize a committee to develop a Canadian policy on marriage. We have constituted a Standing Rules committee to ensure we have guidelines for a hybrid conference. We will be more rigid in adhering to the timelines in our bylaws for submission of delegate lists, to reduce the chaos that happens with last-minute changes to the credentials list. The bylaws committee that was struck from last year’s conference has completed its work and will bring forward recommendations to the 2023 conference assembly. And now we need to think about 2025 World Conference and whether there are resolutions forthcoming from CEM that necessitates a spring mini conference.
While pre-legislative sessions are scheduled once again to take place the week prior to conference, we have separated the presentation of reports and will offer them earlier in the month. On the Sunday morning of conference, we have planned two worship opportunities - an ordination service at Woodfield as well as the Beyond the Walls service.
We appreciated the feedback received after the last conference and hope you plan to attend this conference as we need your voice and would love the gift of your presence.
CEM President Team
We are busily planning Mission Centre Conference with the theme "Courage to Act" and are hoping you will join us.
Remember that you don't have to be a delegate to have a say in our business meeting! All members in Canada West can have voice and vote in our conference. Registration is open now.
Visit www.cwm.events to register and learn more!
Here are a few snaps from family camp this week at Hills of Peace!
Where is God's Spirit leading you next? Toward these cookies decorated by the kids?!
by the CEM Mission Centre Presidency Team
It has been just over a year since Mary Jean, Dawn, and I assumed the role of Mission Centre presidents. Our first year has been interesting, coming out of two years of COVID restrictions. In forming the team, we deliberately did not divide the Mission Centre into three sections but rather chose to focus on our strengths and share the leadership and administrative workload among this volunteer team.
We identified four foci: leadership development, camping programs, conference planning and strategic planning to address the realities that all churches in North America are facing-dwindling numbers, aging congregations and buildings that do not meet current needs.
The first challenge in 2022 for us was how to re-open our campgrounds and safely resume in-person camping experiences last summer. This necessitated water inspections, maintenance of equipment and buildings which had been unused, and weather beaten for two years. We are so grateful for all the work that Nancy, Stacey and Melissa have done to ensure our camps have appropriate staff. We cannot forget all the other essential people that make our camping experiences life changing. We thank all our volunteers including caretakers, teachers, cooks, KP staff, directors, lifeguards, counselors and others. It really requires assembling an amazing team, and that’s what happens again and again.
We know there are many for whom camping experiences are their only church encounter, so we want to make sure they have lifelong memories where peace, joy and love are personified. We experience community at our camps and for some, that is their only positive community experience. So, let’s not keep that a secret! Last year our greatest challenge in camping was getting a full complement of certified lifeguards in a year when certification opportunities were limited. This year the challenge has been staff and getting everyone registered as youth workers as we ramped up capacity. Registered Child Youth Worker certification is necessary to protect our campers and teach staff awareness of potential risks and ways to mitigate those risks. It is a world church program required for all priesthood and anyone working with children and youth.
It is in camps where we form community and experience the blessings of belonging. It is a safe place where children, youth and adults can intermingle, learn from one another, learn to respect differences and live in harmony. I hope you are able to get to at least one camp this year. You will be blessed, for we have faith that the Spirit resides where two or three are gathered in the name of the Divine.
Because camping is so integral to our lives, we invite you to share your camping stories to inspire new campers and potential leaders. I know it is hard to put an experience, especially a spiritual one, into words but we invite you to share your camping experiences trusting the Spirit will translate the meaning for the hearer. Surely, we all have stories to share about fellowship, campfires, classes, silly antics, shared meals, games and friendships. If you are one of the many volunteers at camp, talk about how good it feels when you truly connect with someone like soul mates and how that makes all the hard work of preparation worthwhile. Share how you feel when you step onto those hallowed grounds and why it’s so hard to leave at the end of camp. You might just inspire someone. And if nothing else, make sure you express your appreciation to all the people who make your camp safe, successful and spiritually meaningful.
Look for a continuing saga. Next, we’ll talk about our second priority.
CEM President Team
community of christ
355 Elmira Road North, Unit 129
Guelph, ON N1K 1S5 Canada
Canada West Mission: 877-411-2632
Canada East Mission: 888-411-7537