Parish Council News

Council Conversations (Summer)
Over the last few months, Council has had conversations about a number of parish matters of interest.

Janet Morton and Sharon Poole provided an update to Council on the planning for the Pollination Garden and the involvement of other parishioners. Funding includes the $5,000 bequest from the Dorothy Bowcott Estate as well as $500 recently granted from the Julia Hunter Fund. This money will be well spent on creating and maintaining a 25-foot circular community access garden with a cross pattern formed by stone walkways that you can see on the northwest side of the church by the sidewalk. By the time you read this article, work will be well underway filling the garden with a variety of plants. A dedication and invite to the community to attend is being considered for Sunday, Sept 23rd. Keep that day open and look for future announcements as this is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on our fifth Mark of Mission to safeguard the integrity of creation.

Have you ever visited a church and been struck by how you were welcomed? Even if you plan on a single visit due to travel plans, it makes such a difference in how you understand and appreciate the people who call that church home. How do we welcome visitors to our church home? Think about how you would like to be met and spoken to and put your ideas into action the next time you see an unfamiliar face sitting in a nearby pew. If you have some ideas to share, please contact Janet Shaw or Joy Philpott.

From a property point of view, two projects (kitchen windows and church insulation) noted at vestry have been completed. Our new computer system is also in place and will safeguard our data while providing a more current infrastructure to serve our needs. Thank you for continuing to support our financial needs for the ministry we undertake in the Byron community and beyond.

You may see a few updates to the parish hall as we freshen up its appearance and take care of a few minor repairs. These changes should help us to raise additional funds through room rentals without requiring more human resources. One example of St. Anne’s providing space free of charge to a community group is the VON SMART program that offers a senior exercise program.

Heavenly Pies activities continue to attract a dedicated and enthusiastic group of volunteers. Volunteering is a great way to have some fun, work a bit, and get to know those you work with. And you don’t have to make pies to have some fun as there are many ways in which you can help us be the church in Byron. If you are unsure of where your experience, talents and energy might be used, please ask a warden. Sign up sheets for summer activities are in the Parish Hall.

While Parish Council has a mandate to manage the business of being church, our conversations revolve around matters of faith and worship that are at the very heart of who we are. The Thy Kingdom Come global prayer campaign ran from May 10 – 20 and provided some ideas for prayer. We hope you tried out a few ideas and will continue to bring fresh energy to your prayer life. The first meeting was on May 15th to review/discuss the Outreach /Vision statement and considered who we are, our function and how we live out the five marks of mission here at St. Anne’s. All are welcome to join the conversation as we continue to explore our sense of ministry and mission.

Thanks to all who filled their Huron Church Camp jars as you raised $758.72! Combined with the $1,000 budgeted for the project at vestry, we will be able to fund 3-4 children to attend HCC. Music continues to enrich our later worship service and occasionally the earlier service. A Music Committee has been formed to help shape and receive feedback on the current music ministry. Lend your voice to the effort to enrich our music offerings should a Committee member approach you for your thoughts.

Bishop Linda recently urged each parish to consider their emergency arrangements in light of recent instances in London churches. The wardens and other volunteers will be reviewing emergency procedures so that designated individuals will take a lead in the event of a crisis or other situation (i.e. service interruption by individuals, medical crisis). Please speak to a warden if you have any questions.

And a new website is being developed that will allow you, and anyone searching for a church home, to easily view our information on their smartphone. No launch date has been determined yet as there is still a bit of work to do on the site.

Council will meet once more before the end of June before taking a summer break. Please speak to the Wardens or any Parish Council member if you have concerns or questions about a parish matter. And we wish for you a summer that allows you to rest and recharge as we see God’s wonderful creation bloom and grow around us.

Wardens serving you in Christ
Keith Brooks Sophie Skaith Shelley Lowther Marg Wolsley

Wardens' wanderings.... (Easter)
As we inch our way toward Easter, and we continue to work at our jobs, our volunteer duties or look after our daily tasks at home, the idea of repentance or turning back to God remains in plain view. Did you give up doing or eating something or did you add something to your routine? Whatever it was, ask yourself how you are doing? Are you making progress toward that goal you set for yourself? If yes, fantastic and if not, then consider Paul's advice in Philippians 3:14 in saying "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." By keeping our eyes on the ultimate goal, our advances, no matter how big or small, will keep us on track!

Our work as wardens is all about keeping St. Anne's on track with those matters that maintain our presence as a worshiping community in Byron. One matter that may be old news by the time you read this will be our change to worship times. Rev'd Val will be taking on duties at another nearby Anglican church to have a combined 95% position between the two churches. Aside from this slight Sunday morning change, we won't experience any change in her availability to parishioners. We will keep you up-to-date as soon as more is known.

You may recall that a number of years ago, Christ Church on Wellington St. in London closed and a number of articles from that church came to St. Anne's. At that time St. Anne's also contributed some money to help pay for the dismantling and storage of a set of stained glass windows by artist Ted Gooden. As any installation of those windows at St. Anne's, either in the parish hall or in the new pollination garden, would have meant up to $40,000 in expenses, a decision was made by Parish Council to release the windows for others to use. As noted in Bishop Linda's letter elsewhere in this newsletter, the windows have found a home in the new church of All Saints', Waterloo. We may not have been able to marvel in their beauty on our premises, and they are amazing, but it is gratifying to know that we played a key role in conserving the windows until they could find a new home. A stewardship job well done!

As affirmed at our recent vestry meeting, we will be proceeding with a few capital works projects both at the church and parish hall. One of these projects was part of a longer list approved at an April 2014 special vestry meeting. It has been agreed that we need to maintain our property now to avoid future higher costs and if we are able to do so and get a return on that investment, then it makes sense to do so. Just as the new insulation in the church roof will save heating costs and new kitchen windows will add comfort to and support Heavenly Pies production, a proposal recently approved by Parish Council will support our bid for greater rental income. Although not yet finalized, plans are to do a bit of carpet replacement and painting to spruce up several rooms with rental potential. It is amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do! Some newer furniture may also be added. The cost of the project will be paid for through increased rental income over the next year or so. And if you are a painter or can assist in some way with putting a new face on these rooms, please speak to Mike J.

Information about our donations received to date has been in our pew bulletins for some months. Hopefully you have found this helpful. As donation amounts change monthly based somewhat on church attendance, such as with February's inclement weather, we will be (or have already by the time you read this) making changes to the format of this information to make it easier to understand. If you have any questions or comments, please contact one of the wardens.

With all that goes on at St. Anne's, the wardens have considered how they might best serve and stay in touch with all the active groups. To that end, certain wardens will be primary contacts for groups based on the following:

  • Administration, Finance, Staffing and Communication Wardens: Keith B, Shelley L
  • Faith and Worship Wardens: Sophie S, Marg W
  • Property and Safe Church Wardens: Keith B, Sophie S
  • Pastoral Care and Outreach Wardens: Shelley L, Marg W

Wardens serving you in Christ
Keith B., Sophie S., Shelley L., Marg W.

Council Conversations (Lent)

By the time you read this, we will have finished our annual Vestry meeting and voted on our Mission and Ministry Strategic Plan for the next five years. While plans can always change over the next five-year period, we will have set our feet upon a path that confirms who we are as a community and some of what we will do as a result. We are disciples of Jesus, the Son of God, who was born, lived and died to reconcile us to our Father God and who have been asked to follow his example to love God and our neighbour. That is surely something that is not always easy to live up to. Yet we are called to commit ourselves to this life-long task and work at it bit-by-bit. And so, what have you committed yourself to do as part of your own mission and ministry plan? Or as part of our St. Anne's Mission and Ministry Plan?

Lent begins on February 14th this year. It is a season in the church's year when we are asked to reflect on our lives and repent, or turn back to God. One dictionary expresses repent as "to change one's mind". It can also be seen as regret or sorrow for past action or even "to turn from evil, and to turn to the good." It sounds dramatic, yet God calls us to turn our attention back to Him and how we can live out His good plan for our lives, both on our own and in our community. Isn't it interesting that Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent is on the Feast of St. Valentine when we turn our attention to those closest to us and express our love for them in words and deed? And can we commit this year to doing the same for God who gave us this life and His love as expressed in Jesus?

As our community of St. Anne's, and each of us individually, begin this Lenten journey, think consciously of how your faith affects each part of your life. Let's each one of us consider how we can strengthen our community in the days ahead. Will it be in just a bit more prayer, study, donation of money or time? You are the only one who can decide how to make this Lenten journey meaningful.

Thank you for being part of our St. Anne's community. And don't forget to celebrate progress on your Lenten journey!

Wardens serving you in Christ

Keith B, Shelley L, Sophie S, Marg W