Calgary Alliance for the Common Good – May 2020 Discernment Assembly

Scarboro's Vote Counts

As a partner organization in the Calgary Alliance for the Common Good, Scarboro will have a voting delegate at the Alliance’s upcoming virtual Discernment Assembly on Monday, May 25, 2020. (everyone should register to attend here).  There are nine suggestions that the Alliance is bringing forward.  Scarboro has members working on several of these teams since the last assembly. Several of the suggestions are recent additions in response to Covid-19.

Please read a summary of the proposals by clicking here.

They include:

  • implementing a Canada wide Guaranteed Annual Income
  • requesting a Green Stimulus Campaign with the City's plan to  build 4 new city centres and the Transit Green Line,
  • increasing the number of CPS Aboriginal Liaison Officers,
  • accessing computers and internet for low income Calgarians,
  • increasing stimulus spending on housing homeless Calgarians,
  • improving access to mental health professionals in our schools,
  • increasing the Mental Health Mobile response team to a 24/7 access,
  • changing the way all public services are presented to reflect a more Trauma Informed model
  • implementing more Mental Health and Social Isolation community training opportunities within our Alliance and keeping current levels of public funding for city programs.

Do you want Scarboro to show agreement and put energy behind these projects?  Scarboro needs to cast a vote on each proposal at Monday's meeting.  Scarboro’s delegate wants to fairly represent our opinions at the assembly.  In order to listen to your opinions on these projects, Erin is available to discuss these issues with you through an online meeting on Thursday, May 21 at 4pm (see the special Tuesday edition of the E-Newsletter for the password).

Scarboro's attendees at the Discernment Assembly on Monday May 25th will also have a short time in a break out room to discuss the proposals.  They will have heard each teams short presentation and the larger group discussion.  So please RSVP saying that you are part of the Scarboro core team for this meeting.

Health Precautions in Response to COVID-19

This is where you will find the latest updates on activities and services at Scarboro United Church


SIGN UP FOR OUR FRIDAY E-NEWSLETTER HERE

Access the Virtual Worship Service here on Sundays at 10:30am (or you can call in to 587-328-1099 and enter the Meeting ID: 826 9983 3851 when prompted.)

Listen to previous Sunday Sermons here.

Keep up on the different ways that we are staying connected online here


Thursday, June 18, 2020

The Board of Scarboro United Church has accepted the recommendation of our Exploring and Celebrating Our Faith Mission Team to continue with our online worship services throughout the summer. We have confidence in the quality and authenticity of these services, and feel that it is the responsible, safe way to proceed, while still being able to inclusively welcome all individuals to worship with Scarboro United Church. This decision is consistent with the recommendations of the The United Church of Canada and The Chinook Winds Region. We are grateful for the talents and hard work of our worship and support teams for creating meaningful, artistic, high quality services which have been well attended week after week. Thank you to everyone who tunes in!

As our province moves further into reopening various businesses and sectors, we are finalizing our own guidelines and protocols for how to safely welcome various renters and user groups back to our building. Groups will be asked to provide a detailed plan of how they will meet, and ensure compliance with, AHS guidelines, and we are fine tuning the details of how we will support their return while adhering to the guidelines and best practices. Communication with these groups is ongoing, and requests to return will be handled on a case by case basis. If you have questions, please contact [email protected]

We were pleased to receive a thank you letter from The United Church of Canada's moderator, The Right Rev. Dr. Richard Bott, and Sarah Charters, Acting Director of Philanthropy, in appreciation of Scarboro United Church's ongoing support of Mission & Service, which "takes on a new importance as the church responds to the worldwide COVID-19 crisis." Special mention was made of the additional funds contributed by our Elda Daniels Group. Read the full letter here.


Thursday, May 21, 2020

After thorough discussion the Board of Scarboro United Church has decided to continue virtual worship services and community outreach, rather than reopening limited in-person gatherings as of June 1, 2020, as permitted by Government of Alberta COVID-19 Regulations.

This decision is in alignment with the guidelines and recommendations of the Chinook Winds Region and the United Church of Canada. We strongly believe that the worship experience that we are able to share online is more familiar, meaningful and consistent with our expressions of faith than the alternative options available.

We will be continuing to put the safety of our community, visitors, tenants and neighbours first, and look forward to walking this path with you, virtually.

If you are having difficulty with the online services, this frequently asked questions document may be helpful. Please reach out to [email protected] or [email protected].ab.ca if you need additional assistance.

For the most familiar worship experience, we recommend using "Speaker View" rather than "Gallery View" while tuning into the Sunday service.


Friday, May 1, 2020

Scarboro Finances Update

Some of you may be wondering how church finances have been affected by the COVID 19 pandemic.  As a congregation, we are very fortunate that our Pledge revenue continues to track pretty much on budget.  Many thanks to all of you who are able to continue to fulfill the commitment you made to the church through our 2020 Giving program. Our other biggest source of revenue is the rental of our church building. Because the church building is closed to user groups, our rental revenue has seen a sharp decline. Therefore, it is possible that we may be in a deficit position at year end; however, the Board is pursuing a number of Federal government programs that may help to mitigate the situation, e.g., the 75% wage subsidy for employees (only three as other Scarboro staff are contractors) that is available to small businesses, including charitable organizations. Our key message to the congregation at this point is that we are using cash reserves to cover the shortfall; however, this situation could change depending on how long the current restrictions are in place and until we are clear on our eligibility for various government assistance programs. We are not asking for additional financial support for the church beyond your Pledge commitment or your regular donations at this time.  We are closely monitoring our revenues and expenditures and will keep you informed if anything changes.

The United Church of Canada is providing weekly webinars on church finances. They are a valuable source of information and we will continue to participate in the webinars and stay up to date on available programs and share ideas with other church communities.

Betty Mitchell

Treasurer


Friday, April 17, 2020

This week the Official Board of Scarboro United Church has decided to extend the current building restrictions through the end of June 2020. This is in line with decisions made for group gatherings by the City of Calgary, and the current recommendations of our government and health officials. Our Board will review this decision regularly as new information becomes available from authorities. Our primary concern is protecting the health and safety of our community members, and everyone that we come into contact with.

Being distant from each other is difficult, as is the decision to suspend church and rental activities in our much-loved building, but this is a way that we can responsibly care for our community. Our online virtual services are being well received and attended, and we are still engaged in meaningful worship, even from afar. We continue to accept offerings via e-transer, through the mail, and through our PAR program. A heartfelt thank you to folks who were able to contribute a Special Easter Offering this year. In the face of layoffs and reductions in hours, we know that everyone's position is different. If you need to adjust or suspend your automatic givings, please reach out to the office so that we can assist you. Our care team is working hard to connect with as many folks as possible to see where we can help out and provide support. We are expanding our online content and trying new ways to reach out.

We will get through this, and we will be together again.


Friday, March 20, 2020

Dear Scarboro United Church family,

It is with a heavy heart that I am writing today. The Board of Scarboro United Church has made the hard decision to temporarily suspend all in-person gatherings and activities taking place within our building after some incredibly difficult conversations. This difficult decision was made with the utmost care and best of intentions in order to protect the health and safety of the wider community and to do our part to “flatten the curve.”

Luckily, we know that church is not defined by a building (as beautiful as our space is, and as much as it is a part of our identity). 

We will continue to be a community for one another, finding new and creative ways to connect and reflect, even when we are not physically together. Please look around you, note who in your circle of friends or chosen family may be struggling. Reach out to them with a phone call, text or email. As you do so, know that you heed the words of Christ in the gospel of John: This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15.12-13)

Let us lay down our lives as we know them. Because loving our neighbour as ourselves is a reminder that even if your risks from this virus are relatively low, there are many in our city to whom it poses a significant threat. Please take this into account as you decide how you will implement the government's recommendations.

Our staff are looking into ways to continue our individual and small group ministries without face to face contact. We will also be sharing ways that as a community we can contribute to the efforts to address the needs of the vulnerable. If you identify a need in the community that needs our attention, please contact the office.

The staff will still be working through this time. You can connect with us through all of the same ways, aside from physically coming into the building. Emails and phone messages will be checked and answered Monday to Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. As always we are here to support you. If you or someone you know needs spiritual or emotional support quickly please call the church at 403-244-1161 and follow the prompts for the emergency line. Otherwise please leave us a message or send us an email and we will respond as soon as possible.

Watch your weekly e-news and the website as this is how we will keep in touch and stay updated on what we are doing as Scarboro United Church. You can also interact with us online through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @scarborounited. We will be worshipping this Sunday virtually, and you can find the instructions for doing so at the top of this page.

As we venture into this uncharted territory, I would like to remind us all to try not to be overwhelmed by the information, opinions, and emotion that surrounds us. Please turn to reliable sources for your news regarding the global pandemic that is COVID-19. We recommend checking the Alberta Health Services website for the most complete and up to date information in our area https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page16997.aspx and the government of Alberta’s site https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx

Also, please be sure to thank those in your lives who are still working through this time to provide essential services and safety to us all. 

Friends, as we adapt and find new ways of being church, let us remember who we are and what we believe. Let us live into the words of our New Creed, specifically our call to be the church, to celebrate God’s presence, to live with respect in Creation, to love and serve others, all the while knowing that In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us. We are not alone. Thanks be to God.


Thursday, March 19, 2020

Dear Friends,

The Official Board of Scarboro United Church has voted to limit access to our building until the end of April, at which time, they will reevaluate based on the information available. This decision was made in order to protect the health of our congregation, renters, user groups, and the wider community. While we will not be meeting in person, we will continue to be an active church community. Keep an eye on our website and social media for updates about ways to get involved, connect and support each other. Sunday services will be virtual, and full instructions on how to access them will be posted on Friday. Rev. Erin and the staff will continue to serve, and messages will be checked regularly between 10am-4pm Monday to Thursday. Please do not hesitate to reach out.


Friday, March 13, 2020

Dear Scarboro United Church Family,

Greetings of peace in this Lenten season,

As you are aware, COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic, and the Chief Medical Officer of Alberta has recommended cancellation of any large gatherings of over 250 people. We want to be careful but not fearful in this time. This Sunday, there will still be a worship service at Scarboro United Church. We have already been intentional in our gathering to reduce our risks by limiting physical contact and being aware of those in our community who are immune compromised. We will continue to do so, knowing that the best medical guidance about avoiding infection and preventing further spread is to pay attention to hand hygiene and to maintain social distance. (This will likely be the one of only times that I will encourage you to sit farther apart in church.)

I am sad to say that our PIE Day celebrations have been postponed. We will reschedule for later in the year, when we are not distracted and overwhelmed by the news that surrounds us. The good news is that we can and will continue to be public, intentional and explicit in our welcome and affirmation of LGBTQ2+ folks in our community. In the meantime, we will turn our attention to that which demands it: COVID-19.

Additionally, if you have made the choice to self isolate out of concern for your own health, or that of others, know that we affirm your decision. Our Creator set the precedent of Sabbath for rest and restoration. Jesus was one who took time apart as well. 

Know that we are not defined as a church by our attendance at worship on Sunday mornings. As we try to remain cautious but connected, we will continue to be the church. It is demonstrated in our reaching out to one another via text, email or phone call. We show who we are when contacting the church office to offer delivery of supplies to those who are isolated in our community. We will continue to be the church for one another as we let the office know of those among us who are in need of pastoral care, and as we find creative ways to let one another know that we are loved and not alone. Our community is not defined by proximity.

Should you choose to attend worship on Sunday, our best practices are outlined below: 

  1. There continues to be hand sanitizer available both for the sanctuary and the office entrances, please make use of it as you enter and exit the building. 
  2. Please cover coughs and sneezes and wash your hands afterwards.
  3. We also encourage you to also take at least 20 seconds to wash your hands with soap and water rubbing all surfaces - or use an alcohol hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  4. Greet people with non-touching greetings - as we welcome one another to worship, and as we pass the peace (but not our germs!)
  5. We will refrain from passing the offering plates, instead having stations at the front and back of the sanctuary in which to place our givings. 
  6. We do ask anyone who has any symptoms of being ill (fever, coughing and difficulty breathing), if you have travelled in the last 14 days, or if you have had close contact with anyone who is currently under quarantine, please stay home and look after your physical health.

For more information, visit the following resources:

Alberta Health Services
Government of Canada
CDC

 

Lent – Ritual & Reconciliation

This year as we journey through lent, we are exploring how our rituals help us to reconcile with complicated ideas. On our path to Palm Sunday, we will explore reconciliation with Confession, Creation, Ourselves, God, and Sorrow. We will incorporate ritual, art, and special guests - all are welcome to participate.

Throughout lent we are also holding faith exploration sessions at 1pm on Sundays, leading to the acceptance of new members during our Easter Sunday celebration.