The following comments are those gathered during week one of seeking: honest questions for deeper faith & mission in the world. Included are the comments gathered during the Sunday Gathering on February 26th and on the Zoom Gathering on Monday February 27th. Also included are the responses offered via email and the webform. The purpose of this conversations was to describe the current situation of the congregation.
Comments offered by those participating via the online community are recorded in italics.
The slide image summary of the Task Group can be found at the bottom.
What are the things you appreciate about Sackville United Church? What is life-giving?
The consistent affirmation that all people are welcome. All questions are welcome. There is no pressure to toe the line. There is room and respect for honest seeking.
And the welcome I experience always feels warm and sincere.
The openness. The acceptance of all. Safe space.
All welcome to the table.
Let’s people be who they are.
Safe space. All welcome.
All seem equal (congregation).
There seems to be no “us versus them” of groupings.
The wide cross-section of members of all ages, walks of life, etc.
Generations of wisdom.
I love that all persons especially lgbtq2+ are a living breathing welcome part of our church.
I have attended Sackville United Church since I came in 1958. I find the type of worship closest to the Methodist Church in England.
Appreciate how safe I feel in this community.
I appreciate how LOVE and the "All Are Welcome" tenet are central to how SUC operates!!
United Church has a much more progressive liberal interpretation of scripture that is affirming, including and welcoming.
The welcoming committee filled with people who want to know how you are (ask and actually listen).
Open welcome, care for others.
Welcome greetings.We find friends talk with each other.
The friendly people.
Compassion of members.
Kind words given by others.
It is very welcoming.
Appreciate how everyone takes care of one another.
I appreciate the sense of family; this really became a reality during the pandemic
Jennie’s ministry of music.
Rev. Lloyd’s sermons.
I appreciate the content of the sermon. I appreciate the music leadership.
Appreciate Rev. Lloyd.
A wonderful minister.
Weekly musings by Lloyd.
Jennie and Lloyd's dedication and openness and creativity.
Minister has always been available for discussions/issues.
I love our minister and director of music worship.
So many leaders.
I feel encouraged to share my gifts and experiences
The willingness of people to contribute to causes.
Seniors sharing the table.
Opportunity to be a part of any number of committees and/ activities.
I love that we extend in many ways into the larger community.
Even in covid times, the special music.
Gift of music. Caroling.
Community. Gathering in person - a chance to visit, catch up, offer support.
The connection with like minded persons.
Connection to community.
Sense of connection.
Sense of community.
I appreciate the community events.
Like cookie walk, pancake suppers, Open Sky coffee and convo.
I used to think it was that I knew all the people, but since covid there are people here that I don’t know their names.
Prayers for community and congregation.
Interpretations of the bible.
Community of faith.
Our Sunday services.
I also like that it is mostly accessible.
Central to community
I am thankful that we are doing this process online!
I am so thankful for your congregation providing an on-line experience for me each week. I feel almost like a part of your congregation. A wonderful way to start my week. (To which C replied “You are a part of our congregation I love seeing people tune in from everywhere”.)
What resources (finances, people (members/volunteers/staff), opportunities, culture, history, etc.) contribute the life-giving nature of Sackville United Church?
Openness to new ministry ideas and initiatives from the church community (the Idea Board -- or whatever it's called!).
When a person has an idea, they can welcome others into. Bubble groups.
It's hard to put this into words, but the real joy, love, and connection I feel among the people who call SUC their church home.
A sense that this is a good place to be where life is deep and challenging and meaningful as we live it together in community.
There is a culture of welcome.
I appreciate our courage to try new ways of sharing love in the community.
We believe there is strength in diversity.
Lloyd available to talk.
Time. Willingness for leadership to organize events.
Rev. Lloyd and Jennie contribute over and above the call of duty. They are both awesome.
I am thankful for our leaders, especially Lloyd and Jennie.
The people who make things happen (especially Lloyd and Jennie, but volunteers too) do amazing work.
I love the humour!
We appreciate the leadership from Lloyd.and Jennie.
Our people are our strength!
Willingness of people to take on leadership roles. It seems that there are people to step up for the work that needs to be done.
Speakers, students, volunteers,
Our members and friends.
We welcome students, immigrants, speakers.
Other special step-ins when Lloyd is unavailable.
People who can take the pulpit at a moment’s notice when Lloyd cannot. Jennie who fills many roles.
People are our greatest resource. So many pitch in to do the work. There is a feeling of eagerness to help, and joy in the giving. Our financial contributions remain way up there in spite of the pandemic.
There are so many people and committees who share their gifts in keeping Sackville United.
We have very committed and giving people.
Grateful for all the volunteers in our midst who offer leadership freely and generously.
While there are many bald heads and gray hair, there is an energy and positive spirit within this congregation that gives hope for the future and confident that things are changing in positive ways.
Like the music.
Amazing Musical resources.
Choir’s presence with song.
Different options for worship (creative arts center)
Rocking chair at peace.
Practicing rituals together (e.g. communion, group prayer) is meaningful and counter-cultural.
Events for seniors like coffee on wednesdays.
We collect for those in need. Machine to provide necessities for those in need and not able to get themselves.
The outside “machine” that provides supplies for those in need.
Greeters to welcome us weekly. The name labels are great conversation starters.
Collaborations with Open Sky and other local orgs.
The vending machine.
I am grateful for the online church service.
I am thankful for the on line service.
We appreciate the Facebook online worship and programs;
What are the good (life-giving) things (people, practices, activities and events) that are
happening in the larger community?
Outreach through the harm reduction machine.
Contributing to needs at the Food Bank, Ensemble, Women's Shelter, etc. Services and visits at the Drew.
Participation in the Pride Parade and climate action events.
Taking public positions on justice issues in our community.
Caring community takes a stand but firmly. Providing baking for community, pancakes for Sappyfest breakfast open for all. Open Sky.
Standing for Justice.
So many in our congregation are very active in our community in so many ways.
Pancake suppers are open to all. “The machine” for those in need. Bake sale open during “Moonlight Madness”. Women’s Day contributions, Food Bank, Christmas Cheer participation.
We try hard to make food and supplies available for those who need them. We help through keeping in touch with those who suffer with Illness, with mates who are Ill, and in all such circumstances.
OpenSky, Harm reduction machine, farmer's market; Winterfest and seasonal celebrations, greenhouse being reprised by Sam B and OpenSky. AA,etc. PlaySchool...
Like the events and activities.
There are so many activities and people engaged in Sackville. The community has so much going on.
An opportunity to create a ‘hub’ for these resources.
Open Sky. Tantramar Community Task Force. Accessible Housing initiative. Systemic Change makers, not only emerging/bandaid solutions - *all operating in silos. Always lots of things going on.
Tantramar Seniors College.
Emergency Department open again at the local hospital.
New people arriving in town.
I feel safe in Sackville, free to be me.
How is our online presence helpful and life-giving?
Keeps me connected to the life of the church while safely distancing for health reasons. Allows me to take part in small group discussions on Zoom.
Been able to go online when we had covid-19.
Gives an option to join when you are sick.
Safety of this space.
To view worship when not feeling well.
It is so convenient. Availability. Connectedness with all.
Opportunity to be online.
It provides an option for worship when I just can’t or the circumstances make in-person impossible.
Recordings to watch later.
It is wonderful in our times especially for those who are for various reasons unable to attend in person.
Like to watch when unable to attend.
I don’t look at facebook much but I appreciate the Zoom contacts.
I can multi-task while watching from home. E.g. ironing.
Tuning in online is helpful for me in this season and helps me feel connected.
Also in community - like a “watch party” hanging out together.
It welcomes those who can’t or choose not to be present in person.
Gives message to inform community of activities of church.
Provides a great service to those in need spiritually.
Allows those who can’t attend to participate in Sunday Worship.
Being able to connect online. To be part during Covid was very helpful. A blessing. Instrumental to stay connected and able to say prayer with others and be lead through prayer. Thank you!
Very important and needed.
When I can’t get to church I participate online.
For me it has been a real lifesaver. In my role as elected member, then chair, then member again on the Executive the meetings via Zoom have been godsends as I do not hear well through masks. I love Lectionary study, Seekers study, and other online meetings and groups. Unfortunately this is not available to all.
And I reiterate tremendous thank you to Lloyd Jennie and others re the work of the online presence as someone who still occasionally has to go back to hybrid teaching - we are so grateful for you doing this live!
I appreciate the online presence because without it, I could not be involved in a church community. Since I began attending I have learned and grown, even from afar. I am teaching in Northern Ontario on a First Nation reserve. My home is near Plaster Rock and I have friends who live in Sackville. I was searching for an online presence about a year ago, and thankfully SUC offered Facebook presence, which is accessible. Much appreciated is the openness and uniqueness of your gatherings. Thank you.
This summary is by no means exhaustive - it is intended to serve as a means to entry into the next conversation.
The Task Group is always asking itself questions such as, What is missing? Whose voice or perspective is missing?
If you think we have missed a key idea or perspective, please be in contact with us through the Secretary, Rebecca Houtsma.