BOARD UPDATE – September 2021
Good day bridge family!
Can you believe it is the Fall season already? I don’t know about you, but summer could have kept on right until December for me. But here we are – the air is cooling, the days are shorter, the colours are appearing, and kids are back in school. Hooray!!
It’s a different launch for our church this fall. Let’s look at it through the lens of the 4Gs:
Gathering: Starting this Sunday, October 3rd, our service will be “in-person live” AND “online live-streamed”, and service time will be 3:15pm. We will be utilizing the Olive Branch Community Church’s building as our temporary address. We enjoyed an amazing baptism service there last weekend. Our hearts were stirred as we witnessed so many people, new to the bridge, describe their journey in Christ. So powerful to be in-person worshipping and experiencing Jesus together! We apologize that it was not live-streamed, but we’ll have this up and running for our services going forward. We’re also aiming to add an additional service at 5:15 beginning on December 5th. Things will be a little different this year with our COVID protocols in place, but we are excited to gather in-person with you again. Visit our website to learn more about how we are reopening safely, and to register for our Sunday gatherings. We look forward to connecting with you both online and in-person soon.
Grouping: Some of our groups have launched, but most will launch next week. The LifeGroups Cohort, with Pastor Emily’s guidance, continues to give inspired leadership. Groups are truly the most important way of meeting together during this ongoing pandemic. I’ve so appreciated my group leader and my group as we have been spending time with each other over the past 18 months, in-person (with safe protocols), and online through Zoom. If you are not yet in a group, or your group has lapsed, please note that Group Connect is happening this Sunday. This is your opportunity to get connected with others.
Pastor Anna and the Seasonal Groups Team are also working hard to bring to you a wonderful series of group experiences that will assist all of us with our hurts, habits, and hang-ups. Through groups we grow, mature, and become all that God wills for us to be!
Giving: Our lifestyle of giving is expressed through two streams.
Through serving: We follow the lead of Jesus and lay down our lives throughout the week to serve God’s agenda in the church and in the world. the bridge has many opportunities for you to serve. Our wonderful staff team needs more volunteers for our in-person gatherings. We are following COVID protocols and creating a safe environment for all. Please be prayerful about this and take the step to serve. Be in touch with Pastor Emily as she is heading up our volunteer coordination. If you have a specific area that you’d like to serve in, please take the initiative to connect with the pastor of that ministry. the bridge, its ministries, and its mission need you!
Through giving: You will find a financial update in this Board Report. Please take the time to read through it. While we are in a good position operationally, we need to have a fantastic year ahead in giving, as ministries ramp up and expenses increase. Please be purposeful and prayerful in this. Again, we need everyone participating.
I’ve been sharing with staff and our core leadership that this will be a year like no other. While things may appear less than ideal (we are a mobile church!), I believe to the core of my being that it will be one of our best years. Our mettle will be tested, but God will prove Himself through us as we trust and obey Him in all things. He has never let us down. As a church, we are so blessed! Please be sure to contribute to our General and Building fund generously this year. You will see a great harvest!
Going: As a church, we continue to support our missionaries and the refugees we have sponsored (we’ve been significantly involved in seeing nine family units locate within the GTA). We are still involved with Out of the Cold, but have been unable to host the homeless for two seasons now. We are all looking forward to being able to share our new building with the homeless. Deborah Childs continues to give great leadership to our OnMission agenda, and she couldn’t do it without your involvement. Thank you!
It’s also been an interesting couple of years with a number of crises in the world. We responded with what resources we had, and we have made an impact.
We are served by a very hard-working and conscientious team. Through the COVID challenges, we persevere!
In our last Board Report, we shared about two staff departures. Pastor Samuel Mills is now serving at Sanctus Church in Ajax, and, as we keep in touch, I know that he and his family are thriving. Pastor Karen Heppner retired in June and has been resting and healing from a malady that confined her to her home. Through much prayer and arduous physical therapy, she is mobile again. Karen is now serving as a volunteer at the bridge giving valuable leadership to the Interior Building Design Team, designing what will be the functional environment within the new building.
Pastor Emily will be giving leadership to our Discipleship Pathway and Volunteer Coordination going forward. This means she will be collaborating closely with Pastor Anna in Care Ministry, and with Bonnie Lam, our new part-time Connections Pastor. We are working very hard to create an intentional discipleship path that will lead to yours and my growth for years to come.
Since the last update, we’ve also welcomed to the administrative staff team Rachel Boadway, as part-time Office Coordinator, and Angharad Hatt, as part-time Database Coordinator.
Well, my brothers and sisters, that’s the scoop for now. One way or another, I look forward to seeing you this Fall. Love you!
Building hope campaign update
As I’ve watched the foundations of our new facility rise from the sandy soil of north Markham, a dream has grown within. This building project and our $1.5 million fundraising campaign will fully develop our property. No future opportunity will influence the physical space like this project will. This is it! Certainly, there will be other fundraising efforts as we “Gather, Group, Give and Go”, but none will influence the space in which we fulfill the Great Commandment and Great Commission in Markham like this one.
So, here’s our dream and our invitation. Envision your future self, alongside your loved ones, strolling into our new facility for the first time. You look around and reflect on the decision you made to give generously to our Building Hope campaign, and think to yourself, “I did my part, I did my best.” You engage in ministry, worship, outreach, and small group with a quiet confidence that evolves into gratitude, knowing in your heart that your best has made a difference. In this knowledge there is blessing and peace, your heart is grateful for the opportunity to be part of something so much bigger than yourself. Our dream is that every person who calls the bridge their church home will have this experience. Let no one miss out. I dream of full participation. the bridge is building hope…will you?
Board Member and Building Campaign Director
Bridge Property Update
the bridge building expansion project has seen significant progress over the spring and summer months. Once the COVID shutdown was lifted and we were permitted to be back to full construction work, we did so. All of the foundation work is completed and a significant portion of the structural steel and block walls are now in place. The size and magnitude of this project is now visible from the street and it is impressive. Over the next several months we look forward to completing the exterior wall framing and blockwork and completing the poured and pre-cast concrete floors. Early in 2022, we expect to complete the new flat roofing, install the glass curtain walls along the entranceway, and finish the exterior masonry work.
The cumulative effects of the COVID shutdown and restrictions have elongated our project timeline. We’re now planning for access to the gymnasium in early 2022, and full project completion in September.
The Building Committee continues to work hard at ensuring we are spending wisely on this project, and the Communications Team has done a great job providing an inside view of the construction progress. It was inspiring to watch the recent staff interviews and hear how they envision this new space will be used to show God’s love to the community.
I would urge you to continue to follow the progress at http://buildinghope.ca and to partner with us on this project. Thank you for being a part of this expansion.
Board Member & Chair of the Building Committee
Bridge FINANCE Update
Recalling the previous financial update that you received via the members e-blast in April 2021, the financial picture has evolved along a consistent trajectory. Specifically, the bridge continued to experience a healthy financial surplus, with giving exceeding expenses. The church’s operational cash balance continued to be strong at year-end. Thank you for your generosity and faithful giving throughout what has been a very uncertain time. I’m reminded of the Apostle Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 9:6-8. I pray that the bridge would continue to grow as a beautiful collection of “cheerful giver[s]” who both “sow generously and…also reap generously.”
Over the summer months, the Board and the Finance Committee invested in a labour of love as it would relate to financial preparations and forecasts for the coming fiscal year and the next three years. The Finance Committee met on four separate occasions during the summer and finalized the preliminary budget for the coming fiscal year ending August 2022. This budget was then reviewed and passed by the Board in late August. Whereas the past year was one in which expenses were below expectations due to the complexities of mobilizing ministry due to the pandemic, the coming year will see the normalization of ministry expenses as physical services resume. It is exciting to be on a pathway toward normalcy!
I also wanted to update you on changes to the membership of the Finance Committee. We recently welcomed Chrissie Shum and Michelle Lai to the committee. Both have had a strong positive impact on dialogue and outcomes. As always, I’m appreciative of the other committee members’ contributions as well. Thank you to Ken Mo, Tim Jenkins, Cynthia Yoon and Kevin Aide for their partnership!
Board Member & Chair of the Finance Committee
Board Nomination Update
Annual General Meeting:
Our next Annual General Meeting is scheduled for Sunday, November 21, 2021. Further details will be provided to you shortly. It is an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the past year, and look forward in anticipation to the year ahead. Pray with us as to what God would desire for us as a church for the upcoming year.
New Board Member Election Process:
As we shared with you in August, the process to find suitable Board members to take on this ministry role for the next three years is in progress. Regarding current Board members, Kevin Aide is completing a six-year term so will NOT be eligible for re-election; Bill Buck is completing his first three-year term and IS eligible for re-election. Thus there are two positions that need to be filled. We would like to thank Kevin and Bill for serving on the Board so diligently.
Thanks go to those who nominated prospective members for the Board in August. We have a list of 12 members who have been nominated. The Board Nomination Committee requests your prayers as we go through the process of determining qualified members and contacting those members to consider the role of being a Board member.
The Board Nomination Committee is comprised of myself as Chair, Sonia Tan, Winston Stewart, Joanne Williams, Jason Lam, and Brian Childs, our Lead Pastor. The Nomination Committee will present the names of qualified and consenting nominees to the membership during the period of Oct. 10 – Nov. 21. At the annual general meeting, the membership will have the opportunity to affirm the members.
Thank you for your prayers and fervent engagement in the matters of the church.
Chair of the Board Nomination Committee