Council approved a Revitalization Project on December 12, 2016. This decision was taken to retain and attract congregation members, as well as interested community members, to join us in our WUC ministry. The Revitalization Project created an opportunity for WUC to look back on our achievements, to consider new avenues for growth as a church in our community and to chart a course for a viable, renewed future. Woodroffe has been working with Bob Richards, a consultant from EDGE, the United Church’s network for Ministry Development, who is helping us to surface and enable our dreams. A Revitalization Team has been working since early January 2017 on this initiative. Members of the R-Team are: Erin Bruce, Dave Chaplin, Ray Cuthbert, Wes Dearham, Patricia Hassard, Mary Frances Laughton, Marlene Patrick, Reverend Kathryn Peate, Sue Smarkala and Gregg Smith.
The Woodroffe United Church Revitalization Project is fast approaching its conclusion. We have held the following workshops:
Sunday, September 24, 2017: Review of Spiritual Practices We plan to set up ‘spirituality practice’ stations around the sanctuary during the service providing information. R-Team members will be available at the stations to answer any questions on each spiritual practice. We encourage everyone to try one or more of these practices over next month.
Saturday, November 4, 2017: “Why do we exist as a church?”,“What is God calling this church to be and to do? Facilitated small groups will work together to develop a scripture-based vision for WUC, to answer this question, and be clear on what our calling is.
Saturday November 18, 2017: “What is the unique WUC experience?” Facilitated small groups will be asked to reflect on their personal passions experienced at Woodroffe United Church as recorded at the Town Hall and Round Table meetings last winter. We will then build a congregational statement that reflects the unique church experience we have at Woodroffe. This statement will guide our decisions on our core ministries/missions.
Saturday January 13, 2018: Community Needs Review This workshop will present the needs the R-Team has heard from our community service neighbours, and will seek your feedback on potential opportunities for working with them that connect to our core ministries/missions.
We are now in the planning stage for the Saturday February 24, 2018 Convergence Summit.
Progress to date
Two congregational meetings were held: a Town Hall Meeting February 5 and a Round Table Meeting April 30. Our financial viability was presented and the Revitalization Project was explained. We then started the work of capturing our experiences of WUC.
Using email and a suggestion box, over 80 suggestions were provided by congregants. These will be included in the final congregational decision making at the Convergence Summit.
All suggestions, along with summarized input from the above meetings, were gathered into 5 themes:
valuing what WUC already does well;
suggestions for modifying worship, music and church activities to do even better;
improving communications, and focusing on other enablers;
understanding WUC guiding principles; and
identifying any constraints to full participation.
R-Team members have compiled demographic information and are meeting with various community partners (i.e. City councilors, community centre leaders, social service organizations and faith leaders within the neighbourhood) to understand the larger community needs around WUC. The community liaisons may well become long term connections for us.
During June and July, Reverend Peate focused her sermons on Spiritual Practices to incorporate into our daily lives. If you haven’t been in church lately, her full sermons are on our web site here: Kathryn's sermons. Learning about and trying one or more of these spiritual practices gives us ways to get closer to our spiritual centre. Our personal spiritual understandings will inform our choices for Woodroffe.
Three workshops were held as listed above. We developed a list of congregant experiences that are important to them, a WUC Statement of Call was developed from participants’ input and we created a visual that encompasses the work we have done to date.
The process EDGE asks us to intimately understand why we want to be a church together – so that we can attract like-minded people. Please mark your calendars and participate in the upcoming Convergence Summit.
Saturday February 24, 2018: Convergence Summit During this final Revitalization Project workshop, we, as a congregation, will choose a direction for the WUC to take in the coming years. The workshop is a review of all materials collected by the Revitalization Project. Together, the congregation will choose what ideas we want to pursue. More information will be provided as this date approaches.
To date, we estimate that 100 of our congregants have participated in at least some of the revitalization work.
As we move toward important decisions, we strongly encourage everyone to be part of this journey.
It is interesting to note a comment from the 1990 WUC Annual Report: “All in all, a rather normal year at Woodroffe, where renewal has always been a way of life!”