Dear Members of Living Skies Regional Council,
At the Annual Regional Gathering last September it was decided that the regional assessment that had been in place for 2020 through the action of the inaugural Annual Regional Gathering (2019) would not be continued in 2021. Initially this additional assessment was put in place as a way of supporting the work and outreach of the community ministries in our Region. The reality of decreasing funds from the National church and the continued financial support needed by these ministries through the Region meant that the grant amounts available to the ministries were decreasing. The regional assessments were implemented to help in aiding the ministries in becoming self-sufficient through education and program support.
When the decision was made to discontinue the regional assessment in 2021 there was concern regarding the future financial support of the ministries. In response the following motion was presented to the delegates: It is moved and seconded that Living Skies Regional Council establish an Outreach Ministries Fund which would distribute voluntary donations from individuals and communities of faith, equitably across the various Regional Council ministries. The distribution would be determined by a committee of the Executive who would also communicate with communities of faith as to what these ministries are and do. Depending on the amount of money received, The Fund could be used to support resources for sustainability as well as special projects that would not otherwise be possible.”
Due to the fact that this proposal was presented near the end of the meeting time, there was not enough time to have fulsome discussion as a gathered community and the proposal was forwarded to the Regional Council Executive. Conversation around the proposal took place at the May 2021 Executive meeting and was it was agreed by consensus to accept the proposal.
Community ministries fund
Acting on the acceptance of this proposal, the Executive has established the Community Ministries Fund. Communities of Faith can donate directly to this fund by contacting finance administrator Heather Dootoff*.
Once a year, the monies donated will be combined with the Mission Support Grants budget that will be distributed to the various Community Ministries (please see the list of ministries here). The Grants Committee will distribute the grants based on need exhibited by the various ministries through the grant application process. This way, the monies donated to the Community Ministry Fund will go to all the ministries rather than being earmarked for specific ones.
Congregations who have already budgeted for the regional assessment in 2021 may consider sending that budget amount to this fund. Donations to this universal fund will allow the Region to enhance the grant amounts given to each of the ministries, especially given that the National church grants that are used for the Mission and Ministry of the Region are decreasing. The grants given are determined by financial status, requested amount, and monies available. Once the grant is given the Ministry determines how and where the money is used.
These Community Ministries and the desire to continue to support their ministry through the Region reflects the dedication and passion that Living Skies has for justice seeking and outreach mission. The desire to make sure that all these Community Ministries are supported and given the opportunity to thrive is deeply held by all the members of this Regional Council. The Executive is appreciative of this passion and dedication. These ministries are not only part of the legacy of this regional council but are a part of our future as well. Thank you for your continued support of these ministries and their work.
Blessings to you in your ongoing ministry and mission in this Region.
Rev. Tricia Gerhard
Chair, Living Skies Regional Council Executive
*cheques should be made out to Living Skies Regional Council, with the memo line stating that the money is for the Community Ministries Fund.