Winfield United Church


 Annual General Meeting March 28, 2021 

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Image by Ray Hennessy

In Memorium


Joan Taylor

† March 13, 2020


Ken Phipps

† April 19, 2020


Pat McCoubrey

 † October 11, 2020

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

We are not alone. Thanks be to God

Joan Kessler


What I Learned in 2020

2020 was a year like none other and it deserves a new minister’s recollections to be unique and special.  I thought I would share with you the things I learned these past 12 months since my arrival in your midst in January.


I learned that Traffic Circles are an amazing feat of engineering and I figured out how to navigate them!  These interchanges were a new experience for me but I quickly came to see how efficiently they move traffic through a busy intersection…everyone has a right of way at some point…yield on the left and enter on the right.  A very good method that I believe also applies to being the new minister in a new pastoral relationship.  Everyone needs a turn to enter the circle and be noticed.  We all come with our own thoughts and ideas and experiences.  We live together with diverse viewpoints and theological understandings.  We may disagree from time to time but we live together and care for one another.  And I am grateful for the opportunity to be the ministry leader of an amazing group of people from so many different walks of life.


I also learned about Fruit. I am so grateful for all the fruit that you gifted me with.  I have eaten more cherries, apples, peaches and apricots in 2020 then ever before.  Thank you!  You shared your homes and hospitality with me in so many ways.  We broke bread together and shared stories and got to know one another.  Because when you get to know the minister in good times, it is easier to know the minister in hard times.


And then in March, COVID came….and I learned a whole lot of other things about ministry  I didn’t think I would ever need to know.  I learned that we can be community with a building and without.  I got reacquainted with the telephone and what an invaluable resource it continues to be. I learned with help from talented others, that we can put a worship service together with a new format and lovely recorded music.  Just click the link and meet up on Zoom.  I learned to unmute my microphone ☺.  We miss our building.  We miss who we see there and being able to hug and drink coffee and commiserate with one another, but we have discovered that Zoom is a very good substitute.  I believe we have all gotten to know one another better because of our intentionality on Sunday mornings.  


I experienced the grief of losing a parent with the death of my father shortly after my arrival in January.  Thank you all for your care and support during this sad time. Families in our congregation also experienced death and loss of loved ones and the presence of COVID made this rite of passage almost insurmountable.  We were not able to do the things we know how to do when a beloved member of a community dies.   Families waited for memorial services and we did our best to provide a virtual service that brought extended relatives and friends together where grief and loss could be acknowledged.  Because community care and concern exercised with intention knows no bounds.  And we will hug one another again in real time and space.


2020 was a remarkable year.  It saw so many changes for all of us because of COVID. We know we have work to do going forward.  We will have conversations and dream about the future and get back to the work of being Winfield United Church in ways that are sustainable and life-giving to us.  Thank you all for welcoming me into your midst.  This past year has been far from perfect but we have learned that we are adaptable and flexible…Together Apart.


Sandy Bogardis - Council Chair

Be Kind, Be Calm, and Be Safe

How many times in 2020 have you heard Dr. Bonnie Henry say these words? Covid came into our lives in 2020 and everything changed. Our lives were turned upside down.


In 2019 we did not have a full-time minister. Together, we got through that year and rejoiced with the calling of our new minister Joan Kessler. In 2020 we entered the pandemic. Today we are thankful to be alive and pray for better times ahead as we move into 2021.


Your council continues to meet monthly via Zoom. We have a safety team in place to ensure safety for all. We are still looking for a finance person. Once again a big thank you to Mike for preparing our budget.

Let’s take a moment and reflect on 2020 and look at a few ways life has changed.

We now have church Zoom services: we don’t meet in person, we don’t have coffee together, we don’t hug but we see each other, we chat and we are kind to one another.

Our committee meetings continue on Zoom. We plan and make decisions and stay calm when we struggle.

Our thrift shop closed, opened, closed and opened. The volunteers stepped up, made plans, stayed calm and kept everyone safe.

Our church was well-maintained and our yard looks good. The property team met the challenge and volunteers stepped forward.

Some of our programs like Holy Conversations, Circle of Peace, and a book study, continued on Zoom. Healing Pathways continues from a distance.

Pastoral care continued with telephone calls, cards to say hello, birthday cards, outdoor visits and shopping for some.

Joan, our new minister, joined us in January 2020. What a way to start a calling. She too, stepped up to the challenge and has done a wonderful job of ministering to us over a very difficult year. 

Council members

plus one delegate/representative of each Ministry Team

"Hope is being able

to see that there is light, despite all of the darkness"

~ Desmond Tutu

These are just a few examples of how we have gotten through this far in a pandemic. With togetherness, hope, prayers, and remembering every day, that Love does live here at Winfield United Church, we will get through this. We don’t know what 2021 will bring, but remember we are never alone.


We, your council, want to say thanks to everyone of you for all your hard work and dedication this year.

It really does take a village!

Mountain Range


Norrie Cochrane and Eleanor Geen - Co-Chairs

2020 began with great enthusiasm and excitement as we welcomed our new Minister Joan Kessler to Winfield United Church. A well-attended, and thoughtful, covenanting service was held March 8th to welcome Joan's Ministry among us. 


Michelle Howe, our Youth employee resigned her position as of March 15th. Michelle was finding it increasingly difficult to commute from her home in Armstrong. She did however commit to continue with the monthly Eat Play Love Saturday Night Program until the end of June. Unfortunately, circumstances prevented this from happening. 

From then, 2020 became a very unusual year.

The National Church along with Pacific Mountain Region recommended that due to the Covid-19 Pandemic all United Churches refrain from in-person services until further notice. As we now know, our current restrictions are likely to be with us for an extended time! 

Winfield United Church Search Team with Joan Kessler, new minister.
Crisis brings opportunity!

By March 22, with Verena's skill and 'know how", combined with Joan's adaptability, we began our first Zoom service. Over the subsequent weeks and months these two with the invaluable help of others [musicians, readers, technicians], etc. have been able to keep the congregation connected and informed. For many folks, this new way of 'being-together' has enriched our Church Family's interconnectedness.


Fortunately, unlike some other congregations we have not found it necessary to 'lay off staff'. Suzanne Warren has adapted to all the new 'protocols' for cleaning the building. Over the summer Suzanne kept our gardens and yard looking cared-for.

Thank you, Suzanne!

Verena, as Office Manager, has been hugely impacted by the new situation, we found ourselves in. Her skill and expertise have been invaluable in organizing the Zoom services and meetings for our busy congregation.

Thank you, Verena!

Joan, never previously living in BC, arriving in early January 2020, to a congregation that recently had an unexpected change of leadership, must have been fraught. Finding, within weeks, usual day by day personal contact with congregants impossible, truly bewildering. But the Winfield United Church Congregation is blossoming! She works tirelessly to keep us inspired and connected. We are all truly thankful. Thank you, Joan!



Jane Vatkin 


Image by Jon Tyson


At 2020 year-end, there was $52,144.87 in the account. There were no withdrawals from this account in 2020.

Poppy Field


Sadly, there were three deaths in

the Congregation in 2020:

Joan Taylor, Ken Phipps, and Pat McCoubrey.

There were several donations made to the Memorial Fund in their memory. Plaques have been put on the Memory Board in the front hall

for Joan and Ken, and one will be ordered for

Pat when the Church re-opens.

At the end of December, there was $5930.21

in the Memorial Fund.


Mike Schwartzentruber


Penny Gambell


Jane Vatkin


Rev. Joan kessler (ex-officio)



David Geen - Co-Chair

Last Spring I personally realized it was blatantly unfair to expect Penny, with her extensive, continuing, Community and Grandmotherly responsibilities, to have to continue as Acting-Chair of our Trustees.

Reading, this time digesting,

  1. The Congregational Board of Trustees Handbook 2004 (upgraded 2017) 

  2. The United Church Manual 2019

  3. The Model Trust Deed

  4. Bylaws-introductions to governance in the United Church

  5. Incorporated Ministries-December 2019;

there was no choice!

The responsibilities of our Trustees are complex and unique. 0n one side the careful business decisions -building-insurance, mortgage-repayments, full-liability-coverage, and on the other, open-ended responsibility of holding all the property of the congregation for the use and benefit of the congregations as part of the United Church. Church Council assigns responsibilities to Committees: Finance, Building and Property, Ministry and Personnel, but if a situation arises where these committees are not acting to effectively preserve the value of church property (real and personal as defined in the Model Deed) into the future, Trustees have the responsibility to seek an appropriate solution. The first sentence in Bylaws provides the United Church “way” …works best when applied in a spirit of open conversation!

Since accepting the role of Trustee Chair last summer, I realize I have been the silent-observer, being a Corresponding-member to Church Council, attending each of our Sunday zoom services, carefully reading all Joan’s emails to us; and getting ongoing input, via my wife, from her involvement in Transition Committee and Ministry and Personnel.

Trustees, meeting on February 11th, 2021 were positive in their expectation that the Congregation would collectively work its way successfully through our financial stresses secondary to Covid19. We will soon be asking the Congregation to appoint a 5th Trustee (presumably a lady) and will be working with Pacific Mountain Region Council to bring the land-title-deed up to date.


Mortgage Balance as of December 31, 2020

Renewal Date
Interest Rate
$ 11,882.45
4.25 %
$ 37,599.05
4.69 %
$ 57,368.83
4.05 %
Total mortgage loans remaining January 1, 2021
$ l06,850.33
Total amount paid on loans in 2020
Total interest paid on loans in 2020
Term Loan through TD Canada Trust