July 2017 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. We meet bi-monthly and will provide you with the key points arising from our meetings. In addition, on our Board website, http://board.mcctoronto.com you can find a variety of Board documents and congregational communications.

Rev. Jeff Rock confirmed as our Senior Pastor Elect by 97% of voting members!

On Sunday July 9, 2017, we made history when 221 voting members gathered in the sanctuary and on-line to overwhelming elect Rev. Jeff Rock to succeed Brent as our Senior Pastor.
The election followed a “candidating” week in which Jeff, Brent and members of the Board attended meetings on Tuesday and Thursday that provided opportunities for staff and congregants to meet and get to know Jeff and to ask him a number of wide-ranging questions. There was also an informal drop in on Saturday July 8 for individuals to meet with Jeff. Finally, on Sunday July 9, Jeff preached both morning services. Unexpectedly, the 11 am service included Mayor John Tory, numerous City Councilors and the family and friends of Pam McConnell as those who loved her sought to find solace and comfort at our church. The media followed. Undeterred, Jeff knocked it out of the park with a sermon in which he shared his background and his fundamental belief that we are all “good enough” just as we are to be in relationship with God.
Excitement permeated the building as 178 voting members gathered in the sanctuary. To the surprise and delight of the Board, an additional 43 voting members made the effort to tune in via webcasting for the election and to cast their ballots electronically.
Jeff has returned to Gaetz Memorial United Church in Red Deer, Alberta to continue his ministry while they now prepare for their own transition process. Jeff will officially join us during the first week of October as Senior Pastor Elect and will begin a four-month leadership integration.
We are excited by what the future holds for MCC Toronto as we prepare ourselves for the next chapter of what we are called to be and do as God’s people. We look forward to the congregation, volunteers, leaders and staff demonstrating their continued commitment to being even more vibrant, inclusive, and progressive.
Finally, we ask that Jeff’s employment and commitment by his Red Deer church be respected and that we all refrain from the desire to pull him into MCC Toronto while he is in the challenging and emotional process of transitioning from his current congregation.

Annual Congregational Business Meeting June 18, 2017

Our annual audit was accepted at the Annual Congregational Business Meeting. We also applauded and thanked Anne Brayley for her 10 years of dedication to serving on our Board, the last three as our Vice Moderator, including chairing the Senior Pastor Search committee.
Coincidently, in recognition of the heavy load Anne endured during her term and the work ahead of us as we transition from Brent to Jeff, a decision was made to appoint Andrew Fleming and Lori Boyce as Co-Vice Moderators.
We welcomed Bev Wybrow back to the Board for a one year term to assist in a year that will be focused on transitioning and transferring institutional knowledge and memory to Jeff. Joe Jamieson and Bentley Springer were both elected to new three year terms.
The entire Board slate and their responsibilities are identified at the end of this update.

Financial update

We are currently on track for 2017. However as reported previously, while we approved a balanced Operating Budget for 2017 with a 2% increase projected for both revenues and expenses, we expressed our concern that this once again means we have opted to postpone investments in our people and infrastructure. We will seek to apply a different approach for 2018.


While we were on track for our biggest and most successful Pride service ever, thunderstorms brought the event to a sudden end, just as the call for the offering was being made. In an overwhelming statement of support for our church, individuals sought out opportunities to provide their offerings even as they sprinted their escape from the deluge. “We’re grateful to everyone who made a donation and the final results will be communicated soon”.
Our thanks to the staff, the many volunteers, the sponsors, and our fabulous Pride day choir for their efforts to make Brent’s last Pride as our Senior Pastor a success – we believe we did so even though we missed out on our big finales and closing prayers!


Sunday August 20: Brent’s 40th Anniversary
Thursday October 19: Brent’s Retirement Celebration
November 5, 2017: Town Hall Meeting
If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to contact any of us. You can also contact us via email at BofD@MCCToronto.com.

MCC Toronto Board Slate of Responsibilities for 2017-18

Name Role(s) Term

Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes


President & Chief Executive Officer of Corporation

Member of Governance Committee

Till January 31, 2018

Beginning February 1, 2018 – Rev. Jeff Rock

Cheryl Smith Chair of the Finance & Audit Committee


Appointed: 2015

Elected: June 2016 for a two year term

Lori Boyce Co-Vice-Moderator (Chair)

Secretary of the Corporation

Chair of the Governance Committee

Appointed: 2011

Elected: June 2012 for a three year term

Re-elected: 2015 for a three year term

Andrew Fleming Co-Vice-Moderator (Chair)

Chair of Fund Development Committee

Member of the Governance Committee

Elected: June 2015 for a three year term
Bentley Springer Member of Fund Development Committee


Elected: June 2016 for a one year term

Re-elected in June 2017 for a three year term

Joe Jamieson Treasurer of the Corporation

Member of the Finance and Audit Committee

Appointed: January 2017

Elected: June 2017 for a three year term

Bev Wybrow Member of the Fund Development Committee Elected June 2017 for a one year term
Officers of the Corporation Finance & Audit Committee
President and CEO (Senior Pastor, Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes) Chair – Cheryl Smith
Secretary (Co-Vice Moderator , Lori Boyce) Staff Rep – Shelly Morris
Treasurer (Joe Jamieson) Board Rep – Joe Jamieson
Chief Financial Officer (Executive Director, Shelly Morris) Fund Development Committee
Governance Committee Chair – Andrew Fleming
Chair – Lori Boyce Additional Board Rep – Bev Wybrow
Senior Pastor – Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes

Additional Board Rep – Andrew Fleming

Additional Board Rep – Bentley Springer

Staff Rep – Shelly Morris

Member – Anne Brayley

2017 Nominees to the Board of Directors

Joe Jamieson – election for a 3-year term

Joe Jamieson is the Deputy Registrar of the Ontario College of Teachers.

Joe was first certified to teach in Quebec in 1992 and began his 23-year career in education with the Halton Catholic District School Board. He has served as a teacher, writer, curriculum consultant and as the Director of the College Standards of Practice and Accreditation department and Director of the Investigations and Hearings department. He holds a MEd from the University of Toronto, a BA from the University of Waterloo and a diploma in Secondary Education from McGill University.

Joe is influential in managing the College’s financial systems, including its $40 million annual operating budget, working closely with the 37 elected and appointed members of the College’s governing Council, leading major College initiatives and speaking frequently to community partners. Joe is a compelling and sought after presenter within the education sector. He speaks frequently at public and education conferences on topics such as professional conduct, leadership, education law, and LGBTQ issues in education.

Most recently, Joe led our Reference Group in providing support for the congregation and staff. Joe is also a member of the Finance Committee.


Bentley Springer – election for a 3-year term

Bentley Springer is a seasoned IT professional, leading teams providing IT services for large national organizations for almost two decades. He is currently the Manager of IT Support Services for CARA Operations.

Passionate about community capacity building, Bentley has served as a leader in the black community for the past 18 years.  He was founder and President of Black Habits from 1998-2008, and performed leadership roles for the Lions Circle from 2005-2016, including President and Chair. Bentley is also a trained mediator, and leverages these skills in a volunteer capacity.

Bentley first attended MCC Toronto in February 2012. Five months later, he and his partner, Denise, became members and dedicated MCC volunteers, and were proudly married by Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes, C.M. in July 2013. In 2016, Bentley was elected to the MCC Toronto board and also participated in the Reference Group.


Beverley Wybrow – election for a 1-year term

Bev recently retired after 22 years as CEO of Canadian Women’s Foundation.

The Foundation works to empower women and girls in Canada to move out of poverty, out of violence and into confidence. The Foundation has raised money and supported more than 1,400 programs across Canada. It is now one of the ten largest women’s foundations in the world.

Bev is currently on the Board of the Assaulted Women’s Helpline, and is a member of the MCC Toronto Refugee Program Strategic and Fundraising Advisory Committee.  She is the former Chair of the Board of Directors of MCC Toronto, and has extensive volunteer experience, including serving on the Boards of Directors of the Toronto YWCA, the global Women’s Funding Network, and the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. Bev was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2012.

2017 ACBM Agenda

2017 Annual Congregational Business Meeting


June 18, 2017, 12:45-2:00 pm


12:45 pm Call to Order and Opening Prayer
12:50 pm Approval of 2016 ACBM Minutes
12:53 pm Explanation and Approval of Agenda
12:55 pm Senior Pastor’s Address & Report & 2017 Goals and Budget
1:15 pm Senior Pastor Search Update
1:25 pm Election of Members to the Board of Directors
1:45 pm Motion to receive Audited Financial Statements for 2016
1:50 pm Motion to appoint Hilborn LLC as the Auditor for 2017
1:55 pm Acknowledgements Call for Adjournment and Closing Prayer

April 2017 Congregational Update


Senior Pastor Selection update

We are pleased by the response to the open call that started March 6 and closed April 7.   Our applicants reflect diverse experiences and backgrounds and we are excited to move into the next stage of our journey.  We have reviewed the applications and started initial interviews with the selected candidates. First interviews should be completed by early May.  The final candidate (s) will also meet with the entire Board, Shelly Morris and Diane Leah.  We will then have an opportunity to consider all input before ultimately the Board selects the final candidate who will come to Toronto for a week or 10 days to meet the rest of the staff, team leaders, deacons, key volunteers, and preach one Sunday.   The eligible voting Members will then be asked to confirm the candidate via a vote.

We also identified the possible need to have a “relocation” team if the successful candidate is not from Toronto.  We will need to be intentional as we build for a successful integration of the individual.

We are committed to being open and embracing our core values in our search – spirituality, advocacy and diversity.  We will not be limited based on gender, orientation, nationality, denomination or cultural background.  We are a vibrant, inclusive and progressive Christian church community and we will live these values in our discernment.

We are using our various communication vehicles to communicate and seek input.  We are in the process of developing a FAQ (“Frequently Asked Question”) sheet which will be available on the Board website soon.  If there are any questions or insights you want to share, please contact any of the Search committee directly in person or via our email address: BofD@mcctoronto.com.  You can also find the Senior Pastor Job description, qualifications, skill and personal attributes on our micro-website at website http://board.mcctoronto.com/#senior-pastor-search,

Financial update

We are focused on working with our external auditor on our annual audit.

As reported previously, while we approved a balanced Operating Budget for 2017 with a 2% increase projected for both revenues and expenses, we expressed our concern that this once again means we have opted to postpone investments in our people and infrastructure.  We will seek to apply a different approach for 2018.

Pride update

Progress is being made in terms of identifying a new location for our service since our usual location is now a construction zone.  While emotions have run high this year, we continue to seek to be peace makers and bridge builders.  Toronto Pride has come under attack in the past and we feel that even in times of conflict – we are stronger together.   It is critical we value the long history of Pride and the Pride Parade as a public statement in support of GLBTQ rights.  We will not surrender our presence in the parade.  Our church service and participation in the parade are major outreach opportunities and a significant source of revenue so we ask that  you prayerfully consider your continued commitment to volunteer or attend the service and to be part of our contingent in the parade.


Sunday June 18, 12:45 pm: Annual Congregational Business Meeting

Sunday June 25: Happy Pride!

Sunday July 16: Anniversary Sunday

Sunday August 20: Brent’s 40th Anniversary

Thursday October 19: set the date aside for Brent’s Retirement Celebration and Tribute

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

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

Lori Boyce,
Chair, Governance Committee

The Role of the Board of Directors as a Policy Board

The roles and responsibilities of a Board of Directors in a Metropolitan Community Church are both similar and different in contrast to other business and nonprofit organizations as well as congregations affiliated with other denominations. The key similarities are mostly legal; churches are usually incorporated under provincial or state nonprofit corporation laws. Also, churches, like other charities, hold tax exempt status under national tax laws. The key differences in churches are shaped strongly by organizational culture. Congregational size, history, denominational affiliation, and form of church government often shape the differences.

What makes us unique?

• We are church with a congregational form of government. We are accountable to the members who elect us.
• As congregants we are in covenant and community with each other. We have more, stronger, and closer social networks than most other nonprofit organizations.
• We have specific organizational mandates based upon the bylaws of our denomination, the UFMCC. For example, The Senior Pastor has sole authority for the content and order of all worship services.
• The Senior Pastor (CEO) is hired by the congregation through election and is vested with specific duties and authority – such as teacher, preacher, and spiritual leader – for which he/she is accountable directly to the congregation. This differs from most secular non-profit organizations where the Board of Directors hires the Chief Executive Officer who is accountable solely to the Board.
• We have distinctive characteristics based on the large size of our congregation and the size to which our vision aspires.

What type of Board should we be?

• In smaller churches boards typically have a “hands-on” role in the implementation of board policies. As a church becomes larger it becomes increasingly necessary to delegate the implementation of policies to the staff. Therefore, we should be a policy board.
• As a large congregation our Board continues to evolve in placing its primary focus on:
o Identification of needed policy related to the business operations of the church.
o The approval of policy
o Ensuring that appropriate controls are in place for the fulfillment of policy.
What are the roles of the Board, Senior Pastor and staff in the development, management and oversight of policy?
• In a large church, Board members rely increasingly on the expertise, competence and diligence of professional staff to draft new policies. Policy development, whether about budget, personnel or ministry direction, is the result of effective collaboration between the Board and staff. The Board of Directors then gives formal approval of the policy.
• Staff members have a duty of sound management, meeting goals and targets, and timely reporting of information on the implementation of Board-approved plans to the Board through the Executive Pastor.
• The Senior Pastor, while not reporting to the Board, is ultimately accountable to the Board of Directors for the implementation of Board policies that have been delegated to the staff. Staff members are ultimately accountable to the Senior Pastor.
• More than anything, it is imperative that the members of the Board, the Senior Pastor and senior staff members build good relationships and a working partnership. This is one of the greatest gifts they can give the congregation.

What do we define as policy?

• A policy is an authoritative written statement designed to give clear direction to many individual decisions over time. (adapted from Dan Hotchkiss in Governance and Ministry: Rethinking Board Leadership, published by the Alban Institute, 2009)

On what areas of policy should we focus?

• Vision development and refinement: This includes what a congregation does to discover and articulate its mission as well as the role of the Board in long-term vision and goals of the church. This is often done in a process that engages the staff and congregation as well as Board members. It results in approving guiding documents that may include:
o Bedrock Beliefs
o Core Values
o Statement of Mission
o Statement of Vision
o Major tangible goals toward the vision
o Open Questions; Unanswered questions about our mission and vision
• Strategy: This involves long-range planning usually accomplished through the development of a strategic plan in partnership with staff.
o Ensure that an effective strategic planning process is in place.
o Approve a strategic plan with identification of strategic initiatives and goals that will move the congregation successfully toward the realization of its vision.
o Conduct a periodic review of the strategic plan and progress toward its success.
o Approve an annual operating budget to fund the plans for the realization of the mission and vision.
• Management: Policies on management serve to delegate parts of the board’s authority and power to others.
o Approve policies to ensure proper financial controls, secure management of assets including facilities, and accurate financial accounting.
o Approve policies to ensure sound management of all personnel, both compensated and volunteer.
o Approve policies to ensure effective risk management.
• Oversight: Ensures that standards and processes are in place for monitoring and evaluating implementation of all policies that have been approved by the Board.
o Establish board committees for oversight purposes as needed and receive timely reports.
o Approve the annual independent audit of financial statements to be submitted to the congregation.
o Receive periodic staff reports on progress of the annual program of work and strategic initiatives.
o Conduct a mutually agreed upon process with the Senior Pastor to provide feedback and assessment of leadership and ministry results.
o Conduct a periodic review to ensure that all legal/fiduciary responsibilities of the Board are being fulfilled.

MCC Toronto Bylaws

Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto

Local By-Laws

Approved by the Congregation: July 16, 1978
Revised by the Board of Directors: September 15, 1998
Approved by the Congregation: October 28, 1998
Approved by the Congregation: February 12, 2006
Approved by the Congregation: September 23, 2012

Article I: Name
Article II: Affiliation
Article III: Purpose
Article IV: Members
Article V: Congregational Meetings
Article VI: Board of Directors; also referred to as “the Board”
Article VII: Senior Pastor
Article VIII: Lay Delegates
Article IX: Amendments to By-Laws

Article I: Name

The name of this church shall be “Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto”.

Article II: Affiliation

This church is an affiliated congregation of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC).

Article III: Purpose

The purpose of this church is:
A. To preach, teach, and advance the beliefs, values, mission and vision of this congregation.
B. To establish, maintain and support places of worship with services conducted according to the beliefs, values, mission and vision of this church.
C. To support and maintain missions and projects in order to act on the faith of this church.

Article IV: Members

A. Members in Good Standing
1. A Member in good standing is defined as any person who has attended a membership class, entered into the Covenant of Membership, and has been confirmed by the Senior Pastor in the Rite of Membership.
2. Members in good standing may speak as a matter of right at Congregational Meetings. Others may speak at Congregational Meetings if nominated by the Board of Directors, hereinafter referred to as “the Board.” Only members in good standing may vote on motions at Congregational Meetings.
3. The list of Members in good standing shall be maintained by the church staff, who shall report changes annually to the Board.
4. Any Member who has not been fulfilling the Covenant of Membership within the last six (6) months to one (1) year may be removed from the list of Members in good standing by the Board and placed on a list of nonvoting inactive members.
B. Discipline of Members
A Member may be disaffiliated or removed from membership for cause at any time by the Board. Removal may be for malfeasance, theft, disloyalty, unbecoming conduct, or actions taken against the best interests of the church. The Senior Pastor or his or her designee shall present the name of such a member including the reason(s) for the recommended disaffiliation or removal to an in camera session of the Board at its next regularly scheduled meeting. Notification of such removal shall be sent in writing to the last known mailing address of the Member so affected. The Member will be afforded the right of appeal to the Board at a regular or called meeting of the Board.

Article V: Congregational Meetings

A. Annual Congregational Business Meeting
1. Notification of Members
a. The Board shall call an annual Congregational Business Meeting annually.
b. The Board shall ensure that an announcement of an upcoming Congregational Business Meeting is made at each worship service for at least one (1) month in advance of the meeting.
c. The Board shall provide notice of the agenda for the meeting two weeks prior to the scheduled meeting date.
d. The meeting date and agenda will also be announced in the Sunday News and E-News publications.
2. Quorum
The required quorum for a Congregational Meeting is 10% of the active members, who must be present at the beginning of the meeting.
3. Agenda
a. The agenda for a Congregational Business Meeting shall be prepared by its
Moderator and shall be approved by the Board.
b. Items from members for inclusion on the agenda of a Congregational Business Meeting shall be submitted to the Moderator of the Board in writing at least sixty (60) days before the meeting. The Board shall decide if an item submitted is to be included on the meeting agenda.
c. The agenda of the annual Congregational Business Meeting shall include but not be limited to the following:
1) Reports to be received as information
a) Report of the Senior Pastor
b) Report of the current annual ministry goals and budget approved
by the Board
2) Approve audited financial statements of the most recent fiscal year.
3) Resolution to appoint the auditor.
4) Amendments to the bylaws of this church if any have been proposed by
the Board.
5) Election of members to the Board.
4. Nominations and Elections
a. Nominating Committee for the Board of Directors
A nominating committee consisting of two (2) persons – one chosen by the Senior Pastor; one chosen by the Board exclusive of the Senior Pastor – shall be established to nominate the best-qualified candidate for each position to be filled by the congregation at a Congregational Meeting.
b. Elections
No-one shall be elected to any position in the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto except by receiving a vote in favour of such election from more than one half (½) of the persons present and voting in the election
5. Parliamentary Procedure
The written authority for all matters of parliamentary procedure at meetings of the Board, at Congregational Business Meetings, and at all other meetings at which church business is to be conducted according to parliamentary procedure shall be Robert’s Rules of Order.
B. Special Congregational Business Meetings
1. Calling a Special Congregational Business Meeting
A Special Congregational Business Meeting may be called by the Senior Pastor, a majority vote of the Board or by a petition signed by at least ten (10) percent of the members in good standing. Such a petition must be presented to the Board. At its next scheduled meeting following receipt of the petition, the Board will set the date for a Special Congregational Business Meeting
2. Notification of Members
When a Special Congregational Business Meeting has been called the Board shall make all reasonable efforts to notify members in good standing of the meeting and agenda at least two weeks prior to the scheduled meeting date.
3. Special Elections
If at any time there are too few members of the Board to constitute a quorum for Board meetings, a special Congregational Meeting shall be called by the moderator to fill the vacancies. Such a meeting shall take place within thirty (30) days after the membership of the Board has fallen below the minimum for quorum.

Article VI: Board of Directors

A. Composition of the Board
The Board, shall consist of a Moderator, who shall be the Senior Pastor, and six (6) other persons, who must be members, and shall be elected by the members in good standing of the church or appointed by existing members of the Board In accordance with these bylaws.
B. Duties of the Board
1. The members of the Board shall provide financial oversight of the church, ensure the development of strategic plans, be good will ambassadors promoting the church programs, events, and services and advise the Senior Pastor on financial issues, strategic issues, and on other issues as requested.
2. In the event of a vacancy in the position of Senior Pastor the Board shall act as a Pastoral Search Committee to present a qualified candidate to the congregation as its next Senior Pastor.
C. Powers of the Board
1. The Board may from time to time:
a) borrow money on the credit of the Corporation (to mean the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto); or
b) issue, sell or pledge securities of the Corporation; or
c) charge, mortgage, hypothecate or pledge all or any of the real or personal property of the Corporation, including book debts, rights, powers, franchises and undertakings, to secure any securities or any money borrowed, or other debt, or any other obligation or liability of the Corporation.
2. From time to time the Board may authorize any director, officer or employee of the Corporation or any other person to make arrangements with reference to the moneys borrowed or to be borrowed as aforesaid and as to the terms and conditions of the loan thereof, and as to the securities to be given thereof, with power to vary or modify such arrangements, terms and conditions and to give such additional securities for any moneys borrowed or remaining due by the Corporation as the Board may authorize, and generally to manage, transact and settle the borrowing of money by the Corporation.
D. Terms of Office
1. Elected members
The term of office of a Board member elected by the congregation shall be three years and shall expire upon the election of his/her successor.
2. Appointed members
Vacancies on the Board occurring otherwise than by expiry of term of office shall be filled by appointment upon nomination of the Senior Pastor and by vote of the remaining members of the Board. The term of office of a person appointed to the Board by this procedure shall extend only until the Congregational Business Meeting next following at which elections usually occur.
3. Term Limits
a. Board Members
i. A Board member may serve if subsequently re-elected, two consecutive terms on the Board before having to step down for one term.
b. Vice Moderator
i. The Vice-Moderator may serve if subsequently re-elected, three consecutive terms on the Board before having to step down for one term, the third term as either Vice-Moderator or Past-Vice Moderator.
4. Staggered terms
If more than one third (1/3) of the places on the Board are being filled by vote of the congregation at a Congregational Meeting, one or more of the newly elected Board members shall serve a term of office of less than three (3) years, so as to ensure that at each of the next three (3) Congregational Business Meetings at which elections usually occur, no more than one third (1/3) of the places on the Board shall become vacant. In this case the Board shall determine the terms of office of the newly elected members, so as to ensure compliance with this Article
E. Board Meetings
1. The Board shall hold at least six (6) Ordinary Meetings during the year at a time to be determined by the Board. The Board may also hold additional Ordinary Meetings, as it deems necessary. The quorum for a Board Meeting shall consist of the Moderator or Vice Moderator and at least one half (½) of the remaining elected or appointed members of the Board.
2. The Board may exclude observers from its meetings by majority vote of the Board. The portion of the meeting from which observers are excluded shall be known as an in-camera session. No action taken by the Board in an in-camera session shall be considered official until it has been presented in an open session and an official vote has been taken and recorded in the minutes of that meeting.
G. Protection of Directors and Officers
1. Limitation of Liability: No director or officer of the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto (hereafter in this Article the Church) shall be liable for any act or failure to act by any other director or officer of the Church or by any employee of the Church. No director or officer of the Church shall be liable for any loss arising from any fault in the title to any property acquired by the Church. No director or officer of the Church shall be liable for any loss arising from any fault in any security in which the Church might invest, or from
bankruptcy, insolvency, or wrongful act by any person to whom the Church might entrust any of its property. No director or officer of the Church shall be liable for any loss due to error of judgment or oversight on his/her part, or for any other loss whatsoever occurring in the carrying out of the duties of his/her office, unless this loss arises from the director’s or officer’s own willful neglect.
2. Indemnity: The Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto shall protect every director and officer of the Church against all costs arising in relation to his/her relations with the Church, unless they are occasioned by his/her own willful neglect.
3. Validity of Actions: No act or proceeding of any director or of the Board shall be deemed invalid or ineffective merely because it is subsequently ascertained that such act or proceeding was irregularly conducted or that the director was not properly qualified.
4. Reliance by Directors upon the Auditors: Directors may rely upon the accuracy of any statement or report prepared by the Church’s auditors, and shall not be held responsible for any loss resulting from acting upon such statement or report.
H. Retention of Board Membership
Any Board member who fails to fulfill the Covenant of Membership or fails to attend three (3) consecutive ordinary meetings of the Board of Directors may be removed by the Board by action of the Board.
I. Discipline of Board Members
This church cannot condone disloyalty, unbecoming conduct, or dereliction of duty on the part of any member of the Board of Directors. Therefore, the Board of Directors may remove by a majority vote of the full Board of Directors any of its members guilty of the above, with the exception of the Pastor who must be disciplined in accordance with the UFMCC Bylaws.

Article VII: Senior Pastor

A. Election
The Senior Pastor (identified as “Pastor” in UFMCC Bylaws) is elected by and accountable to the congregation to be responsible for the duties of preacher, teacher and spiritual leader for a continuous term until such time that the relationship is terminated.
B. Qualifications
The Senior Pastor shall be an ordained clergyperson of the UFMCC with a current licence to practice issued by the denomination. Other qualifications for this position may be established by the Board.
C. Roles and Responsibilities
1. The Senior Pastor shall fulfill the primary roles of visionary spiritual leader, preacher and teacher, and the public spokesperson for the church.
2. The Senior Pastor shall have the authority for ordering all worship services of the church.
3. The Senior Pastor is a member and the Moderator of the Board of Directors.
4. The Senior Pastor is the Chief Executive Officer of the church with oversight of all staff and volunteers.
D. Pastoral Transition
1. Vacancy in the position of Senior Pastor
a. In the event of a vacancy in the office of Senior Pastor due to resignation, removal from office, death or incapacitating illness, the Board shall provide for
interim pastoral leadership.
b. The Board of Directors shall serve as the Pastoral Search Committee to present a qualified candidate to the congregation for election as its next Senior Pastor.
2. Planned succession of the Senior Pastor
To provide for a more effective pastoral transition, the Board and Senior Pastor may agree to a process of planned succession that will present a candidate for election by a Congregational Business Meeting prior to a vacancy in the position of Senior Pastor.
3. Election of the Senior Pastor
To be elected as Senior Pastor, the candidate presented must receive at least seventy (70) percent of the votes cast at a Congregational Business Meeting.

Article VIII: Lay Delegates

At least 90 days prior to a scheduled General Conference of the UFMCC, the Board will appoint the appropriate number of Lay Delegates as allowed by UFMCC bylaws to represent MCC Toronto at the General Conference. The appointed Lay Delegates shall serve only at that General Conference or at any Special General Conference called prior the next scheduled General Conference.

Article IX: Adoption and Amendments

A. Adoption
These Bylaws shall become effective immediately upon adoption by a Congregational Business Meeting and approval by an Elder of the UFMCC
B Amendments
1. The local by-laws of Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto may be amended at any Congregational Business Meeting or any Special Congregational Meeting called for the purpose of amending the by-laws.
2. A proposed amendment to the local by-laws shall first have been enacted by the Board.
3. All suggested amendments to the by-laws other than those proposed by the Board, shall be presented in writing to the clerk Vice Moderator of the Board at least ninety (90) days before the Congregational Meeting at which they might be presented for approval, so that the Board will have time to consider them, and, if it so chooses, enact them.
4. A proposed amendment requires for its approval by the congregation an affirmative vote of at least two thirds (2/3) of the members in good standing present and voting at the meeting at which such amendment is being considered.
5. Proposed amendments to the by-laws may be further amended at the Congregational Business Meeting at which they are being considered for approval, but no new amendments may be introduced.

February 2017 Congregational Update

Board of Directors

Carol Osler, SVP & Head of Financial Crimes and Fraud Management Group and Enterprise Project Management Office, TD Bank Group, has resigned from the Board and as Chair of the Finance Committee as she tackles additional professional responsibilities. We express our heartfelt gratitude to Carol for her expertise, unique insights, passion and commitment that has helped to guide and shape us. We wish her our best as she focuses on further professional development.

Joe Jamieson, Deputy Registrar, Ontario College of Teachers, has joined the Board.

We are thrilled to appoint Joe to the Board as Carol’s replacement. Joe was first certified to teach in Quebec in 1992 and began his 23-year career in education with the Halton Catholic District School Board. He has served as a teacher, writer, curriculum consultant and as the Director of the College Standards of Practice and Accreditation department and Director of the Investigations and Hearings department. He holds a MEd from the University of Toronto, a BA from the University of Waterloo and a diploma in Secondary Education from McGill University.

Joe is influential in managing the College’s financial systems, including its $40 million annual operating budget, working closely with the 37 elected and appointed members of the College’s governing Council, leading major College initiatives and speaking frequently to community partners. Joe is a compelling and sought after presenter within the education sector. He speaks frequently at public and education conferences on topics such as professional conduct, leadership, education law, and LGBTQ issues in education.

Most recently, Joe led our Reference Group in providing support for the congregation and staff.

We are thrilled to have him replace Carol on the Finance Committee.

Senior Pastor Selection update

At this point we have proactively identified several qualified individuals who may be interested in applying. This search has extended beyond MCC. In early March, we will be conducting an open call and inviting interested parties to apply. We will be advertising on the MCC website and in both the print version of the United Church Observer and on the on-line version. There will also be information available on our own website. Look forward to our more detailed update to the congregation on Sunday March 5th during worship services.

In addition, there is information available here.

We are also creating a communications plan to gather input and engage the staff and congregation.

Strategic vision for the Refugee Ministry

The Refugee Ministry has three core strategic areas:

  1. Private sponsorship of LGBT refugees and resettlement to Canada;
  2. Peer support for in land refugee claimants;
  3. Networking and advocacy on issues concerning LGBT refuges in Canada and abroad.

MCC Toronto has a unique opportunity and responsibility as the only charitable organization in Canada to have a Sponsorship Agreement with the Government of Canada that is specifically focused on LGBTQ refugees. We will have a renewed focus on building partnerships with other organizations who share a similar passion for our refugee community. In order to increase our effectiveness, we will offer training programs, an open and clear sponsorship/settlement application process, assistance in the creation of settlement plans and oversight/support to the partners we’ve established formal agreements with.

To implement our strategy, we will commit to:

  • Continuing to seek financial support for the staffing, programming and settlement funds needed for the program;
  • Recruitment, training, and oversight of volunteers;
  • Community engagement and integration into our MCC Toronto spiritual community;
  • Enhanced communications to better tell our story of directly transforming lives.

Financial update

Our supporters once again rose to the challenge, exceeding our Christmas Eve Sponsorship target of $50,000 by $3,375 and our Christmas appeal goal of $69,000 by $3,000.

At the end of 2015 we presented a challenging “right sized” budget indicating we would spend no more than $1,255,400 and we’re happy to announce that we achieved this

In fact we were 2.5% under budget. Each year we account for major capital purchases made in previous years and the depreciation of these assets as “non-cash” items. This year’s depreciation expense was $92,117. We ended the year with a budget surplus but these depreciation expenses leave us with a slight deficit position of $26,000.

We approved a balanced Operating Budget for 2017. Revenues and expenses are predicted to rise by 2%. An infogram (visual depiction of revenues and expenses) has become a popular format for communicating our financial health and we’ll have an infogram representing our 2017 Budget available later this month.

Dates to put in your calendar

Saturday Feb 25, 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Progressive Christianity workshop with Rev. Dr. John Pentland, minister at Hillhurst United Church in Calgary since September of 2005 and author of “Fishing Tips: How Curiosity Transformed a Community of Faith.” Tickets are $22 per person, $25 at the door.

This will be an interactive workshop on the 9 ways Hillhurst United Church engaged curiosity to transform its church. Through stories, slides and conversation we will explore what needs to happen and where we are on the journey… not a manual or road map, rather, an invitation to explore.

Lunch will be provided. More details: www.mcctoronto.com/john-pentland

Sunday Feb 26: Rev. Dr. Pentland will preach at all three services.

Sunday March 19: Rev. Rachelle Brown will preach at all three of our Sunday services.

Rev. (Elder) Rachelle Brown is the third global leader for Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) since its founding in 1968. The denomination’s Governing Board elected Rev. Brown in 2016 to serve a three-year term as Interim Moderator.

Rev. Brown is an educator and theologian. Since 1996, she has been an instructor, trainer, facilitator, adjunct professor, and guest lecturer at Chicago Theological Seminary, Eden Theological Seminary, Missouri State University, and the University of Phoenix. Rev. Brown explores intersections of queer ethics, human sciences, and communications with a deep understanding regarding the historiography of modern religious thought and practices.

Rev. Brown has a background in media and marketing where she oversaw and participated in strategic planning, project and budget management for national, regional, and local consumer and business-to-business clients.

Sunday March 19 12:45 p.m.: Town Hall with Rev. Rachelle Brown.

Sunday June 18, 12:45 p.m.: Annual Congregational Business Meeting

If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to contact any of us. You can also reach us by email at BofD@MCCToronto.com

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

Lori Boyce,
Chair, Governance Committee

2016 3rd Quarter Results

PM Worship

A. The PM service has seen many small, discrete changes over the past 8 months that are beginning to coalesce into something so spirit filled that people are saying things like…’I can’t put my finger on it…’ and ‘There is something about this service…it’s different…’
B. Rev. Sam Morris has committed to developing the vision/plan for the future of the evening service.
C. The Creative Liturgy Team meets every week for three hours to take apart the service and look at each element, theologically, technically, creatively. They first make sure it is invitational, accessible to the congregation and easily involving them in the service. They make sure all parts connect to the same message, and deliver it kinaesthetically. They have changed the order of the service so that it flows better and makes more sense. The energy in that space every Sunday night is amazing.
D. It has been a complete joy to witness how so many individuals have risen up since the changes in music leadership and not just assumed leadership, but really leading…by their attitudes, their preparation and their cohesiveness.

Pastoral Care Review and Revamp

A. There has been great progress with our Community Care Ministry (CCM):
I. Bryan Blenkin has accepted the position of Program Developer and Rev Carmen Llanos is the Assistant Program Developer. Bryan is an MCC Toronto congregant with a wealth of experience in program development. Bryan enjoyed a very successful career as a Business Executive within the IT industry. Following his retirement from corporate life, Bryan began to volunteer extensively within the non-profit sector. Most recently, Bryan joined Canadian Executive Services Organization (CESO) and has freely shared his program development gifts with non-profit executives looking to design and implement transformative change within their organization. Bryan wanted to do the lead Program Developer role in our Community Care Ministry as a volunteer and we are so thrilled that he has agreed to mentor Carmen over the coming months. Rev. Carmen Llanos is currently our Pastor of Alternative Worship. In her capacity as Assistant Program Developer for the Community Care Ministry, she will work closely with Bryan for 20 hours a week. Thanks to the generosity of the late Kay Lehman, this is a paid position for Carmen. Carmen’s deep spirituality and solid understanding of the MCC Toronto community will be a tremendous asset to her work in Community Care Ministry.
II. Bryan and Carmen’s mandate is to work with the Community Care Team Leaders to recruit additional volunteers, build solid teams and design/launch programs that will address the current and future care needs of the congregation.
III. A CCM Project Charter has been developed, revised and finalized by Bryan and Carmen in collaboration with Executive Staff. Please refer to 2016-10-24 Project Charter V5.1 (http://www.mcctoronto.com/wp-content/uploads/images/2016-10-24-Project-Charter-V5.1-FINAL.pdf).
B. An external consultant, L3 Ministries – Thriving Congregations, has been engaged to assist the church over the past few months in journeying through a time of challenge for the community with Brent’s impending trial in November. Our objective with this initiative is to learn how to listen to the congregation in new ways and to create an extended pastoral care team that is able to support our large and diverse congregation. The lead facilitator is Kathryn Smith, a highly skilled and deeply faith rooted ordained minister who has rich experience in working with boards, staff and congregations in times of discernment and challenge. An L3/MCC Toronto Issues Management Reference Group for Pastoral Care has been established and includes the following individuals: Joe Jamieson (chair), Bentley Springer (Board representative), Rev. Sam Morris (Staff/Clergy representative), Andrew Holmes (Staff representative), Sandra Fontenelle & Kevin Wilcock (Deacon representatives) and Liz Gildner (former choir rep and congregant). The Reference Group met on September 21st, 28th and October 20th. A listening circle also took place on October 1st for Staff, Board, Clergy, Deacons, and key leaders/volunteers. There was also a training day (“Caring for the Congregation in Crisis”) on October 15th for a larger group of folks including Staff, Board, Clergy, Deacons, lay leaders and congregants who have pastoral skills/potential. These meetings/sessions are facilitated by Kathryn Smith from L3 Ministries and her colleague Shelley Schanzenbacher.

Refugee and Immigration Program

A. Transition of the new part-time Program Leader, Aleks Dughman-Manzur, is complete. Primary focus continues to be:
i. Ensuring the 5 refugees we’re sponsoring/settling are receiving the support they need. This has become the primary responsibility of the Program Leader at this time as the volunteer settlement teams have dissolved.
ii. Continuing to provide peer support opportunities for inland asylum claimants. Monthly meetings and support letters are the two primary activities associated with this work. A new volunteer leadership team has been formed and this team is providing our part-time Team Leader of Peer Support (Anthony Ojo) with assistance in planning and organizing the monthly meetings.
iii. Assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of the overall Program and making recommendations on what we should start/stop/continue in the future. A new strategy for improving our ability to sponsor and settle refugees will be created in collaboration with the Refugee Advisory Committee. This new strategy will be presented to the Board in January 2017.

Children’s and Family Ministry

A. Took a “summer break” and resumed in September. Through the leadership of Andrew Holmes, our part-time staff member who leads this Ministry, volunteers and families continue to be engaged in the planning and rollout of exciting new curriculum.
B. Facilities continue to be a major roadblock to the growth of this Ministry. The “Sunday School Room” located in the basement has suffered from flooding and is not useable at this time. We’re currently seeking donor assistance to renovate the space into a vibrant, inclusive and progressive environment that the children can return to and would become available for other groups and ministries seeking space during the week.
C. We’re seeing record numbers of children participate in the program (Nursery and Children’s Church). The growth rate is almost 400% (from an average of 10 children to almost 40).
D. In addition, we’re seeing a transformation in how children and families participate in worship. Our new Program Leader (Andrew Holmes) continues to engage the worship leaders in creative ways to actively involve children during worship. In turn, more families feel welcome and valued and this feeling of inclusion is also translating into a growing number of volunteers.

Senior Leadership Transitions

A. The Executive Search Process continues.
B. The Search Committee has been represented by the Governance Committee of the Board – Anne Brayley and Lori Boyce. Andrew Fleming’s Board role has been expanded to included participation in this Committee (he is also the Chair of the Fund Development Committee).
C. The Governance Committee met with the Young Adults group on August 25th to talk about the Senior Pastor Transition. Brent did an introduction and a brief update around his transition and future retirement, then Lori and Anne stayed on to get input from the Young Adults on the Church of the Future.
D. Church of the Future Survey – key result of the survey was feedback that we need to revisit our Vision and talk about the application of our Values. Next step is to work with the Culture Shift Committee (including Jim Allen and Kelly Dickenson) to develop a recommendation on how we engage the congregation in this. Recommendations will first be shared with the Board.
E. One of our objectives before Brent retires is to ensure we have a solid staff team with clear priorities/goals and an effective coaching model that helps to bring out the best in our people. A few initiatives are key to this:
I. Having clear goals/plans for all staff – now complete and performance evaluations are underway.
II. Ensuring the strategic work we’re doing on giving, engagement and growth are aligned to the appropriate staff roles with clear accountabilities for collaboration – completed for giving and engagement but we need more conversations on growth objectives before staff accountabilities can be confirmed.
F. Two meetings took place for major donors on October 11th and 19th, to update them on the Senior Pastor transition and to get their input and feedback. We used these meetings as an opportunity to thank our donors as well as we won’t be doing a major donation recognition party this year.
G. A special announcement was made at all services on October 2nd around the Senior Pastor Transition and timelines. The Senior Pastor Search Committee was introduced and commissioned, and a 1-pager on the Senior Pastor Search Committee, including contact information, was provided to congregants and continues to be available at the Information Center.

Community Engagement & Spirituality

A. Mike Dodds, our part-time Ministry Leader continued to focus on 3 main priorities:
1. Stabilizing key teams that are struggling without a leader or enough volunteers (Café Connection, Reception, Info Center);
2. Membership criteria/covenant/process and list clean-up
3. Launching a new Life Long Learning Program.
B. Effective communication is a key characteristic of a vibrant community. The primary goal of our communications team has been to effectively represent the diverse voices of our community. The transformation with Sunday News and eNews is essentially complete. Our part-time Communications professional, Kendrew Pape, is now focused on improving website content/navigation and developing a communication survey for the congregation that will allow us to benchmark current satisfaction levels and implement improvement ideas.
C. Significant progress has been made in stabilizing the Café Connection and Reception Teams (2 new Team Leaders in place) and the Info Center (resolving their core issues around lack of volunteers and information)
D. Planning for the launch of Life Long Learning is well underway with a highly experienced team of volunteers who have formed a Strategy Committee (all are education professionals). In addition, 2 pilot sessions of the Spiritual Location exercise have been conducted to test out how this will be received by the broader congregation. Very positive feedback so far and Mike continues to recruit people who are willing to host/facilitate a session when we launch.
E. A new membership clean-up initiative is underway. This work is being done in collaboration with Lori Boyce as Chair of the Governance Committee and proposals on how we work with the existing criteria and covenant will be shared with the Board in coming months.
F. Received some good feedback on communications at the Town Hall. Primary theme was the ineffectiveness of our website (too cluttered and hard to find stuff). Kendrew Pape, our Team Leader of Communications, is building small sites for the Board, Giving, Volunteering etc. that will address the navigation challenges. Pace will be slow as we’re only able to afford Kendrew for 19 hours a week.

Web Enabled Congregational Engagement

Early in 2015 we formed a team of staff and volunteers to begin the search for new technology. This new technology will replace our current membership/financial management database (PowerChurch) and introduce a “Facebook-like” application that will allow ministries/groups to more effectively connect online. The team did some great work in developing requirements and in identifying a list of technology vendors that could fulfill these requirements.

Due to a lack of funding, we deeply regret this initiative continues to be on hold. We look forward to renewing our efforts when we have sufficient financial stability to proceed.

Congregational Giving Program

A. The goal of our congregational giving program is to create a culture of appreciation and generosity. Kevin Coutu, our part-time Team Leader of Giving Programs, has created a strategy to do this. Once completed, this can be shared with the Board via the Senior Pastor’s Report.
B. This strategy balances new approaches to increasing congregational giving with the desire to remain focused on the things we know are working: a) building a team of volunteers who are passionate about the work we do (“Ambassadors”); b) calling donors to simply thank them for their support; c) improved transparency on our financial health and d) frequently sharing all the amazing work that is happening as a result of the congregation’s generosity (“impact stories” and simple messages of the community’s accomplishments during the offering call).
C. We recently completed our Fall Pledge Campaign. Unfortunately, we didn’t achieve the campaign’s goals and we continue to look for ways to grow our automated giving donor base. Highlights of the campaign are:
I. 42 people participated – 13 new automated givers
II. Raised $23,444 in new giving
III. Some people had to reduce their giving which resulted in a loss of $11,440
IV. Net raised was $12,005 versus the goal of $60,000
D. Our attention is now on the Christmas Eve and Christmas Appeal fundraisers. We will proactively continue donors who supported these fundraisers last year and ask them if they’re able to provide the same level of support this year.

Improve Worship Planning & Innovation

A. We had two recent AM Worship Department Meeting on September 14th and October 4th. Brent, Brad Hickman (October 4th only), Mark Purcell and Annie Menezes participated. Great progress has been made with these meetings, especially in identifying key issues and priorities in AM Worship.
I. Our top priority has been getting a new Team Leader for the Anointer and Communion Server Ministry, and restructuring this Ministry. A Team Leader, Denise Campbell, has been confirmed, and we have had some discussion on ways to restructure the Ministry.
II. Our second priority is to provide more support for Team Leaders. Brad Hickman has agreed to facilitate team leader meetings, and the first one took place on October 30th. We also discussed the role of Staff (i.e. Pastor of AM Worship) with Team Leaders, i.e. support, training, communications and accountability.
B. A meeting took place on October 5th on the Alternative Worship Services, i.e. what did and didn’t work, and Rev Carmen Llanos’ role moving forward. Brent and Carmen met with Team Leaders/Co-Leaders from HOLA, Blacks in Praise and Worship and Young Adults. The meeting was very received by everyone.

Major Donor Asks

A. A meeting was held on August 24th to discuss the purpose and focus of the Fund Development Committee. The outcome was a new statement of purpose for this Committee (http://www.mcctoronto.com/wp-content/uploads/images/MCC-Statement-of-Purpose-Fund-Development-Committee.pdf). The Committee is now in the process of rebuilding the team in order to fulfill this mandate.
B. A key priority for Brent and Shelly in the coming months is to work collaboratively with the Board/Major Donor Primes/Fund Development Committee to confirm our funding priorities and reach out to high potential donors in an attempt to fulfill the organization’s financial needs before Brent’s retirement.
C. A list of all our funding needs has been developed. It includes priorities for the building, technology, people/programs and adequate contingencies/reserves. Total at this point is almost $8MM. Donor conversations are being set up for November.

Achieve our Financial Health Goals

A. We’re projecting a year end deficit of $35,000 because our revenues have fallen short of budget and our building repairs have been greater than expected.
B. As we reflect on the trends of annual pledged giving, we note that 2016 is expected to fall short of 2015 by about 4% (a decrease of $17,000). Some of the decrease has been offset by an increase in plate offerings ($5,700). We were hopeful our Fall Pledge Campaign would have resulted in an increase in pledged giving but the results weren’t what we hoped for (raised $12,000 on a goal of $60,000).
C. In our Fall Pledge Campaign, we shared information on the cost of running the church ($36.95 per person per week). A breakdown of the cost drivers was also included. Although we’ve received positive feedback about sharing this information, it isn’t resulting in a significant increase in giving yet. We still face the challenging reality that 50% of the congregation gives $5 a week or less. We’re looking for congregants that would like to help us assess the root causes of current giving patters and develop strategies for engaging the congregation in creating a culture of generosity.

Community Framework

A. The Community Framework (C.F.) is a tool developed in 2015 that helps Ministries and groups clarify the purpose and identify ways in which they will engage the broader congregation. Progress in completing Community Frameworks has been slow and we’re looking for ways to simplify the tool.
B. The Framework will be a public document (virtual binder) to be made available on the MCC Toronto website. A detailed index will be created, and any content that goes into this public document first needs to be approved by the Executive in order to ensure alignment with MCC Toronto’s vision and mission. We acknowledge that this is a living document, and revisions will be made on an ongoing basis.
C. We are planning to have a C.F. Month each year, where the importance and process of the C.F. is reinforced, and various groups/ministries will be encouraged to make revisions to their part of the C.F. Groups that have successfully accomplished this will be commissioned during service.
D. We are planning a retreat day (possibly Spring of 2017) for Team Leaders which will include the C.F. process/training which they can take with them to their teams.
E. We identified about 15 people who have the skills/potential to be facilitators for various groups for the C.F. process. They would each be asked to come to an orientation meeting and then work with 4-5 groups a year to get their C.F. done.


A. We had a great Anniversary Sunday service on July 17, 2016. There were 22 members who qualified for 10 year medals and 16 members who qualified for 25 year medals. We gave out awards to the following people: Kevin Coutu (Beloved Disciple Award), Darlene Morris (Vision Alive Award for 12 Step Program), Linda Leenders (Vision Alive Award for Depression Initiative) and Doug Kerr (Community Service Award).
B. We had an ordination ceremony for Sam Morris on August 20, 2016. It was a beautiful service and with approximately 200 people in attendance.
C. August 24th was Brent’s 39th Anniversary at MCC Toronto. It was acknowledged at the August 21st services, with announcements made by Andrew Fleming (9am) and Lori Boyce (10:50am).
D. Brent completed a written Sabbatical Summary (http://www.mcctoronto.com/wp-content/uploads/images/2015-Sabbatical-Summary.pdf)
E. 2% Fund/Update on work being done by Florin Buhuceanu (LGBTQ activist in Eastern Europe): On September 12, 2016, the Global LGBT Coalition met with the WCC Staff in Geneva, who are working with the Reference Group on Human Sexuality (RGHS). An international group of newly elected Lutheran bishops were introduced next to us as Global LGBT Coalition. Later that day they shared the new developments and strategic direction the RGHS is taking. On September 13th, 2016, we met with Chian Yew Lim, Human Rights Officer, Special Procedures Branch. She reported on the conference in June on “Freedom of Religion or Belief and Sexuality”. Soon a book will be published, Florin and Andre´ contributed to that conference.
F. We had our annual Emergency Services Sunday on October 2nd. Chief Mark Saunders brought us greetings and there were reps from Police, Fire and Paramedics. Planning work was done by Brent and the Healing Racism Initiative Team Leaders (Sandra Fontenelle, Caroline O’Reilly and Michael Went) and by Brent and the Intervention Team (Rev. Sam Morris, Sandra Fontenelle and Caroline O’Reilly) in preparation for potential service disruptions. The service went smoothly and was overall well-received. Information about our four race issues initiatives and contact info was included in SNews (Education, White People Educating White People About Racism, and Creating Safe Spaces for People of Color to Share).
G. On October 5th Brent met again with the Healing Racism Initiative Team Leaders to continue our discussions and planning around the above topics. Meetings will continue on a monthly basis. Again, I am very pleased on how this is developing.
H. Rev. Rachelle Brown was appointed as Interim Moderator for Metropolitan Community Churches on October 3rd, 2016. Her appointment is until the 2019 General Conference.
I. Work on scenario planning for Brent’s November trial continues.

Attendance statistics

Third Quarter Attendance Jul-Sep 2014-16
Service Average Weekly Attendance
Jul – Sep 2014 Average Weekly Attendance
Jul – Sep 2015 Average Weekly Attendance
Jul – Sep 2016 % Change 2014-16 % Change 2015-16
9AM 87 76 89 +2.3% +17.1%
11AM 309 279 304 -1.6% +9.0%
7PM 67 60 65 -3.0% +8.3%
Total Weekly Average 463 415 458 -1.1% +10.4%
*Does not include live webcast stats

Year-to-Date Attendance January – September 2014-16
Service Average Weekly Attendance
January – September 2014 Average Weekly Attendance
January – September 2015 Average Weekly Attendance
January – September 2016 % Change 2014-16 % Change 2015-16
9AM 91 86 94 +3.2% +10.3%
10:50AM 350 352 374 +6.8% +6.1%
7PM 70 60 60 -13.7% 0.0%
Total Weekly
Average 511 498 528 +3.3% +6.2%

Report from the Board of Directors

We hope you are checking out our “Congregational Updates” that are featured in Sunday e-News, the Sunday service bulletin, and are included on our website. We have committed to regular, transparent and timely communication with the Congregation. We meet every six to eight weeks and 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 encourage you to check out: http://www.mcctoronto.com/who-we-are/board-of-directors

As a Board we focus on policies, vision development and refinement, strategy, and oversight. In 2016 we have two major objectives that Brent has already touched on:

Building the foundation to support financial stability and sustainability

We have worked with staff to target both increasing revenue and reducing expenses as we seek to find the delicate balance of challenging ourselves to do all that we are called to do – while also recognizing the challenges of people’s capacity to give. And so we have made difficult decisions re: staffing and continue to leave ourselves financially exposed by our modest attempts to build our contingency funds. At the same time we are working on a strategy to increase the number of people who support us via automated giving.

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 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.

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.

In March 2017 we will conduct a public open-call for candidates. Information regarding the position, roles and responsibilities will be available on our website and interested candidates will be invited to apply.

In the meantime, we are in the process of proactively identifying possible candidates who may be interested in applying. This search has extended beyond MCC as we search for our next visionary leader who lead work with us and help us to achieve our Mission and Vision. At this point initial interviews have been conducted with 6-8 individuals and we are confident that we will identify a strong candidate to continue to lead us in our commitment to our Vision and Mission to be a progressive Christian church which build bridges and transforms individuals.

Primary Responsibilities and Qualifications for the Senior Pastor

October 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. 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 Transition Plan to identify, recruit and elect our next Senior Pastor.

Senior Pastor Selection

We noted the need for increased communications and in response we have confirmed our search plans moving forward including a planned March 2017 open call for interested parties to apply for the Senior Pastor position.

This timing anticipates a new Senior Pastor will be commissioned between October 2016 and March 2017. This timing is consistent with Brent’s initial announcement re: his retirement at a point following his 40th anniversary as our pastor. It also allows us continue to build a stronger foundation for the incoming Senior Pastor by ensuring we have the required skills, gifts and support in place to support our mission and vision, that we have built increased financial sustainability, and we have shifted our culture to support this fundamental change.

This time frame also allows the Senior Pastor Search committee to continue to seek congregational input regarding the skill set of the new individual, while preparing for the interview and selection process. Finally, it allows for a period of time post-trial and also recognizes that November, December and January are not optimal times to be launching a search for a new minister.

In our meetings we have received a common inquiry in terms of why we did not choose to select an “interim” pastor to bridge the time before Brent and before our new permanent candidate.

We have provided a response to this inquiry and will also address other questions and comments on our website. www.mcctoronto.com/news/interim-pastor

The committee (Anne Brayley, Lori Boyce and Andrew Fleming) was commissioned October 2 at the 10:50 am service.

For more information, contact seniorpastorsearch@mcctoronto.com

Congregational support related to the trial

In recognition of the need for congregational support, the Board approved a proposal by management to engage the services of the L3 Group to work with us to provide insight, skills, confidence and assistance to the congregation related to Brent’s trial which is scheduled to start November 14.

A team led by Joe Jamieson and includes Bentley Springer, Andrew Holmes, Rev. Sam Morris, Sandra Fontenelle, Kevin Wilcock and Liz Gildner, have worked together to provide two opportunities for church leaders to gather, share, and develop skills and confidence in the strength of our community and leadership.

These sessions have offered a unique and timely team building exercise as staff, Board and key leaders have journeyed together and are building a plan that will provide support for the congregation – especially during and in the aftermath of the trial.

In addition, the staff and management of the church are engaged in scenario planning to ensure we have identified and addressed the impact of various outcomes.

New MCC Interim Moderator Selected

Reverend Rachelle D. Brown was announced as the Metropolitan Community Churches’ new interim moderator, details can be found at www.mccchurch.org/interim-moderator/

Reports to the Board

We received these reports:

  • A project charter for the Community Care Ministry, identifying an action plan to reinforce the goal of providing support to individuals experiencing episodic and ongoing spiritual questions related to life events and challenges. The ministry includes all ordained staff, clergy candidates and Deacons as well as some laity with specific related competencies and skills (e.g: social workers and grief workers).
  • A summary of Brent’s 2015 sabbatical which included a number of meetings focused on global LGBT human rights and a book he plans to write based on the Church of the Future.

Bentley Springer

Bentley Springer is a seasoned IT professional, leading teams providing IT services for large national organizations for almost two decades. He is currently the Manager of IT Support Services for CARA Operations.

Passionate about community capacity building, Bentley has served as a leader in the black community for the past 18 years.  He was founder and President of Black Habits from 1998-2008, and performed leadership roles for the Lions Circle from 2005-2016, including President and Chair. Bentley is also a trained mediator, and leverages these skills in a volunteer capacity.

Bentley first attended MCC Toronto in February 2012. Five months later, he and his partner, Denise, became members and dedicated MCC volunteers, and were proudly married by Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes, C.M. in July 2013. In 2016, Bentley was elected to the MCC Toronto board and also participated in the Reference Group.