November 2020 Session Meeting Notes

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Session Notes November 2020

Although Session is ultimately responsible for all aspects of RPC’s life and mission, except the preaching from the pulpit, there is a large amount of work around the practical implications of having staff and owning buildings.  So RPC has a Board of Managers to deal with responsibilities such as counting offering, paying bills, employing the office administrator and church custodian, maintaining and insuring both the church building and the manse, and dealing with various levels of civil government.  Board members are gifted and skilled in these areas.  They are elected on a rotating term basis at each Annual Congregational Meeting and meet regularly throughout the year.

The Board and Session will occasionally hold joint deliberations on major issues which heavily involve both mandates.  Monday, Nov 16, was a ‘triple-header’ night:  the Board met at 6:00 pm, then Session joined them at 7:00 pm, and finally Session alone continued after the conclusion of the joint meeting.  Treasurer Larry Eastwood also ‘Zoomed in’, as his knowledge of our finances, denominational practices, and government regulations is literally indispensable for these discussions.  Envelope secretary Heather Campbell’s information was critical to the meeting as well.

Together we looked at 4 issues:

  1. 2020 financial situation
  2. preliminary 2121 financial outlook
  3. confirming POIEO as an RPC ministry
  4. date for our joint January budget meeting (Jan 11, 2021)

There was lengthy discussion on items 1 and 2, and you will be receiving a more comprehensive report soon.  Regarding POIEO, which is the Arts Ministry that Young Tae our Assistant Minister is developing as part of the missional ministry which RPC is supporting, we simply need to formalise our relationship so that it can issue charitable donation tax receipts under RPC’s umbrella.  This is a temporary solution while Young Tae is on staff as Assistant Minister.  Long-term, POIEO will move to a different solution to this issue as it grows into a multinational arts ministry.

You will be aware that we have returned to pre-recorded worship on Sundays.  This will be the format for all Advent and Christmas services.  It provides the best quality for the Advent, pageant, and choir videos that are planned for the season.  So far, we don’t know whether there will be a virtual joint service with other Richmond congregations on Dec 27 as in other years.  Stay tuned.

The Nurture and Fellowship team has been wonderfully creative around this year’s Seniors’ Christmas Tea.  Since people can’t come to the tea, the tea will come to the people!  The team will prepare boxes of baking, other goodies, and favours and take them to our seniors.  What a gift to a group which has been particularly hard-hit by lockdowns and social isolation.

Our two Part-time Program Planners (i.e. ‘summer students’), Jacqueline Cleland and James Lolong, have been doing great work this fall with our young people and have developed relationships with many kids and families.  Their original engagement ends after December, but Session wishes to keep them on for another 25 weeks into next year to build on these connections.  We will look to the Memorial Fund to provide an honorarium for each.

These are unprecedented times for sure, but we are still blessed on so many levels.  God gave us hearts to love and hands to serve, but also brains to be adaptive and imaginations to be creative.  Please continue to support RPC’s ministry through your prayer, participation, stewardship, and encouragement.  Our personal bubble may have shrunk for now, but our world-facing mission has not.

Graeme Stager
 Clerk of Session