March 2016 Congregational Update

As part of our commitment to more regular, transparent and timely communication with the Congregation we want to highlight some of our recent activities.

MCC Toronto Board of Directors MARCH 11 2016: Congregational Update

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 Senior Pastor Selection process.
We had a Town Hall meeting on February 21 and the Board met on January 13 and February 24

We’ll weather the storm together

The Board and your staff have shared many and varied emotions and thoughts in responding to the recent onslaught of publicity we have endured. We struggle to recall the wise words of Micah who reminds us that we are called to seek justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with God. We seek comfort, strength and grace as we support Brent and John. We also pray for the complainant and his family. Our official statements are listed on our website.

2016 Budget passed

The Board received, discussed and passed the 2016 budget. The budget incorporates Staff and operational cuts which will not directly impact programs and services, however it will demand some shifting and additional responsibilities for the remaining Staff. We are committed to vigorous monitoring of our revenue and expenses and are prepared to consider further risk mitigation if demanded. We expressed our deep appreciation to our Finance committee for their dedication and efforts: Shelly Morris, Carol Osler, Cheryl Smith and Barry Jones. Barry completed his work on the Committee at the end of December and we thank him for his many years of dedication. A copy of the budget is now posted on our website within the Board of Directors documents.

Building for tomorrow

It has been our practice for some time to allocate 10% of any unrestricted gifts from estates to the MCC Toronto General Endowment Fund (the capital is maintained but the gain on investment is available to be spent). We have also approved an allocation of 10% into a ‘Rainy Day Contingency Fund’. This Fund is separate and distinct from our operating budget and funds raised will be used to help us through unexpected events like emergency building repairs and year end deficits. The money we spend from this Fund will not have to be paid back from our operations. In addition, operating surpluses can be put into the Rainy Day Contingency Fund. The Fund will be administered by the Executive Staff Team and the Board will approve the disbursements as needed.

Evolving Roles

When Rev. Kevin Downer came to MCC Toronto to be our Executive Pastor, he agreed to come for up to a three-year period.  His training and his passion is serving as an interim pastor and he had completed two successful placements in this unique ministry calling. This past fall the Senior Pastor of the Founders MCC of LA, the founding church of our denomination, resigned. Since then, Founders MCC of LA has faced some challenges. The denomination approached Kevin to become the intentional interim Pastor and he has accepted this invitation. Kevin’s last Sunday with us is March 13th, 2016.

In January we announced that we would be eliminating the Executive Pastor position in June as part of our “right-sizing” efforts with the 2016 budget. With Kevin leaving earlier than planned, we have shifted our ministry structure accordingly. Worship and Care shifts to Brent and we recently celebrated the leadership positions that Rev. Deana Dudley and Sam Morris will be playing with our AM and PM worship services. Some exciting work is underway with our Care and Prayer Ministry and we’ll have an update to share about that in the next few weeks. Shelly Morris, our Executive Director, will continue to have accountability for finances, communication, facilities, giving programs and the HR/Legal/Risk side of the church. And, most recently, Rev. Kevin Downer has been transitioning the Community Engagement, Spirituality and Refugee Programs to her.

Community Fundraiser

We were advised that on Thursday June 23 we will have a major community fundraiser at the Daniels Spectrum Centre in celebration of the Triangle Program’s 20th anniversary. Further details and promotion will be provided shortly.

Refugee Program

The Refugee Program has been extremely busy in the development of a thoughtful and detailed plan which includes goals, initiatives, roles and responsibilities, budget proposals and the identification of possible community partners. The Board and Senior Staff are engaged in determining staffing, budget and support requirements.

Governance Report

We are currently reviewing and updating our MCC Toronto Code of Conduct, Confidentiality Agreement, Whistleblower policy and Membership Criteria.

Finance Committee

2015 ended with a deficit of almost $85K which we covered by using investment earnings from our endowment funds, ensuring there is no carry-over of the deficit into 2016. We are committed to closely reviewing expenses and revenue and taking required action.

Senior Pastor Selection Process

Under our by-laws, the Board of Directors is charged with the responsibility of identifying, recruiting and presenting to the Congregation our next Senior Pastor who will be formally elected by members of MCC Toronto. The following individuals are on the selection committee:

  • Anne Brayley, Vice Moderator of the Board. Anne is also a member of the Governance and Fund
    Development Committees. Anne has been attending MCC Toronto for 25 years and is serving her third term on the Board. In her professional life, Anne is the Vice President, Philanthropic Services at Toronto Foundation. Anne has been actively involved with the Foundation for many years, including past service as a Board member and committee volunteer. She joined the staff team in 2008. In her role, Anne leads the team responsible for new donor development, donor relations, and marketing/communications for the Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation staff, her career included roles in publishing, advertising and executive search. Anne is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Canadian Association of Gift Planners, and is a frequent writer on the subject of strategic philanthropy.
  • Lori Boyce, Board Member and Chair of the Governance Committee. Lori has been attending the church for over 25 years and has served multiple terms on the Board and is a regular member of the communion/healing team. In her professional life, Lori is the AVP, Underwriting, Risk Management & Research/Development at Manulife Financial. Lori’s career has focused on the assessment of risk for individual income replacement, critical illness and long term care products. Her technical expertise is applied in the development of new products, marketing and sales.
  • Andrew Fleming, Board Member and Chair of the Fund Development Committee. Andrew has been attending the church a number of years and is serving his first term on the Board. In his professional life, Andrew is the Managing Partner – Toronto Office of Norton Rose Fulbright. Andrew has extensive experience in business law, including company, securities and banking law, and regulatory requirements relating to corporate transactions, financings and mergers and acquisitions. He has been involved in numerous not-for-profit organizations and presently serves as a Governor of the Shaw Festival Theatre.

The mandate of the search committee is to have a clear and robust senior pastor selection plan to ensure they identify the strongest possible candidate who will be strongly endorsed by the congregation to partner with us as we continue to grow as a vibrant, inclusive, progressive Christian church. They have developed criteria including a focus on progressive theology criteria for potential candidates. They are also reviewing feedback provided at past Town Halls and from the Church of the Future survey.

Our next Town Hall will focus on sharing the final results of this survey as we seek your wisdom and input in terms of your priorities and preferences. At this point we are in the process of proactively identifying possible candidates who may be interested in applying. This search has extended beyond MCC. Within the next several months, we will be conducting an open call and inviting all interested parties to apply. Ultimately, the Selection Committee will come to the Board with a recommendation. When the Board has endorsed the candidate, the individual will be presented to the congregation. Members in good standing will then vote on the candidate. Please note our next TOWN HALL is scheduled for: May 29, 2016 at 12:45pm in the Sanctuary. In advance of this meeting there will be supporting documents available on our website.

Our Board of Directors includes Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes, Senior Pastor, and your congregational representatives:

  • Anne Brayley, Vice Moderator Vice President, Philanthropic Services, Toronto Foundation
  • Lori Boyce, Board Member, AVP, Underwriting, Risk Management & Research/Development, Manulife
  • Cheryl Smith, Board Member, CPA, CA, MBA, MLS
  • Carol Osler, Board Member, SVP & Head of Financial Crimes and Fraud Management Group and Enterprise Project Management Office, TD Bank Group
  • Andrew Fleming, Board Member, Managing Partner – Toronto Office, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada

Other regular attendees at our Board meetings are:

  • Shelly Morris, Executive Director
  • Annabelle Menezes, Executive Assistant to Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes

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

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

Lori Boyce,

Chair, Governance Committee