ANNUAL REPORTS 2021
Winfield United Church
Annual General Meeting February 27, 2022
† January 20, 2021
† August 27, 2021
† October 7, 2021
In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us.
We are not alone. Thanks be to God
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
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.