Last week I sent you the first part of significant staffing updates within First Third Ministry.
Today's message is the second installment of such information ~ sharing news of a tender, yet exciting departure, and an arrival simply bursting with cuteness and joy.
I feel blessed to have called Mary my colleague for the past almost five years. We laugh that she is the “voice of reason” in our staff team, and it is true! Mary has faithfully grounded the work of the region's First Third Ministry with a quiet and creative energy. Her capacity to mentor and resource new and continuing leaders has been a significant gift to many communities of faith across Chinook Winds and Pacific Mountain regions - and across Canada. I will miss Mary’s wisdom and compassionate presence on our team and am grateful for the countless, brilliant hours we worked together to create and manage First Third Ministry.
Later today, news celebrating the appointment of Rev. Mary Nichol to VST will be shared by VST. You can read Mary's reflection on her time with children, youth and family ministry later in this email. Mary, you are a true blessing to the church and this new role could not be more suited to anyone else. I pray that this new role affirms for you God’s deep abiding love and delight for all that you do!
And read on for that mention of cuteness and joy!
Wishing you a beautiful start to the season of Advent as you enter the mystery of hope, peace, joy and love.
First Third Ministry Team Lead
Chris Mah Poy, Chinook Winds First Third Ministry and Justice, Networks Animator, Welcomes Baby!
Chris and his partner Brie welcomed their child Magdalena into the world in October. They are overjoyed and very sleepy (and appreciate prayers and groceries!). The First Third Ministry team is thrilled and look forward to the zoom calls with glimpses of the baby and her parents! We pray that they may know God’s presence in these busy infant times.
In January of 2024, I leave my position as Regional Minister with First Third Ministry to begin work as Vancouver School of Theology’s new Director of Theological Field Education.
I am so grateful for being a part of Conference and now Regional Ministry. I began work with BC Conference in 2017 and am grateful for the opportunity to support children and family ministry in conference. I was fortunate to be a part of the creation of VST’s Certificate in Children, Youth and Family ministry. I am grateful for the wisdom of folks who have are gifted and called into this ministry who helped with this important work long before I began in 2017. The people, colleagues and leaders in communities of faith, who I have worked with during these past six years are a gift to our communities of faith and our United Church. The time I have spent facilitating a weekly group of those in leadership with Children, Youth, Families, Young Adults in a United Church setting has been inspiring. Their passion and commitment to supporting young people and families in their faith journey is awe-inspiring.
I am very proud of our team’s work in creating our Faith@ Home Magazine, work that begin in April in 2020. I have also valued supporting our outdoor camping ministry in both Chinook Winds and Pacific Mountain regions.
As I begin this new role, I bring with me a passion for equipping leaders with skills, experience, and holistic knowledge to lead authentically and passionately that which has been nurtured during my work over the past six years.
It has been a privilege and a blessing to have been a part of the First Third Ministry Team.
Rev. Mary Nichol
ABOUT THE MAGAZINE
Published four times a year, Faith@Home is a Christian magazine with United Church of Canada identity and theology. It is created in-house by Chinook Winds Pacific Mountain First Third Ministry, and distributed through The United Church Bookstore.
Faith@Home Magazines were created as an outreach resource for ministers and leaders to foster their ministry with the children, youth, and families in the community of faith they serve. Leaders order enough copies for each family (or individual) in their community, and arrange for delivery of the magazine to each household.
A RESOURCE THAT RESONATES
The magazines are rich with spiritual practices, prayers, crafts, games, and activities that explore the themes of the different liturgical seasons and focus on specific biblical stories taken from lectionary readings.
In addition to supporting faith formation at home, Faith@Home magazines have proven to be a wonderful way to support grandparents and godparents in faithfully connecting with the young people in their lives.
BECOME A FAITH @ HOME WRITER
CWPM First Third Ministry actively seeking people with a passion for writing for children, youth, and families to contribute to Faith@Home Magazine.
We are specifically looking for engaging activities suitable for individuals or groups during the upcoming Christian Liturgical seasons of Lent, Holy Week, or Easter (2024).
Your work will be financially compensated by 20-30 cents per word.
HOW TO APPLY
Please submit an expression of interest along with an example of your writing to Pamela Evans, email@example.com by December 1, 2023 2023.
We welcome creative and thoughtful contributions that resonate with our target audience.
Since being formed in 2019, enduring the intensity of the pandemic, and now living into the curious space of experiencing a new way to be the Church, the staff composite of the First Third Ministry team is, too, naturally shifting. We all - regions, communities of faith, and people - continue to be shaped and lead by the Spirit. I am grateful.
More news will indeed be shared in the coming weeks as positions are filled, reflections such as Sarah and Lindsay's (below) are received, and as the Christian New Year approaches, leading us delightfully into the Mystery of Christmas.
As always, know that we pray for you - children, youth, young adults, families, and those in leadership, we notice your ministry and love of young people. We give God thanks for all you do.
~ We Bless and Celebrate Those Who are Leaving ~
Please join me in celebrating the important contributions of these First Third Ministry team members, as they leave their regional council positions to move to new, exciting areas on their life's journey.
Rev. Tim Nethercott, Chinook Winds Campus Ministry, Calgary
Tim retires at the end of 2023, and a party to honour his over-20 years of service to the YYC campuses will be Thursday, December 14. All are welcome to attend (more details below).
Daniel Martin, Pacific Mountain Campus Ministry Animator
Daniel resigned in September 2023 to continue his education and candidacy steps to becoming ordained in the United Church of Canada.
Lindsay Veenstra, First Third Ministry Animator
Sarah Prestwich, First Third Ministry Animator
Lindsay and Sarah finished their work at the end of September and end of October 2023, respectively to each pursue further education. Lindsay entered University of Victoria law school, and Sarah entered the Vancouver Island University baccalaureate education program to become an elementary school teacher.
With some sadness with your leaving, our regional councils hold deep joy and great appreciation for you:
Tim, Daniel, Lindsay, and Sarah,
We have been blessed by your ministry and commitment to First Third Ministry!
We wish you the best in your new endeavours.
~ We Are Thrilled to Welcome Those Who Are Joining ~
Alexandra Barr, First Third Ministry Administrator and Communications
Alexandra is leaving her role as Pacific Mountain Regional Council Receptionist and Program Support to Indigeous Ministry and Justice Ministry Network, to take up the newly-designed First Third Ministry position that coordinates administration, registration, and communication for each focus area within First Third Ministry.
Reverend Lydia Ruenzel, Campus Minister Simon Fraser University
Lydia begins her role as SFU Campus Minister on December 1, 2023, after serving the congregation of Ladner United Church for the past 4 years.
~ We Are Excited For Who Else May Come ~
We encourage applications to these First Third Ministry positions:
First Third Ministry's vision to innovate, adapt, and create places of connection and formation is a blessing, as is the work of serving communities of faith and young people across Chinook Winds and Pacific Mountain Regional councils. We look forward to this next chapter in our collective ministry with those in the first-third of life's journey.
From Sarah and Linsday, In Their Own Words
An Invitation from Chinook Winds Newsletter
Let’s celebrate Tim’s ministry and bless him on his way into retirement. With great creativity and devotion, Tim has served as chaplain at the University of Calgary, Mount Royal University and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology for more than 20 years. There will be snacks, refreshments and some speeches. Please RSVP via this Jotform by Monday, December 11, 2023.
You can contribute to Tim’s retirement gift by e-transfer to David Blackadar at firstname.lastname@example.org or call David to set up another way to contribute at 403-239-5854.