Seven items from our most recent Council Meeting in no particular order:
1. The Hiring process is now under way with a Taskforce appointed of Staff and congregation members who will sift through the various applicants and make a recommendation to the Council when they are ready. We hope it comes soon and that they come with a candidate well suited to the position.
2. D-Groups (Discipleship Groups) have now been officially launched. Over 20 people are already signed up – you might want to become a part of this movement within our congregation. Listen to God’s word, be accountable to it and to the other members of your group. The format of these groups adapts very well to “online” meetings and will transition well to “in person” when the time comes. Check it out on the church website.
3. Mental Health – two opportunities present themselves, First, the very popular Sanctuary Course is being offered once again starting March 8th – you can register online. Second, an intensive course is being offered for those who want to learn how to respond in a “first Aid” manner to someone with a Mental Health emergency. The church will cover the cost for 10 people to take this course. Our hope is that some ministry leaders and others, who may come across such a situation, take advantage of this opportunity to become better equipped to respond appropriately. For more information just reach out to the office in general or Pastor Tim in particular.
4. The New Refugee opportunity that was approved recently has now secured the funds and has the members it needs to move ahead with the application process to sponsor the relatives of the Weldemichael family. Covid-19 has slowed the already slow governmental approval process, meaning this family might not arrive for 2 – 3 years, but the sponsorship ball is now rolling. If you want to help with the finances, we are now in a position to accept funds to be held until they are needed.
5. Pastor Tim will be taking his (delayed) sabbatical this summer starting in late May and returning in early Sept. We have secured Bert Slofstra to help out with both pastoral care and preaching. Pastor Tim has written a report on his planned activities during his sabbatical – it is attached to the report.
6. On the denominational front, the upcoming Synod will be dealing with the subject around Human Sexuality. A comprehensive report is now available for anyone interested and it will be the focus of the discussion at Synod. This will no doubt prove to be a divisive issue for the denomination. Our church has decided to follow the discussion closely while not weighing in on it, but waiting to see what decisions are made and how we might then respond. Please take the opportunity to be informed and then pray that God might show a path to unity and grace where one is far from clear. An update since the Council meeting referenced in this Council Clip. The Synod of 2021 has been postponed and hence the discussion on Human Sexuality will also be postponed.
7. The Council also choose its new Executive for the next period. The are: Chairperson: Arnie Melissen, Clerk: Bob Smith, Deacon Rep: Richard Simonson, Elder Rep: TBD
And finally in case you were wondering the office hours are now: Tues 11:30 – 5:30 Thurs. 11:30 – 5:30 and Friday 9:00 – 5:00 (Friday is “online production day” so please do your best not to interrupt this process) Submitted by: Arnie Melissen
A Note from Pastor Tim
Dear MRCRC Church Family,
As you may have heard, I will be starting a three-month pastoral sabbatical on Saturday, May 22, 2021. I am so deeply grateful to the Council for making the gift of this time available to me and my family. This is a tremendous blessing. I look forward to returning to you in September, with the first Sunday that I will return being September 12.
Rev. Bert Slofstra, retired CRC minister, most recently from Gateway CRC in Abbotsford, has been hired to preach and provide pastoral continuity in my absence. In addition, Pastor Randy will be preaching on occasion and will continue to be present and engaged in his ministry work throughout the time of my sabbatical.
Let me say a few words about this time of sabbatical. Pastoral sabbaticals have emerged in the past two decades as vital practices for long-term pastorates and for sustaining pastoral health. They provide an extended break from the daily responsibilities of pastoral ministry. I love what I do and I have grown to love this congregation deeply, and a break will be good for my spiritual well-being.
What exactly is a pastoral sabbatical? A pastoral sabbatical is a “spiritual renewal leave. A time of purposeful ceasing, resting, and planned refreshment, with a personal renewal emphasis.” The overall aim is to renew and restore vitality and health – spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical – in pastoral leaders.
It is not a vacation. But a different kind of work – a directed time of refreshment and restoration. It is also an intentional release from the responsibilities of pastoral ministry. Imagine it as an extended time to recharge the batteries.
There are a number of core goals that I have for this time –
· To grow in intimacy with God
· To cultivate my prayer life
· To cultivate my personal study in God’s Word
· To cultivate rest
· To cultivate leisure time
· To intentionally seek personal renewal and refreshment
To help achieve those goals, I will be spending intentional times of rest, exercise, reading, reflection, journaling, travel, and visiting with extended family. What kinds of things will I do? Some of our plans are still tentative and uncertain, given the realities of the ongoing pandemic. Lord willing, here is a list of things that I hope to be able to do at a very leisurely pace:
· Spend significant time with my family
· Get caught up on some sleep
· Listen to other preachers do what I do
· “Worship” (in-person? Online?) with other churches in the lower mainland
· Journal and reflect on my past 20 years of ministry, and specifically the past 9 years at MRCRC
· Do some focused reading in areas of pastoral ministry and spiritual renewal
· Spend time outdoors – walking, hiking, biking, camping, fishing, relaxing
· Reflect on my life, my calling, my gifts, and passions
· Spend significant time alone with God
· Visit extended family members
· Attend a “Van Grouw” family reunion in Michigan (Andrea’s mom’s family)
· Attend a memorial service for my mother-in-law in Southern California
· Spend some time away on the Sunshine Coast of BC with Andrea
This season of sabbath will hopefully look something like this for me. I hope it is a season when you can make the time to replenish your soul as well. I look forward to returning to you in September replenished and refreshed for another season of ministry together. Holding you in my heart until I see you again in September.