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Melissa Van Dyk on February 6, 2013

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I agree!  Giving to the budget is never inspiring, and giving out of guilt is not in line with a spirit of generosity!  I've also found that pastors avoid the financial stewardship discussion because their salaries are part of that and it can feel awkward.  I'm hoping that this will be a forum where we can start these conversations going.  Are there any resources in particular that you would recommend?

Melissa Van Dyk on February 5, 2013

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Leon - it seems like that could be a great resource for other churches to use!  Thanks for sharing!

I agree with Rebecca, I like that list Karl. :D

To add to that list our deacon team has also done the following:

a. Gather food offerings from the congregation monthly for a local ministry we are in relationship with and our food bank, and then distribute that.

b. Host a budgeting session, to teach interested persons about biblical financial principles and actually teach them how to create a budget that works.

c. Count the offerings, informing the congregation monthly about how much has been received, and managing the financial resources for benevolence [which has been used for groceries, rent, medications, tuition, simple gifts]

d. Write notes to people in our congregation, either those ill for whom we have been in prayer, or thank yous to people who have helped us in serving.

e. Create the offering schedule and promote an offering at least once a month.

f. Increase congregational awareness of various deacon "things". For instance: items that may be confusing on the budget, benevolence,  tithing and stewardship, or the PAR program. 

g. Utilize DMC [] resources, both online and in person, to enhance our understanding of our roles and generate new ideas.

h. Intentially be present in the community [both in and around the church] developing relationships [new and old] and engaging in conversations so that we know those we are serving.

i. Met with members of our Missions Committee to discuss and develop ways that would allow us to build deeper relational contacts with the organizations we support through our church offerings.

j. The chair of the deacons has connected with each deacon for a 1-1 check in, asking about how they are doing, addressing any concerns, and offering affirmation and encouragement.

k. Regular visiting with a diverse group of individuals/families, sometimes because they have particular needs, sometimes just to say "hello". 

l. We attempted to organize rides to church on Sundays  for those who needed them, however, at the time no one seemed to be in need of one. [We are continually aware of this being a potential need].


The deacon role is so diverse, it's often hard to know what to do or where to start... but we've just been praying,  trying to pay attention to the community we're part of and be proactive in our service... knowing that God is moving and we've been invited to partner with Him.  

I love gathering ideas, sharing thoughts, and celebrating the collective wisdom we're surrounded by... so I'm looking forward to more responses :D

Melissa Van Dyk on May 20, 2011

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

It REALLY REALLY stays with you. :D  Fun video folks! 

Posted in: A Needed Gift

This sounds like it was a wonderful time together, however, it has left me wondering about those pastor's spouses who are husbands - is there a place for them at this type of event?  Are there events like this which welcome all the spouses - male or female?

I love intergenerational ministry!! I totally agree that it's an important aspect of our faith, both in building deeper community and for spiritual growth.  I have checked out the WE curriculum, and as church staff we have been talking about using it this Fall.  It looks like a great way to connect all ages!

Melissa Van Dyk on September 4, 2012

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

You're right - we don't always see things as injust - but perhaps we need to be challenged to!  There are systemic issues that perpetually keep people marginalized.  How can we better love and serve our refugee, aboriginal or immigrant friends?  What does it look like for us to stand with those who have disabilities, mental illness, are homeless or in a state of poverty?  It's important to see needs - but it's also important to see the injustice that creates the need.  And call a spade a spade (or injustice, injustice). :)

This was good for a laugh! There were great one-liners that  cleverly expose our discipleship inertia.  My favourites...

"You'll never hear us use the term 'unpack that thought', we're sure it's packed away for a really good reason'".

"Thanks for doing my taxes, you have great accountability"

"I had a growth removed last week, it wasn't pleasant" 

"We avoid conflict conflict like the plague... who wants cake?!"

"This is the only outreach you'll ever have to do".

I could almost write the whole skit. :) Thanks for sharing.

Posted in: Christmastime!

Elna Siebring from Halifax sent the follow story.  Thanks for sharing Elna!



 Every year around this time I always seem to have an experience  of a Christmas miracle....... it happens at the Mission where we serve breakfast to our street friends in Halifax.  Every year it catches me by surprise.  This year it happened again.    9 am  Christmas Eve morning and our last guests, Martha and Shelley had just left the mission.  A couple minutes later the two women returned to the dining hall and asked if they could speak with me.  They had met a young mother pushing her 7 month old baby in a  stroller through the streets in the pouring rain and knocking on church doors.  She had run out of diapers for her baby and had no money to buy new ones.   My  friends wanted to know if they could invite her  to come in out of the cold and have some breakfast even though it was past closing time.   I said 'definitely, invite her in and we will find something to serve her".  Martha and Shelley helped carry the stroller down the flight of wooden steps, down the alley and into the dining room.  The mom was so young, so beautiful, so desperate.  Her hands were freezing cold and her hair dripping wet.   Her baby was so adorable and he was toastie warm in the stroller.....kept dry by the plastic rain cover.   Bill, who reminds me of my Oom Henk, was washing the dishes that morning.  Bill is crazy about babies.  He pulled up a chair beside the stroller and spent the time cooing to the baby.  The baby woul look up at Bill with his big blue-grey eyes (the colour of a winter sky) and give him big smiles while us women visited with the mom over  a breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast.    Before the mom left, we were able to give her new mittens, hat and socks. The church that was serving that morning delivered diapers,  the left over breakfast food  and other needed things to her apartment.  The mom was so grateful for the gifts of food and clothing....which for most of us are everyday things.  I am grateful to Shelley and Martha who saw the mother and child in need and invited them into the mission.  For in this act of hospitality, I witnessed a Christmas Miracle... we were visited by Mary and the Christ-child down at the Mission on Christmas Eve Day. 

Thanks for posting this Karl.  I definitely appreciate the depth and breadth of the questions for self and group analysis!  Great  job spurring us on! 

Melissa Van Dyk on June 14, 2013

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I got goose bumps reading this! :)  God is GOOD! 

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