Finding Peter Bryce Now Available on CHURCHx
In the latter half of 2022, the name Peter Bryce was once again in the news. Bryce was honoured on the second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as the doctor who, in 1907, blew the whistle on atrocities taking place at residential schools. Dr. Cindy Blackstock, internationally recognized First Nations scholar, child welfare expert, and recipient of TUCC’s Heart & Vision Award in 2017, also mentioned the legacy of Dr. Bryce when she recently accepted the position of Chancellor at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.
As part of TUCC’s commitment to join the broader church community in responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 calls to action, we is pleased to offer access to Gumboot Productions’ 22 minute documentary Finding Peter Bryce to United Church communities of faith and ministries.
The film can be viewed on CHURCHx, TUCC’s new e-learning platform, where we have also posted a resource list and questions for further discussion. There is no cost for United Church communities of faith but you will be asked to create a CHURCHx account. Register to view the film.
Introducing CHURCHx - TUCC's New e-Learning Website!
In a time of both challenges and opportunities, TUCC has launched a new e-learning website called CHURCHx to meet the needs of congregations, clergy, and the organizations that support them as they navigate a fast-evolving reality.
CHURCHx has been developed by TUCC’s Innovative Ministry Centre, building on the digital pivot required of all church organizations when the COVID pandemic hit. It is designed to be a place where Christians can explore questions related to faith and social justice, learn new skills for leading worship or managing congregational finances, and find guidance for grappling with difficult decisions or responding to the challenges of a post-COVID world.
Built on the model of “a campus with many schools,” CHURCHx partners with a variety of institutions across denominations. By hosting content developed by different institutions and educators on one platform, learners are given access to diverse approaches to missional learning as well as a vast learning community, where they can connect with people and ideas beyond their usual circles. The General Council of the United Church has chosen CHURCHx as its exclusive platform for elearning and you can already find United in Learning and EDGE courses offered there.
Visit churchx.ca and browse the courses on offer. We are confident that more than one will be relevant to your context!
Announcing the 2022 Baillie Award Recipients
Toronto United Church Council’s Baillie Volunteer Service Awards are granted annually to youth and young adults who have demonstrated a strong commitment to volunteer service in their churches and communities. This year, seven young people based in congregations across southern Ontario, have received the award for their engagement in a variety of forms of service and justice work. Toronto United Church Council is proud to support communities of faith in celebrating the ministries of their young members. The Baillie Volunteer Service Awards are made annually across southern Ontario, thanks to the bequest of James Baillie, a visionary church leader who recognized that the contributions of youth are important elements of our church’s future.
Pictured in alphabetical order, the 2022 award recipients are: Kevin Doe (Fairlawn Avenue United Church), William Dufour (Trinity United Church, Acton), Jackson Finnimore (Ebenezer United Church), Daveisha Francis (St. Andrew’s United Church, Markham), Hazel Garde (Munn’s United Church), Derek Gillett (High Country United Church), and Hailey Knight (Antler River Watershed Regional Council).
TUCC Pledges $36,000 to Gibimishkaadimin Over Next Three Years
TUCC is a proud supporter of Gibimishkaadimin, a project of reconciliation engaging Indigenous youth from across Canada and non-Indigenous youth from Shining Waters region. Each year, Gibimishkaadimin’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants set out on a canoe trip in Northern Ontario. The focus of the trip is on collaborative and experiential learning through an Indigenous perspective as well as fostering relationships with one another and with the land. Gibimishkaadimin was established by Bloor Street, Fairlawn and Rosedale United Churches in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. It is directed by a six-person Board, three of whom are Indigenous. TUCC has made a commitment of $36,000 ($12,000/year for three years) to support trips in 2022, 2023, and 2024. Due to the popularity of the program, two groups of youth went out this summer
Wasaga Beach United: Recovering from COVID-19
At TUCC, we have been so pleased to see that churches are beginning to recover from the impacts of COVID-19. Wasaga Beach United Church has made special efforts to pay off its bridge loan with TUCC. TUCC was glad to make special arrangements when COVID disrupted the life of so many congregations, and live out its reputation as the “the friendly banker” to our church.
TUCC Grant Helped Sustain Stone Soup Network through Critical Transition
At its June 23rd meeting, TUCC’s board approved a $10,000 grant to the Stone Soup Network to help sustain them as they sought a more permanent source of funding to develop their program at a national level. Started out of Windermere United Church in Toronto in 2016, the Stone Soup Network invites local businesses to share products and services with neighbours in need. During its six years in operation, over $250,000 in donated goods and services have been shared with over 3,000 people struggling with poverty. The good news is, on July 13th, the Five Oaks board voted to assume the Stone Soup Network national program and its assets. That means that they are now in a position to apply for grants as a program of Five Oaks which will greatly increase their financial sustainability. We are proud to have supported the work of Stone Soup Network at a critical transition stage and look forward to seeing their grassroots community support model roll out across the country.
TUCC Hosts Gathering for Lansing's Worshipping Partners
In June 2022, TUCC hosted its first gathering in the role of property management team at Lansing United, bringing together the four worshipping partners who call Lansing home (Lansing United Church, Alpha Korean United Church, Filipino Christian Fellowship, and Global Korean Community Church). As well as introducing the TUCC staff and Lansing’s new minister, Brad Inglis, to the congregations, the gathering provided an opportunity for their members – many of whom had never met – to say hello and share some food together. Friendships were forged, ideas were shared, and planning is in the works for another get together.
A Time of Return for United Church Camps
The summer of 2022 is proving to be a time of return for our camps. Despite the uncertainty of the weekly health reports, registration levels are good at Camp Big Canoe, Camp Scugog, Camp Simpresca, Ryde Lake Camp, and Sparrow Lake Camp. Meanwhile, efforts have been underway to prepare the facilities for the arrival of campers (pictured at right, Camp Simpresca volunteers tidy the camp’s grounds)! Last summer, despite the pandemic, several of the camps were able to introduce limited and carefully managed on-site programs such as family camps. This year, all five camps are undertaking a “normal” camping program, while of course ensuring that pandemic care measures (as prescribed by government and the Ontario Camping Association) are in effect.
Meanwhile, TUCC’s Camping Opportunities Fund (COF) is returning to its original purpose! Over the past two years, COF donations were used to help sustain the camps as they responded to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Facing a prolonged loss of income from registrations, the camps were able to use COF funds to maintain and revitalize their campsites in anticipation of the day when their gates could reopen to campers. In 2022, the COF will return to funding camperships that enable young people whose families are unable to cover registration fees, to experience a summer at camp.
East Plains Child Care Centre Opens with Help of Investing in Ministry Fund Loan
East Plains United Church recently completed renovations that allowed the new East Plains Child Care Centre to open in its premises. An Investing in Ministry Fund loan from TUCC provided just under half of the funding for this project that will offer much needed secure childcare places for up to 77 children in the Aldershot community and be a source of income for the East Plains congregation.
TUCC’s Investing in Ministry Fund is a unique church to church capital pool providing loans to ministries and income to investing communities of faith. The fund’s 2021 report is now available, including information on capital projects assisted by the fund in recent years as well as the rate of return for investors.
TUCC's SELF Fund Supports Geothermal Installation at Camp Scugog
Amidst the many challenges faced by United Church camps over the past two years, one story of hope is that of the farmhouse renovation currently taking place at Camp Scugog. Awarded a Trillium foundation grant to expand their programming into the shoulder season, the leadership at Camp Scugog knew that their 19th century farmhouse, used as a dining hall and gathering place by the camp, would need to be converted into a four season facility.
Bringing young people into close contact with the natural world, United Church camps are known for fostering environmental consciousness (pictured in this post are participants in Scugog’s nature school programming, featured recently in the Toronto Star). When it came to upgrading their dining hall, Camp Scugog wanted to put the respect for creation they instill in their campers into practice by choosing an eco-friendly geothermal climate control solution. The geothermal system will use water circulation to convert the natural, underground temperature of the Earth to warm (or cool) indoor spaces with almost no carbon emissions.
While Scugog’s Trillium grant is providing the bulk of the funding for the farmhouse renovation, a TUCC Sustainable Energy Loans Fund (SELF) loan is assisting specifically with the geothermal installation. Since its establishment in 2010 the SELF Fund has supported a wide variety of energy saving initiatives – from solar installations, to energy efficient furnaces and windows, to building envelope upgrades – but this is the first geothermal project for which funds have been accessed. TUCC is delighted to support Camp Scugog in this venture that is a real investment in future campers and the world they will inherit!
Introducing TUCC's Newest Staff Members
As a result of an increasing role in property management work, both directly for congregations like Lansing United Church, for regional councils, and in support of the work of the United Property Resource Corporation (UPRC) TUCC is adding to its property staff team.
Christine Swearing, who has been Church & Community Facility Manager for Lansing United Church since November 2019 will be transferring permanently to the TUCC team in the coming months. Christine worked in the non-profit sector for almost two decades and then made a career shift into property management, with a keen interest in property & space utilization with purpose. As well as continuing many of her existing roles in respect to the Lansing building she will be developing her knowledge of TUCC’s wider property portfolio and familiarizing herself with operations in and around various properties. She looks forward to working more closely with TUCC and establishing lasting connections with all stakeholders.
Clare Dennis has been hired as TUCC’s Director Special Events & Community Services. This new role focuses especially on allowing for more life events to happen at church buildings. Clare is an experienced business leader with demonstrated success delivering and managing best-in-class sponsorships and events for non-profit, corporate and the private clients that she serves. She has a lifelong passion for building impactful sustainable partnerships that deliver exceptional event and fundraising experiences. She is currently serving on the Board of Schools of Dreams as Fundraising & Development Chair. Schools of Dreams is a charity that transforms the lives of young children and their communities by building safe, sustainable learning environments in rural Ghana.