Thursday May 28, 2020
We are a spiritual community where you can explore your purpose and place.
Your Church Council met for a Zoom meeting on Tuesday May 26, 2020 from 7:00-9:15 pm. Highlights of our meeting are outlined below.
Looking Towards the Fall
The majority of our meeting was spent looking ahead to the fall and what might be at that time. We worked from the given that until at least the end of August 2020 we will continue as we are holding only online services using Facebook and continuing building restrictions and staff work as presently in place.
Key considerations to all our planning include:
- Ensuring the health and safety of all staff, volunteers and members of our church community
- Nurturing the spiritual needs of members of our church community
- Continuing efforts to keep regular contacts and connections within our church community
- Ensuring physical distancing and abiding by maximum group guidelines as established by government
- Providing a safe and clean environment for whatever occurs within our building
As guides to our work we will use the following documents which are updated regularly:
- The Government of Alberta: Guidance for places of worship https://open.alberta.ca/dataset/2be831dd-d83e-42da-b634-6bc6d5232d1a/resource/dc6e8a2e-978b-4121-acc7-8889fcfc160e/download/covid-19-relaunch-guidance-places-of-worship-2020-05.pdf
- The United Church of Canada: Safety considerations for re-opening during the pandemic three-part resource
- Mill Woods United Church COVID-19 working group: Weekly COVID-19 updates in What’s the Buzz
Each of our Committee chairs shared work they and their committee members have done related to fall planning, looking at three possible scenarios for our congregation in the fall:
- Open under normal conditions
- Open with health restrictions such as physical distancing and use of personal protective equipment
- Remain closed as we are, continuing online programming only
Committee Chairs were provided feedback from other council members and were asked to update plans based upon feedback and reference documents and provide a written copy to Carol Hickmann by June 2, 2020.
Carol will then bring together all these ideas into one draft Mill Woods United Church Plan which will be reviewed at our June 22, 2020 council meeting. Our hope is that this plan will provide us a guide for our activities beginning September 1, 2020. Which aspects of this plan we implement will depend upon the overall guidance we receive at that time from government and health officials.
We are very open to hearing ideas from any of you. Please let us know either by contacting a council member or sharing ideas with your ‘phone-out’ person.
Federal Government Relief Programs
- We are presently in the process of applying for the following programs for which we believe we qualify:
- Small Business Wage Subsidy: 10 percent wage coverage
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy:75 percent wage coverage from March 1 to August 31, 2020
- As of April 30, 2020, we are showing a projected deficit of just under $25,000. We are most appreciative of the ongoing financial support of our congregation. Our shortfall at this point is largely related to reduced rental income.
- We expect that once we receive funding through the Government Relief Programs our financial situation will be more positive.
- Plans for summer online worship were shared for July and August. Online services will be held each Sunday during the summer with the exception of Sunday August 2, 2020 – the long-weekend when we hope you will find peace and fulfilment enjoying a great summer day.
- Service and musical leadership will be provided by a combination of staff, volunteers and guests.
- Honorariums for our videographer and guest minister were approved
- Summer work plans and holiday schedules of staff were shared. An overview of this will be shared in What’s the Buzz closer to the summer period.
Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Device
- Council approved the purchase of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and accessories from St. John Ambulance, at a cost of $2175. This device will be purchased for the health and safety of our congregation.
- When we purchase the device in August, St John Ambulance will have someone come out to the church to train staff and members of our church community on its proper use.
- This meets the criteria of a capital expense.
- Council approved that up to $3500 be made available to purchase video equipment which could be used to live-stream worship on an ongoing basis.
- We have successfully live-streamed worship over the past two months and as we move forward this is likely to be part of our plans, no-matter what the situation.
- To date, all the equipment we have used belongs to Brian Sampson. With the purchase of our two laptops over the past two years, $3500 would be sufficient to purchase quality equipment.
- This expenditure meets the criteria of both the capital and memorial/legacy funds. Our Memorial/Legacy committee has agreed to cover $2000 of this and $1500 will come from our capital fund.
Internet and Bandwidth
- Telus will be meeting with staff in mid-June to make a substantial upgrade to our internet bandwidth.
- While this will cost us $70 more a month it is required for many of our church and rental functions. As a result of a new agreement with Telus last year our monthly charges are still substantially less than they previously were.
- Last May council passed a motion that we would not produce the Connections newsletter for a 12-month period and that we would review this decision in May of 2020.
- At our Tuesday meeting council approved a motion to discontinue producing the Connections newsletter indefinitely.
- We feel that as a result of our weekly What’s the Buzz and Morning Messenger, various social media outlets we use, our Annual Report, and updates at our Annual General and Financial meetings that good communication is occurring.
- Our data shows that our weekly What’s the Buzz is the most widely accessed of all our communication methods.
Basement Use over the next 12 months
- Earlier in the year leaders of various aspects of our church life were asked to identify dates and times over the next 12-month period when we would require the use of our basement space.
- Our goal was to identify these dates early so that our new renter, 4Point Taekwondo, could plan programming.
- The events and dates we have shared are:
- Christmas Craft Fair: Friday November 20 PM and all-day Saturday November 21
- Shrove Tuesday Supper: Tuesday February 16, 2021: afternoon and evening
- Our Annual Financial Meeeting is planned for Sunday November 29, 2020 from noon until 2:00 pm and the Annual General Meeting for Sunday March 7, 2021 from noon until 2:00 pm. Generally during these meetings, the Zimbabwe congregation meets in the basement. Our plan is to work with them to either worship together on those dates or look at another space in the church for their service.
- Our property committee is working to complete a number of projects during this period of closure.
- Their projects include parking lot cleaning and line painting; re-painting the rainbow steps, the bike rack and the pillars of the front sign; inside painting and crack repair; updating of our Evacuation plan; and replacement of lights in various ‘high places.’
- This seems to be a good time to get some of this work done both because of reasonable costs and lack of activity in the building.
And Some Further Pondering
Q: Where was Solomon’s temple located?
A: On the side of his head!
Q: What kind of man was Boaz before he married Ruth?
Our next meeting will be on Monday June 22, 2020 at 700 pm using Zoom. You are welcome to join us – just let me know.
Rob McPhee, Chair of Council