2016 Annual Report

Carstairs Bancroft United Church  2016 Annual Report

MINISTER’S REPORT

Are you settling in? ‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’ Luke 12: 34

The most frequent question asked of me these days is “Are you settling in?”  It is often asked of my new abode in Didsbury and I can say very satisfactorily that I am settling in nicely.  But I am also settling in Alberta and in Carstairs Bancroft United Church.  Red Deer Presbytery is still a bit of a challenge but what’s life without a bit of challenge!  Alberta is opening up around me and I now feel comfortable with the four directions.  I even use them when giving directions to another :).  It’s still a little chancy, but fun, and I’m reasonably sure I’m right – though my GPS throws me a curve sometimes!  I liked that two of Santa’s reindeer stopped traffic on Christmas Day on the #2A.  I had a front row seat.  They positively frolicked in the snow after they crossed the road.  Clearly, they were thrilled to have their big job finished for another year!!

Without looking back on my calendars throughout the year, I am going to make a stab at this report from memory and feeling and the Spirit’s guidance!

Worship

I look forward to our Sunday morning services each Sunday and our Chinook Winds Lodge services as well and am deeply grateful for the high level of musical talent we have offered throughout the year!

Sunday is like having a family reunion each week!  And I get to ponder my questions about life and God and relationships and all manner of wonderful and hard topics.  I hope the Spirit is active in your listening and interaction with most services.  I know from long experience that some aspects of each service touch people while others do not.  The service itself is an example of living together and allowing God to touch us and others in the many ways God makes available to us.   We have Gathering, Favourite Hymn, Announcements that bring our daily lives into worship with us and Hymns that set the tone of the service and speak to each of us in different ways.  Time with the children is one way God speaks to us in a less formal manner and, of course, prayer.  Prayer is vital.  It reminds us of why we are truly gathering.  Fellowship, music, community, spiritual nourishment, Holy Story, intellectual stimulation, tradition, and much more . . . all wrapped in the love and mystery we call God.  Prayer is both personal and communal – a reminder that we know God at many levels and God is always with us.  Prayer is a powerful force and, like so much, it becomes more powerful the more we engage in it.  Prayer is one way God guides our lives and uses our own loving energy to reach out to others.  We have scripture readings through which the Spirit focuses our attention and acts as the lens through which we can hear the message offered to us each Sunday.  The Sermon is almost always something I ‘preach’ to myself with the bold belief that God’s Spirit is acting through my words to reach you in some way as well!  Our Minute for Mission, read with heart and soul, is a vital message of the many opportunities we have at our disposal to reach out and be the hands and feet of Christ – the real and tangible love and caring of God.  This faith community takes this ‘mission’ very seriously and that is life-giving for so many near by and throughout the world.

Within the context of a liturgy or order of service, God reaches out to each of us where ever and how ever we are on any given Sunday.  It is a blessing and one I miss very much when I am not able to be present.  But it is also a blessing to know there are several willing and able lay leaders who take on the responsibility of the services when I am away.  Thank you all for your gifts – not just those who lead when I am away but to the branch volunteers who make our services a community effort!  Fellowship after in this church is a vital part of our service, I think.  Here we celebrate birthdays and anniversaries and take time to look around and speak with our neighbours and make new people feel welcome.  This church is a treasure!

Christian Education/Formation

Sunday School –  We are blessed with great leaders who have the wisdom to recognize their own gifts and the gifts of the children!  Music and sharing their acting skills as they live our Holy Story and Holy Message through joyful music are wonderful happenings throughout the year.  Everyone, including the leaders sometimes, participates so attentively during worship and I saw how enthusiastically the children sang the Christmas carols during the 7:30 Christmas Eve service.   They (you!) are growing up very nicely!!  The Sunday School is a vital part of our ministry together – today’s church alive and well!

This year I experienced our Sunday School closing ‘pool’ party for the first time!  It was great and many thanks for to the Allan family for opening their home to this annual event!!

Coffee and Conversation Thursdays have faithful attendance by from 6 to 16 people depending on all sorts of different life situations each week.  Our topics are varied . . . our articles come from the internet, the Observer, the newspapers and other magazines and our life experiences.  All of our discussions speak of who we are and whose we are and while we do not agree on everything (what fun would that be?), the core of our passions come from a faith that is both a journey and a rock – an evolving part of who we are and a solid grounding.  And that faith, and how we live it out, allows for our differences and gives us the freedom to speak from our own truth and our own doubts!

Reel Theology is a very enjoyable and peaceful way to use modern movies to touch on many life and faith issues.  I love the feeling of watching ‘not so overtly religiously oriented’ movies in the sanctuary with church members.  It brings the movies alive in a way that is very different than seeing them at the movie theatres or alone at home.  Over the years, I have decided that most movies have a faith base of some sort.  Most of us know we will be gathering after the movie and offering our thoughts and experiences of the movie.  Experiencing things together has a way of changing perspective – hence the concept and lived out reality of ‘church’.  I must make a bigger effort to PR our movie nights.  Hopefully folks who don’t normally come will give it a go.  There is no pressure to do anything.  Just come and enjoy a movie.  You don’t have to stay for the reflection time but it’s often fun and you might enjoy it!

Vacation Bible School or Bible Camp as I think it was called this year was a success thanks to the leadership of Ruth Roedler and the Rev. Janice Walls co-ordinating their skills.  They promise to arrange to have it fall during a week I will be able to join them in 2017!    (This is where prayer is a big source of comfort!) Thanks go out, as well, to other volunteers whose time and talents are also very much needed!

Outreach

I’m going to do a silly thing and list what I can remember in absolutely no particular order.

  • Two Chili Days when 70 gallons of chili is made and transported to the Calgary Drop-In Centre
  • Regular Mission and Service and World Development financial support
  • Services at Chinook Winds Lodge
  • A host of outreach programs that the UCW annually supports in the community and in the wider world (Women’s Shelters and Drop-In Centres) that most of us don’t know about – look at their report!
  • Sundaes on Tuesdays during the Summer
  • Single Parent Suppers
  • Kasota East Camp
  • Offering the church facility at very low costs to organizations like Parent Link, Rainbows/Reflections, and occasionally for other special events like funeral receptions, gatherings, meetings or meals.

And I can’t help mention just some of the ways I know members are involved in the community and the world such as:

  • Our Heritage Museum in Carstairs
  • Lions Club
  • Coats for kids
  • Recycling bikes
  • Grandmothers for Grandmothers
  • Visiting at Lodges and hospitals
  • Reading to seniors
  • Science Fairs and School trips
  • Reading to children in the schools
  • Supporting the breakfast programs at our schools
  • Supporting and working at the Thrift Shop
  • Musical offerings to seniors and others
  • Prayer Chain
  • Supporting a Syrian family
  • Driving your neighbours where they need to go
  • Supporting Kasota East Camp
  • Offering practical items when help is sought
  • Participating in parades and other special community events
  • Working hard to organize and offer the best turkey supper to hundreds of people every year!

And so much more that you do every day touching the lives of your communities at meetings and on boards, and just being you filled with God’s spirit and offering who you are and what you can do for others!

Property, Stewardship and Administration

Bob Peel is keeping the congregation abreast of financial and future property issues.  In the midst of so many requests for money, it is important to remember the opportunity we have as church people – as God’s people – to share what we have graciously and with purpose and a belief that what we share and how we share are of equal value in the Kingdom of God.

As some find themselves unable to help out physically for awhile, others are taking up the slack in admirable fashion!  I find myself regularly wishing Marg Markham, whom I have never known, was still with us (as I am sure do many of you)!  There is strangely a LOT of administrative tasks to handle each day and at some times of the year even more!  But with so many willing and knowledgeable members, the tasks get done and the information is passed on. (This reminds me of our celebration in 2016 of Les and Marg’s contributions of time, talent and energy over the years!)

JNAC and Search Committee

We finally held ‘our’ covenanting service at the one year anniversary of our starting off in ministry together.  I enjoyed it immensely!  We are now official and the hard work of the Search Committee is officially over.  Thank you all so very much for all you have done in my first year to help orient me and make me feel ‘one of the family’.

Pastoral and Congregational Care

There haven’t been any weddings or baptisms in 2016 in this church but I know some of you have enjoyed those happenings within your family in other places.  Do take time to remember them.  They are precious times!  The Rev. Janice Walls did two funerals covering for me while I was on vacation.  One of them is noted below.  And I officiated at the memorial service of Bruce Gifford.  I know, as every year, there have been other significant deaths that have affected your lives and I know you can’t help but remember them! The biggest thing that seems to be happening pastorally is that we are all getting older – and a little bit more decrepit.  I don’t know about you, but I am not impressed!  And yet, I take great comfort from the staying power of people in this pastoral charge!  May it continue for long years to come!!  Pastoral Care is a joint effort and there are so many ways in which this church cares for its people and for those in need outside our immediate circles.  The more we care for each other and share with each other, the bigger our circle grows.  God’s love is shining through in so many ways – see all of the above, plus hospital visits and visits at home and in the office, and telephone calls and emails, and drives and cards and letters, and caring listening and generous sharing of gifts and talents.

In Memory

Frieda Gertrude Friedrich (August 15, 2016)

Andrew Bruce Gifford (October 2, 2016)

Other

I have done things this year I have never done before.  I went on PAR.  I have always before tried to keep banking jobs available with my chequing and personal trips to the bank, but PAR makes sense in a church that needs to know it will have enough money to pay the bills each month so I happily join those who have gone before me.  I served turkey at the turkey supper – not a bad job considering the efforts so many of you put in to make that annual meal available to so many!  I went on a JNA Committee.  That is an ongoing adventure!  I started making copies of my sermon for those who find it a bit hard to hear.  I have always resisted making hard copies of the sermon, believing the spirit of a sermon is in the active participating of those who are present in church on any given Sunday.  But if you can’t hear, it is hard to be an active participant!  And if you can’t get to church, perhaps the Spirit is big enough to work through the word alone sometimes!

It has been considerably colder this winter than last so I think I am definitely getting an accurate picture of Alberta in the winter now.  I like the snow, all dry and fluffy!  Not so keen on the -30 and lower temperatures and the very icy roads!

So, I’m settling in and wondering now what the future holds for this ministry and this church.  God will guide us so we best look to God for our answers as we try to do our part in envisioning the future.  Through all in the past, God has been with us.  It will be the same for our futures as well.  Of this I am sure!  God bless us all!

In Ministry together in Christ’s name,

Beth
Beth Brehaut (Brrrr-hoe) 🙂 and this year I really mean the brrr!

 

SUNDAY SCHOOL 2016

On Sunday mornings, after the children have participated in the Children’s Time with Beth, they come out with us to share the Sunday School program.  Our number of attendees varies each week, but we try to offer continuity between sessions. We have been very happy to welcome new families this year!  Our schedule is from September to May with activity options for the month of June.  There is no Sunday School in July and August.

We finished the Old Testament stories with Joshua taking over from Moses.  We have taken a new path for the time being and are working with some of the teachings of Jesus.  We are currently doing The Golden Rule.  We read the stories, and do crafts, games and songs to accompany the theme.

We did a Palm Sunday processional with palms for the service.

To end the year in June, we again held a barbecue and swimming party at the Allans.

Our pageant for Christmas Eve was “The True Story of Christmas”.  A huge thank you goes to the performers and their families for all of their support for this project.  The children also sang two songs for the music service in December.

Thanks to Pam Barker, Pam McGladdery, Kandace Martinez, Cheryl and Ken Kindrachuk, Debbie Marsh, and Jean Green for being willing to cover for us when we are absent – even if no children show up!

We love working with your children every week!

Respectfully submitted

Rhonda and Ruth Roedler

 

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL 2016

Jointly with Knox United from Didsbury we hosted a Theatre Bible Camp in August.  We had an African theme which revolved around some of the African animals and the story of Ruth and Naomi.  We used stories, music, games and crafts to enrich the story experience.  Our final Friday morning presentation saw the children sharing the music they had learned along with the many talents they each possess.  And they do possess a lot of talent!

My thanks go out to the people who helped us in any way that week: Rev. Janice Walls, Johanna Ridder, Lesley Morasch, Cheryl Kindrachuk, Laurel Pederson-Parlee, Ella Bishop, Bruce Ing, and Dale Roedler.

Respectfully submitted

Ruth Roedler

 CARSTAIRS/BANCROFT UNITED CHURCH WOMEN – 2016 Report

Executive

Co-chairs – Olga Terning, Ruth Roedler

Secretary – Toni Bennett, Ruth Good

Treasurer – Joyce Ing

Social Committee – Joyce Ing, Toni Bennett, Shirley Robb, Ev Robertson

Program committee- Ruth Roedler, Ev Robertson, Olga Terning, Peggy Moody

Hospital visitors – Joyce Ing and Olga Terning

Supply/Welfare – Jean Eggen/ Nadine Maffit

Cards – Anita Wood

CD Rep – Ruth Roedler

Nominating Committee – Olga Terning, Joyce Ing, Ruth Roedler, Ev Robertson

Each meeting opens with repeating the UCW Purpose and a time of devotion prepared by one of our members :

The purpose of the United Church women is to unite all women of the congregation for the total mission of the church, and to provide a medium through they may express their loyalty and devotion to Jesus Christ in Christian Witness, Study, Fellowship and Service.

 Highlights of the meetings:

FEBRUARY:  Lunch at a local restaurant

MARCH: visit to the Museum to view latest exhibits

APRIL: Elaine Richards spoke to us about the breakfast program at Hugh Sutherland School.

MAY: Sandy Roberts told us about the Carstairs Community Gardens

JUNE: Visit to Bearberry Water Garden followed by lunch in Sundre

SEPTEMBER – Kathy Sosnowski demonstrated Wool Felting and helped us to make a felted ornament.

OCTOBER: Ruth Roedler showed slides from her trip to Newfoundland

DECEMBER: Annual Christmas party with entertainment by Wild Mountain Rose

 

Throughout the year we support the following:

Kasota East Camp – Proceeds from the Pie social at coffee time in May and the Lenten calendar.

Calgary Drop-in Center: – Seventy gallons of chili donated in both April and October. We thank the congregations for their generous donations of cash and labor.

Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter – Gifts for women and children donated at the annual UCW Christmas party are taken to the CAWES in Red Deer.

Calgary Women’s Shelter – cash donations from the UCW Christmas party

Donations of items from PharmaSave at taken to the Drop-in center or women’s shelters as appropriate.

Lunches were catered for a 90th birthday party, to the area meeting for the Rainbows group as well as  snacks and lunch for the Red Deer Presbytery meeting at our church in May.

We served at the Birthday Tea at Chinook Winds Lodge in April. and arranged lunch for the Covenanting service for Beth. Some of our members volunteer to make toast for the energy boost program at Carstairs Elementary School.

Submitted by   Ruth Good, Secretary

 The OBSERVER 2015

Did you know that the OBSERVER is the oldest continuously published magazine in North America and the oldest in the English speaking world?

This magazine explores faith issues in depth and appeals to those subscribers who like to be challenged intellectually and spiritually.  A place for intelligent conversations about faith, justice and ethical living.

Letters to the Editors section is one of the most popular features of this magazine as it provides a space for readers to express their opinions regarding the various issues presented in this church magazine.

Under our EVERY FAMILY PLAN, we are able to offer our congregational subscribers a lower subscription rate and currently we now have 35 subscribers. Increases have been necessary in order to offset rising postal costs and lower operating grants.  Even so, the multi-award winning Observer remains one of Canada’s best magazine bargains – each issue still costs less than a small coffee and a doughnut at Tim Horton’s!

Contact me, your OBSERVER representative, if you wish to become a new subscriber.

Respectfully submitted, Joyce Ing


Kasota Camp:   2015-2016 Annual Report Kasota

The Kasota Camp Report is available on our church web site at: www.carstairsunitedchurch.ca   – have a look at it – it makes interesting reading.

Respectfully submitted – Laural Pedersen, Kasota Camp Representative

 Choir Report 

The choir provides leadership and support for worship by previewing the hymns each week, and if the tunes are unfamiliar, learning them at practice so as to be able to support the singing.

We have had very loyal attendance at our practices this year. Positive feedback from the congregation about our presence and our singing is much appreciated and keeps us trying to improve. We have built a repertoire of anthems over the years that lets us contribute one a couple of times each month from September to June.

The membership this year has been: Olga Terning, Shirley Robb, Ev Robertson, Agnes Buchanan, Leslie Morasch, Ella Bishop, Ruth Good, Ruth Roedler, Rhonda Roedler, Shelley Robertson and Beth Brehaut. We have a whole empty pew and would love to fill it should anyone like to join us. Some mens’s voices would be particularly welcome.

Our accompanist is Lynn Martens who brings not just her musical ability but a bubbling sense of good fun that adds a great deal to the enjoyment of our practices. She also brings her medical skills and takes out stitches on request!

Our practice night remains on Wednesdays and we would welcome anyone who would like to join us.

Don and Ev Robertson, co-Directors

Coffee Fund Donations – 2016 Coffee Fund Report

 In 2016 we collected $2472 in our coffee fund- these are our weekly contributions that we donate for coffee and tea. A small portion of this fund was used to buy monthly supplies of coffee and the remainder was distributed to both local and international charities. The first quarter proceeds were donated to the Syrian Refugee Fund as organized by the Bergthal Mennonite Church. Second quarter proceeds were donated to the Mountain View Food Bank. Third quarter proceeds were donated to the Breakfast Program at Hugh Sutherland School and forth quarter proceeds were donated to Grandmothers for Grandmothers.

Having coffee and conversation after church is enjoyable and a great way to help others in need!

Submitted by Bob Peel

CARSTAIRS BANCROFT UNITED CHURCH MEMORIAL FUND

The Memorial Fund received one donation in 2016 and $100.00 was deposited
to this account.
This donation was made in memory of Sheila Laustsen. A receipt and thank you was send out.

Respectfully submitted  Carol Molnar (Sec.)

MEN’S PANCAKE SUPPER     FEBRUARY 9, 2006

Another successful Pancake Supper hosted by the men of the congregation in 2016 !  $525.00 was raised that evening for Camp Kasota.  Many thanks to all who participated and to the approximate 60 people who came and supported this annual event.

Submitted by Bruce Ing

END