2020 Annual Report
A Year of Resilience and Change
Orleans United Church
1111 Orleans Blvd.
Orleans, Ontario K1C 7C8
Table of Contents
Council Chair’s Report
We could not have imagined that 2020 would be overtaken by a global pandemic, highlighted by varying states of emergency, stay-at-home orders, restrictions on gatherings, physical distancing rules, and mandatory-mask orders, when we gathered on February 23rd, 2020 for the 2020 Annual Congregation Meeting (ACM). The prospect that in-person church gatherings would be deemed non-essential, and that places of worship would be ordered closed less than one month following the 2020 ACM was not on the planning horizon. Though the challenges during 2020 were extraordinary and one for the history books, Orleans United Church (OUC) pivoted quickly and responded with resolve.
This 2020 Annual Report entitled, A Year of Resilience and Change, is a testament to the collective strength of our congregation’s faith. The Annual Report celebrates the adaptability, creativity and resilience exhibited by the accomplishments of our Clergy, Ministry personnel, Ministry teams and countless volunteers. OUC has much to be grateful for this past year, has much to celebrate, and has been a blessing to our community and beyond. #OUC Strong!
Council Chair: Dot Cooper Incoming Chair: Ron Hunt
Past Chair: John Gibson Secretary: Lynn Stoudt
Treasurer: Bernie Eisener EOORC Rep: Dave Patterson
Members-at-Large: Debbie Burch, Cindy Germain, Paula Hilton, Alison Sales, George Teather
Clergy: Rev. Molly Bell and Rev. Caroline Penhale
During the 2020 session, Council held 9 virtual meetings via Zoom with minutes recorded. Additionally, Council Executive met virtually on more than 25 occasions.
Within days of the 2020 ACM, emerging public health guidance resulted in Council Executive reviewing OUC’s Emergency Plans and contact lists. A COVID-19 Response Team composed of Council Executive, Clergy, Scott Richardson and David Patterson was quickly formed. This Response Team noted, as a Public Health emergency, that an abundance of caution approach would underscore decision making. Actions and communications would be prayerful and aspire to bring comfort to our faith community amid the many unknowns and rapidly changing environment.
Throughout, the priority would be to maintain some form of weekly worship and support our neighbouring churches, as feasible. The Response Team resolved that the March 15th worship service could proceed in the Sanctuary, given that a reduced gathering was expected, and public health recommendations would be manageable. Moreover, OUC would leverage technology and extend its reach to the congregation by live-streaming the March 15th worship service – a first at OUC. Over the following weeks, OUC would become the community hub for Virtual Church (a.k.a. Virtch). Virtch is the most significant collaborative accomplishment achieved during 2020. We are indebted to the tireless efforts of Revs. Molly Bell and Caroline Penhale, Scott Richardson, David Clemis and David Patterson, in conjunction with the aligned churches highlighted later in this Annual Report.
Secondly, the Response Team resolved that Pastoral Care and support would be enhanced, and a special effort would be made to contact every active congregant family as a care check-in. All active congregant families were contacted and pastoral care and support was reinforced throughout 2020. We are very grateful to Rev. Caroline, the Pastoral Care Team, Andrea Fisher (Parish Nurse), Kimberly Unterganschnigg, as well as numerous volunteers for making this happen.
Thirdly, in the absence of the traditional weekly bulletin insert and in-person Sunday announcements, broadcast communications would be through email and social media, augmented by Council Executive and Clergy. This created opportunities for ministries to explore new ways to share timely information with congregants and enhance outreach. With gratitude to Rev. Molly for her social media savvy, Kim Gratton for adapting to constant change, the Adult Education Ministry for producing Coronavirus Connections, Dr. Barbara Malarczyk for editorial support, and all contributors, Communications overall was a notable achievement. Evolving initially from a twice weekly broadcast email produced by Council Executive then, on alternating weeks, A Note from the Revs., followed by a revamped Newsletter, to finally a renewed Life and Work Newsletter in a new platform mastered by Kim Gratton (Office Administrator) brought much to celebrate.
Ron Hunt, as Property Chair, guided building closure activities and the Reopening Task Force. Closure involved contacting all user groups, adjusting contracts, and securing the building; a task made much easier by the new FOB system. Council acknowledges the contributions of the Reopening Task Force members and the special effort and numerous contributions provided by Ron. Council is immensely grateful for Ron’s leadership during 2020 as Acting Council Chair (Nov-Jan), Property Chair, and Chair of the Reopening Task Force. Thank you Ron!
On March 23rd the church building closed. Ministry life and work quickly transitioned to virtual gatherings via Zoom. From the outset, Council directed budgetary spending would be frugal and restricted to essential new items aligned with the new COVID related priorities, given the many unknowns. Council notes the sage advice and wisdom of the Finance Committee and Treasurer, Bernie Eisener, and is thankful for their invaluable guidance on Federal relief programs and resourcefulness by establishing E Transfers to enable greater opportunities for online offerings and donations. Later in the year, there were times when small in-person gatherings were permitted.
Council applauds the steadfastness and creativity of Janet Weatherston and Ken Richardson among the many volunteers who supported the Online Christmas Market, which raised over 33 thousand dollars. Outstanding!
As outlined, there are many accomplishments, much to celebrate and people to thank for their contributions to our ministry life and work, big and small, throughout this most challenging year. Council extends a special thank you to departing ministry team leaders, Michael Parsche (Youth), following 10 years mentoring our teens, David MacWilliam after 13 years with Outreach with 10 years as Chair, and John Gibson, past Council Chair following 6 years serving Council and other ministries.
In closing, I wish to thank Council for their support and leadership throughout this extraordinary year and all our ministry team leaders for adapting to our changed environment. We are blessed and you have been a blessing!
Yours in Christ,
A Note from the Revs:
2020 was a year of change and resilience!
This past year has been one which has brought much change and called for much resilience. Together, with God’s help, we have answered that call and persevered!
We, your ministers, are so grateful to you for the many ways that you have stepped up with care and generosity during extraordinary times. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. There have been many days when we have been encouraged to keep going because of your words of affirmation and support. You have humbled us with your generosity, both in terms of financial support and sharing your time and talents. This congregation has so many gifted and skilled people, and it has been a blessing to witness all that you contribute to one another and the wider community.
In March, shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, we closed OUC for in-person gatherings and pared down to a limited office schedule. We also formed a worship collective with several other United Church communities to create a pre-recorded weekly worship service that would eventually be named Virtch (short for Virtual Church). This “Virtch” service has become the focusing piece in the rhythm of our church week at OUC. We offer our gratitude to David Patterson and Dave Clemis for all of the behind-the-scenes production work that they poured into this weekly worship offering.
Also, in response to COVID-19 restrictions, we engaged in an all-member pastoral outreach call in the spring of the year. Everyone on the church contact list was contacted for a “check in” either by email or by telephone. Many of you responded that you were doing quite well and had all of the support that you needed. Others told us of how OUC might be able to offer a bit of assistance. Almost everyone expressed gratitude for having received a call or email from the church community. Many thanks to the folks who volunteered to help with this outreach!
The Healthy End of Life Project (HELP) continued its work with our congregation, despite the COVID-19 related setbacks. With the support of an Advisory Council and our community facilitators, Emily Davison and Heather McGrath, a year of focus groups, data collection and information gathering was completed. Please see the HELP write up in this annual report for more details on the project. We look forward in the coming year to continue the work of creating a compassionate community that empowers everyone to attend to “end of life” issues.
Last, but certainly not least, our OUC Fall Bazaar team knocked it out of the park yet again this year, and this time by pivoting to an online format! The OUC Online Christmas Market was a huge success raising over $33,000 for the support of OUC’s ministry and mission. We are impressed, humbled and grateful to everyone who contributed to this outstanding success. Special thanks go to Jan Weatherston and Ken Richardson, in particular, for your project leadership.
In last year’s annual report, we asked the question: “to what is God calling us and what might God be calling us to set down?” Little did we know that a pandemic was on its way, and that would demand that we set many things down! This year, we ask ourselves and the congregation a different question: “what can we celebrate as the gifts of this strange year past and how can we carry those gifts forward into the coming year?”
As your ministers, we continue to hold the vision of the people of OUC sharing God’s goodness with one another and with the wider community. We celebrate the spirit of generosity in this community of faith and we look forward to a time when we will be able to gather in person, to see your dear faces and hug you once more.
At all times, but especially in the challenging times, we deeply appreciate working alongside Kim Gratton who attends so well to all of the office administration tasks, and who is always willing to find better ways to do things, Scott Richardson who has done an extraordinary job of coordinating the music for Virtch with creativity and excellence, as well as the many lay leaders of our church who go above and beyond week after week for this faith community.
We look ahead with great hope to the coming ministry year. We are blessed to be able to continue serving in partnership as your ministers of Word, Sacrament and Pastoral Care, and we acknowledge the trust that you place in us to serve this community faithfully and with love.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Molly & Rev. Caroline
Providing a path for people of all ages to move along their own faith journeys in ways that feel comfortable and purposeful, and nurturing each other’s spiritual growth and faith in God. These learning ministries, reported below are: Children’s Ministry; Youth Ministry; Adult Ministries; and 8th Orleans Scouting.
While COVID-19 significantly impacted the Sunday school programs that we all love at OUC, all of the teachers (Shelia Parisien, Peter Holt, Luc Lamadeleine, Nick Lachance and myself) did enjoy a few weeks with the youth of OUC at the beginning of the year. Our plan was to have one group class a month in order to give teachers time to attend Big people church, and then offer individual classes for the other three weeks each month for our younger, middle, and older children. We did manage to enjoy one group class together and the youth enjoyed working on special crafts and having snacks. We also enjoyed bringing music back to our children’s program – while we may not have always be on key, we sang with enthusiasm!
In March of 2020, our programming was brought to a halt, and we were not able to be active in person for the remainder of the year. As the rest of the church changed focus and moved online, so too did our Children’s Ministry. Rev. Molly offered some virtual Sunday school programming enjoyed by our children, as well as children from our wider community audience. We also were able to offer a September in-person backpack blessing which was a great success and left our children ready for the new and very unique school year ahead.
One of our most beloved traditions, the Children’s Christmas Pageant, was able to imagine a new way of being, and we were delighted to see so many of our OUC families participate in the new and improved virtual pageant that we offered in December. Marni Hunt-Stephens creatively adapted our pageant to move online, and Rev. Molly was costume-deliverer and producer extraordinaire! Our congregation was so happy to see the little (and fast growing) faces that they dearly miss each week. Moving forward, we hope to see the youth again before the end of 2021 and will continue with our plan to offer one group Sunday School class per month, some fun theme days and, when weather permits, move the fun outside.
I’m sure that I can speak on behalf of the amazing team of Sunday school teachers when I say that we are all beyond grateful for the OUC family for helping us all remain resilient and be willing to change, almost on a daily basis at times, with the new “norms” being handed to us.
My star word for 2020 was “ease.” I think it’s a fair thing to say that we had to be at ease with all that 2020 was! My star word for 2021 is “possibility.” I think we can all pray for the possibility of 2021 being the year that we get back to see each other at OUC!
Coordinator for OUC Sunday School
Youth Ministry consisted of the following three Youth leaders in 2020: Sarah Benfield, Kim Francoeur and Michael Parsche.
2020 was planned to be a year of transition for Youth Ministry. Michael Parsche was stepping down in June 2020 after leading Youth Ministry for 9 and a half years. Rev. Molly and Michael Parsche had planned to spend the spring of 2020 reviewing what Youth Ministry was going to look like in the future. The pandemic changed those plans. The Youth program review did not occur, and Michael Parsche agreed to stay on as Chair of Youth Ministry until the ACM in February 2021.
When the pandemic started, we tried to shift to online delivery. We held several online sessions with the Youth in the spring of 2020 with very little success. There was a general lack of interest from the Youth in maintaining the Youth program in a virtual fashion. We spent considerable effort reaching out to all of our Youth and, unfortunately, we still only got 1 or 2 attending.
Michael Parsche (he/him)
This ministry supports educational and health promotion programs which focus on adult members of the congregation. This year, our team members and the congregation demonstrated incredible resilience adapting to numerous changes in our educational approach due to necessary physical distancing measures to combat the Coronavirus pandemic.
Workshops, like “Being Grateful in Difficult Times” as well as “Cannabis 101” and “LGBTQIA2s+ Embracing Diversity” information sessions were held virtually, via Zoom, and replaced our in-person meetings. We thank all participants for embracing the changes that we introduced in 2020 and for their engagement in our workshops. Men’s Breakfast and Java Jive continue to be staples of the Adult Ministry and provide fellowship for our congregation; out of necessity, these programs were successfully converted to a virtual format.
To support our congregation during this most unusual time, we also produced numerous Coronavirus Connections articles for distribution in OUC’s weekly emailed newsletters. This year, an emerging collaboration between the Adult Ministry and the ad hoc Health Promotion Committee has been extremely helpful for organizing and delivering programming to the congregation. We would also like to acknowledge the contributions to our work by Queenswood United Church.
Margriet Parry and Luc Lamadeleine
Andrea Fisher, Elayne Bonnell (QUC), Heather McGrath and Judith Tompkins
Health Promotion Committee
2020 started off with our normal array of winter activities: our 3 Beaver Colonies heading to MacSkimming, Cumberland, or Tucker House; Cubs going sledding, participating in the annual Winter Cuboree plus winter camping at Apple Hill; Scouts participating in a Klondike Derby; even the Rover Crew headed to the Venturer Cabin at Camp Opemikon. We also hosted the annual Shrove Tuesday pancake dinner and welcomed members of Orleans United as well as families from the community. 2020 was the 25th anniversary of the 8th Orleans Scout Group and we celebrated at our annual Baden-Powell pot luck dinner.
As with everything in 2020, our Scouting Program came to a sudden halt in mid-March as families all had to adapt to the dramatic changes in all our lives. We did have a couple of virtual campfires and even held our first (and hopefully last) online Kub Kar Rally with participation from all three Cub Packs.
Our normal Scouting session would have wound up in August but, due to the shutdown of all in-person Scouting activities, we were on hiatus until September. Even with a shutdown, we were able to restart the Venturer Company (ages 15-17) when two Rovers stepped forward and became Company Scouters.
During the September to December time period, our Sections got the ball rolling with online sessions. While running Scouting activities online was something completely foreign a year ago, our Scouters adapted to the new medium and the parents/youth were excited to return to Scouting in any form. We were able to provide a forum where the youth could complete Personal Achievement badges, explore museums, learn knots, play games, cook omelets and even guide a Scouter on a virtual hike.
When permitted, we had lots of in-person outdoor adventures. Colony A (ages 5-7) kicked things off at Petrie Island. The Rover Crew (ages 18-26) learned how to back up with a trailer. Troop (ages 11-14) and other Sections had hiking as a common theme. Many of the trails around the Church have been explored, plus Petrie Island, NCC trails and Mer Bleue. Pack C (ages 8-10) headed to Apple Hill for a day of hiking, making fires and building shelters. As the weather changed, some Sections switched to weekends for their meetings to have daylight and warmer weather.
We wrapped up the year with many Sections heading to Taffy Lane. Some traditions are maintained, even while wearing masks and trying to practice physical distancing. The decorations on the Lane and all around Orleans were spectacular this year.
As we look at Scouting in 2021, we return to online sessions during another provincial wide lockdown, but with the knowledge that in-person outdoor meetings will return and the Scouters will once again see the smiling eyes of the youth as we head outside for new adventures.
Appendix A – Finances
Scouts Canada took the step to disband the Area level of the organization. Funds within the Odawa Area were distributed back to the active Groups. 8th Orleans, being the largest group in Odawa, received $11300 in funds.
Our expenses are down as we’re not having to pay for school rentals at Convent Glen Catholic school (Colony / Pack B) nor at St. Dominic’s school (Colony / Pack C).
Financially, the Scout Group is very sound.
Appendix B – Membership
As of March 2020, 8th Orleans had 144 youth and 36 Scouters. We were the largest Group in Odawa and in the top 1% of Groups for Scouts Canada
For September to December, Scouts Canada offered free trial registrations to help promote youth to join Scouting. 8th Orleans did gain many youth during this offer but only a few registered for 2021. Being on hiatus for March to September did have an impact to our membership as active participation was down by 30%. In comparison to other Groups, we are well above average for our retention and the credit goes to the outstanding Scouting Program provided by our Scouters.
As we look into 2021, our membership is down by 47%. This is mainly due to screen fatigue. Many families are going to be waiting until we return to in-person outdoor activities before returning, so we do foresee our membership returning to our December 2020 numbers this spring. We have a goal of returning to our March 2020 numbers by the end of 2021.
Yours in Scouting,
Peter Smith, 8th Orleans Group Commissioner, commissioner@8thOrleans.ca
Since September 2018, OUC has offered a Spiritual Direction ministry as part of our congregation’s personal faith formation efforts. Retired minister, Glen Stoudt, organizes and facilitates the work and collaborates with lay facilitators of the 2 active spiritual direction groups: Heather McGrath, Carla Jackson and Paul Sales. He also consults with and is encouraged by Rev. Molly, Rev. Caroline, and office administrator, Kim Gratton.
Because of the impact of COVID-19 restrictions in our faith community, gathering in our usual prayer and meditation space (Room 12) ceased from March through June 2020. During that time a few participants chose to continue with spiritual direction either by Zoom or phone appointments.
As restrictions were eased for churches when summer arrived, Ron Hunt, the Chair of OUC’s Reopening Task Group, was instrumental in enabling the ministry to resume in the church, observing strict Provincial COVID-19 guidelines. Access to the church’s Zoom account and guidance from the Reopening Task Group were helpful and appreciated during this time.
The ministry reached 8 individuals over this year, including two new spiritual directees, totalling 40 private monthly 1-hour sessions. One quarter (1/4) of these gatherings were on Zoom or by phone.
In addition, two spiritual direction groups with 10 participants, including a new men’s cluster and the original “Spirit Sisters” circle, also met regularly and safely in the midst of the pandemic.
The impact of this ministry on those who participate is best described in their own words:
- We met weekly over Advent – Glen’s readings and prayers were so helpful as we shared our experiences of the presence of God together.
- Spiritual direction allows me to explore my relationship with God through the guidance/wisdom of an interpreter.
- I know that what I have divulged in our time together is held with love and in the strictest confidence.
- Spiritual direction has helped me more than just cope with this isolation. I am keeping positive.
- The experience has led me to feel closer in my spiritual relationship with God and to share with each other this grace, warmth and kindness I myself seek.
Opportunities to reach out to others on behalf of our Spiritual Direction ministry were limited this year because of the pandemic. Still, in consultation with Rev. Molly and Rev. Caroline, Glen prepared an Advent Readings and Prayers resource to give folks an experience of the kind of intimate faith explorations possible in spiritual direction. It was warmly received by many in our faith family.
Looking ahead to 2021:
- Resume consulting with our congregation’s visioning group, the “Circle of Wisdom,” to address where the Spirit is guiding us as we emerge from the COVID-19 experience.
- Discover novel ways to raise the awareness and appreciation of spiritual direction with others, both within our congregation and beyond.
Celebrating God’s love together with others who share our faith; discerning God’s wisdom and will for our lives; nurturing our spirits to go forth into the world around us, rejuvenated and refreshed in God’s spirit. These Worship ministries, reported below are Worship Committee and Music Director.
2020 – A Year of Resilience and Change
The Worship Ministry Team is made up of the following: our clergy, Rev Molly Bell and Rev Caroline Penhale; our tech guys, David Clemis and David Patterson; and chaired by Marni Hunt-Stephens. The team has oversight for: worship coordinators, who prepare our worship environment; sanctuary helpers, who ensure that banners and candles are in place and according to season; lay readers for scripture and other readings as requested; communion helpers who prepare and serve communion elements; and welcome group and ushers.
Because of COVID-19, the team had to pivot vigorously. The volunteers who are involved with the physical part of worship, have not had as much to do, and are patiently waiting on the sidelines. The sanctuary helpers continue the ministry of candles and banners because those are evident in recording of virtual services. While our worship coordinators did not have much to do since March 2020, they were very helpful in getting appropriate items up and ready for Advent and Christmas and removing them afterwards.
The biggest effect of the pandemic has been that the onus for worship rests on the shoulders of our clergy and our technical experts; they were the main planners and organizers as well as being the folks who brought our virtual services to life. The clergy prepared worship elements to be recorded and edited as needed so as to present those to our technical editors. Rev Molly was particularly involved in receiving input from various people and editing their contributions, i.e. the Remembrance Service and Christmas Pageant. These submissions went to Dave Patterson and David Clemis who worked their magic to make the presentations available in a worshipful way. Creativity was very much in evidence with respect to the use of music.
Communication among the Worship Ministry Team was mainly through telephone conversations and emails, with some Zoom meetings between members of other churches.
There were attempts at occasional in-person worship: two services and one funeral were conducted. Events overtook the plans for two other services.
Considering all of the obstacles, virtual church has been a success. Based on feedback, the Remembrance Sunday service and the Christmas Pageant were also well received.
Chair of OUC Worship Ministry Team
We are very grateful for the service that the Licensed Lay Worship Leaders (LLWLs) have provided to OUC and other United churches in the region in the past year:
- David Clemis, Heather McGrath, David Patterson, Alison Sales, and Marni Hunt-Stephens.
Incoming Chair of Council
When our ability to worship in-person was abruptly shut down in March 2020, due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Orleans United quickly pivoted to offering worship on-line. What began as a one time “what do we do now?” panic scenario for a few ministry colleagues has developed into what we believe to be a uniquely creative and meaningful worship experience for multiple congregations and a myriad of faithful followers across the country and beyond!
What we quickly learned in 2020 was that the “new normal” for worship involved figuring out how to worship together, while still being physically apart. Thus was born the on-line worship experience that we have come to know as “Virtch” (VIrtual churCH – named by Ian Richardson). Virtch began as a seven-church, seven-minister collective that joined together to offer weekly online Sunday worship. With the support of dedicated volunteers (we’re looking at you Dave & Dave), and with Rev. Molly as the production co-ordinator and supervisor, over the course of 10 months we have developed a well-oiled machine that offers meaningful, diverse Sunday morning worship services on a weekly basis.
Someone has described our efforts as creating Sesame Street church – a whole bunch of snippets on a common theme strung together. We agree that we are real characters, and there are certainly lots of laughter and learning as each week our member churches contribute content towards our worship service so that we are exposed to a variety of voices, theologies, and gifts. We are confident that together we are so much better than we are individually, and that through Virtch we are offering meaningful ways to connect with your own souls, with each other, and with God.
Our Virtch community has evolved and shifted as individual congregations have seen changes to their leadership and mandate. We expect that there will be more changes yet to come as each congregation determines how they will navigate worship in these new times. However, we know that regardless of what the future holds, what will remain is the deep sense of gratitude that we clergy have for our colleagues, and the ways we have been able to come together to share God’s Goodness with our congregations on-line. We have witnessed the Spirit’s ability to find new ways to speak to us, and we have learned that while we miss worshipping in person, we can gather virtually for worship and still feel a sense of connection and community, not only within our own congregation but amongst a wider collection of churches. How we worship has been forever changed by this global pandemic. For new life, new possibilities, and new hope…..thanks be to God!
Our Virtch churches include:
- Carleton Memorial/St. Andrew’s Buckingham Alliance
- Queenswood United
- Rothwell United
- Mackay United
- St. Paul’s Eastern United
- Orleans United
We offer special thanks to:
David Patterson and David Clemis (video & editing), and Agnes Malkinson (graphics)
Virtch A/V Team
We’ve a story to tell to the nation!
The AV team of OUC has been hard at work with the OUC worship committee and a group of clergy in the east end of Ottawa who represent Queenswood, Rothwell, MacKay, St. Paul’s Eastern, Carleton Memorial, St. Andrews Buckingham and Orleans United.
An hour long service was put together each week with the clergy and lay persons participating in an effort to communicate to the congregations of the east end of Ottawa “church-collective”. The content rotated with the clergy taking turns on the reflection, scripture, prayers, hymns and music to welcome and inspire.
The technical portion required recording and editing to stitch together the content and upload to YouTube each week with a premier performance starting each Sunday morning at 10 a.m. Over the past nine months, we have had as many as 750 households’ viewers each week. From messages received each week, we are aware of viewers from many parts of Canada, United States, Europe, Asia and Australia.
It is anticipated that we will be continuing the same process each week for possibly nine months or longer. Once we do get back to the sanctuary when we can welcome members and visitors face to face, we may consider continuing the communication on line by either live streaming or recording and editing each week, to accommodate those who are unable to gather and to those persons located in other parts of the country.
The clergy team consists of:
- Rev. Eric Lukacs, The Carleton Memorial/St. Andrews United Church Alliance,
- Rev. Mike Perreault, Rothwell United,
- Rev. Peter Woods, MacKay United,
- Rev. Caroline Penhale, Orleans United,
- Rev. Molly Bell, Orleans United.
Lay persons from St. Paul’s Eastern United and Queenswood United have also made contributions.
The AV Team consists of:
- Keith Penny, Marni Hunt-Stephens, David Clemis, Agnes Malkinson and David Patterson.
Our regular OUC musical program was put on indefinite hold at the time of the initial pandemic shutdown in mid-March. I spent a few weeks pre-recording music videos in our Sanctuary for use in our online church services, but by mid-April I was creating nearly all of my video contributions from my home studio, layering guitars, piano, vocals (and occasionally mandolin and bass). With a very few exceptions, that is how things have continued until now.
Right away, OUC members expressed a strong desire to hear familiar selections that they could sing along with at home. In response, we have tried to offer a variety of hymns, attempting to include as many ‘OUC favourites’ as possible over the course of the year, and our dedicated production team has been superimposing lyrics on my videos in order to facilitate at-home engagement. I am pleased that we have continued to offer new hymn recordings rather than recycle existing content: it has been an enormous effort to provide a constant stream of fresh musical material, but I believe the congregation has appreciated these efforts to make it new week after week.
I have been recording two hymns most weeks, along with frequent instrumental preludes and postludes, and occasional vocal solos. Some statistics as of late January 2021: I have created at least 130 videos for OUC worship, including more than 64 general hymns, 36 Advent selections, and 25 preludes/postludes, as well as a number of miscellaneous solos.
The congregation owes a big thank you to our ‘Virtch’ production team, Dave Patterson and Dave Clemis (with help from Agnes Malkinson of Carleton Memorial UC). Dave and Dave have put in countless hours recording and editing our weekly broadcasts and, in fact, creating a brand-new type of worship on the fly.
We are grateful to the soloists and small ensembles who have helped out with our online services throughout 2020, including Pat Messier, Gail Waterman-Worrell, Doretta Charles-Épale, Ian Richardson, Ian Carpenter, Pam Hodges, Graeme Ogilvie, David Kaye and his band The North River, Robin Guy, Emma Ellsworth, Andrew Parsche, Lori Lynn and Keith Penny, and our special Advent ensemble of singers drawn from the OUC choir (Dave MacWilliam, Dave Eagles, Lori Lynn Penny, Carla Jackson and Alex Mirhady). Thank you to everyone who stepped forward, and my apologies to anyone who I have left out.
Our online worship has, of course, been a collective project involving seven Ottawa churches. I am not going to try to list all of the non-OUC musicians who have taken part, but I would like to single out my colleagues from MacKay United Church, Rev. Peter Woods and Mitchell Wright for their ongoing musical contributions over the past year.
I think our most remarkable accomplishment in 2020 was to create a month of very meaningful Advent services. Back in the spring, none of us expected that we would be attempting to ‘do Christmas’ via video, and none of us could ever have imagined delivering worship by remote collaboration during the busiest month of the church year. Our staff and volunteers spent a lot of time and energy making sure that those Advent videos were something special, at a time of year when OUC members badly needed to experience a sense of connection and feeling of hope. In my case, this included putting up my Christmas tree in mid-November as a recording backdrop, and lighting the appropriate number of candles in an Advent wreath for each hymn video, to match the date of the eventual broadcast. A great deal of careful thought and planning was required of each of us, and I want to thank my staff colleagues for all of their dedicated and thoughtful work leading up to Christmas.
Finally, I greatly miss my OUC choir members and look forward to the day when we can all sing together in the Sanctuary once more. It has been far too long since I have heard all of those wonderful voices!
Submitted by Scott Richardson,
OUC Music Director
Expressing God’s love for us all by supporting people in our church through our prayers and deeds; and choosing to share God’s compassion with the wider community. These Care ministries, reported below are: Care and Support Team, and Contemplative Prayer Group.
The Care and Support Team (CST) of Orleans United Church is comprised of the following members:
|Pierre Pelletier||Andrea Fisher,|
|Dorann Low||Sue Horrocks|
|Catherine Hodgins||Rev. Caroline Penhale – Ministry Advisor|
|Graeme Ogilvie||MaryLou Robillard – Chair|
The mandate of this group is to support congregational members who are facing challenges and/or celebrating accomplishments or significant milestones. Often CST members visit people in person to connect, offer support and perhaps bring over a meal or two. However, the COVID-19 pandemic changed all of that and the group refocused accordingly.
In spite of the new world situation, CST members continued to support congregants through the provision of caring casseroles and sending cards, according to the needs expressed. Contact with congregants occurred through emails and telephone calls, rather than in-person visits. Meals were delivered by porch or front door drop-off.
Extra care was paid to maintain confidentiality and to ensure that CST members maintained healthy boundaries. If any significant concerns were raised during a phone visit, the Clergy was informed for pastoral follow up.
The group also adjusted their meeting format….and Zoom became the new “norm!” Bi-monthly meetings were held, with the exception of July and August, which allowed folks to relax and recharge.
Knowing that some of the seniors on the contact list did not have access to the Virtual church services (Virtch), some CST members delivered DVDs of the Advent 1 and Christmas Eve services to those individuals. This was greatly appreciated by the recipients.
I would like to highlight and celebrate that we gained two new members, in spite of the world circumstances that are currently surrounding us. Welcome Dorann and Graeme!
What is contemplative prayer? This is an ancient way of praying, familiar to many faiths and traditions, of silent, meditative prayer. The silence is held, so that each person may relax into the presence of God, finding rest and restoration—to become deeply aware of God, to listen carefully, and to sit with God with an open heart and an open spirit.
Each tradition of this silent, meditative prayer has different rituals and practices to enable each participant to enter fully into the practice. Common to all, is an awareness of the body and breath, of stilling oneself, and of inviting the Divine to be the inner teacher, present and alive. Often, the awareness is helped along using a sacred word or mantra, to focus the mind and to help the participant become fully present to “the present moment.”
In Christian Contemplative Prayer, the practice includes the reading and contemplation of scripture, known as lectio divina. In our sessions at OUC, we begin with a check-in with one another—a way of unburdening ourselves within the support of the community, so that we can then relax into the presence of God. Then, we listen to the same scripture passage four times, following each reading with a period of personal meditation. The last silence is longer—usually about fifteen minutes. Many people wonder about that long silence, but practitioners find that being in the present moment with God, allows the time to pass into what is known as kairos time—like “no time at all.” We close with a short conversation of any insights we may have, and then, we receive a prayer of blessing as we “return to the world.”
All are welcome to join the group. The prayer practice is held bi-weekly, at 10:30 a.m. on the first and third Tuesday of the month. We meet by ZOOM. If you would like to join this group, please contact the facilitator, Janet Nield, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rev. Janet Nield
Voluntary Associate Minister
The Healthy End of Life Project (HELP) Ottawa began its partnership with Orleans United in the fall of 2019. HELP Ottawa aims to understand the needs of those living with frailty, chronic or life-limiting illness; those nearing the end of life; caregivers; and the bereaved. Further, HELP Ottawa aspires to create compassionate communities that empower people to feel comfortable and confident while attending to the needs of community members. HELP Ottawa is working within four communities – two community health centres and two faith communities (including OUC) to build, implement and evaluate local, sustainable initiatives to create meaningful change.
The principal investigator of this research is Professor Pamela Grassau, an Assistant Professor with the School of Social Work at Carleton University and Lecturer with the Department of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. Emily Davison and Heather McGrath are the two Community Facilitators working for HELP at Orleans United Church. Over the past year, they have conducted interviews to collect information about the experiences of staff, clergy, informal leaders, parishioners, and community partners as related to end of life issues. Additionally, they have worked closely with Rev. Molly Bell and Sue Horrocks, and have regular meetings with an Advisory Council. Members of this council include: Sue Horrocks, Judith Tompkins, Ivan Fenton, Betsy Chaley, Gary Boyd, Cheryl Marvin, Lynn Stoudt, Greg Goy, Paula Hilton (R), and Chantal Jolicoeur (Eastern Ottawa Resource Centre).
Like most of OUC, HELP needed to adjust to the realities of COVID-19 and social distancing policies in 2020. This meant interviews, focus groups, and Advisory Council meetings took place by phone or Zoom. Additionally, researchers revised the interview questions to include questions exploring how COVID-19 was impacting peoples’ personal and professional lives.
Despite the unexpected pivots, the HELP Ottawa team reached above their target by engaging 169 unique participants in 115 interviews and 17 focus groups across all 4 research sites. This includes 44 participants from OUC (7 staff/clergy, 12 informal leaders, 16 parishioners, and 9 community partners). Additionally, of the 169 participants, 167 completed demographic questionnaires, providing even more valuable information to the team. At this point, researchers have coded and analyzed the entire data set. Preliminary findings have been shared with Rev. Molly and OUC’s Advisory Council. Emily and Heather continue to post updates and early learnings on OUC’s webpage. Moving forward, alongside Advisory Council members, Emily and Heather will be focusing on sharing more details about the research findings to the wider OUC community in 2021.
HELP Ottawa looks forward to the coming year in which we will be able to begin to dream and implement practical applications of the research, with a goal of continuing to build a compassionate community in OUC and within Orleans.
Emily Davison, Heather McGrath, Sue Horrocks
Encouraging each other to look beyond ourselves and our congregation through God’s love, to recognize the needs of others, and to respond faithfully and generously. The Outreach ministries, reported below are: Community Partners; Mission and Service Fund; the Interchurch Refugee Group; and EOORC.
The generosity of this congregation and the dedication of countless volunteers have enabled OUC to continue sharing God’s goodness to vulnerable and marginalized families and individuals. Our sincere desire to promote justice and equality with all is at the heart of serving God’s purpose in the world. We at OUC partner with God and each other to provide a “continuum of care” from local neighbourhood ministries and city programs, to national and global neighbours through the Mission & Service Fund of the United Church of Canada. This year we learned to do it virtually.
Centre 507, Gloucester Emergency Food Cupboard (GEFC), Orleans-Cumberland Community Resource Centre (CRC) and their food cupboard, Eastern Ottawa Community Resource Centre (EOCRC), Helping With Furniture(HWF), Multi-faith Housing Initiative (MHI), Interchurch Refugee Group (IRG), Tucker House, Habitat for Humanity, Ottawa School Breakfast Program, Kairos Ottawa and the Community Pastoral Care Group. The acronyms are how they refer to themselves.
Achievements within 2020
- An infrequent schedule of Minutes for Mission presented during Virtual Sunday Worship.
- Habitat for Humanity – in February, OUC provided a lunch for the local build and also provided a volunteer work group in early March.
- On what turned out to be the last Sunday before the lock-down (March 8th), we hosted the “Outreach Fair.” Representatives for GEFC, Ottawa School Breakfast Program, Centre 507, Helping with Furniture, EORC, CRC, Joyful Yarn, IRG and M&S participated with display tables and answered questions about their programs.
- Normally OUC makes monthly donations of food to both the Gloucester and Orleans-Cumberland food cupboards. The food offerings on the first Sunday of the month with targeted donation items and posters promote sustained interest in the program. Ultimately in 2020, OUC provided $4,050.00 for the Food Cupboards which is important because they can multiply their purchasing power.
- Historically the Lenten “Change for Change” collected coins and focused on our Sunday School demographic for the development of generosity and empathy within our next generation. This year the lock-down in March truncated this effort and the result of $176.88 for Wampum hosted by Five Oaks Intercultural and Interfaith Education Centre in Paris ON- [Gifts with Vision 19-39]. At this youth camp, Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth learn about each other and the Six Nations of the Grand River Treaty territory.
- OUC is a paid-up member of the Multi-faith Housing Initiative (MHI). Therefore, we promote the fundraising events for their current project, construction of Veterans’ House, [with $1.5 million left to fundraise on the $11.5 million building]. Residents are scheduled to move in beginning February 2021.
- Back to School campaign in July and August was cancelled due to COVID lockdown.
- Rev. Caroline participated in the Community Pastoral Care Group, which is a group of ministers and laypersons from a growing number of Orleans churches who are coordinating activities within the community. Their efforts involved facilitating a catered Thanksgiving Dinner for the residents of Montfort Renaissance’s “Les Terrasses.”
- The support for clients of Centre 507 in White Gift donations of personal care items, clothing, winter coats, and toiletry items was suspended. Although financial support was encouraged early in March 2020 resulting in $295 through our books; perhaps more support went to their portal https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/centre-507-association-of-ottawa/.
- Angel Tree – This annual tradition pivoted to donations on the OCCRC’s website to provide Christmas gifts to support children known to the local Resource Centre.
- The Benevolent Fund is administered by the clergy and during the year a total of $4,557.70 was prayerfully and thoughtfully dispersed. This included donations to IRG, both Food Cupboards.
- The Global Outreach fund has a remaining balance of $480.00 designated to assist OUC youth participation in mission work.
Goals for 2021
- Promote and champion the Mission and Service Fund including World Development & Relief through focused fundraising and awareness with the congregation.
- Continue to expand collaboration with and support for the list of community partners above.
- Continue to champion the “Green” church policy so that OUC committees and rental groups adapt their activities to divert recyclables and compostable material in order to minimize the production of landfill-destined waste.
- Support our youth with any involvement in Outreach activities that they choose to embrace, such as exposure tours of the Food Cupboards/Resource Centres/Centre 507/the Mission/Multi-faith Housing activities, or even participate in a Canadian or foreign work mission trip.
- Investigate opportunities to learn more about how the congregation might contribute to Reconciliation and Indigenous Justice in Canada.
At the end of 2020, the team consists of Joan and Chalid Brocklebank [Food Cupboards and Joyful Yarn], Natalie Merchant [Season of Giving Calendar], Lorna Hobbs [Change for Change, Habitat for Humanity lunches and work party], Rob Orchin [Outreach Fair], Paul Sales [Mission & Service, Stewardship], George Teather [MAL], Rev. Caroline Penhale [Benevolent Fund & Community Pastoral Care Group], and Dave MacWilliam (chair) [Multi-faith Housing Initiative, Outreach Fair, Back to School campaign and Angel Tree].
As I conclude ten years in this position, I would like to thank the team plus the many volunteers who support Outreach activities; for the blessing of their time, talents, treasure, and the enthusiastic help that they have so generously given; as well as the encouragement provided by Rev. Caroline Penhale, all of which energized and enabled this ministry to prosper throughout 2020. Blessings.
Submitted in gratitude & humble trust,
David MacWilliam, Outreach Team Chair
Congratulations to every member of the congregation who contributed as the donations, including a special project fundraiser, brought our total to $ 29,923.59 for 2020. This is somewhat short of our historic donation level; although, we have experienced a significant distraction for the past year. Therefore, the goal for 2021 will remain at the normally achievable goal of $38,000.
The Mission and Service Fund, or “M&S,” is how we live out the call of the church to do God’s mission. M&S supports programs, missions, and ministries across Canada and around the world, through 79 global partners in 21 countries. By giving to M&S, you make a difference in people’s lives, offering healing and hope in a hurting world. It supports education programs; women’s empowerment; food, housing support, and advocacy to alleviate poverty; assistance for theological students, lay leaders, and camping; congregational support; healing the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people; and youth programming.
Therefore, the M&S Fund is this congregation’s opportunity to participate in the broader Christian ministry beyond our local community of Orleans. Our donations go where we cannot. The quarterly Mandate magazine has detailed information on how the M&S donations are distributed. Normally copies are available on the table in the Narthex and a copy of the ‘Pie Chart’ appears on the Outreach board in the Hall.
It is important to be aware that this congregation does not ‘top up’ the M&S Fund, from general revenues and offerings, to reach the annual goal. Consequentially, it is critical that if donors are intent on supporting the M&S Fund, in addition to their regular support for OUC, that they clearly designate the amount or percentage that they wish to donate to M&S:
- on the front of their regular envelopes,
- use a separate M&S envelope found in the pews and Narthex,
- by electronic transfer at email@example.com,
- to the PAR (pre-authorized remittance) coordinator, Winston Babin.
For more information, please speak to Paul Sales, our M&S enthusiast.
Submitted in gratitude & humble trust,
David MacWilliam, Outreach Team Chair
The Interchurch Refugee Group, and its volunteers from five Ottawa churches as well as the community, marks thirty-one years of continuous service and advocacy for refugees. The organization settles refugees – families who have experienced the deep trials that push people into exile. These trials include war, insurrection, violence, genocide, persecution, or natural disaster.
The Interchurch Refugee Group has, in the last two years and even during the COVID19 pandemic, successfully completed three family sponsorships. That represents countless volunteer hours of settlement work, as well as almost $70,000 raised and disbursed. In May 2020, we entered into our next sponsorship, with the application submitted and approved by IRCC. The family is expected to arrive in Canada, in the best scenario, within the next year.
In March 2020, we celebrated, with a service dedicated to the refugee ministry at Orleans United Church (one of the five churches of the IRG), the completion of the sponsorship begun in March of 2019, for a family from Iran. Both parents were very lucky to be already fully fluent in English, and with significant education and qualifications. Much of the settlement work with them was connecting them to institutions and networks, so that their credentials could be recognized in Canada and they could find suitable employment. Both are now fully employed; their sponsorship period ended a week before the lock-down and they moved smoothly into the on-line working life of “sheltering at home.”
In May of 2019, the IRG was in a very healthy volunteer position, with almost two dozen willing volunteers to help with the myriad settlement tasks. So, even though we were in the middle of the sponsorship with the Iranian family, we welcomed, in September of 2019, a family of four—parents with two very young sons—who arrived in Ottawa on September 19, 2019, under the Blended Visa Office Referred program of the Government of Canada.
This sponsorship was successfully concluded in September of 2020, seeing them in a nice, two-bedroom apartment, close to the older child’s school where he is now in Senior Kindergarten. However, the pandemic lockdown created a big challenge: the school moving on-line; in-person support from volunteers put on hold; and daycare for the younger son closed. Nevertheless, with the resiliency that we have seen so often, they coped with two small children at home, continuing ESL and job-hunting. The father is now fully employed. Because of COVID19, we made the decision in August 2020 that, although all financial support would conclude in mid-September, the IRG would continue to provide settlement help for another six months for this family.
Now, the IRG is waiting for the arrival of our next sponsored refugee. Over the course of last winter, we prepared and submitted, through our Sponsorship Agreement Holder, the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa, an application for a private sponsorship of one Palestinian man, a UNHCR convention refugee, who is living in Jakarta, Indonesia.
This private sponsorship of one person is another departure for the IRG – our policy has been to sponsor families with children, particularly through the BVOR program. That program is appealing as it stretches our financial resources and allows us to sponsor two families with the same funds as one private sponsorship. Although, again, we are stepping out in faith, trusting in God’s call to faithful service. Thus, we will enter into a new BVOR family sponsorship, as soon as our finances, and COVID19 travel restrictions allow – we hope within the next six to twelve months.
The Interchurch Refugee Group prays heartily that the world might change so that our organization would no longer be needed. However, in the meantime, we will continue to provide the money and time to transition successfully those persons who come our way, from the fear and desperation that is the life of a refugee. We are committed to the value of a diverse and inclusive Canada, and trust that this value will strengthen the social fabric of this country in so many ways.
In this task, the Interchurch Refugee Group thanks our member churches – Orleans, Rothwell and Navan-Vars United Churches, Community Pentecostal Church, and Epiphany Anglican Church. We especially thank our almost two dozen tireless and committed volunteers. We thank our SAH, the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa; the Refugee Hub for their advocacy and legal support; and the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program for their educational and advocacy work. We pray for the continued commitment of the Government of Canada to carry out this country’s stated values of welcome, inclusion, compassion and diversity.
The Interchurch Refugee Group, a registered charity, is deeply appreciative of the faithful gifts of all of its supporters. Without your time, money and prayers, nothing could be accomplished.
The Eastern Ontario Outaouais Regional Council (EEORC) consists of 133 pastoral charges and more than 200 communities of faith.
Geographically, the region is large, extending east to Hawkesbury, Ontario and Chelsea in western Quebec, west to Denbigh, south to the St. Lawrence River, and north to Nânâdônok. We gratefully acknowledge the traditional unceded lands of Indigenous Peoples on which our buildings and ministries have been built.
The EOORC’s population is diverse, with a mix of rural, urban, and small-town dwellers coming from the far reaches of eastern Ontario and western Quebec, the cosmopolitan city of Ottawa, and many towns along the St. Lawrence River all the way to Gananoque. We proudly serve a sizable population of Francophone speakers and a Chinese United Church in Ottawa. We continue to add to the number of affirming ministries within the region.
The EOORC upholds the beliefs of the United Church of Canada. Following the teachings of Jesus Christ, our mission is to offer compassion and love to those in need, to welcome newcomers into our community, and to help people grow in their relationship with God.
Full information on the EOORC Governance and leadership may be found on line at Governance – Eastern Ontario Outaouais Regional Council (eoorc.ca)
The representatives to EOORC from Orleans United Church are:
- Paul Sales, Sandra Sales, Debbie Burch and David Patterson.
Striving to be as efficient, effective and environmentally sound as possible in managing our church’s building, financial and human resources for God’s work. These Resource ministries, reported below are: Ministry and Personnel; Property (including Use and Occupancy); Finance; Fundraising; and Board of Trustees.
The OUC Ministry and Personnel Committee (M&P) provides consultative support to our staff, reviews and makes recommendations on working conditions and remuneration, and acts as liaison between OUC staff, members and adherents of our congregation. We also deal with all of the normal human resources issues of temporary hiring, sabbatical leave, sick leave, etc.
M&P Committee members in 2020 were: Ruth Fox as liaison for Rev Molly Bell, Kimberley Unterganschnigg as liaison for Rev Caroline Penhale, Gary Boyd as liaison for Scott Richardson, while Jill Parkinson was liaison for our office administrator Kim Gratton. Both Pamela Eisner-Parsche and Jean Shaddick were members at large. The undersigned, with the excellent support of all committee members and the OUC staff, remains as chair.
2020 was, to put it mildly, an exceptional year! Because of COVID-19, our staff had to rapidly adapt to a completely different way of “doing church.” The Virtual Church collective, comprised of six churches in East Ottawa and one in West Quebec, was born overnight in mid-March. OUC staff took on leading roles and for the rest of 2020, with only a few brief interludes for restricted in-person gatherings, the only time we saw our Ministers and our Music Director was online!
This unusual situation totally changed our plans for the year. Two small examples: what was planned as an OUC staff retreat became instead a Virtch training session, and funding for Continuing Education bought lots of children’s books!
Plus, it placed a great strain on our staff. The amount of time and effort spent working on videos for Virtch produced excellent results; however, it meant that our staff did not take enough time to relax and recharge. To be resilient enough to handle the rest of this pandemic, M&P plans to be more directive in scheduling “down time” for our overworked staff. We cannot afford to add staff burnout to the list of woes that we have endured this past ten months!
I would like to personally thank the committees that we have worked with closely, Worship, Finance and Council, for their unstinting support as we navigated the ups and downs of this pandemic. Of course, we all humbly appreciate the Ministers and congregations of the member churches of Virtch, our AV & IT wizards Dave Clemis and Dave Patterson, as well as our own multi-talented staff team who have selflessly pitched in to make everything work. Just remember that a typical Virtch service is like those ducks you see swimming along so serenely on the lake: it is all smooth on the surface, but everyone is paddling like *#%% under the surface!
Chair, M&P Committee
The OUC Property Committee is responsible for:
- Maintenance of the church building, equipment, grounds and security;
- Rental and use of church facilities by individuals and organizations in the wider community; and
- Oversight of OUC capital budget and improvements to building, equipment and grounds.
The COVID-19 pandemic required us to:
- Find and implement ways to reduce operating costs;
- Defer spending on capital projects;
- Conduct meetings on Zoom;
- Make special visits to check the building (interior and exterior); and
- Be flexible with our users and renters. Thankfully our contractors and suppliers were also flexible.
Our favourite success story for 2020 is:
- Implementing the Kitchen Electrical Upgrade project
- Special donations by the OUC congregation helped to make this possible.
- Work was carried out while the church was not in use.
- Improved lighting, and extra circuits and outlets have made things better for volunteers such as the Bazaar team.
Other notable accomplishments for 2020 are:
- Reduced operating costs by 38% compared to 2020 budget; and
- Made repairs to the pavement in the parking lot.
Members of Property Committee:
|Ron Hunt||Use & Occupancy; Chair|
|France Lemay-Legault||Oversight of housekeeping contract, recycling|
|James Peverley||Oversight of SDA contract|
|Janet Quirt||Storage and indoor organization|
|George Teather||Landscaping & Parking|
|Winston Babin||Oversight of snow clearing contract|
|Kim Gratton||Client interface for OUC rentals|
|Dave Humenuk||OUC Handyman|
|Gloria McArthur||Security System Administrator|
|Roger Morin||Inspection of fire extinguishers|
|Brian Braceland, Dot Cooper, Gord Gray, Peter & Shirley Holt, Rob Palo, Glen & Lynn Stoudt||Garden & lawn maintenance, parking lot line-painting and special landscaping projects/tasks|
Chair of Property Committee
The Reopening Task Force is an ad hoc committee which reports to Council. The committee is responsible for making recommendations on strategies and implementation plans for reopening OUC to congregants, user groups, and members of the general public during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The members of the Reopening Task Force rose to the occasion and achieved great results through these means:
- Numerous Zoom meetings; effective use of e-mail; leveraging digital tools such as Eventbrite for in-person registration;
- Careful interpretation and consideration of local, provincial and national public health directives; and
- Team members’ broad appreciation of stakeholder interests, openness, reasoned approach, creativity, collaborative spirit, and willingness to take on a share of the work.
Our favourite success story for 2020 is:
- Making it possible to host the Trevor Fox funeral at the church, in the middle of the pandemic, and giving some comfort to his family and friends
- Enabled by great participation by members of the Reopening Task Force (registration, screening, ushering, implementing solutions to maintain physically distancing, live-streaming to people in several countries); and
- Creation of elegant pew cords and sashes by Barbara Malarczyk and Janet Quirt.
Other notable accomplishments for 2020 are:
- Enabling OUC to host 2 in-person meditative services and hearing folks say, as they left the sanctuary, sometimes in teary voices, how grateful they were to have the opportunity to worship together again in their home church;
- Assisting Molly in hosting a baptism service at OUC for a local family and a few family members;
- Preparation of a solid Reopening Plan that was rapidly approved by the Eastern Ontario Outaouais Regional Council and paved the way for allowing user groups to return to OUC; and
- Development of a template for a Restart User-Agreement to facilitate the implementation of the COVID-19 prevention procedures and protocols governing in-person activities within the OUC building during the pandemic.
Chair of Reopening Task Force
OUC Christmas Market 2020
The Christmas Bazaar is an annual tradition at which we open our doors wide to welcome the broader community in a joyful celebration of the spirit of Christmas. This year, however, a global pandemic made everything different. It became apparent early in the summer of 2020 that this was not going to be a year to be hosting a large indoor bazaar. We had to find a new way of connecting with people and decided to try an online bazaar. From these initial thoughts, an e-commerce shopping platform emerged as our best option. As we had no experience in e-commerce, we decided to keep the scale of the Christmas Market much smaller than the traditional bazaar. Frozen food, preserves and handcrafted items would be our focus. Working together, we figured out ways to make this Christmas Market as successful as possible.
Ken Richardson rallied the incredible bazaar cooking crew including – Gord Gray, Dot Cooper, Lynn Stoudt, Glen Stoudt, Denise Conners, Janet Quirt, Jill Parkinson, Cindy Blanchard, Brian Braceland, Barb Malarczyk, Kimberley Unterganschnigg, France Lemay-Legault and Rick Turnbull. In a strangely quiet church, music and laughter once again could be heard coming from OUCs kitchen as our team of cooks made tourtières, chicken pot pies, soups and chilies. Freezers, which were stocked to the brim with inventory for the online sale, quickly emptied … to the joy of the kitchen crew.
Shirley Holt, supported by a few other home cooks including Kim Gratton, Andrea Fisher, Sarah Mailloux and Donna Kemp, took the lead with jams, jellies and preserves.
Recognizing this might not be the year to be organizing crafting sessions, we initially planned to offer a small craft selection. However, as word got out, the knitters, quilters, and crafters rallied and added new handcrafted items to the inventory each day.
Facemasks were a timely item that we featured this year. Margaret Richardson organized a team of volunteers including Cathy Holt, Kim Moorcroft, Karen Dodds, Heather Peverley, Janet Nield, Janet Quirt, Kimberley Unterganschnigg, Mary Lawrence, Flora Crombie, Jane Barratt and Margaret Roske to cut and sew volumes of facemasks in various sizes and seasonal prints. Trying to keep up with demand, the production of these beautifully made masks continued throughout the whole 6 weeks. After the Christmas Market ended, unsold masks were donated to Interval House, a shelter for abused women and children, and to refugee families.
Barbara Malarczyk led the ‘mittens mission’ team of Flora Crombie, Heather McGrath, Karen Dodds, Pat Young, Marg Richardson and Margriet Parry washing, cutting and sewing old wool sweaters into incredibly warm winter mittens. These upcycled mittens have always been best sellers at OUC bazaars, and it was no different this year. People loved them! Next year, we may have to rebrand them as ‘Bernie Sanders’ mittens, due to the notoriety these mittens gained at the recent presidential inauguration.
Rick Turnbull singlehandedly made possibly the biggest and best assortment of cutting boards any bazaar has ever seen. We may be biased, but they were amazing! Jim Dodds and Dean Weatherston also contributed woodcrafts to the Christmas Market, and Lorna Hobbs beautifully hand painted many log-slice ornaments as well as other Christmas Crafts.
OUC has a very talented quilting and sewing community, and their exquisite handiwork has always been a feature at OUCs bazaars. The virtual bazaar received rave reviews for the beautiful Advent calendars, quilts, table runners, placemats and lovely doll clothes. Robbie Chapman, Marilyn Hope, Mindee Mirhady, Heather Peverley, Lorraine Virag, Marie Ruddick, Beverlie Smith, Elspeth Hogan, Elizabeth Clemis, Sue Bertrand and Karine Chapleau were among this talented group of needlewomen.
Another tremendous support to the Christmas Market were the volunteers who knitted and crocheted a beautiful array of handmade items. Lori Henderson, Debbie Burch, Wendy Fortier, Joan Brockelbank, Alison Sales, Verna Morrell, Elspeth Hogan, Barbara Malarczyk, Sandra Sales, Marylou DeMarco and Sandra Morin were among this talented group of artisans. Apologies if your name isn’t mentioned, but the knitting often arrived anonymously. Of particular note, Ann Thacker and Pat Young, both expert knitters, made 100 tiny turtleneck sweaters for wood llama ornaments, and Carol Trenholm wins the prize for 8 shopping bags full of lovely handknit items! Some of the unsold winter woolies have been donated to local charities.
Jean Shaddick led the curbside pickup team with Cathy Holt, Lynn Stoudt, Jane Barban, Heather Peverley, Janet Quirt, Barbara Malarczyk, Rick Verwey, Dianne Davis, Robbie Chapman, Brian Braceland, Lutz Sukstorf, Vicky Teather, Linda Loyst, Lorna Hobbs, Debbie Patterson, Debbie Burch, Marni Hunt Stephen, Graeme Ogilvie and Alison Sales. This busy team had lots of laughs and fun looking after the endless flow of goods coming in and going out, filling hundreds of orders and safely depositing them in car trunks. They also heard positive feedback from shoppers happy to have at least one church bazaar to ‘go to’ this year.
Behind the scenes, Laura Weatherston was the graphic designer who set up our site, designed all of the visuals, and maintained and updated the site from start to finish. It was a tremendous help to have her skills to present our Christmas Market so effectively. Keith Penny was also a key advisor to help us run the site and troubleshoot technical issues. We were lucky to have over twenty volunteer models, ranging in age from 7 months to 72 years, willing to pose for photos showcasing the talents of OUC’s artisans. Their smiling faces really enhanced the personal dimension of OUC’s Christmas Market. Jane Thacker led our external promotion, ensuring broader awareness of our virtual bazaar. Her efforts in reaching key social media influencers and websites extended the reach city-wide. Of note, OUC’s Christmas Market was included on a CBC radio program featuring local craft shows to attend, and was listed as one of the key weekend things to do in Ottawa. Cheryl Dowell and Jennifer Payette ensured updates were posted on OUC’s social media. Many others spread the word through their external network of contacts. As always, Kim Gratton was a huge help in the office, and Rev. Molly and Rev. Caroline were voices of encouragement and support throughout.
While the online bazaar did not offer a traditional bake sale this year, we would be remiss without mentioning Ruth Oswald’s efforts in support of this fundraiser. Ruth took orders for baked goods, did all of the baking to fill these orders in her home and donated the proceeds from her bake sale to the Christmas Market fundraiser. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
Although the bazaar is primarily a fundraiser, and it did raise $33,062 (net revenue), there are other metrics of success. In a year where social isolation is mandated, this shared project of a virtual bazaar connected people and gave us a bit of ‘normal’ in a year that has been anything but normal.
Jan Weatherston, Ken Richardson, Jean Shaddick
OUC Christmas Market 2020 Coordinators
The mandate of the Finance Committee is to oversee and manage the financial affairs of OUC in a responsible manner, to provide assurance that finances are managed in the best interests of the congregation and in keeping with the objectives of the church as determined by the congregation and Council. To achieve this mandate, the Finance Committee:
- Oversees the counting and deposit of congregational offerings in an approved bank account;
- Administers the receipt and disbursement of funds in accordance with the approved budget and OUC policies;
- Maintains a record of all receipts and disbursements;
- Manages the church debts;
- Oversees and manages the investment of funds;
- Presents to Council monthly financial statements;
- Prepares an annual budget for review by Council and approval by the congregation at the Annual Congregational Meeting (ACM);
- Issues tax receipts to all identified donors, and submits the annual charitable tax return to the Canada Revenue Agency;
- Presents a financial statement for the previous year to the congregation at the Annual Congregational Meeting; and
- Co-ordinates with other Church committees to obtain sufficient financial contributions for the effective operation of our church and maintain liaison with other committees as appropriate.
Acknowledgements: All members of the Finance Committee contribute to the effective operation of the committee: thanks to Bernie Eisener, our Treasurer; Alex Mirhady who carries out the duties of Bookkeeper; Donna Pinke, who looks after Accounts Payable; Winston Babin, who has the combined role of PAR and Envelope Steward; Dianne Davis, our Secretary; and Anne Marie Humenuk who is Counting co-ordinator. All of these positions bear significant responsibilities and take considerable time. To all a very big THANKS! Special thanks to Joan and Chalid Brockelbank who served on the committee faithfully for many years, and retired from their positions in 2020.
2020 Financial Results: It has been a very unusual year as a result of COVID and the closing of our church in mid-March, making the reality quite different for the budget. To assist members of the congregation in continuing to make financial contributions, Finance Committee added e-transfer to the other methods of donating. Members can now make contributions through PAR, envelopes, cheques and cash in the church mailbox, Canada Helps and e-transfer via OUCdonations@rogers.com.
OUC revenues from offerings continued strongly thanks to your support. However, as expected, there was almost no rental income after mid-March due to the closing of the building. The exception was parking, which benefitted from additional revenues from the Housing Co-op during the summer. The annual Christmas Bazaar went on line and, once again, proved a success under difficult circumstances, with over $33,000 in sales. Grocery gift cards continued to be offered by e-mail request (firstname.lastname@example.org) and raised over $4,000.
In this difficult year, overall operating revenues were down substantially at $363,356, compared to the budget estimate of $433,400. However, government wage subsidies and a loan forgiveness program contributed $52,639, resulting in total operating revenues of $415,995.
Expenditures were lower as well. Children’s and other Program expenditures were reduced, and staff salary expenditures were reduced as result of Restorative Care Program benefits. Custodial costs, utilities and building maintenance costs were also lower. Total operating expenses were $373,245, compared to the approved budget estimate of $469,325.
Most capital expenditures were deferred, other than $12,562 for rewiring of the kitchen and some audiovisual items.
After the wild swings in revenues and expenditures in 2020, the final result was a surplus of $42,750, compared to an anticipated deficit of $35,925.
Mission and Service contributions were down to $29,924, compared to a budget of $36,000. Approval was given to augment contributions to the foodbanks and Interchurch Refugee Group by $1500 from the Benevolent Fund.
Our long term financial position continues to improve. Remaining long term debt includes the $100,000 McKendry Fund, on which interest-only payments are being made. Monthly payments continue on the Presbytery Extension loan, reducing it to $73,046 as of December 31, 2020, compared to $90,041 a year earlier.
It has been an unusual year. In terms of revenues, congregational donations, the success of the online Bazaar, unexpected parking revenues and support from government programs were the major positive factors. Reduced custodial expenses and deferral of capital expenses had the largest effect on lowering expenditures.
Offerings from the congregation make up over 60% of the total operating revenue of our church. We extend our thanks to you, the members of the congregation, for your continued financial support which, together with your many valuable volunteer activities, allows OUC to continue to support Christ’s mission here in Orleans and the wider community.
Chair of Finance Committee
The Board of Trustees holds the legal title to all property of the church, real and personal, in trust for the congregation.
Trustee members are as follows: Craig Bater, Nancy Birchard, Gary Boyd, David Patterson and Cheryl Holden.
The Trustees work with Council and Finance Committee to carry out their responsibilities.
The Trustees act in the name of the congregation in matters of long-term financing and permanent alterations to our building, of insurance adequacy, and of inventory and maintenance of congregational property contents and equipment.
The Board of Trustees hold and invest the Memorial and Celebration Fund and recommend the use of the gifts to the fund.
Chair of Trustees
Members at end December 2019: 630
By Transfer 0
By Profession of Faith 0
Adult Baptism 0
By Transfer 0
By Death 2
Members at end December 2020 628
Non Resident Members 112
Resident Members 526
Funerals/Memorial Services 4
Weston Humberto Richards
Alexander Stephen Byers and Rhea Leigh Molenaar
Dave Eagles and Jane Hillman
In 2020, we grieved the passing of several beloved members of our church. It was a blessing to journey with them as they were dying, and join with our faith community as we mourned their deaths and celebrated their lives. We are grateful for all those who have come to rest with God eternally in this past year and we hold their families and loved ones in our prayers.
“And I will raise you up on eagle’s wings; bear you on the breath of dawn,
make you to shine like the sun, and hold you in the palm of my hand.”