Thames Road-Elimville United Church

P.O. Box 3, Exeter, Ont. N0M 1S6
Newsletter Church Calendar Church use fees Council report Map Accessibility Community Park


Sunday Worship
10 a.m.

Church office

Phone: 519-235-2803

E-mail:
thamesroadelimvilleuc@quadro.net

CHURCH COUNCIL REPORT FROM APRIL 7, 2021 The April 7th Church Council meeting took place by way of Zoom video conferencing in the comfort of our homes. Chair John Miner called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

Rev. Louise reported that the month of March continued to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. During the month she prepared 4 Sunday worship services, all of which were led by way of Zoom, did some advance planning for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday services, made a number of phone calls and sent a number of emails and text messages to stay in touch with members of the congregation and to conduct administrative business, attended the Council meeting by Zoom, attended part of the UCW meeting by Zoom, attended the 5th session of the United Fresh Start program by Zoom, attended the 1st combined session of the United Fresh Start program along with John Miner, Sharon Lynn, and Judith Parker by Zoom, attended the Western Ontario Waterways Clergy Gathering by Zoom, prepared for and conducted 4 Confirmation sessions by Zoom, prepared for and conducted 2 Marriage Prep sessions for a couple by Zoom and kept up to date with United Church and Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council emails and other information.

The Christian Education Committee reported that Confirmation sessions with Katelyn Parsons have been completed and a Confirmation service will take place when the weather allows for an outdoor in-person gathering.

The Worship Committee extended a thank you to everyone who attended the recent Easter services. It was great to see many faces for the breakfast and Easter morning service. Rev. Louise will conduct the wedding ceremony for Brett Warwick and Julia Roberts on Saturday June 5, 2021. A Teen Bible will be presented to Katelyn Parsons at her Confirmation service. Worship services by way of Zoom are planned for April 11th, April 18th, and April 25th; however, if the weather is warm, plans could change and the services may be held at the community park. The South Huron Foodgrains worship service will be on May 2nd at 10:00 a.m. by way of Zoom. There will be no worship service on Sunday May 23rd as Rev. Louise will be off on study leave. Rev. Louise will be on vacation for 5 Sundays this summer - July 4th, 11th, and 18th, August 29th, and September 5th. There will be no worship services during the month of July. Services on August 1st, 8th, 15th, and 22nd will be e-mail services only.

The Outreach Committee encourages everyone to remember the Exeter & Area Foodbank and give donations at the checkouts in Holtzmann's Foodland and Hansen's Independent. Our church Mission & Service Fund allocation is $8,000 this year. Events like the coffee hours, Mom's Night Out and Christmas Country Supper have been regular fundraisers for the M&S Fund. So, during the COVID closures consider making donations by monthly pre-authorized remittance (PAR) or increasing your monthly givings to M&S so our allocation can be met by year-end. Contact Sharon Passmore regarding signing up with PAR.

The Ministry and Personnel Committee reported that Rev. Louise and Bruce will be on vacation from Monday, August 23rd to Monday September 6th.

The March 9th UCW meeting was held virtually with the Mission & Outreach committee leading a program on experiences with homelessness in the Exeter area. The March stewardship donations were $30 to Habitat for Humanity and $50 to Exeter Community Food Bank. Four easy-care tablecloths have been donated for the long tables in the church. This will alleviate the use of plastic when we return to holding events at the church. The next virtual meeting is April 13th at 7:30 and the Roll Call is "What is your birthstone." Program committee is Carolyn Johns, Pat Ballantyne and Marg McCarter.

The Western Ontario Waterways Facebook page, available to everyone, is a good way to keep up-to-date on Regional happenings including programs for children and youth. The Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council spring gathering for ministers and lay representatives will be held by way of Zoom on Thursday evening, Friday evening and all day Saturday, May 13th to May 15th. General Council Commissioners will be elected at the meeting. The folks of Trinity and Atwood United Churches in North Perth have created some lawn signs. The intent is to be a visible reminder that people in the area value diversity, and to promote this message to people who are Black, Indigenous and People of Colour. There is no geographical reference on the signs so they could be used beyond Perth County. Proceeds will be used by Trinity and Atwood United Churches to fund further efforts towards racial justice, social justice, inclusion, and diversity projects in their community. The WE VALUE DIVERSITY lawn signs are for sale for $15. Each sign comes with a wire stake to use in the ground. To order, email Sandy Earl. The confirmation email will include the password for an e-transfer. There will be a designated day/time at Listowel's Trinity United Church parking lot for sign pick up. Details will be included in the confirmation email. In a historic decision, the commissioners of the 43rd General Council decided on March 20, 2021, to conduct the 44th General Council online only in July 2022. This will be the first time in the church's 97 year history that the triennial meeting will not be in person. The commissioners for GC44 will be elected from the 16 regional councils and the National Indigenous Council throughout 2021. The July 2022 meeting will elect the new Moderator for the next three years. The terms of the current commissioners, national committees, and Moderator were extended a year from 2021 to 2022 because of the pandemic.

A virtual South Huron Foodgrains worship service will take place on Sunday May 2nd at 10:00 a.m. with Thames Road Elimville as Zoom host. Henry Reinders, Ontario Regional Representative for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, will be the guest speaker. Murton Brock has agreed to be the 2021 Foodgrains Project Farmer.

Discussions are taking place on holding covenanting services with Rev. Louise and the WOW region. It is hoped a fall date can be arranged with the region.

Rev. Louise along with John Miner, Sharon Lynn, and Judith Parker attended the first combined session of the United Fresh Start program on Saturday, March 20th by way of Zoom. The purpose of the session titled "Entering A New System," was to help participants understand that community of faiths are living systems and that the way new people enter the system can have a substantial impact on their ministry.

The Thames Road Elimville United Church Accessibility Document approved at the February Council meeting is now uploaded to the church website. In the months ahead an Accessibility Committee will be formed to oversee things and to make sure training takes places as per our Accessibility Policy.

2022 is the 25th anniversary of our blended Thames Road Elimville congregation and Council is beginning to plan for this milestone. The first step is to form a committee to plan and oversee celebratory events. We are currently recruiting members and invite you to contact any member of Church Council to express your interest in being a part of the committee. Several suggestions have been made on possible ways to celebrate this milestone, including a night of music through the decades or a hymn sing night, hotdogs and fireworks, a family games night, a movie night with the VCR tapes from the events leading up to the closing of Elimville Church, a fish fry at the community park, and a worship service. Other ideas are welcome. Please consider being a part of the planning committee.

The Christian Resource Centre in Mitchell is open for curbside pickup only until at least April 30th.

As the safety of all who enter the building is of upmost importance, the church building continues to be closed. Although the building is closed, "church" is still open. Services by email, mail or mailbox drop off, and Zoom video and telephone conferencing, will continue to be available to the members and adherents of our congregation until in-person services resume.

The meeting closed with prayer and was adjourned at 7:50 p.m. The next Council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 5th at 7:00 p.m.

CHURCH COUNCIL REPORT FROM MARCH 3, 2021

The March 3rd Church Council meeting took place by way of Zoom video conferencing in the comfort of our homes. Chair John Miner called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

Rev. Louise reported that the month of February continued to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. During the month she prepared 4 Sunday worship services, all of which were led by way of Zoom, made a number of phone calls and sent a number of emails and text messages to stay in touch with members of the congregation and to conduct administrative business, attended the congregation’s Annual Meeting by Zoom, attended the Council meeting by Zoom, attended the 4th session of the United Fresh Start program by Zoom, attended the Ministerial meeting by Zoom, attended the WOW Clergy Gathering by Zoom, prepared for and conducted 4 Confirmation sessions by Zoom, prepared for and conducted 2 Marriage Prep sessions for a couple by Zoom, and kept up to date with United Church and Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council emails and other information.

The Finance Committee reported the 2021 fee schedule for the use of church buildings and equipment has been uploaded to the church website.

The Property Committee reported that a representative from the Technical Standards Safety Authority visited the church in February for the annual inspection of the vertical lift. The lift passed inspection.

The Christian Education Committee reported that Confirmation sessions are ongoing.

The Worship Committee reported that Lenten worship services will continue on March 7th, 14th and 21st by way of Zoom. March 28th is Palm Sunday by way of Zoom. A Maundy Thursday evening email service will be offered on April 1st. A Good Friday service will be held by way of Zoom on April 2nd at 10:00 a.m. Easter Sunday, April 4th, will offer a Zoom Easter breakfast at 8:45 a.m. followed by a Zoom Easter worship service at 10:00 a.m. with communion. If the weather shines on us, the Easter worship service may be moved to the community park. The South Huron Foodgrains annual worship service will take place by way of Zoom on May 2nd at 10:00 a.m.

The Outreach Committee reported that our Coldest Night of the Year team had 19 participants register for the 2-5 km. walk on February 20th to bring awareness and support for the homelessness issue in the Exeter area. The local community campaign had 24 teams with a $30,000 goal and $41,102 raised to date. Our TR-E Huggers team raised $4,490 which surpasses last year's goal by $1,300. This success would not have been possible without the generosity of friends and family of our community. For subscribers to the Broadview magazine, the renewal is being extended until the April/May issue of 2022. The magazine is changing its print frequency from 10 issues to 8 issues per year. The new renewal date will be March instead of November. Mission and Service videos provided by the United Church of Canada to promote the Mission and Service Fund, are now available for our use.

The Community Park Committee reported that a recap of the 2020 park events has been forwarded to the Municipality of South Huron as a requirement of the Memorandum of Understanding agreement with the Municipality.

The Trustees reported that the search for information requested by the Bereavement Authority of Ontario is ongoing. A recent communication from the Municipality of South Huron advised no new information has been found, but they are still looking.

The February 9th meeting of the United Church Women was held virtually with the Christian Leadership Committee leading a short program. The 2021 budget was approved along with the list of charitable organizations the UCW will donate towards during the year. A $100 donation was given to the TR-E Huggers team in support of the Coldest Night of the Year campaign. World Day of Prayer is Friday March 5th, and Thames Road Elimville UCW are the hosts this year. In-person events are not possible due to the pandemic, so a one-hour video has been prepared by the Women's Inter-Church Council to convey the program theme developed by the women of Vanautu, an archipelago of islands in the South Pacific. The video link is being shared with our partners Exeter United, Precious Blood, Exeter Christian Reform, Caven Presbyterian and Exeter Pentecostal women's groups to be viewed in our homes. Together in 170 countries around the world, there will be a sense of standing together in prayer and action to restore hope for women and children touched by injustice. The video can be viewed here: World Day of Prayer 2021 Virtual Service - YouTube.

The Western Ontario Waterways Facebook page, available to everyone, is a good way to keep up-to-date on Regional happenings including programs for children and youth. As part of the United Fresh Start program, our community of faith has been invited to register a group to take part in some of the core modules of the program. The group can have up to 10 participants, including the minister. Currently we have 4 members in the group, including Rev. Louise. A Ministry & Personnel workshop will be offered through Zoom on Thursday, March 11th from 7 to 9 p.m. and again on Saturday, April 10th from 9 to 11 a.m. A Camp Bimini Fundraiser Drive-Thru Dinner will take place on Sunday, March 28th in the St. Marys United Church parking lot from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Visit www.campbimini.ca for details and to purchase tickets. Faith On the Move - Daily Reflections on Hope and Change is an opportunity to journey together through Lent, exploring the resources in the new Lenten devotional from United Church Publishing House. Meet online every Tuesday at 1 p.m. from February 23rd to March 30th. Find out more and register.

A virtual South Huron Foodgrains worship service is being planned for Sunday May 2nd at 10:00 a.m. with Thames Road Elimville as Zoom host. Henry Reinders, Ontario Regional Representative for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, will be the guest speaker.

After being on hold for a year due to the pandemic, discussions are once again taking place on holding covenanting services with Rev. Louise and the region. Documents supporting our community of faith's Annual Self-Assessment were submitted to Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council in February. In the months ahead an Accessibility Committee will be formed as a requirement of our newly approved Accessibility Policy.

The Christian Resource Centre in Mitchell re-opened on March 1st with the following hours of business: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday - 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Monday and Thursday - closed; and by appointment. They are always available by email or through the contact form on the webpage www.wowresourcecentre.ca. You may leave a phone message at 519-348-9261 and messages will be taken off once or twice a week. They still have plenty of 2021 Church Calendars.

2022 is the 25th anniversary of our blended Thames Road Elimville congregation and Council is beginning to plan for this milestone. The first step is to form a committee to plan and oversee celebratory events. We are currently recruiting members and invite you to contact any member of Church Council to express your interest in being a part of the committee. Several suggestions have been made on possible ways to celebrate this milestone, including a night of music through the decades or a hymn sing night, hotdogs and fireworks, a family games night, a movie night with the VCR tapes from the events leading up to the closing of Elimville Church, a fish fry at the community park, and a worship service. Other ideas are welcome.

As the safety of all who enter the building is of upmost importance, the church building continues to be closed. Although the building is closed, "church" is still open. Services by email, mail or mailbox drop off, and Zoom video and telephone conferencing, will continue to be available to the members and adherents of our congregation until in-person services resume.

The meeting closed with prayer and was adjourned at 7:40 p.m. The next Council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 7th at 7:00 p.m. by way of Zoom video conferencing.

CHURCH COUNCIL REPORT FROM FEBRUARY 10, 2021

The February 10th Church Council meeting took place by way of Zoom video conferencing in the comfort of our homes. Chair John Miner called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

Rev. Louise reported that the month of January has continued to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. During the month she prepared 5 Sunday worship services, all of which were led by way of Zoom, made a number of phone calls and sent a number of emails and text messages to stay in touch with members of the congregation and to conduct administrative business, attended the Council meeting by way of Zoom, attended the 3rd session of the United Fresh Start program by Zoom, attended the Western Ontario Waterways Clergy Gathering by Zoom, prepared for Confirmation sessions to start in February, and kept up to date with United Church and Regional Council emails and other information.

The Finance Committee presented the committee's recommendation for the 2021 fee schedule for the use of church buildings and equipment. The recommendation was accepted with no changes from last year.

The Christian Education Committee reported that Rev. Louise is currently leading a Confirmation class that will be meeting weekly for the next couple of months.

The Worship Committee reported that Thames Road Elimville United Church has been asked to host the South Huron Foodgrains church service by way of Zoom. The committee, along with Rev. Louise, has agreed to take on this project. The date of the service is yet to be determined.

The Outreach Committee reported that the TR-E Huggers team is participating in the Coldest Night of the Year event on February 20th. This outreach opportunity encourages members of our congregation to be a walker or a sponsor. Funds raised will support local initiatives to help the homeless, hungry, and hurting people in the Exeter area. Register to walk or to make a donation to the team or an individual walker at www.cnoy.org/Exeter. Contact Judith for more information.

The Ministry and Personnel Committee reported that Rev. Louise will be on holidays in Algonquin Park from Saturday, July 3rd to Sunday July 18th. She will also be taking a study leave from Monday, May 17th to Sunday, May 23rd for the Festival of Homiletics which is held online.

The Community Park Committee reported that a recap of the 2020 park events will be forwarded to the Municipality of South Huron as a requirement of the Memorandum of Understanding agreement with the Municipality.

The Trustees reported that the search for information requested by the Bereavement Authority of Ontario is ongoing. Contact has been made with the Ministry of Health and the Municipality of South Huron. To date the Ministry of Health has not responded. The Municipality has confirmed that the Thames Road cemetery was declared abandoned some time ago and they continue to search their records for more information.

The Western Ontario Waterways Facebook page, available to everyone, is a good way to keep up-to-date on Regional happenings including programs for children and youth. February is Black History Month. In October, the General Council of the United Church of Canada made a commitment to work towards becoming an anti-racist denomination. The Executive of Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council has pledged to bring attention to Black Lives Matter in the year ahead. Applications are open for positions at Camp Menesetung for folks 16 and up. The first round of applications closes February 21, 2021. See the poster for details and more information.

A thank you was extended to everyone who took a position on the 2021 Church Council. A full slate of Council members was approved at the congregational Annual Meeting on February 7, 2021.

Council members completed their work on the Self Assessment Checklist. A Privacy Policy and an Accessibility Policy were approved as part of the process. The checklist, to be completed annually, will be forwarded to Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council. As part of the Privacy Policy families will be asked to sign a form consenting to the use of personal images (photo or video). Watch for the form in a future mailout.

A service of installation of the Church Council will take place during the worship service on Sunday, February 21st.

2022 is the 25th anniversary of our blended Thames Road Elimville congregation. In the months ahead Council will be working on plans to celebrate this milestone.

As the safety of all who enter the building is of upmost importance, the church building continues to be closed. Although the building is closed, "church" is still open. Services by email, mail or mailbox drop off, and Zoom video and telephone conferencing, will continue to be available to the members and adherents of our congregation until in-person services resume.

The meeting closed with prayer and was adjourned at 8:25 p.m. The next Council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 3rd at 7:00 p.m. by way of Zoom video conferencing.

REPORT FROM THE CONGREGATIONAL ANNUAL MEETING FEBRUARY 7, 2021

Due to lockdown measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic, 28 members of our community of faith attended the 2020 Annual Meeting of Thames Road Elimville Pastoral Charge by way of Zoom video and telephone conferencing in the comfort of their homes. Chair of Council John Miner called the meeting to order at 11:00 a.m.

Remembered in prayer by Rev. Louise were Paul Stewart, Jean Coward, David Passmore and Gerry Morgan, members of Thames Road Elimville Pastoral Charge who passed away in 2020. Welcomed with joy to our church family was Noah Elson Lynn by baptism, and Bruce Ward by transfer.

Following a motion passed by the full members of the congregation, adherents were extended voting rights on all matters of business coming before the meeting.

The minutes from the 2019 Annual Meeting were approved and the reports in the 2020 Annual Report booklet were reviewed and accepted as printed.

Motions were passed to:
-Approve the Minister's Remuneration Report for 2021.
-Approve the 2021 Honoraria Report for non-salaried employees.
-Approve the 2021 Proposed Budget as printed in the Annual Report booklet.
-Approve the 2021 Mission and Service Fund allocation of $8,000.00.
-Appoint Sharon Lynn and Marianne Timmerman as Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council Representatives for 2021.
-Appoint Helen Kadey and Carolyn Johns as Financial Examiners for 2021.
-Approve participation in the South Huron Foodgrains growing project in 2021 and to appoint Larry
Lynn, Brent Dawson and Ken Kadey to the committee.
-Appoint Ken Kadey as a member of the Trustee Board for a 4 year term.
-Approve a full slate of members for the 2021 Church Council.

Due to the pandemic several fundraising projects planned by the Fundraising Committee did not take place in 2020; however, the committee was pleased with the financial outcome at the end of the year after conducting a successful canvass that was well supported by members and adherents of the congregation.

The Community Park Committee reported that no major projects are planned for the park in 2021. A recap of the 2020 park events will be forwarded to the Municipality of South Huron as a requirement of the Memorandum of Understanding agreement with the Municipality. In the year ahead the pandemic will continue to affect activity in the park as it did in 2020.

Speaking on behalf of the South Huron Foodgrains Committee, Larry Lynn thanked everyone who supported the growing project in 2020. To date no offer of land has been received for a 2021 crop. Due to the pandemic, at this time the committee is unable to project if a Foodgrains church service will be held in the spring of 2021.

Church Council will have no new faces in 2021 as all retiring members agreed to return to their positions for another term.

2022 is the 25th anniversary of our blended Thames Road Elimville congregation. In the months ahead Council will be making plans to celebrate this milestone.

What's in store for 2021? While COVID-19 continues to be a major concern, it is hoped that our community of faith can return to some sense of "normal" in 2021. We look forward to returning to our church building at some point during the year and putting our re-entry plan into action when it is safe to do so.

John Miner extended a thank you to Rev. Louise for her worship leadership in 2020, and for being so dedicated to pastoral care within our church family during a difficult year. We appreciate her ability to rise to the challenges that COVID-19 presented within our community of faith and feel very blessed to have her and Bruce as part of our church family here at Thames Road Elimville.

John also extended a thank you to the dedicated members of Church Council. COVID-19 presented some new challenges, but everyone rose to the task of dealing with them and carried on, getting the work done. The members of the congregation, who too successfully adapted to a new way of “church”, were thanked for their participation in church activities in 2020 and for their ongoing support in every way.

Sharon Lynn extended a thank you to chair John Miner for his wisdom and guidance throughout a difficult year. He was continually up-to-date on the latest regulations regarding COVID-19, keeping Council informed and everyone safe.

The first meeting of the new Church Council will be on Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. by way of Zoom video conferencing. The meeting closed with prayer and was adjourned at 11:40 a.m.

CHURCH COUNCIL REPORT FROM JANUARY 6, 2021

The January 6th Church Council meeting took place via Zoom video conferencing in the comfort of our homes. Chair John Miner called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

Rev. Louise reported that the month of December continued to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. During the month she prepared 3 Sunday worship services, a Blue Christmas service on December 21st, and our Christmas Eve service of lessons and carols, all of which were led by way of Zoom; made a number of phone calls, and sent a number of emails and text messages to stay in touch with members of the congregation and to conduct administrative business; attended the Council meeting by way of Zoom; attended the second session of the United Fresh Start Program by Zoom; attended the Western Ontario Waterways Clergy Gathering by Zoom; participated in our part of the Bethlehem Journey; kept up-to-date with United Church and Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council emails and other information.

The Finance Committee extends a thank you to everyone who responded to the appeal letter sent out in October.

The Fundraising Committee extended a thank you to everyone who participated in the Christmas fundraising orders. A profit of $722.79 was raised. The next fundraising project will be compiling a cookbook with new and vintage recipes. Watch for details.

The Property Committee reported that the planned roof repair at the church has been completed; however, another leak has been detected. The additional repair will be undertaken when the ground is firm enough to handle the equipment needed to make the repair.

The Christian Education Committee was thanked for organizing and producing the virtual Christmas Concert that was shared online just before Christmas. Many thanks go out to Sue Shafer, Amy Parsons, Maggie Acs, Sarah Govers and Reverend Louise for their organizing efforts. Also, a big thank you is extended to all who participated by recording and submitting their video clips. Special thanks to Maggie and Sarah for all the time spent on compiling and editing the video submissions. The presentation was very well done and truly a delight to watch when we were unable to be together to celebrate the Christmas season.

The Outreach Committee reported that the Bethlehem Journey, held on December 5th in conjunction with Centralia Faith Tabernacle, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Exeter Pentecostal Tabernacle, Exeter United Church and Exeter Christian Reform Church was a success. Visitors travelled by vehicle to each church for a different scene in the Christmas Story. Thanks to Greg Bahro, Bruce Ward, John Miner, Sharon Lynn, Will & Nic Parsons, Louise von Massow, Marianne Timmerman, Karel Hodgert, Robert and Kathy Bray, and Judith Parker for their participation in partnering with Exeter United Church (coordinated by Dianne Shapton) in presenting the wisemen scene. The weekly worship services continue to be sent by email to 80 families and a printed version is sent by mail or mailbox drop off, upon request. Please let Judith Parker know if anyone would like to receive the weekly worship service by mail. In December, Holtzmann's Foodland put out a challenge of matching the first $1000 towards the Exeter and Area Foodbank. There was $5,435 donated by the community through this challenge. Thanks to our congregation who continue to support the food bank at Foodland and Hansen’s YIG.

Our prayers go out to friends and family who are residents or staff at the Exeter Villa as they face the challenges of controlling a COVID-19 outbreak declared on December 18, 2020. Show your support with a phone call, card, email or text to those we know. The Bethlehem Journey Committee has produced an encouragement video for Exeter Villa. Reverend Louise and Judith Parker contributed to the video on behalf of Thames Road Elimville by participating in a 20 second script provided by the committee. The purpose of the video is to let the staff and residents of the Villa know that the community is thinking about them and supporting them.

The Trustees reported that the search for information requested by the Bereavement Authority of Ontario is ongoing. The Authority is looking for a Registry of Burials and a map of the burial plots around the church. The United Church Archives and the Municipality of South Huron have been contacted for information on any records they may have. If anyone has information, documentation, a map, or photos of the church grounds prior to 1941 that will assist in confirming where the graves are located, please contact Beth Cooper, Robert Bray, John Miner or Ken Kadey.

A virtual UCW meeting was held on December 8th. The program included viewing the musical video "Mary Did You Know" performed by the Pentatonix. Virginia Warwick led a discussion exploring the lyrics of this emotional song. Shirley Cooper gave a Christmas reading. President Janis Richardson led the business, and committee reports were given. The monthly stewardship donations have been made to all local and regional charities the UCW supports. Marilyn Vandenbussche reported she has given $850 to Ronald McDonald House as a result of sewing custom face masks for a donation during the past months. A time of chatting closed the virtual gathering. The next Zoom UCW meeting will be held February 9, 2021 with the Christian Leadership Committee providing a short program.

The Western Ontario Waterways Facebook page, available to everyone, is a good way to keep up-to-date on Regional happenings including programs for children and youth. In November Rev. Therese Samuel was named to the new tri-region position of Minister, Right Relations and Social Justice, effective March 1, 2021. Ending Life Well is a 7 week program, once a week via zoom, on Thursdays from 2:00 to 3:15 p.m. beginning January 7, 2021. The program, presented by Sydenham-Heritage United Church, Brantford creates a discussion about death in a safe and respectful place. Professional presenters cover topics such as legal issues, hospice, palliative care, medically assisted dying, funeral homes, and grieving and loss. Download the brochure. Email Jane Baxter for more information. Marshall Memorial United Church, Ancaster, Ontario has been live streaming their worship services since 2008. In this time of COVID-19 they have carried on without skipping a beat. Check out their YouTube channel, the music is wonderful.

In 2020, 5 acres of corn and 5 acres of soybeans were planted on land donated by Jeff Borland (Huron Perth Ag Services) for the South Huron Foodgrains project. $13,500.00 will be sent to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank; with the 4 to 1 ratio given by the Federal Government, this becomes $67,500.00. A thank you is extended to everyone who contributed to the project by donation or in kind. The South Huron community can be very proud of this accomplishment.

The Nominating Committee has organized for 2021 with members Joyce Fulton, Ken Kadey, Judith Parker, Kathy or Robert Bray, Sarah Govers and John Miner. Positions to be filled include Secretary and one member on each of the Finance, Property, Outreach, Worship, Christian Education and Ministry & Personnel Committees. Several volunteers have come forward to fill these positions; however, if you are interested in letting your name stand for a position on Church Council, please contact a member of the Nominating Committee before the Annual Meeting. Reports for the Annual Report are to be to Sharon Lynn by January 17, 2021. Reports will be available on January 31, 2021. The 2020 Annual Meeting will take place via Zoom on Sunday, February 7, 2021, with an alternate date of February 14, 2021 if needed. In order for the meeting to proceed, a quorum must be in attendance; a quorum is at least 20 full members of our congregation. A person becomes a full member through one of the following ways: confirmation, adult baptism and profession of faith, or through a certificate of transfer from another congregation or church, among others. Children of full members and children who have been baptised but have not yet become full members are considered members, not full members. Further information will be forthcoming in a newsletter that will be sent out a few days before the meeting.

Council members spent some time working on the annual Self Assessment Checklist that will be forwarded to Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council when completed. The checklist is a guide to help communities of faith learn about the requirements and best practices for their ministry and to identify where work needs to be done to improve on the way we are currently doing things.

As the safety of all who enter the building is of upmost importance, the church building continues to be closed. Although the building is closed, “church” is still open. Services by email, mail or mailbox drop off, and Zoom video conferencing, will continue to be available to the members and adherents of our congregation until in-person services resume.

The meeting closed with prayer and was adjourned at 8:00 p.m. The next Council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 10th at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom video conferencing.

CHURCH COUNCIL REPORT FROM DECEMBER 2, 2020

The December 2nd Church Council meeting took place via Zoom video conferencing in the comfort of our homes. Chair John Miner called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

Rev. Louise reported that the month of November continued to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. During the month she prepared 4 worship services, 3 of which were led by way of Zoom, and the Remembrance Sunday service which was outdoors at the community park (the November 15th service was led by Robert and Kathy Bray); made a number of phone calls and sent a number of emails and text messages to stay in touch with members of the congregation and to conduct administrative business; conducted a funeral service; attended the Council meeting by way of Zoom; attended the Western Ontario Waterways Clergy Gathering by Zoom; took one week of Study Leave to plan ahead for Advent and Christmas; attended 5 Zoom meetings for planning; attended the Ministerial meeting in person; attended the first of 8 monthly 2-hour sessions of the United Fresh Start Program by Zoom; and kept up-to-date with United Church and Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council emails and other information.

The Finance Committee presented the 2021 Proposed Budget. It was approved by Council and will be taken as a recommendation to the Annual Meeting in February. Our Denominational Assessment for 2021 remains at $2,452.00 for the third year in a row.

The Fundraising Committee reported that 40 people responded to the Epicure, Westland Greenhouses, and Stonetown Artisan Cheese fundraisers. A thank you is extended to everyone who participated in the fundraisers and to those who have forwarded a financial donation in response to the appeal letter that was sent out to 140 households on October 29th. If you haven’t already made a financial donation in support of the mission and ministry of our church, please consider doing so.

The Property Committee reported on the roof repair project. It is anticipated the contractor will undertake the work in the next 2 to 4 weeks.

The Christian Education Committee reported that an attempt is being made to organize a virtual Christmas concert to take place following the worship service on December 20th. Families are being asked to submit a video of their family; the videos will make up the concert. This is open to everyone, not just the Sunday School families. Contact Amy or Sarah for more information. Any young people interested in participating in confirmation classes should contact Rev. Louise to let her know.

The Worship Committee reported that Rev. Louise will lead a Blue Christmas service on Monday, December 21st at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom, and a Christmas Eve service on Thursday, December 24th at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom. There will be no worship service on Sunday, December 27th.

The Outreach Committee reported that our church will participate with Exeter United Church in the Bethlehem Journey on December 5th. This journey by vehicle will visit scenes at Centralia Faith Tabernacle, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Exeter Pentecostal Tabernacle, Exeter United Church and Exeter Christian Reform Church. The event has proven to be quite popular in the community and was sold out several days in advance; 136 vehicles registered for the journey. Thanks to the volunteers who offered to help with our Wisemen scene. The Broadview subscription renewal has 6 subscribers in the group for 2021. Let Judith or Marianne know if you would like to be a new subscriber and you can be added to the group at a cost of $25 for the year. A TR-E Huggers Hub newsletter was sent out in November. Please continue to send Judith items of interest to share in the newsletter so that our community can stay connected while apart. The weekly worship services continue to be sent by email to 80 families and a printed version is sent by mail or mailbox drop off, upon request. Please let Judith know if anyone would like to receive the weekly worship service by mail. Remember to support the Exeter and Area Foodbank, when possible, through donations at Holtzmann's Foodland or Hansen's YIG.

The Ministry and Personnel Committee reported that Helen Kadey attended a Western Ontario Waterways Ministry and Personnel training session in November via Zoom. Council adopted a new Workplace Discrimination, Harassment, and Violence Policy that will be posted in the church and accessible to everyone when the building is re-opened.

The Community Park Committee reported the annual payment from the Memorandum of Understanding agreement with the Municipality of South Huron has been received. A recap of park events in 2020 will be forwarded to the Municipality in early 2021.

The Trustees reported the church continues to be checked twice a week for heat during the winter months to meet insurance requirements. The Bereavement Authority of Ontario is requesting information on the location of the burial sites at the Thames Road church property. If anyone has information, documentation, a map, or photos of the church grounds prior to 1941 that will assist in confirming where the graves are located, please contact Beth Cooper, Robert Bray, John Miner or Ken Kadey.

A virtual UCW meeting was held on November 10th. Members were reminded to make a financial donation towards the Huron County Christmas Bureau by November 27th; the bureau did not collect toys and clothing this year. Donations can also be made to our UCW by sending a cheque to Treasurer, Helen Kadey. This will help cover the offerings and special donations that weren't received because we haven't been meeting in person. As we begin a new year, it was decided that everyone will remain on the same committee or office until we can start meeting together again and resume our activities. The next virtual meeting will be on Tuesday, December 8th at 7:30 p.m. with a short program, business, and time for chit-chat.

The Western Ontario Waterways Facebook page, available to everyone, is a good way to keep up-to-date on Regional happenings including programs for children and youth. Check out the Wandering Wiseman Advent and Christmas series; there will be a daily posting from November 29th to January 6th. The 2020 edition of the Gifts with Vision catalogue is available online at: www.giftswithvision.ca. Congregations are being encouraged to move forward with their 2020 Annual Meeting virtually. The Executive of the General Council of The United Church of Canada issued an apology recently for its role in separating mothers and their babies in maternity homes it operated from the end of World War II to 1980.

The Nominating Committee has organized for 2021; members are Joyce Fulton, Ken Kadey, Judith Parker, Kathy or Robert Bray, Sarah Govers and John Miner. No one from the congregation came forward to stand as a member-at-large on the committee. Positions to be filled include Secretary and one member on each of the Finance, Property, Outreach, Worship, Christian Education and Ministry & Personnel Committees. Several volunteers have come forward to fill these positions; however, if you are interested in letting your name stand for a position on Church Council, please contact a member of the Nominating Committee.

Reports for the Annual Report are to be to Sharon Lynn by January 17, 2021. Reports will be available on January 31, 2021. The 2020 Annual Meeting will take place via Zoom on Sunday, February 7, 2021, with an alternate date of February 14, 2021 if needed. In order for the meeting to proceed, a quorum must be in attendance; a quorum is at least 20 full members of our congregation. A person becomes a full member through one of the following ways: confirmation, adult baptism and profession of faith, or through a certificate of transfer from another congregation or church, among others. Children of full members and children who have been baptised but have not yet become full members are considered members, not full members.

Council members spent some time working on the annual Self Assessment Checklist that will be forwarded to Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council when completed. The checklist is a guide to help communities of faith learn about the requirements and best practices for their ministry and to identify where work needs to be done to improve on the way we are currently doing things.

As the safety of all who enter the building is of upmost importance, Council made the decision at the November meeting to keep the church building closed for the Advent and Christmas season. Conditions around the COVID-19 pandemic will be reassessed in the new year. Although the building is closed, “church” is still open. Services by email, mail or mailbox drop off, and Zoom video conferencing, will continue to be available to the members and adherents of our congregation until in-person services resume.

The meeting closed with prayer and was adjourned at 8:55 p.m. The next Council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 6th at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom video conferencing.

CHURCH COUNCIL REPORT FROM NOVEMBER 4, 2020

The November 4th Church Council meeting took place via Zoom video conferencing in the comfort of our homes. Chair John Miner called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

Rev. Louise reported that the month of October has continued to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. During the month she prepared 3 worship services, 2 of which were led by way of Zoom, and the Thanksgiving service which was outdoors at the park (the October 18th service was live-streamed as part of the Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council meeting); made a number of phone calls and sent a number of emails and text messages to stay in touch with members of the congregation and to conduct administrative business; did one outdoor in-person visit; attended the Council meeting by way of Zoom; attended the South Huron Ministerial meeting; "attended" the Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council meeting October 15-18 by way of Zoom; and kept up-to-date with United Church and Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council emails and other information.

The Fundraising Committee reported that an appeal letter for financial support to the mission and ministry of our church was mailed to every 140 households on October 29th. Included in the envelope were order forms for Epicure, Westland Greenhouses and Stonetown Artisan Cheese fundraisers - just in time for Christmas. Order deadline is Sunday, November 15th and curbside pickup of orders will be at the church parking lot on Friday, December 4th from 3:30 - 5 pm. Payment for orders will be at time of pickup by cheque or e-transfer. It is hoped that everyone in the Thames Road Elimville faith community will think about answering the appeal for financial support and participate in the fundraisers if possible.

The Worship Committee reported that greeting for the month of November is the Property Committee. An in-person outdoor worship service will take place on November 8th at the Thames Road Elimville Community Park at 10:00 a.m. The weather looks promising for a perfect morning for our Remembrance Sunday service. November 29th will be the first Sunday of the Advent season.

The Outreach Committee reported that Broadview magazine renewals are being accepted at a cost of $25.00 for the year. We currently have 7 subscribers and there must be at least 5 to get the group rate. Please let Judith or Marianne know by November 25th if you would like to be a new subscriber or if you will be renewing. Since we aren't seeing each other at church functions, your $25 payment can be sent directly to Treasurer Mary Lou by cheque (payable to Thames Road Elimville UC) or by e-transfer thamesroadelimvilleuc@quadro.net. Make note that it is for the Broadview subscription. The weekly worship services continue to be sent by email to 80 families. There are 8 individuals receiving a printed version by mail or mailbox drop off. Please let Judith know if anyone would like to receive the weekly worship service by mail. Foodbank items were collected at the Thanksgiving Sunday worship service in the park. Ten bags of grocery items were delivered to the Exeter Community Food bank along with $65 in donations. Thank you to everyone who supported this outreach project. Our congregation has been invited to participate in a drive-by Bethlehem Journey planned by the South Huron Ministerial for Saturday, December 5th. More information will be shared as it becomes available.

The Ministry and Personnel Committee presented the 2021 Honoraria Report and the 2021 Minister’s Remuneration Report for approval by Council. The reports will be taken to the Annual meeting for approval by the congregation. Rev. Louise will be off on study leave on Sunday November 15th.

The Trustees reported that arrangements will be made to have the church checked twice a week for heat during the cold winter months to meet insurance requirements. An inspector from the Bereavement Authority of Ontario is requesting information on the location of the burial sites at the Thames Road church property. The Trustees are unable to locate documents, photos etc. that will provide proof as to where the graves are located. It is thought that the graves are located beside the church and not under the parking lot area. If anyone has information, documentation, or photos that will assist in confirming where the graves are located, please contact Beth Cooper, Robert Bray, John Miner or Ken Kadey.

The next UCW meeting is scheduled for November 10th. Members will be notified if a Zoom gathering can be planned for that evening as there is business to be discussed. A time for chit-chat will follow.

Monthly newsletters continue to be received from the Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council. The Region's Facebook page, available to everyone, is a good way to keep up-to-date on regional happenings including programs for children and youth. With Christmas just around the corner, the 2020 edition of the Gifts with Vision catalogue is now available. There are new gifts along with some favourites from previous catalogues. The catalogue is available online at: www.giftswithvision.ca. On September 1st Canada declared the Indian Residential Schools system an "event of national significance" and recognized Portage la Prairie Residential School in Manitoba, which was operated from 1925 until 1969 by The United Church of Canada, as a National Historic Site. On October 24th the Commissioners of the 43rd General Council of the United Church of Canada voted to declare the denomination to become an anti-racist church. Rev. Louise and Sharon Lynn "attended" the Fall Regional Council Meeting via Zoom from Thursday, October 15th to Saturday, October 17th. Over 200 participants met in 5 different sessions over the three days for a total of 8 hours. Various Commission reports were received and Financial reports presented. To support Affirming ministries with LGBTQ2SIA+ members, an Action Plan was adopted by the region. In the future we will be hearing more about United Fresh Start, a program that helps communities of faith and ministry personnel explore their identity and build healthier relationships. A Celebration of Ministry Service was live-streamed on Sunday, October 18th to anyone who wanted to join in. During the service, viewers were blessed to witness the ordination of three ordinands into the United Church of Canada. During this time of COVID-19 it is important that we continue to make our donations to the Mission and Service Fund; the more we contribute, the more money there is available for mission and ministry grants within the region.

The Nominating Committee is organizing for 2021. Our bylaws allow for up to two congregation members or adherents at large to be part of the committee. If this is a position you would be interested in filling, please contact any member of Church Council.

There has been interest expressed in confirmation classes. Watch for more information in an upcoming newsletter.

With a few changes, our Building Re-Entry Plan was finalized and adopted. As the safety of all who enter the building is of upmost importance, Council made the decision to keep the church building closed for the Advent and Christmas season. Conditions around the COVID-19 pandemic will be reassessed in the new year. Although the building is closed, "church" is still open. Services by email, mail or mailbox drop off, and Zoom video conferencing, will continue to be available to the members and adherents of our congregation until in-person services resume.

The meeting closed with prayer and was adjourned at 9:00 p.m. The next Council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday December 2nd at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom video conferencing.

CHURCH COUNCIL REPORT FROM OCTOBER 7, 2020

The October 7th Church Council meeting took place via Zoom video conferencing in the comfort of our homes. Chair John Miner called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

Rev. Louise reported that the month of September has continued to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. During the month she had a 1-week vacation; prepared 3 worship services, one of which was an email-only service, two being outdoor services (one at the park and the other at the former Elimville UC site); made a number of phone calls and sent a number of emails and text messages to stay in touch with members of the congregation and to conduct administrative business; did two outdoor in-person visits and one by Zoom; attended the outdoor Council meeting; "attended" a 1 1/2 hour Zoom meeting of the WOW Region's clergy; and kept up to date with United Church webinars and emails and other information about COVID-19 and its impact on communities of faith.

The Finance Committee reported an additional $463.76 has been received for the government 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy program for a total of $707.28.

The Fundraising Committee met on September 15th to discuss possible fundraising events/ideas for helping to boost the church revenue during the pandemic. It was decided that planning any event at this time is too risky as public health and safety measures are ever-changing as the second wave of COVID-19 advances. A fundraising project that could be done this fall is to publish a cookbook. Ideas are to compile favourite vintage recipes from previous church cookbooks, new recipe submissions, as well as a Kids' Section from the Sunday School members. The cookbook could also be promoted as part of our church's 25th anniversary celebrations as Thames Road Elimville United Church in 2022. Cookbook publishers and submission requirements are being explored. Everyone should start thinking of what they would like to submit. A pre-Christmas cheese sale is being considered and is being investigated. For the immediate need, a canvass of the congregation will take place. An appeal letter will be sent to every household by mail and will include the ways people can contribute to the church, e.g. cheque, e-transfer, PAR, or online at Canada Helps.org.

The Property Committee reported that repairs to the church roof are expected to begin in 6 - 8 weeks.

An in-person outdoor Thanksgiving worship service took place at the Community Park on October 11th. The cool, bright sunny morning provided a beautiful natural setting to remind us of the many things around us that we should be thankful for. Rev. Louise will not be providing a worship service for October 18th as she will be participating virtually in the Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council Annual Meeting. Our congregation is invited by the Regional Council to participate in the Sunday morning online worship service that is part of the meeting. More information will follow.

The Outreach Committee reported that the weekly worship services continue to be sent by email to 80 families. Please let Judith know if anyone would like to receive the weekly worship service by mail. Remember to support the Exeter & Area Foodbank when doing your shopping at Hansen's or Holtzmann's grocery stores.

In the weeks ahead the Ministry and Personnel Committee will be contacting non-salaried employees regarding contracts and remuneration for 2021. A COVID-friendly work bee was held on September 24th to mulch around the trees at the Community Park. Mulch was supplied by Marshall Jeffrey of Pioneer Tree Service. Families helping were Sarah, Jason, Wyatt, Charlotte Govers; Erin, Katelyn, Will, Nic & Ben Parsons; Ryan, Jeanette, Grace, Ruby & Rose Parker; Sue Schafer; Robert & Kathy Bray; Rick & Judith Parker. Many thanks to these volunteers. The swing sets have been sanded and painted and the seats and chains are being replaced for next year. Johnson's Sanitation has been contacted to winterize the porta potty.

The Trustees reported that Marilyn Rohde continues to check the church weekly and everything is in order.

A thank you is extended to the UCW ladies who catered to the wedding meal for Andrew Hodgert and Britt Robinson on September 12th.

A Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council meeting for ministers and church representatives will take place via Zoom for a few hours each day from Thursday October 15th to Saturday October 17th. A Celebration of Ministries worship service will be Live Streamed on Sunday October 18th at 10:00 a.m. This service is open to everyone. A link to the service will be provided when received. Regional Council is collecting financial donations in support of Wesley United Church on the Saugeen First Nation following a recent devastating fire.

Council members spent the remainder of the meeting continuing to work on a plan for re-entry to our church building. The plan will be finalized at the November Council meeting.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all worship services and activities in the church building continue to be suspended until further notice. The building may be closed, but “church” is still open. Consider attending one of the upcoming Zoom services or worship online.

The meeting closed with prayer and was adjourned at 9:10 p.m. The next Council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday November 4th at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom video conferencing.

CHURCH COUNCIL REPORT FROM SEPTEMBER 9, 2020

Observing COVID-19 safety protocols, the September 9th Church Council meeting took place in-person at the Thames Road Elimville Community Park. Chairperson John Miner called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.

Reverend Louise reported on her work over the summer. During the months of June, July and August, she
- had a 3-week vacation in June-July
- prepared 10 worship services, one of which was a drive-in service at the park in June, some to be read by parishioners at home, two planned as in-person worship outdoors at the park (but had to be cancelled due to weather) and four others done by way of Zoom in August
- spent time trying to sort out the technological challenges of the Zoom worship services
- did only two outdoor in-person visits
- made a number of phone calls and sent a number of emails and text messages to stay in touch with members of the congregation and to conduct administrative business
- attended a Ministerial meeting in July
- attended the outdoor Council meeting in July
- hosted some small Zoom meetings
- hosted a Zoom Sunday School gathering in June
- hosted two Zoom Coffee Hours in June and July
- "attended" two 1 1/2 -hour Zoom meetings of the WOW Region's clergy
- kept up to date with United Church webinars and emails and other information about COVID-19 and its impact on communities of faith
- "attended" a WOW webinar by Rev. Cameron Trimble regarding moving forward as a church
- set up a Zoom account for the congregation. If anyone wishes to host a Zoom gathering on behalf of the congregation, please be in touch with Rev. Louise for the password.
Rev. Louise will be away for a one-week vacation September 18-25.

The Finance Committee reported that $243.52 has been received for the federal government's 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy.

The Fundraising Committee reported that $930.00 was received following an appeal for donations to support the "Strawberry & Ham Smorgasbord That Didn’t Happen." The 2019 profit on the supper amounted to about $4,300.00. The committee has some ideas for future fundraising projects but would like to hear from you with your ideas. Contact Judith, Marianne, Greg, Amy or Sarah if you have a suggestion or two. Our bank balance is down about $12,000.00 from the beginning of the year. This should be a concern to everyone.

The Property Committee reported that a roofing contractor will be hired to repair the leak in the church roof and replace some flashing at a cost of $2,000.00-$2,500.00.

The Worship Committee reported that an in-person worship service will take place at the Thames Road Elimville Community Park on September 13th when Noah Lynn, son of Mark and Sherrilynn Lynn, will be baptized. Robert and Kathy Bray will lead the worship service on September 20th in the absence of Rev. Louise. This service will also be held at the community park.

The annual service at the site of the former Elimville United Church will take place on September 27th at 10:00 a.m. Worldwide communion will be celebrated on October 4th at the community park with everyone bringing their own elements. Please bring your lawn chair for all these outdoor services.

The Outreach Committee reported the weekly worship services continue to be sent by email to 79 families. Paper copies are being mailed to some members who don't have email, as well as the Exeter Villa and Queensway Retirement Living. Please let Judith know if you would like to receive the weekly worship service by mail. Remember to support the Exeter & Area Foodbank when doing your shopping at Hansen's or Holtzmann's grocery stores. If we are able to meet in-person for worship at the park, bring your donations for the Foodbank and the committee will make sure they are delivered. A fall edition of the TR-E Huggers Newsletter will be sent by mail and email to every household. To keep our communication links current, please pass along to Louise or Judith your updated phone numbers (e.g. cell if landline is dropped), mailing address or email addresses.

The Ministry and Personnel Committee reported that Rev. Louise will be on holidays from Friday, September 18th to Friday, September 25th. In the event of an emergency, Helen Kadey should be contacted. Rev. Jock will be available for pastoral care in Rev. Louise’s absence.

The Community Park Committee reported that the swings are being painted and mulch has been delivered to the park. Anyone able to help spread mulch should contact Judith, Beth or Robert and Kathy. Assistance in this way would be very much appreciated by the committee.

The Trustees reported that Marilyn continues to check the church weekly and everything is in order.

The September 8th UCW catered supper and entertainment meeting was cancelled due to challenges related to COVID-19. The group leaders are organizing catering of the wedding dinner for Andrew Hodgert and Britt Robinson on September 12th at Ironwood Golf Clubhouse.

Several newsletters were received from Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council and the United Church of Canada over the summer. Topics dealt with racism in our country, support for the creation of a Universal Basic Income Program, continued support of the Mission and Service Fund, and financial appeals to support the devastation in Lebanon and the United Church's COVID-19 Global Response Appeal. Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council is holding a virtual council meeting for a few hours each day from October 15th to October 18th. In light of concerns around COVID-19, the decision has been made to postpone General Council 44, previously slated for July 2021 in Calgary, to 2022. General Council will meet next from July 22-26, 2022.

The Christian Resource Centre has new hours starting September 1st. The centre will be open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and closed Monday and Thursday.

Council members spent a good part of the meeting working on a plan for re-entry to our church building. Further discussion and planning will continue at the next meeting. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all worship services and activities in the church building continue to be suspended until further notice. The building may be closed, but "church" is still open. Consider attending one of the upcoming outdoor worship services or worship online.

The meeting closed with prayer and was adjourned at 7:45 p.m. The next Council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday October 7th at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom video conferencing.

CHURCH COUNCIL REPORT FROM JUNE 3, 2020

The June 3rd Church Council meeting took place via Zoom video conferencing in the comfort of our homes. Chairperson John Miner called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

As Council did not meet in May, Rev. Louise's report covered her accomplishments in the months of April and May. Rev. Louise reported that she prepared 11 services to be read by parishioners at home, including Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, she did no face to face visits, "attended" the email Council meeting on April 1st, hosted 9 Zoom meetings with various groups and individuals within the congregation, "attended" 3 Zoom meetings of the WOW Region's clergy, kept up to date with United Church webinars and emails and other information about COVID-19 and its impact on communities of faith, made several phone calls and sent a number of emails and text messages to stay in touch with members of the congregation and to conduct administrative business, and "attended" the 5-day Festival of Homiletics (a top notch preaching conference) which was held online this year. Rev. Louise would like to do a sermon series on topics or questions members of the congregation would like to have a sermon about and encourages everyone to send her your ideas for content.

The Fundraising Committee reported that the Strawberry and Ham Supper is cancelled due to the pandemic and the provincial emergency orders in place. At the beginning of the year several fundraising ideas to support the work of our church were shared. We have had to cancel events that were planned and are now unable to proceed with some of the other ideas. Let Marianne, Judith, Greg, Amy or Sarah know of any new fundraising ideas that could be held in the community. During the month of June, the Great Canadian Giving Challenge is an opportunity to give to your favourite registered charity. For every donation received, the charity's name is entered into a draw for an opportunity of a $20,000 gift/prize. The challenge is run through Canada Helps.org of which our church is a registered charity to receive donations. Go to https://www.givingchallenge.ca/ to learn more or click on the Thames Road Elimville United Church webpage to make your donation. https://www.canadahelps.org/en/gcgc/60375. Are you a senior who will be receiving the $300 benefit from the government's response to COVID-19? Perhaps some folks would like to pay it forward and support the work of our church or another charity with this payment. Your donation is eligible for a charitable gift receipt.

The Property Committee reported that the lawn has been swept and stones removed from the cemetery area in preparation for grass cutting. The hot water heater has been removed due to leakage. A new water heater will be installed at some point as well as a new UV light system to replace the current system which is obsolete. A contractor will be contacted to get an estimate on repairing our slate roof.

The Worship Committee reported that a drive-in worship service that will include communion is being considered for Sunday June 21st at the community park. This type of service is now permitted by the provincial government provided all guidelines in place are followed. Stay tuned for more information on the service as it becomes available. As Rev. Louise is on holidays for part of July, Robert and Kathy have offered to adapt, with Greg's approval, some of Tracey's worship material to prepare services for at least a portion of the time when Rev. Louise is off. As a means of staying connected, Rev. Louise will be leading worship services via email during the month of August so there will be no summer break from services this year.

The Outreach Committee reported that in order to continue supporting our church outreach at the Exeter & Area Foodbank, items can be dropped off in the bin at Hansen's Independent or by making a donation when checking out at Holtzmann's Foodland. To continue our outreach at Exeter Villa and Queensway, the worship service is emailed weekly to each facility so it can be shared with our members in residence there. These folks would also welcome a phone call visit sometime. To stay connected with the congregation/community, a TR-E Huggers Hub newsletter was sent out on April 18 and May 18. However, this only reaches those who have supplied their email address. Continue to send Judith any ideas that can be shared during this time when we are apart - such as joys and concerns, photos, ideas for entertainment on TV or online, recipes, gardening tips, jokes, poems or suggested reading. The Mom's Night Out event was unable to be held in May due to the pandemic.

The Ministry and Personnel Committee reported that Rev. Louise will be on holidays from June 22nd to July 19th. In the event of an emergency Helen Kadey should be contacted in Rev. Louise’s absence.

The Community Park Committee has made arrangements for grass cutting to keep the park looking neat and tidy for the upcoming season.

Several UCW members met for a Zoom social gathering on May 12th, our regular meeting night, with Rev. Louise as host. UCW is scheduled to meet next on September 8th.

In the Western Ontario Waterways report it was shared that a WOW Region newsletter was received in mid May. The newsletter provided information on returning to church when we are allowed to do so and laid out some key items for Council to begin working on now so that we are prepared and ready to proceed when the time comes.

The Christian Resource Centre is re-opening on Tuesday June 23rd with reduced hours. It will be open from Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and by appointment.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all worship services and church activities at Thames Road Elimville United Church continue to be suspended until further notice.

The meeting closed with prayer and was adjourned at 8:20 p.m. The next scheduled Council meeting is set for Wednesday September 9th.

WATCH FOR REV. LOUISE’S WEEKLY WORSHIP SERVICE IN YOUR EMAIL INBOX

CHURCH COUNCIL REPORT FROM APRIL 1, 2020

The April 1st Church Council meeting took place via email in the comfort of our homes. Chairperson John Miner called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

Reverend Louise reported that in March she prepared and led 3 Sunday worship services and prepared 2 services to be read by parishioners at home. She attended a day-long Clergy Retreat in London, the Council committee meetings, 2 Council meetings, and the UCW meeting. She also made 2 hospital visits. Rev. Louise did a lot of research regarding COVID-19 and its impact on communities of faith. She attended 2 WOW Regional Council meetings via video conferencing, made many phone calls and sent many emails and text messages. She attended 1 choir practice and enjoyed singing with the choir during 3 Sunday services.

The Fundraising Committee reported that the Pancake Supper is postponed until a future date and the Cards and Coffee gathering is cancelled until fall. At this time the Strawberry and Ham supper is still being considered but that may change depending on how the future unfolds.

The Property Committee will be cleaning up the grass around the parking lot in preparation for grass cutting.

The Worship Committee reported that receipt of our request for video licensing has been confirmed and licensing is now in place for the next 12 months. The name of Noah Elson Lynn, son of Mark and Sherrilynn Lynn, was accepted for baptism, date to be determined.

The Outreach Committee reported that a spreadsheet recording information on our members and adherents has been created for Reverend Louise to assist her in making contact with the folks in our community of faith. The TR-E Huggers Hub, an electronic newsletter forum where the community and members can share joys, concerns and ideas for putting in your day while staying home has been created. Send feedback and suggestions to Judith at rjparker@quadro.net. Two worship services prepared by Reverend Louise were sent out to 79 households on the email list and also to Exeter Villa and Queensway to share with our members and any residents there. As access to the church copier is restricted at this time, worship services, newsletters etc. cannot be copied and sent in the mail. Our church was scheduled to lead the worship service at Exeter Villa on April 1st; however, services at the Villa have been cancelled and will be until further notice. With our church closed and no indication on their website that the Foodbank is accepting drop offs, ways of supporting the Foodbank are minimal at this time. However, Hansen's is accepting $2.00 donations for the local Foodbank at the checkout until Easter for anyone who is out and about.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the Ministry and Personnel Committee has requested that Reverend Louise not do any funerals at this time, but the decision is ultimately hers.

The Community Park is closed until further notice due to COVID-19 and the physical distancing restrictions in place.

Church buildings have been deemed non-essential by the provincial government. As a result, for legal reasons access to the church building is now off limits to everyone with the exception of one designated person who will check the premises on a regular basis for insurance purposes. The Trustees have arranged to have Marilyn Rohde check the church on a weekly basis. Marilyn will report back to one of the Trustees weekly or if she sees anything is amiss.

The April 14th meeting of the UCW is cancelled. The Tailgate Chicken Dinner fundraiser scheduled for April 21st is cancelled until a future date. The April 4th Special Event to celebrate the work of UCWs in the Huron Perth Presbyterial is being postponed until a future date. This event needs to happen as part of the disbanding process of the Presbyterial as it has transitioned into the Western Ontario Waterways (WOW) Region. At our March UCW meeting, the decision was made to not become part of the WOW regional UCWs. The concern was travelling to meetings or events that would probably be held in centres like Hamilton, Mount Forest, Port Elgin, etc. The Thames Road Elimville UCW can continue to operate as it does now and carry out our mission in the church, community and beyond. The public health guidelines and legislation that is in place approaching May 12th will determine whether or not the May UCW meeting will proceed as it is now planned.

In the Western Ontario Waterways report it was shared that a WOW Region newsletter was received in mid March and any pertinent information forwarded to the appropriate people. As well, several mailings with information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic have been received from the region and shared with Council members. Reverend Louise and Sharon Lynn participated in a Western Ontario Waterways Town Hall Meeting via video conferencing in March. Highlights of the meeting: Members of our community of faith are encouraged to use PAR (pre-authorized remittance) to make donations to the church during this time of crisis. Contact Sharon Passmore at 519-235-2708 if you would like to set up a PAR account or make changes to your existing account. Alternatively, a series of monthly post dated cheques made out to Thames Road Elimville United Church can be sent in the mail – mailing address Thames Road Elimville United Church, Box 3, Exeter ON, N0M 1S6. There is to be no face to face meetings for church business. Communities of faith are encouraged to use a video conferencing program, telephone conference calls or email as a means of communication and interaction.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all worship services and church activities at Thames Road Elimville United Church have been suspended until further notice.

The covenanting services with Reverend Louise and the Western Ontario Waterways Region planned for Sunday April 26th have been postponed until fall.

The meeting closed with prayer and was adjourned at 7:20 p.m. Council will meet next on Wednesday May 6th.

WATCH FOR REV. LOUISE’S WEEKLY WORSHIP SERVICE IN YOUR EMAIL BOX

REPORT FROM SPECIAL COUNCIL MEETING ON MARCH 15, 2020

Chairperson John Miner called to order a Special Council Meeting that took place following the worship service on Sunday March 15th to discuss the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and what to do going forward.

Following a discussion on how to handle the situation to best protect and serve our church members and the community, a decision was made to suspend worship services on March 22nd, March 29th and April 5th. The Pancake Supper planned for Sunday evening March 22nd has been postponed and the afternoon card group has disbanded until fall.

Council will re-evaluate the situation at its regular meeting scheduled for April 1st.

Reverend Louise led in a closing prayer and the meeting was adjourned at 11:20 a.m.

CHURCH COUNCIL REPORT FROM MARCH 4, 2020

The March 4th Church Council meeting was called to order at 8:00 p.m. by Chairperson, John Miner.

As correspondence, an email from the Municipality of South Huron was read. Municipal Council responded to the annual report submitted by the Community Park Committee, a requirement of the Memorandum of Understanding we have with the municipality regarding the community park. The Council is extremely pleased with all the efforts of the committee and the wonderful partnership we share.

Rev. Louise reported that in February she prepared and led 4 Sunday worship services. She attended the Annual Meeting, the committee and Council meetings, and the U.C.W. meeting. She did 5 visits including hospital visits and home visits and made phone calls and sent emails and text messages. She prepared and led an Exeter Villa worship service. She attended the Cards, Cookies & Conversation afternoon and joined with others in the Coldest Night of the Year walk. She attended 2 choir practices and enjoyed singing with the choir during 4 Sunday services.

The Finance Committee reported that June 14th has been confirmed as the date for the Strawberry and Ham Supper at the South Huron Rec Centre in Exeter.

The Fundraising Committee reported that 2 tables plus one person attended the Cards, Cookies & Conversation event on Wednesday March 4th. The next cards afternoon will be on Thursday March 26th at 2:00 p.m. at the church. Bring a toonie and a friend to play euchre and other card games. Contact Beth Cooper or Sharon Passmore for more information. Tickets are now available for the community Pancake Supper taking place on Sunday March 22nd from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the church. On the menu are Canadian pancakes, Dutch pancakes, local maple syrup, pork sausage, turkey sausage and more. Donations of a 9x13 pan of hash brown casserole or chocolate brownies would be welcomed. Tickets are $10.00 for adults/youth, $5.00 for children 5 to 10 years, children 4 and under free. For tickets or to donate a food item contact Judith, Marianne and Greg, Sarah, Amy, Robert and Kathy, Sharon L. or Mary Lou and Jack. A Courtesy Car can be available for this event if needed. The supper is prepared by members of Church Council with proceeds going to the church. Plans are being made for a Ladies Night Out event in the spring. Watch for details on this event as well as other fundraising activities as information becomes available. These events are all open to community participation. Bring your family, friends and neighbours and enjoy some time together while supporting your church.

The Christian Education Committee reported that the kids went tobogganing at Morrison Dam in February. A collection for Mission and Service projects took place with proceeds amounting to $26.00. Plans are underway for a PA day camp in April. The Sunday School will participate in the Ladies Night Out event by hosting their annual bake sale. Plans for other activities are being considered. Stay tuned for more details as they become available.

The Worship Committee reported that greeting for the month of March is the Ministry and Personnel Committee and for April, the Finance Committee. A Palm Sunday service will take place on Sunday April 5th and a Good Friday service on April 10th at 10:00 a.m. Breakfast will be served on Easter Sunday morning April 12th at 8:30 a.m. with the worship service beginning at 10:00 a.m.

The Outreach Committee reported that proceeds of $115.00 for the Mission and Service Fund were received at the coffee hour on March 1st. The next coffee hour will be on May 3rd. Rev. Louise led the worship service at Exeter Villa on February 12th accompanied by Jean Hodgert. Sharon Lynn, Judith Parker and Marianne Timmerman assisted at the service. The next Villa worship service will take place on Wednesday April 1st at 2:00 p.m. Everyone is invited to come out to assist and/or visit with the residents. A thank you is extended to everyone who contributed to the Exeter and Area Foodbank this month.

The Ministry and Personnel Committee reported that our request to hold covenanting services at the church on Sunday April 26th has been approved by Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council. Covenanting services with Rev. Louise and the Regional Council will begin at 2:00 p.m.

The U.C.W. ladies met on February 11th. A speaker from United Way Perth/Huron shared information on the Street to Feet homelessness initiative in Exeter. A donation of $100.00 was made to the project. As a result of the presentation a team was formed to walk in the Coldest Night of the Year event held in Exeter on February 22nd. Thirteen walkers collected donations amounting to $3,165.00. The TR-E Huggers thank all their donors for the support. The goal of $30,000.00 for the Walk was surpassed with over $40,000.00 raised. The U.C.W. is hosting a Pineridge Barbecue Chicken Supper on Tuesday April 21st – takeout, tailgate or eat in at the church. Watch for more details on this fundraising project as they become available. The ladies meet next on Tuesday March 10th at 7:30 p.m. at the church. Bring a childhood doll or toy to show for the roll call.

In the Western Ontario Waterways Region report it was shared that in regards to the Coronavirus, the United Church is part of a North American ecumenical response that will provide medical supplies for first responders and communities in Wuhan China. The United Church is collaborating with the American Baptist International Ministries, which is coordinating the provision of these supplies to address the crisis. A Confirmation Weekend will take place at Five Oaks from April 3rd - April 5th. This residential weekend event is meant to supplement a congregationally based confirmation process. For this retreat youth are expected to attend with an adult from their church who will be responsible for the supervision of the youth and who will participate fully in the program. Cost is $135.00 and includes 2 nights accommodations in shared rooms, meals, snacks and programming. The retreat begins Friday at 6 p.m. and ends after lunch on Sunday. Contact Rev. Louise if you are interested in this event.

The South Huron Foodgrains Committee has set April 26th for the annual Foodgrains Sunday at Exeter United Church beginning at 10:30 a.m. Lunch will follow the service. There will be no worship service at Thames Road Elimville United Church that day. Everyone is encouraged to attend worship in Exeter.

A commissioning of the members of Church Council will take place during the worship service on Sunday, March 8th.

Kathy did a little housecleaning at the church this past week. There are several items on the table outside the office that are free for the taking.

The meeting closed with prayer and was adjourned at 8:55 p.m. Council will meet next on Wednesday April 1, 2020.

CHURCH COUNCIL REPORT FROM FEBRUARY 5, 2020

The February 5th Church Council meeting was called to order at 8:00 p.m. by newly elected Chairperson, John Miner.

Rev. Louise reported that in January she led three Sunday worship services. One service was cancelled due to wintry weather. She did 22 visits including Exeter Villa visits, hospital visits, and home visits and made phone calls and sent emails and text messages. She attended the Committee and Council meetings at the church as well as 3 choir practices, and enjoyed singing with the choir during three Sunday services.

The Finance Committee presented an updated fee schedule for use of church buildings and equipment for approval. The schedule is posted on the bulletin board outside the office and on the church website. Contact Ken Kadey or Greg Bahro to book use of the church or equipment.

The Fundraising Committee announced some of the fundraising projects it is planning for 2020. Come to the church and play cards on Wednesday February 19th at 2:00 p.m. Beth Cooper and Sharon Passmore are arranging an afternoon of euchre and other fun card games for all to enjoy. A pancake supper hosted by Church Council will take place during Lent on a Sunday evening in March. Watch for more details on this event as they unfold. Always a favourite, the annual Strawberry and Ham supper will take place on June 14th. These events are all open to community participation. Bring your family, friends and neighbours and enjoy some time together while supporting your church.

The Property Committee reported that Smith-Peat Roofing will be contacted to investigate and determine where rain leaked into the balcony area of the sanctuary during a recent storm. Our new photocopier has been purchased and is in place; its first job was to print the Annual Reports.

The Worship Committee reported that greeting for the month of February is the Property Committee and for March, the Ministry and Personnel Committee. A hymn sing will take place during the worship service on Sunday, February 16th and communion will be served on Transfiguration Sunday, February 23rd. The first Sunday of Lent is March 1st. There will be no worship services at Thames Road Elimville United Church on June 28th and September 6th as well the months of July and August. Fall worship services will resume on Sunday, September 13th. The worship service at the former Elimville United Church site will take place on Sunday, September 27th. Rev. Louise is looking for lay readers to participate in Sunday worship services. Contact her if you are able to help out.

The Outreach Committee reported that the luncheon before the Annual Meeting raised $150.00 for Camp Bimini and Camp Menesetung. $50.00 from the committee’s budget will be added to this amount and each camp will receive $100.00. A worship service at Exeter Villa will take place on Wednesday, February 12th at 2 p.m. Everyone is invited to come out to assist and/or visit with the residents. A coffee hour is planned for March 1st following the worship service with proceeds going to the Mission and Service Fund. Mission and Service Fund donations to date are $540.18 towards our goal of $8,000.00.

The Ministry and Personnel Committee reported that Rev. Louise will be off on holidays as per her contract from June 21st after the worship service to July 13th and from September 18th to 25th.

The Trustees reported that permission has been received from Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council to proceed with the demolition of the church shed. Beth Cooper has been named as Chairperson of the Trustee Board and Robert Bray will be the Trustee Representative on Church Council.

The U.C.W. ladies did not meet in January and will meet next on Tuesday, February 11th at 7:30 p.m.

In the Western Ontario Waterways Region report it was shared that there is a Confirmation Retreat and Faith Refresher with the theme "What Will Find You" taking place at the Pearce Williams Centre near Fingal from February 21st to 23rd. The retreat is designed to prepare United Church teens for confirmation but is open to any and all teens in grades 7-12 regardless of whether or not they are confirmed or ever intend to be. This retreat weekend engages teens in the exploration of A New Creed, energetic worship, and lots of recreation, all led by adult ministry personnel with decades of experience in youth ministry. If anyone is interested in this event, please speak to Rev. Louise. Our community of faith got a mention in the Region’s January newsletter...”Welcome to Louise von Massow. She is already settling in a Thames Road Elimville since the beginning of this new decade”.

The worship service at Thames Road Elimville United Church will be cancelled on Sunday, April 26th due to the annual South Huron Foodgrains service at Exeter United Church. Everyone is encouraged to attend worship in Exeter that day.

A thank you was extended to Council members for taking a position on the 2020 Church Council. An updated copy of the General Guidelines of the Church Council was distributed to each member.

Helen Kadey reported that the covenanting service for Rev. Louise is tentatively planned for Sunday, April 26th at 2:00 p.m. She is awaiting confirmation from Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council. It is anticipated that the covenanting service between our community of faith and the Region will take place on the same day, again confirmation is pending.

Community of Faith Self Assessment checklists were handed out to Council members and areas of the checklist assigned to various committees and individuals. The purpose of the assessment is to identify how we are currently doing things and to determine what changes, if any, need to be made. Followup reports will be made at future Council meetings.

An installation of the members of Church Council will take place during the worship service on Sunday, March 8th.

The meeting closed with prayer and was adjourned at 9:10 p.m. Council will meet next on March 4, 2020.

REPORT FROM THE CONGREGATIONAL ANNUAL MEETING FEBRUARY 2, 2020

26 members of our community of faith ventured out to attend the 2019 Annual Meeting of Thames Road Elimville Pastoral Charge held at the church on a snowy day in early February. Chair of Council Larry Lynn called the meeting to order at 11:30 a.m. following a shortened worship service led by Reverend Louise von Massow and a light lunch hosted by the Outreach Committee. Proceeds from the lunch will go to support Camp Bimini and Camp Menesetung.

Remembered in prayer by Rev. Louise were Donald (Donnie) Kerslake and Doris Elford, members of Thames Road Elimville Pastoral Charge who passed away in 2019. Also remembered was Leah Audrey Barlow, stillborn daughter of Miriam Veldman and Zachary Barlow. Welcomed with joy to our church family were Abigail Lynn, Claire Miller and Nora Joy Andrews by baptism, and Mary Lou Thomson by transfer.

Following a motion passed by the full members of the congregation, adherents were extended voting rights on any matter at the meeting.

The reports from 2019 printed in the Annual Report booklet were reviewed and accepted as amended with some changes made to the Statistical Report.

Motions were passed to:
-Approve the 2020 Honoraria Report for non-salaried employees as presented.
-Approve the 2020 Proposed Budget as printed in the Annual Report booklet.
-Approve the 2020 Mission and Service Fund Budget of $8,000.00.
-Approve Sharon Lynn and Marianne Timmerman as Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council Representatives for 2020.
-Approve Helen Kadey and Carolyn Johns as Financial Examiners for 2020.
-Approve participation in the South Huron Foodgrains growing project in 2020 and to name Larry Lynn, Brent Dawson and Ken Kadey to the committee.
-Approve Beth Cooper as a member of the Trustee Board for a 4-year term.
-Approve a full slate of members for the 2020 Church Council.

The Fundraising Committee formed in 2019 presented over a dozen fundraising ideas that had been passed on to the committee over the past year. Mark your calendars for the annual Strawberry and Ham supper which will take place on Sunday June 14th. Watch for details on this event and others as plans unfold. The committee, consisting of 5 members, is looking for volunteers to help organize individual fundraising projects. Contact Judith, Marianne, Greg, Sarah or Amy if you would like to join the committee or act as a volunteer to head up a specific project.

The Christian Education Committee shared activities that had been undertaken in 2019. The PA Day program was well supported and will continue in 2020. Some new activities have been suggested for the year ahead. Watch for more information as plans unfold. Concern was expressed on the decline in Sunday School attendance and lack of support of planned activities. Volunteers are needed for some activities, in particular the PA Day program. Also, volunteers to lead the Sunday morning Sunday School program on an occasional basis would be appreciated. Contact Sarah or Amy if you can help them out in any way.

The Community Park Committee reported that no major projects are planned for the park in 2020. Everyone is encouraged to use the park, a valuable resource we are fortunate to have in our community.

The Food Grains Committee reported that for the 2020 South Huron Foodgrains project, corn and soybeans will be planted on the Huron-Perth Ag Services test plots located approximately 3 miles south of Exeter. The annual Foodgrains church service will be held on Sunday April 26, 2020 at Exeter United Church at 10:30 a.m. with lunch to follow.

Church Council welcomes two new faces in 2020. John Miner replaces Larry Lynn as Chair of Council, a position held by Larry for the past 8 years, and Greg Bahro replaces Dave Passmore on the Property Committee. On behalf of the congregation, Robert Bray thanked Larry for his many years of leadership. We also extend a thank you to Dave (and Sharon) for his time served on Council.

Several minor changes to our General Guidelines of Church Council, to bring them in line with current times, were approved.

Robert Bray expressed the need for more trained helpers in the sound booth for Sunday worship services and other events using the sound system. Training will be provided. Also, more trained volunteers to assist with the operation of the vertical lift on Sunday mornings would be helpful. If you can help with either of these items, please contact Robert.

With operating losses around $12,000.00 annually the last two years, a discussion took place on our declining financial position. As a result, the PAR (pre authorized remittance) program will be promoted again and more fundraising projects will take place. If you would like to become part of the PAR program or if you are already involved and would like to increase your givings, contact Sharon Passmore for more information. The PAR program allows you to support your church financially through an automatic monthly withdrawal from your bank account.

A thank you was extended to Reverend Louise von Massow for her assistance with worship services in 2019 and for being so dedicated to pastoral care within our church family. We feel blessed that she answered our call to be our permanent part time minister effective January 1, 2020 and look forward to working with her in the years ahead. Reverend Louise responded by reminding those present that our young families and children are an important resource and we need to do what we can to help them. Katelyn Parsons, speaking on behalf of the young people, expressed how grateful they are to have this place to come to.

What’s in store for 2020? Church Council has asked that Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council work with us to arrange a covenanting service for Reverend Louise. It is anticipated that the service will take place in April or May. It is hoped that the required covenanting service between our community of faith and the Regional Council can take place at the same time. A community of faith self-assessment is required regularly by Regional Council, so Church Council will be working on that in the weeks and months ahead. Plans are to demolish the church shed at the rear of the church property to make way for more parking, a project that will enhance the landscape at the corner of Thames Road and Elimville Line. Finding a healthy balance between the mission and outreach of our church and raising funds to stay financially viable will be a challenge facing our community of faith in the years ahead.

Larry Lynn extended a thank you to the members of Church Council for their hard work and dedication in dealing with the work of Council. A thank you was also extended to the members of the congregation for their participation at worship services and other church activities, and for their ongoing support in every way.

The first meeting of the new Church Council will be on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 with the committees meeting at the church at 7:00 p.m. and Church Council meeting at 8:00 p.m. The meeting closed with prayer and was adjourned at 12:55 p.m.


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We believe that guided by the Holy Spirit our Pastoral Charge will nurture Christian faith so that we may serve God by word and personal example.