Hello, Lynn Valley United Church community:
For me, September always brings a feeling of renewal and the promise of new adventures and transformation. Maybe it is the evocation of ‘back to school time’ or looking forward to the beautiful colours of fall. Perhaps it is planning for Thanksgiving gatherings, or fall ‘canning season’. Whatever this time of year arouses in you, I hope you find peace and positive anticipation for the upcoming weeks. There continues to be lots of positive momentum and anticipation in our Lynn Valley United Community! Here are some of the highlights:
Reset Sunday – Sunday September 13th -
Normally, the second Sunday in September is our ‘Welcome Back’ Sunday worship. We welcome people back to worship, after summer holidays and summer travel. Of course, this year is a bit different. We are calling September 13th ‘Reset Sunday’: Pandemic 2.0 – moving from ‘reaction’ to ‘resilience’. September 13th will be our ‘reset’, as we change the way we have been delivering Sunday worship. Since March, we have been worshipping exclusively on Facebook liv, and the LVUC staff have become proficient at live streaming worship. As it is clear the pandemic will be with us for the long-term, we want to continue to adapt, evolve, and engage. So, we’re trying something different ….. something we’ve never done before! (Do I hear a ‘Hallelujah!’?) Beginning September 13th, we will be combining a live experience with some elements of a pre-recorded experience. For those who have been enjoying worship at 10:30 am on Sundays in the comfort of their home, that will continue. And, we will be adding an element where a small group, safely physically distanced, will gather at the church. (Please go to the website for information on how to register to attend in person.) We will be pre-recording elements of worship, so that we can have more people involved in the worship experience. Please join this Sunday in person or on line. We will love to hear your feedback of how we are creating a more engaging experience.
Sunday September 13th also marks the beginning of our fall Sermon Series, “Won’t You Be My Neighbour”, where we have invited speakers to share perspectives on what it means to be ‘a neighbour’. From Reverend Jenny Carter’s story of transformation of her congregation, to Michelle Dodds’ impact through the North Shore Women’s Centre; to Dr. John Thatamanil’s perspective on how Christian communities can see religious diversity as a ‘promise’; Lisa Salazar’s message from her perspective as a theologian and trans woman; and Dr Cheryl Bear’s message from an Indigenous woman and Director of Community Ministry at First United Church in the Downtown East Side of Vancouver – we will have diverse and inspiring perspectives to help us reflect on ‘what it means to be a neighbour’ – to be a follower of Christ and make a difference in God’s world. I hope you will join in, invite your friends and your neighbours.
The Board has continued to listen to you, our Community of Faith, through our recent survey, through analyzing our ‘metrics’ to understand how people are engaging with our Community. Our ‘metrics’ give us an electronic dashboard of what activities people are engaging with, and what elements of our communications – our enews and our website – people are reading, sharing, and spending time on. From the feedback we’ve received through speaking with people and analyzing our metrics, we have asked our staff team, to work on a Ministry Plan that takes us through the end of December. This Ministry plan focuses focus on retaining people within our community, through ensuring that ‘no one is left behind’. We know that this pandemic time, with people continuing to self-isolate, can be lonely and confusing. We know that we are not alone - God is with us, as are members of this community. If you know someone who needs connection, love, outreach, please let a member of our staff know. We have the resources to ensure spiritual and mental heath is well-provided for within our community.
Under the leadership of Wendy Harris, the Minister Search team has been busy developing the Community of Faith Profile according to the timeline and plan the team has created. No doubt you or folks on teams in your circle of influence have been asked for their feedback on ‘why we exist’ as a community of faith. Wendy will be posting more information about the process they are following to recruit and select the right person for the permanent Lead Minister role.
Our key method of communication in these changing times is our website. As we continue to evolve, it is the best way to ensure that people get the most current updates on what is happening as well as when and how we gather. If you know people in our community that do not have access to the website, please reach out to that person and make sure they know you are thinking of them, and then, reach out to a member of the LVUC staff, so that we can find other ways to stay connected. Your Board of Governance - Judith Clark, Victoria Fawkes, Wendy Harris, Neil Fancourt, Len Grinke, Leslie Hemmings, and myself - is here to support our church community in navigating in these uncertain times. We are feeling very confident with Rev. Debra Bowman’s spiritual leadership, and the whole staff team’s efforts in ensuring that we continue to thrive as a community of faith. Please let any of us know your ideas to ensure that everyone in our community is feeling supported as we continue this journey together.
May peace be with you,
Shauna Grinke, Chair
Lynn Valley United Church
Board of Governance