Congregational Update – February 2017

As part of our commitment to more regular, transparent and timely communication with the Congregation we want to highlight some of our recent activities. We meet bi-monthly and will provide you with the key points arising from our meetings. In addition, on our church website, you can find a variety of Board documents, including the Board Roles and Responsibilities, our role as a “Policy” Board, our slate of individual responsibilities, our strategic plan, and our Transition Plan to identify, recruit and elect our next Senior Pastor.

Board of Directors

Carol Osler, SVP & Head of Financial Crimes and Fraud Management Group and Enterprise Project Management Office, TD Bank Group, has resigned from the Board and as Chair of the Finance Committee as she tackles additional professional responsibilities. We express our heartfelt gratitude to Carol for her expertise, unique insights, passion and commitment that has helped to guide and shape us. We wish her our best as she focuses on further professional development.

Joe Jamieson, Deputy Registrar, Ontario College of Teachers, has joined the Board.

We are thrilled to appoint Joe to the Board as Carol’s replacement. Joe was first certified to teach in Quebec in 1992 and began his 23-year career in education with the Halton Catholic District School Board. He has served as a teacher, writer, curriculum consultant and as the Director of the College Standards of Practice and Accreditation department and Director of the Investigations and Hearings department. He holds a MEd from the University of Toronto, a BA from the University of Waterloo and a diploma in Secondary Education from McGill University.

Joe is influential in managing the College’s financial systems, including its $40 million annual operating budget, working closely with the 37 elected and appointed members of the College’s governing Council, leading major College initiatives and speaking frequently to community partners. Joe is a compelling and sought after presenter within the education sector. He speaks frequently at public and education conferences on topics such as professional conduct, leadership, education law, and LGBTQ issues in education.

Most recently, Joe led our Reference Group in providing support for the congregation and staff.

We are thrilled to have him replace Carol on the Finance Committee.

Senior Pastor Selection update

At this point we have proactively identified several qualified individuals who may be interested in applying. This search has extended beyond MCC. In early March, we will be conducting an open call and inviting interested parties to apply. We will be advertising on the MCC website and in both the print version of the United Church Observer and on the on-line version. There will also be information available on our own website. Look forward to our more detailed update to the congregation on Sunday March 5th during worship services.

In addition, there is information available here.

We are also creating a communications plan to gather input and engage the staff and congregation.

Strategic vision for the Refugee Ministry

The Refugee Ministry has three core strategic areas:

  1. Private sponsorship of LGBT refugees and resettlement to Canada;
  2. Peer support for in land refugee claimants;
  3. Networking and advocacy on issues concerning LGBT refuges in Canada and abroad.

MCC Toronto has a unique opportunity and responsibility as the only charitable organization in Canada to have a Sponsorship Agreement with the Government of Canada that is specifically focused on LGBTQ refugees. We will have a renewed focus on building partnerships with other organizations who share a similar passion for our refugee community. In order to increase our effectiveness, we will offer training programs, an open and clear sponsorship/settlement application process, assistance in the creation of settlement plans and oversight/support to the partners we’ve established formal agreements with.

To implement our strategy, we will commit to:

  • Continuing to seek financial support for the staffing, programming and settlement funds needed for the program;
  • Recruitment, training, and oversight of volunteers;
  • Community engagement and integration into our MCC Toronto spiritual community;
  • Enhanced communications to better tell our story of directly transforming lives.

Financial update

Our supporters once again rose to the challenge, exceeding our Christmas Eve Sponsorship target of $50,000 by $3,375 and our Christmas appeal goal of $69,000 by $3,000.

At the end of 2015 we presented a challenging “right sized” budget indicating we would spend no more than $1,255,400 and we’re happy to announce that we achieved this

In fact we were 2.5% under budget. Each year we account for major capital purchases made in previous years and the depreciation of these assets as “non-cash” items. This year’s depreciation expense was $92,117. We ended the year with a budget surplus but these depreciation expenses leave us with a slight deficit position of $26,000.

We approved a balanced Operating Budget for 2017. Revenues and expenses are predicted to rise by 2%. An infogram (visual depiction of revenues and expenses) has become a popular format for communicating our financial health and we’ll have an infogram representing our 2017 Budget available later this month.

Dates to put in your calendar

Saturday Feb 25, 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Progressive Christianity workshop with Rev. Dr. John Pentland, minister at Hillhurst United Church in Calgary since September of 2005 and author of “Fishing Tips: How Curiosity Transformed a Community of Faith.” Tickets are $22 per person, $25 at the door.

This will be an interactive workshop on the 9 ways Hillhurst United Church engaged curiosity to transform its church. Through stories, slides and conversation we will explore what needs to happen and where we are on the journey… not a manual or road map, rather, an invitation to explore.

Lunch will be provided. More details:

Sunday Feb 26: Rev. Dr. Pentland will preach at all three services.

Sunday March 19: Rev. Rachelle Brown will preach at all three of our Sunday services.

Rev. (Elder) Rachelle Brown is the third global leader for Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) since its founding in 1968. The denomination’s Governing Board elected Rev. Brown in 2016 to serve a three-year term as Interim Moderator.

Rev. Brown is an educator and theologian. Since 1996, she has been an instructor, trainer, facilitator, adjunct professor, and guest lecturer at Chicago Theological Seminary, Eden Theological Seminary, Missouri State University, and the University of Phoenix. Rev. Brown explores intersections of queer ethics, human sciences, and communications with a deep understanding regarding the historiography of modern religious thought and practices.

Rev. Brown has a background in media and marketing where she oversaw and participated in strategic planning, project and budget management for national, regional, and local consumer and business-to-business clients.

Sunday March 19 12:45 p.m.: Town Hall with Rev. Rachelle Brown.

Sunday June 18, 12:45 p.m.: Annual Congregational Business Meeting

If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to contact any of us. You can also reach us by email at

We welcome your feedback and engagement. Together, God has called us to do great things.

Lori Boyce,
Chair, Governance Committee