From the Chair of Council

2019 Updates

AUC Council News – February 2019  

The month started with a Congregational Meeting following worship service on February 3.  Four items were considered at the meeting:      

In January, Roy Eveleigh submitted his resignation from the Board of Trustees, having served as a member and Chair for two decades.  As required by the United Church of Canada’s bylaws, the congregation was required to meet and vote its acceptance of the resignation.  In so doing, the congregation expressed its gratitude to Roy for his long service and valued contribution to AUC.      

  • Bill Newman informed the congregation that an order-of-magnitude budget for the construction and fitup of the new AUC had been approved by Council at its January meeting.  The budget, based on  architectural and engineering design studies, is a realistic and responsible one.  Approval of the budget was required to enable design work to advance to the next stage.  Based on advice from our legal counsel, the details of the budget are not being released at this time pending the outcome of the mediation of our claim for damages against Servicemaster and the roofing contractors resulting from the fire.
  •  On behalf of the EDGE Property Committee, Brian North brought the congregation up to date on the design and construction planning work, the relocation of the Bell Canada fibre optics cable and the removal of the balance of burial ground from the site.  Michael Wright, who is serving as an advisor to the EDGE Property Committee, gave a presentation summarizing the amazing amount of work which has been completed by the Committee to get us this far in the rebuilding process where we are nearing the start of actual construction.
  • Rev. Andy Comar provided a briefing on the status of AUC’s lawsuit against Servicemaster and the two roofing contractors.  The claim is set to be mediated on April 2.  If the mediation is successful, the parties will agree on a settlement of the claim.  If it is not successful, the matter will proceed to trial.  Let’s all hope for a successful outcome on the 2nd. The meeting was well attended and hopefully achieved its purpose of keeping the congregation informed and engaged.   Council met for its regular monthly meeting on February 11.  Highlights from the meeting included:
  • Council continued its consideration of the items that need to be addressed to prepare for our transition to the new church.  The scope of the discussion included items such as staffing, governance, policies and procedures, inviting in the community, the management of technology and lease/licence administration.  There are many details to be thought through between now and opening day.
  • For all readers of “The United Church Observer”, the publication, which has borne that title since 1939, is being rebranded as “Broadview” effective May 2019.  The change in name is apparently being made to coincide with church renewal.  “Broadview”, according to advance reports will contain more editorial content and a fresh new design.  It will be published 10 times per year and remain at the current annual subscription price of $25.00.
  • Under the United Church of Canada’s new dues structure, AUC’s annual dues payments to Shining Waters Region (formerly presbytery dues) will increase to an approximate $30,000 compared to our 2018 dues of $21,156.00.  To lessen the impact of significant increases in payments such as ours, annual increases are being capped at 10% for the next four years.  AUC’s regional dues for 2019 will therefore be $23, 271.00.
  • Council reviewed the draft agenda and Nominating Committee report in preparation for the Annual General Meeting on Sunday, March 17.  AUC will be entitled to send four representatives to the Shining Waters Regional Council AGM in Barrie in May.  Congregational members will be invited to express their interest in representing AUC at the meeting.
  • Council voted to renew the authority of the Trustees to pay all invoices associated with the rebuild approved by the EDGE Property Committee without them also being individually approved by Council.  This approach is being taken to streamline the payment of invoices  and ensure they are paid on a timely basis.  The motion, as passed by Council, read:  That Council authorize the Trustees to pay rebuilding invoices and insurance  claims for 2019.   Council will next meet on March 11.  All are encouraged to attend the AUC AGM on Sunday, March 17 in Binions Hall following worship service.  The AGM is an ideal opportunity to be brought up-to-date on the Church’s activities and finances.  It is also your chance to show your interest and to raise any questions you might have in an open forum. 

We  hope to see you there!   Bill Newman Chair, AUC Council   

AUC Council News – January 2019  

AUC Council’s first meeting of the new year was held on January 14.  Summarized below are the highlights of the meeting discussion:  

  • Brian North, Chair of the EDGE Property Committee, provided an update on the rebuilding project and tabled for Council’s consideration an order-of-magnitude budget for the construction of our new church.  The budget, based on engineering and architectural design cost analyses, covered the construction and fit up of the new building.  Council’s approval of the budget was being sought by the EDGE Committee to enable our architect to advance to the next stage of detailed design.  Following discussion, Council unanimously recommended approval of the budget.  This decision marked a major step forward in the design process advancing towards the application for building permits and the start of construction.  Council also expressed its appreciation to Brian and the members of the EDGE Committee for their efforts and for continuing to move the project forward.  
  • Following two decades of service on the Board of Trustees, Roy Eveleigh notified Council of his intention to resign as a member and Chair of the Board of Trustees.  A congregational meeting is being called for February 3 at which the Congregation will consider and vote on the acceptance of Roy’s resignation as required by the bylaws of the United Church of Canada.  At the same time, Council acknowledged and expressed its appreciation to Roy for his years of dedication and commitment to the Trustees.  Further information about the meeting can be found in the weekly announcements and on the web site.  
  • In their Ministry Team report, Rev. Andy and Rev. Lorraine noted that Karen Hatch will be joining Trinity Anglican as its new Rector effective April 1.  Under the new United Church organizational structure which came into effect January 1, AUC is part of one of the new regional councils which to date has been called Region 10.  A new name has been chosen for the regional council.  AUC is now part of Shining Waters Region.  
  • On behalf of the Finance Committee, John Barkla presented the proposed AUC operating budget for 2019 with Finance’s recommendation that it be approved.  Council approved the budget and recommended it for the Congregation’s approval at the Annual General Meeting on March 17.  Council also thanked the Finance Committee for once again preparing a carefully crafted and considered budget.  
  • John Kuropatwa, Chair of the Ministry & Personnel Committee, brought forward a motion to appoint Hank Gosar as a new member of the Committee effective immediately.  Council unanimously approved the appointment.  Congratulations, Hank, on your appointment and thank you for serving on the M&P Committee.  
  • With the Annual General Meeting set for March 17, Committee Chairs were asked to submit their reports for inclusion in the Annual Report to Cathy Hiltz by February 22.  Details about the AGM and submissions for the Annual Report can be found in the weekly announcements and on the web site.  
  • Council will hold its February meeting on February 11.  

I would invite you to speak to me at any time should you have any questions or concerns about Council matters.    

Bill Newman Chair, AUC Council

 

 

AUC Council News – December 2018      

Council convened for its December meeting on December 10.  To keep you informed and up-to-date, here are the highlights of the meeting.  

·        With the discontinuation of the Presbytery level in the United Church of Canada’s new organizational structure effective January 1, this meeting was Ivor Robert’s last as the Presbytery representative on Council.  Tribute was paid to Ivor not only for his ten year service as AUC’s Presbytery representative but also for his years of selfless commitment and dedication to many other AUC committees and activities, almost too numerous to list.  Thank you, Ivor!  

·        The EDGE Property Committee is scheduled to meet twice before Christmas on December 11 and 18.  A pro-forma budget and schedule for the construction of the new church will be presented by the architect and considered by the Committee at the December 18 meeting.  After further assessment of the economics and practicalities of having the archaeologists continue through the winter with the removal of the remaining burials, it was decided to suspend activity on the site until the spring.  Bell is continuing work on the reconnection of the telecommunications lines at the new junction box on Tyler but will not remove the cable duct traversing the site until the spring.  

·        Rev. Andy reported that AUC will become part of the new Region 10 under the UCC’s revamped organizational structure.  A name (other than the austere sounding Region 10) has yet to be chosen for the Region.  AUC will be invited to send up to four representatives to the initial annual meeting of the Region to be held in Barrie at the end of May.  

·        In reaction to the recent announcement of the settlement reached amongst Toronto Conference, Rev. Gretta Vosper and West Hill United Church, I brought the following motion forward for Council’s consideration: That the Council of Aurora United Church, representing the congregation of Aurora United Church, expresses its profound disappointment and disagreement with the decision to allow Rev. Vosper to continue in the Order of Ministry of the United Church of Canada;  and  That a copy of this Notice of Motion be forwarded to the offices of Toronto Conference and the General Council.   Discussing the motion, Council members expressed that they would be uncomfortable approving the motion without first consulting the Congregation.  It was also voiced that a formal Council motion might not be the most appropriate way to register AUC’s concerns with the settlement and that a voluntary petition might be a better vehicle to do so.  In light of the points raised during the discussion, I withdrew the motion from further consideration.  

·        The date for AUC’s Annual General Meeting was set for Sunday March 17, 2019.  

·        The Ministry & Personnel (M&P) Committee has been seeking new members.  On the recommendation of John Kuropatwa, Chair of M&P, Council passed the following motion:   That Heather Collins be appointed to the M&P Committee effective immediately.   Thank you, Heather, for stepping forward to serve AUC as a member of M&P.

·        Council’s next meeting will be on January 14, 2019.  

May you all have a peaceful and enjoyable Christmas and New Years with family and friends.   I would be pleased to discuss and any comments or concerns you might have with the matters considered at Council.     Bill Newman Chair, AUC Council

 

 

AUC Council News – November 2018

Preparing for life in our new church building was an item of discussion at Council’s meeting on November 12.  Over its next number of meetings extending into the new year, Council will be talking about a number of topics to identify the work items which will need to be completed in preparation for the opening and operation of the new AUC.  Council will not be discussing construction activities, which are the purview of the EDGE Property Committee, but rather items such as membership, governance, communications and operational preparations.  Within each of these areas, Council will be identifying the tasks that need to be completed and which committee or group should undertake them.  The aim of the exercise is to ensure that we have a smooth and welcoming transition to our new home by thinking through and completing all the necessary work in advance of the opening.  Although actual construction of the building has yet to start, it is not too early to start thinking about how we are going to operate the new church.  There are many items to be considered and much work to be done in readiness for opening day.  

Brian North briefed Council on the activities of the EDGE Property Committee and progress made to prepare the church site for the start of actual construction.  Due to the wet weather through the fall and the early onset of winter conditions, the archaeologists have had to suspend their activities until the spring. 

A total of 134 sets of remains have been exhumed to date with a number still to be removed along the northern portion of the site and underneath the Bell fibre optic cable line.  Bell should complete the construction of the new fibre optic cable by Christmas or shortly thereafter with the existing cable across the site to be removed in the spring.   The status of AUC’s lawsuit against ServiceMaster and the roofing companies was updated by Roy Eveleigh.  The parties are scheduled to enter into mediation in April.  If the parties fail to reach a settlement as a result of mediation, the action would then likely proceed to trial in 2020.  

Rev. Andy provided an update on the activities he and Rev. Lorraine have been involved in over the last month.  Rev. Andy is wrapping up his work with several presbytery and conference level committees that will be discontinued with the implementation of the new church organizational structure next year.  Rev. Andy also met recently with a group of new Ontario Provincial Police recruits as part of their orientation training.  He spoke to them about our church’s involvement in the community and the outreach programmes it offers.  

Council considered the first draft of the 2019 operating budget prepared by the Finance Committee.  A balanced budget, requiring continued infusions of interest income from the insurance proceeds, is again being planned for 2019.  Council discussed the draft and returned it to the Finance Committee for finalization and resubmission for approval at Council’s December meeting.  The draft of a six-year financial forecast prepared by Finance was also reviewed.  The forecast, when finalized, will enable AUC to better plan and manage its financial resources through the construction of the new church and the start of income flows from our development partner.  Plaudits go to Stephen Crawley and the Finance Committee for their capable management and forward planning of our financial needs.  

Council will next meet on December 10 when the discussion will centre on preparations for the opening of the new church, finalization of the proposed 2019 operating budget and plans for the Annual General Meeting in February.  Should you have any questions, comments or concerns, I would be pleased to discuss them with you.   AUC Council News – October 2018  

AUC Council convened on October 1

for its monthly meeting.  The evening featured the discussion of a number of current matters and the passing of several motions with all intended to advance the interests of the congregation and the work of AUC in the community.  

Progress continues to be made to clear the way for the start of actual construction on our new church.  Brian North, Chair of the EDGE Property Committee, reported that design work continues and a construction budget should be available by the end of October. 

Succession Development, our development partner, is eager to start construction.  Bell is working on Tyler Street to install a new fibre optics cable hub which will enable the decommissioning of the cable currently traversing the church property. 

The archaeological work to remove the old Methodist burial ground is approaching its final stages. Thus far, one hundred sets of remains have been exhumed.  Brian will have more to report in his update at the Congregational Update scheduled for October 21 following worship.  

As part of their Ministry Team Report, Revs. Andy and Lorraine advised that Welcoming Arms is looking for volunteers to fill two positions:  Volunteer Coordinator and Martha’s Table Coordinator.  If you are interested in contributing to a valued support group in our community, contact Rev. Andy for further information.  

You may have noticed that Rev. Lorraine has been encountering difficulties with her headset microphone during Sunday services.  The Ministers obviously require the proper audio equipment to be able to deliver a service which will be clearly heard by all.  Council approved a motion to increase the Audio Visual Committee’s current year budget by $800.00 to permit the purchase of a new headset microphone for Rev. Lorraine.  

The Magna Neighbourhood Network supports local organizations and groups by providing volunteers and linking community resources for its members.  By joining the organization, AUC’s Outreach Committee, for example, would be able to access the Neighbourhood Network’s resources to find volunteers for the Rise n’ Shine Breakfast and other outreach activities. Membership in the organization is free-of-charge.  With these potential benefits, Council passed a motion that AUC become a member of the Magna Neighbourhood Network.  

You will recall that the AUC congregation, through AUC’s participation with Trinity and the Newmarket Islamic Centre under the name of Interfaith Refugee Resettlers (IRR), sponsored a Syrian refugee family in 2016.  At the time, it was stated that IRR would sponsor a second family, but the timelines for the family’s arrival were not known.  Recently, IRR was informed that the second family is going to be arriving soon.  Although there are funds being held in trust from earlier fund raising efforts, they are not sufficient to fully cover the expenses for the sponsorship of a second family.  Any additional fund raising requirement would be shared between Trinity Anglican and AUC.  Concluding the discussion, Council passed a motion authorizing AUC to continue working through the IRR to raise up to $15,000.00 and an additional $15,000.00, if needed, to support the sponsorship of a second refugee family for a period of one year.  

October promises to be an event-filled month with the Linnea Goods concert on October 19, our Congregational Update on October 21 and the 200th Anniversary Service on October 28. Further details are available in the weekly announcements or on the Church website.  Hopefully you will be able to attend all three events.  Council’s next meeting will take place on November 12.  

Bill Newman, Chair, AUC Council  

 

AUC Council News – September 2018  

After a two-month summer break, AUC Council gathered for its first meeting of the 2018-19 cycle on September 10.  The fall and winter months ahead will be full of discussion and activity as AUC approaches the culmination of its bicentennial celebrations, moves forward with the construction of our new Church and adapts to the transformative changes in the United Church of Canada approved by the 43rd meeting of the General Council.  

Brian North, Chair of the EDGE Property Committee, was the bearer of good news in his regular update to Council on the rebuilding project.  The neighbour’s appeal against the project was successfully resolved through mediation and confirmed at an Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing held at Aurora Town Hall on September 6.  With the settlement of the appeal, AUC and Succession have now received site plan approval, zoning amendment approval and official plan approval leaving the way clear for the application for building permits.  The archaeological work is continuing in the portion of the site occupied by the old Methodist burial ground.  To date a total of 85 remains have been exhumed. It is anticipated that Bell Canada will begin work shortly to remove and relocate the fibre optics cable which traverses the site.  Although it may seem that progress has been slow, a great deal of work has been completed to secure all the necessary approvals and to position us for the start of construction.  

Revs. Lorraine and Andy provided a ministerial update, highlighting this summer’s 43rd meeting of General Council in Oshawa.  The Rt. Rev. Richard Bott of Vancouver was elected by the assembly as the new Moderator of the United Church of Canada.  The delegates also approved eight remits pertaining to the restructuring of the United Church for implementation starting in 2019.  A prime change in the church’s national organizational structure will see the dissolution of the Presbyteries and their replacement with Regions.  AUC, under the new organizational structure, will be part of Region 10.  A new “taxing” structure to replace the current system of Presbytery dues will also be introduced next year.  Many details are still to be worked out.  As further information becomes known, it will be provided to the congregation.  

Frank Pulumbarit updated Council on initiatives to give a new look to AUC’s various forms of communication.  Work is initially focusing on “rebranding” the weekly announcements and newsletter.  The intent of the work is to not only refresh our public and congregational communications but also to prepare for the opening of the new church with a revitalized AUC “brand”.  

The newly constituted Affirming Congregation Committee has commenced its work.  Rev. George Moore is advising the Committee on procedure and process.  Information sessions for the congregation will be arranged in the new year.  

Council passed a motion recommending approval of the renewal of AUC’s licence agreement with Trinity Anglican for the period September 1, 2018 to August 31, 2019.  The terms and conditions of the new agreement remain essentially the same as the previous agreement and provide for a 2.1% increase in rent, as previously agreed, in line with the annual increase in the Consumer Price Index.  

A congregational meeting is being planned for after service on October 21.  The meeting will feature updates from the Finance Committee, the Trustees, the EDGE Property Committee and Council.  Watch the weekly announcements and newsletter for further information as the date approaches.   Council will convene for its October meeting on Monday, October 1.  If you have any comments or questions feel free to raise them with me at any time.  

Bill Newman, Chair, AUC Council   AUC

 

Council News – June 2018  

Council’s meeting on June 11 was preceded by the Annual General Meeting of Oakwil Non-Profit Homes Corporation.  As you may already know, Oakwil is a 26-unit townhouse complex providing rent-to-income housing for seniors and is located on Sunset Beach Road in Oakridges.  AUC became the sponsor of Oakwil when St. Paul’s United Church, the original founders of the complex, amalgamated with AUC.  Being a non-profit corporation, Oakwil has “members” rather than shareholders.  The members of AUC Council are collectively the members of Oakwil.  The operations of Oakwil are overseen by a Board of Directors, the members of which are typically AUC congregants but may also be from outside of the congregation.   The Annual General Meeting  centred around a review of the corporation’s annual audited financial statements for 2017 and the appointment of members of the Board of Directors.  Oakwil generated an operating surplus in 2017 which is applied to meeting the corporation’s financial obligations and supporting ongoing maintenance of the complex.  The Board of Directors confirmed for 2018 comprises Ivor Roberts (President), Bill Newman (Vice President), Ken Graham (Treasurer), David Hanna (Corporate Secretary), Debby Schieck (Director), Christine Zarebski (Director) and Bernie Meagher (Tenant  Director).  

In its meeting immediately following the Oakwil AGM, Council returned to the discussion of branding and communications from its May meeting.  Frank Pulumbarit and Bob Kyriakides again joined the group to talk about ways of improving our church communications.  It was decided that the  look and presentation of our different forms of communication – the web site, bulletins, announcements, emails  -- will be standardized.  A committee will also be formed to work on a branding framework for the new church.  

Brian North provided his regular monthly update on the new church.  The archaeological work on the graveyard has resumed with the return of good weather.  AUC’s application for site plan approval will be considered at the General Committee meeting of Aurora Town Council on June 19 and by Town Council proper on June 26.  The EDGE Property Committee, assisted by Michael Wright, continues to work through the steps in the building design process.  We are definitely moving ahead! 

With the pending changes in the organizational structure of the United Church of Canada, the Living Waters Presbytery, along with all other presbyteries, will be dissolved as an organizational level within the Church.  Living Waters Presbytery is planning a celebration in the tradition of a fall fair to be held at Camp Big Canoe in Bracebridge in September.  All churches in the Presbytery, including AUC, have been invited to participate in the fair.  AUC is considering putting a booth in the fair which will feature our 200th anniversary and, of course, the construction of the new church.  We would welcome volunteers from the congregation to help staff the booth.  

In addition to its regular meeting on June 11, Council held a special meeting on June 24 following worship.  The purpose of the meeting was to consider and approve two motions  before recessing for July and August.  The first motion was to appoint Laurie Bentolila as an Elder-at-Large and Frank Pulumbarit as Ministry Advocate, Church Community.  Both appointments to Council were approved.  Congratulations, Laurie and Frank, and welcome to Council! 

The second motion was to create an Affirming Committee to lead the process of AUC becoming an Affirming Congregation.  The committee membership is to include Rev. Lorraine Newton-Comar, Victoria Kyriakides, Jacquie Locke, Noah Comar, Debby Schieck, Ivor Roberts, Mary Munro and Brian Walter.  Council approved the creation of the Committee as well as its membership. 

Thank you to all of the Committee members for volunteering to lead AUC into a new dimension of caring and compassion as a faith community.  

Council’s next meeting will be on September 10.  Have an enjoyable summer, everyone, and safe travels wherever you may go.         

Bill Newman , Chair,  AUC Council

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AUC Council News – May 2018  

AUC Council convened for its monthly meeting on May 14. 

Frank Pulumbarit attended the meeting as a guest of Council to lead the group in a discussion of church branding and communications.  It was decided as a result of the discussion that steps would be taken to standardize the presentation of our communications materials and to ensure that the AUC web site  (probably our most important mode of communication in this digital age) is kept
up-to-date.  We also decided that we will need to further upgrade our forms and methods of communication in preparation for the opening of the new church.  

Brian North provided Council with an update on the rebuilding project.  He brought the exciting news that Aurora Town Council is likely to consider AUC’s submission for final site plan approval sometime in June.  Bell Canada is starting work on the fibre optics cable relocation.  The archeologists are set to resume their work on the site after the Victoria Day weekend. 

More detailed information is provided in the EDGE Property Committee update in the weekly announcements.   A motion was passed by Council for AUC to begin the process of becoming an Affirming Congregation, a community of faith fully inclusive of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities as proclaimed by the United Church of Canada.   The process will be explained and led by Rev. Lorraine in the time ahead.  

Council passed a further motion to advance funding to the 200th Anniversary Committee for the preparation and publication of an AUC bicentennial history book.  The intention is to have copies ready for sale at the AUC booth at the Aurora Street Festival on June 3 and the official opening of the 200th Anniversary Exhibit at the Aurora Cultural Centre on June 27.  

Council will next convene on June 11. 

The Annual General Meeting of Oakwil Non-Profit Homes Corporation, of which Aurora United Church is the sponsor and AUC Council are the members, will immediately precede the Council meeting.  

Should you have any questions or concerns, always feel free to direct them to me or to a member of Council  

Bill Newman Chair, AUC Council