Stewardship is an investment in God’s world – money, for Jesus, was another tool for doing great good in the world. Stewardship is a lifestyle choice…… a life of faithful living and giving.
(When is Enough, Enough? Six Biblical Core Values for Faithful Financial Living. S. Stanford, Giving, Vol 8, 2006.)
The Outreach Ministry of Barrhaven United Church (BUC), which includes all of us, reaches beyond the doors of our church to support those trying to cope with life’s challenges and to make a contribution to the development of effective solutions to those challenges.
As you know, through designated offerings, donations, and our Gratitude Globe, BUC supports the Mission and Service of the United Church of Canada which supports Canadian and worldwide mission and service work.
Barrhaven United congregants, through our Outreach Ministry, also support mainly local organizations through gifts of volunteer time, talent and money, the latter largely via our yellow envelopes at Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, but also including designated donations. BUC’s local outreach activities and initiatives include a focus on housing and poverty; food security; right relations with Aboriginal peoples and, starting this fall, refugee sponsorship. The congregation identified housing and poverty as its primary outreach focus during the silent visioning in winter 2015.
As a charter member, our support of the Multi-faith Housing Initiative (MHI) includes work on the tenant relations team, painting apartments for new tenants, and attendance at special events. On September 22, we facilitated the coming together of local faith communities to support the new MHI affordable housing community, The Haven, at Longfields Station. We are excited as we look forward to how we can help make this a model community supported by faiths working together.
Through membership on the Board, BUC continues its ongoing relationship with Barrhaven Non-Profit Housing Incorporated (BNPHI), which manages the 41 Steepleview Crossing accessible and affordable housing units beside the church, on BUC property.
As in past years, our White Gift service on December 6 will collect gifts and financial donations for local chaplaincies - Centre 507 and the Carlington Community Chaplaincy this year. Sadly, the Ottawa West-End Community Chaplaincy, which we have supported for years, has now closed. BUC volunteers will serve dinner at Parkdale United’s In From the Cold Program January 30 and March 5.
BUC’s main outreach project for many years, the Barrhaven Food Cupboard, now has a community board and its own governance but continues to use our basement for food storage and distribution, rent free. With all the approvals in place, we are waiting for the Food Cupboard Board to determine if funds will be forthcoming to build a modern, community food center in 2016 on BUC land.
We also financially support the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, a partnership of 15 Canadian churches and church-based agencies working together to end global hunger.
The United Church of Canada calls congregations to be “United in Reconciliation” with our Aboriginal neighbors. In preparation for the June 2, 2015 release, in Ottawa, of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's hearings into the impacts of Indian Residential Schools, we held two special BUC services. The Blanket Exercise on April 12 helped us experience the often untold history of interaction between European and Aboriginal peoples and the Outreach team shared their understanding of reconciliation with the congregation on May 3. The Outreach team will endeavor to keep us on this journey. When our funds allow, we support at least one local Aboriginal organization - Centre 510 Rideau this year.
An ad hoc committee of interested volunteers has recently come together under Tom Schwarzkopf’s leadership to explore possibilities for refugee sponsorship. The South Nepean Muslim Association is interested in partnering. Contact has been made with Norma McCord, who coordinates refugee sponsorship in our Presbytery.
Generosity: Being unselfish and gracious in giving of yourself and your resources for the good of others….
Faithful givers resist the temptation to think you must wait until you have more than enough before you can begin to live and give generously. Be content and be confident that what you have is worthy and good -- be willing to share from your goodness.
(Paraphrased from Orleans United Church, Words that Inspire Faithful Living)
You have given us this day and have given us this way
We are grateful.
You have given us this day and have given us this way
To say Thank You.
We thank you for giving us what we need.
We offer back to You, all that we have, all that we are.
We know our thank you
Is as fragile as we are
- it can be crushed by the care of the moment
- it can disappear in the heat of the day
- it can be blown away by the winds of suffering.
And so we ask YOU
To take our small thank you
Into your great act of Thanksgiving:
You, Lord of the loaves and fishes,
You who are from God, with God and for God,
You in whom it is all Yes and Amen.
(Radical Gratitude, Mary Jo Leddy, p69-70)
We don’t simply give ‘to our church’, we give THROUGH our church. Did you know that when you give through Barrhaven United Church you support the use of our facilities, at a nominal rent, by over 20 local organizations? Did you know that the Barrhaven Food Cupboard was one of our main Outreach commitments to the community from the early 1980’s until the early 2000’s and that BUC members have faithfully volunteered many, many hours to help provide food security here in Barrhaven? Even as the Food Cupboard has evolved to a community-run charitable organization, we continue to provide food storage and distribution space in our basement, rent free. Did you know that BUC has committed to making some of our land available for the construction of a modern, community-lead food security center for the Food Cupboard?
The United Church’s Mission and Service supports the work of 89 global partners, 12 global ecumenical organizations and 4 overseas personnel in 24 countries; this represents about 31% of M & S funding in 2015. For example, the United Church sits on the Board of The Canadian Foodgrains Bank (which we are supporting today through designated offerings), which facilitates support for M & S partners in the global South to implement programs to prevent hunger and famine and to work toward sustainable food security. Other M & S global projects range from instruction for Syrian refugee students in Lebanon, to youth empowerment in Africa, to agricultural support and nutrition projects in the Philippines and Nicaragua.
“Gratitude is the BEGINNING of our faith and hope in the possibility of creating something new in the world, of becoming someone new”
Radical Gratitude, Mary Jo Leddy, p69
Did you know that the 10 dedicated voluntary members of our Pastoral Care Team have each completed a 10 week, 35 hour basic pastoral visiting course plus take annual advanced courses in order to be a confidential, listening presence for congregants during their time of need. The team works in concert with our Ministers and it is not uncommon to have 30-40 individuals or families being ‘watched over’ by the team at any given time.Did you know that BUC has a prayer shawl ministry? UCW members knit prayer shawls and lap blankets which are distributed by Pastoral Care and our Ministers, who pray the recipient into their shawls, reminding them that God's arms and our prayers are wrapped around them just like the comfort of the shawl. Over the 4 years of this ministry, over 35 prayer shawls and lap blankets have been distributed to congregants in their time of need.
M & S supports 74 community ministries across Canada (about 13% of M & S funding) including Ottawa’s Algonquin College Ecumenical Chaplaincy, Centre 507 drop-in at Centretown United, and the Carlington Community Chaplaincy and Ottawa West End Community Chaplaincy which provide outreach, self-help and pastoral care to their communities. M & S’s support to local United Church ministries includes operational support to remote, growing or transitioning congregations; core operational funding, grants, capital funding, resources and expertise to address important issues; and renewal support to faith communities (34% of M & S funding).
Living life ‘on purpose’ is the only way to really LIVE: Live life with a due sense of purpose, not as those who do not know the meaning of life, but as those who do. (Ephesians 5:15).
Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life p 305- 311.
‘Giving through our church’ includes support for the work of our Ministers. Did you know that Rev. Maggie spends many hours each week preparing meaningful worship and compassionately providing pastoral care to members of our congregation, and to those who reach out to BUC in their time of great need? These two roles alone take up more than 80% of her time. Rev. Maggie also facilitates a dedicated prayer group, is the pastor for the Pastoral Care Team, and provides general support to all of us. She shares her passion for multi-faith linkages by organizing educational evenings - last year on Islam, this November on Judaism. As our full-time minister, she is a key contact for the church and works closely with our various ministries (Facilities, Outreach, UCW, Pastoral Care, etc.) in promoting and representing our call to service within and outside our church.
As Minister of Education, Rev. Suzanne assists with worship, provides inspirational spiritual guidance through Bible studies, book studies, and confirmation classes, and guides a small, keen, sometimes noisy, group of teens in the exploration of the spiritual meaning of their favourite music. Rev. Suzanne also supports the Sunday School, Camp Awesome and our Outreach Ministry. Rev Suzanne’s work embodies spiritual nurturing in a modern world, reaching within and beyond our walls.
Did you know that the United Church’s Mission and Service Fund supports the education of our church leaders – our ordained and diaconal ministers as well as lay people – through funding for theological colleges and specialized training; this represents about 35% of M & S funding in 2015. About 26% of M & S funding supports faith formation in ministries within the United Church - including a focus on children, youth, and young adults, the Aboriginal Ministries Circle, as well as intercultural and diverse ministries. About 13 % of M & S funding supports the staff of the 13 United Church regional conference offices that provide leadership and resources to presbyteries, ministry personnel and congregations. The Montreal-Ottawa Conference office is in Montreal.
It is not enough to ‘feel grateful’. We are not fully liberated until we THINK grateful, IMAGINE grateful, and ACT GRATEFUL…. this is when gratitude becomes a ‘whole’ or holy attitude.
(Radical Gratitude, Mary Jo Leddy, p163)
Barrhaven United is a pastoral charge of the United Church of Canada. We are totally self-supporting – the operations of our ministries (from worship and music, to education and pastoral care, to staffing and building maintenance) are funded by offerings and donations from the congregation. Our local Outreach is funded by designated donations from the congregation. We do not receive any funds from government or the national United Church. Our church needs us to generously share what we have so we can be a vibrant community of faith which reaches out and serves others.
The United Church’s Mission and Service (M & S) Fund is a national unified fund that finances ALL the work of the United Church except General Council (head office) leadership and governance. M & S allows all congregations across Canada to pool funds and translate hope and love into action - to carry out the multi-faceted mission and ministry of the United Church in an effective, flexible and sustainable way. This includes working with trusted partners to provide community support and carry out social justice work in Canada and around the world, training of United Church ministerial leadership, faith formation, support to local United Church ministries that are in need, and support of leadership in the 13 United Church conferences across Canada. The Mission and Service Fund is solely supported by local congregations, such as Barrhaven United, United Church Women’s groups, and individuals across the country. When we are generous through our designated donations to M & S, M & S can do more to bring healing, justice, love and hope to the world.
A Gift: A gift is a Sprit-inspired gesture, offered with ‘no strings attached’, in which both the giver and the recipient are enriched. When you give a GIFT to a loved one, to a friend, to someone in need, to Barrhaven United Church you are sharing in God’s goodness…… ..give your gifts out of gratitude for the gifts YOU have been given and it’ll make all the difference in the world!
(Paraphrased from Orleans United Church, Words that Inspire Faithful Living)