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Winfield United Church

 Annual General Meeting February 27, 2022

Leaves Shadow

In Memorium

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Fred Miles

† January 20, 2021

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Norreen Nielson

† August 27, 2021


Beth Elder

 † October 7, 2021

In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us.

We are not alone. Thanks be to God

In Memorium
Joan Kessler


Change and Adaptation


I began writing this annual report just hours before Christmas, awaiting my COVID test result. And while I waited, I reflected on 2021 and the year that was for our Winfield United community.  The Report before you shows our life and work together in the midst of another year of COVID restrictions.  We tried new things and became increasingly more comfortable with the technology of Zoom to keep us connected with one another.  


We began the year with concerns surrounding our financial viability in the wake of the Thrift Store being closed for four months in 2020 due to COVID, plus the loss of rental income.  However, as a community, we rose to the challenge and were able to raise approximately $30,000.00 in addition to our regular offerings and Thrift Store revenue.  We got creative with fund raising activities, starting with a plant sale in early May where many green thumbs provided a variety of plants for flower beds and gardens. This was followed by our Zoom Pizza Supper and Auction, a fun event that we really didn’t know how it would work out until we just tried it.  Sofie Hartwick recorded a wonderful piano instrumental CD called, Journeys, with all proceeds graciously donated to the church.  (Thank you for this generous gift, Sophie, and we look forward to your next CD release!)  With COVID protocols in place to provide a safe event, we held a Fall Fair in October with baking, soups, and gift items for sale to the wider public. And we held a very successful stewardship campaign called COVID Recovery that saw financial gifts given that enabled us to carry forward without needing to access reserve funds to meet expenses.  


We came back together as a community in other ways this fall.  In September, we held a Tailgate Picnic in the church parking lot. For many, it was the first WUC gathering together since the winter of 2020.  We enjoyed our suppers outside with family and friends close by, but socially distanced.  One Sunday, a small group went on an expedition around Wood Lake to look at prominent rocks and other geological features with thanks to John Greenough for guiding and sharing his knowledge.  At Thanksgiving, we opened the doors to a Community Fridge, a project initiated by concerned neighbors about food insecurity in our community and WUC was invited to become its host site.  


On Sunday, November 28th, we returned to in-person services at 9:45am, followed by a Zoom service at 11am.   Attendance was approximately 25-30 at each of the services.  Some even attend both and I think that is a wonderful testament to the value we place on gathered life.  Our music continues to be recorded in a safe manner and screen-shared at both services and many thanks to all who contribute their gifts to make this possible. 


Decision making was challenging this past year.  I want to thank our Council and its leadership in making hard decisions around how we gather together.  In November, we surveyed the congregation and received overwhelming support for proof of vaccination for in-person services. We didn’t make this decision to divide us but rather to support our collective health priorities. To ensure that all congregants' spiritual needs were being met, we decided to provide two services options each Sunday.  We long for the day when we can gather in-person without restrictions. 


2021 was a year of uncertainty, yet we came together to strengthen and support our mission and ministry.  An idea was shared and people were excited and willing to help.  We may not have utilized our traditional committee structures to do these things which will perhaps be a lasting effect of the pandemic.  What does moving away from formal structures to more organic expressions of our vision and mission look like?  I believe our gatherings, learning opportunities, and fundraisers from 2021 are a testament to this new way of approaching our Spirit-led life together.


When I consider the scripture stories and reflections we have shared this past year, I am reminded of Jesus’ willingness to be open to new things.  He never had his mind made up once and for all but was always present to the one he was with and valued their experiences and worldviews.  May we live fully into Jesus’ example of approaching our ministry from an open-hearted and open-minded place.   What is the Spirit up to?  And how can I be part of this new thing that lies before us?  Coming through the pandemic do we have new insights and shared interpretations on what it means to be a people on the Way?  I look forward to exploring these questions with you all in the year that is to come.  


Peace be with you,

(Rev.) Joan Kessler


P.S.  The test result was negative :)



Sandy Bogardis - Council Chair

Bending like the Willow

Council continues to meet monthly on Zoom and are very pleased to announce the formation of a finance team.


Happy 2022 to everyone. Who would have thought we would still be in a pandemic and waiting, probably not patiently, for life to return to normal? We are all probably wondering as well, what will the normal be. As the song goes, “the future is not ours to see, whatever will be, will be”. We must keep reminding ourselves that it will not be like this forever.

Looking back over the last two years I am reminded of the story of the Oak tree and the Willow tree. When the storm came the Oak fought and his branches were broken, the Willow bent and survived. So, you may be asking, what does this have to do with us at Winfield United Church? Well so far, we have survived because we have changed things; we too, are bending, like the Willow tree. We have followed all the new rules and regulations and we have come up with some creative ideas to be together safely and even to make some money. It hasn’t been easy, but we have done it. Good for us. Let’s toot our own horns.

Take a minute now and think about life without Zoom. How sad that would be. A very positive thing that we are all very thankful for.

1. A devoted caring minister

2. The thrift shop team who works diligently to keep everyone safe and happy

3. Our property team who keeps our building and grounds in great repair

4. All our committees that keep our church life happening

5. Members who come up with ideas for fundraising

6. Those who bring music to our ears

7. Sharon and Suzanne

8. The community fridge

and the list goes on and on and on.

We had four fundraisers this year:

  • A plant sale

  • Sophie‘s CDs

  • An auction

  • Our fall fair

A huge thank you to everyone who made these events happen.


And we can’t forget our fun tailgate party and our Christmas open house. A time that we were able to see each other in a safe and happy way.

Well, my fellow congregants we made it through another year and as I look back on it, I hope you feel as I do, very thankful and very hopeful. Your council sends their best to each and every one of you and a sincere Thank you for all that you do to keep our community of faith functioning and strong,


And until we meet again,

May the good Lord bless and keep you.


Respectfully submitted,

Sandy Bogardis

Council members

plus one delegate/representative of each Ministry Team

Property - Bill Pullan

Worship - Rotating

Thrift Shop - Rotating

Spiritual Nurture - Joan Kessler

Refugee - Bev Edwards-Sawatzky

Ministry & Personnel - Eleanor Geen & Norrie Cochrane

Pastoral Care - Fran Schultz

Visioning - Don Sawatzky

Mountain Range


Our M & P team, that meets regularly, endeavours to carry out various roles for our church staff including consultation, support, supervision and building positive, trusting relationships. 


We have been blessed to have Joan Kessler as our minister for the past two years. With the ever-changing pandemic situation, Joan has been a strong and outstanding leader having to engineer the successful in-person Zoom services to our church family. She has done this with patience and perseverance. This, in addition to administering all church functions and providing spiritual guidance in a calm and compassionate manner. Joan's 'Reflections' each Sunday are an inspiration to us all and we recognize the commitment and encouragement she fosters with study and discussion groups and other services offered in the church.

We're appreciative of Joan and Council having to determine the responsible initiative to either open or close the church in-services on Sundays. This is an ongoing process in uncertain times. Special thanks are extended to our musicians and ministers who have volunteered for the virtual services when needed.

On most Saturdays when the Thrift Shop is open, there's our Minister welcoming community friends dropping off items for the Thrift Shop and assisting with transporting goods to the sorting area. Joan was instrumental in facilitating the acquisition of a community fridge, which is a great benefit for those in the community in need of supplementing their daily food requirements - a wonderful outreach initiative.

During the summer, Verena Velten advised us that she would be leaving her position as Office Administrator to join her husband Spiro in his business endeavours. Verena paved the way for us in the digital world, introducing new programs enabling us to carry on with Sunday virtual services. We thank Verena for her great contributions to the church and we’re happy she will remain a member of our church community along with her family.

In the fall, we welcomed Sharon Taylor, who has kindly stepped up to the plate in the position of Office Administrator and with the guidance of Joan and Verena has become adept in the workings of Zoom Master, video editing, music recording, related audio-visual set-ups and maintaining the social media accounts. Sharon oversees the administrative operations, improving office services and implementing changing communication procedures.

Suzanne Warren, our church custodian, continues to maintain the cleanliness of our church and thrift shop, making minor repairs and carrying out the landscaping surrounding our buildings.


We, at Winfield United, are fortunate to have staff who are committed to their work and we're thankful for this work in our community of faith.


Respectfully submitted,

Barbara Logie

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Ministry & Personel



Image by Jon Tyson


Our Living Legacy Fund was created in 2014 when a member of the Congregation donated $50,000.00 to Winfield United Church. The intention of the Living Legacy fund is that it be used to benefit the ministry of Winfield United Church. Since that time the fund has grown due to interest. There have been different applications for funding submitted to Council for various projects and approved by Council, but often other funds come forward and the Legacy Fund continues to grow.

There is $52249.17 remaining in the account.

Submitted by:

Jane Vatkin

Poppy Field


Donations to the Memorial Fund are used to purchase a plaque to be put in the entrance in memory of the deceased person.

A plaque has been placed in the front hall on the Memory Board in memory of Fred Miles who sadly died in 2021.


There is $7611.21 remaining in the Memorial Fund.

Submitted by:

Jane Vatkin


Mike Schwartzentruber


Penny Gambell


Jane Vatkin


Rev. Joan kessler (ex-officio)

Living Legacy Fund
Memorial Fund


From the United Church of Canada, Trustees Handbook, April 2021:

  • Trustees hold all congregational property as legal owners, which means they are listed as owners on title documents for land and other kinds of congregational property. 

  • The trustees are accountable to and follow the directions of the governing body of the congregation. 

  • Trustees hold property in trust for the congregation as part of the United Church of Canada for the congregation's mission and ministry.

Trustees ensure adequate insurance is provided, mortgages are reviewed and renewed, and are aware of our investments.  

The Trustees did not have a formal meeting in 2021 but did communicate a few times on relevant matters (i.e. process issues) via email exchanges. This is indicative that the trustees are doing their assigned duty of monitoring the various financial and other processes that are integral to WUC functioning.



David Geen