This webpage is for the people of the Toronto Conference for story sharing and networking.



Written by John Lee for the congregations of the Toronto Conference, November, 2002 



 It is my joy that I feel positive energy as I travel around the Conference to visit congregations, presbyteries, and committees, and to participate in many other gatherings including UCW and AOTS events.  What I hope is that we feel the same energy from each individual and many small group gatherings within the Conference.  During my current term as President, I have discovered that the Conference staff are committed to making the conference ‘look good’ from individual to pastoral charge to

presbytery.  This has also been confirmed through the words and deeds of the Executive Secretary, David Allen.  I deeply appreciate all of the Conference staff’s passion for the church and their integrity.


 ‘Making others look good’ has a significant meaning in our faith journey as the people of The United Church of Canada.  This is an affirmation of our faith, as we trust in God who created all things and said, “It is good”.  This is also a dominant theme throughout our journey to nurture spirituality, to develop healthy ministry and to strive for justice.  I feel that the Conference is blessed with many individuals who are committed to making the church ‘look good’.  Through this new understanding, I reaffirm my conviction as president to make such individuals ‘look good’.  I believe that this is the work of the life-giving Spirit that enabled the prophet Ezekiel to vision the great body full of life.


 To make each individual and congregation ‘look good’, I have planned many things.  The first step is to provide a space to share our stories and to build a trusting network among pastoral charges within the Conference.  I anticipate that this will initially take the form of sharing the good news of individuals or congregations.  Sharing our pains and problems is important as well, however, it is more challenging until trusting relationships have been built.  But if we can humble ourselves, this will be possible much earlier than we expect.  I am certain that sharing our stories will enhance linkages with other congregations, and will eventually allow us to feel that we are genuinely of one body.


The website I have developed for the Conference is, which will act as one of a few ‘satellite’ websites within the Conference.  I encourage everyone to visit this new website that is devoted entirely to the life of the Church in Toronto Conference.  It includes listings of events, opinions and discussion, stories, related links and so much more.  I welcome individuals who would like to contribute their effort and time to further developing the site by providing editing or technical support assistance.  I also welcome those who are willing and able to take over either whole or partial responsibility for preserving the spirit of this website: providing a space to share our stories and develop a trusting network.  One of the big jobs envisioned in this project would to create omnibus websites to link all 260 pastoral charges within the whole Conference.


To develop a website for your church involves a series of preparatory steps, a few months of planning time and a budget of several hundred dollars.  Registration of a domain name and selecting an economical and reliable server requires some practical experience and technical knowledge.  I want to help churches in facilitating this complicated process and will assist in the initial development of web pages (2-3 pages) for each congregation within the website.  It will help churches test out the need for a website, while providing a concrete shape and enabling their future plans.  It will also allow congregations to briefly introduce themselves.  One of the benefits we can have through this service is to enhance the speed of developing websites, as well as making connections to any pastoral charges at a glance, with just one click.


One of the frequent comments I have received is, “There are not many in my congregation who have a computer and will enjoy having such a website.”  In spite of this, the primary purpose of a website would be to let people know ‘who we are’.  In this era of new communication, a website seems to be the minimum required service provided by a church.  The technical work can be performed almost entirely by volunteers now waiting to help make this happen.  Such innovation does not seek to exclude those who do not utilize computers, but to help churches and its members cope with the changing world and ensure connectedness as an additional way for the church’s whole mission to be actualized in and for the world.


I hope we will get to know each other more deeply with fresh new stories and ideas, as well as our shared histories.  It is my hope that we connect not only through stories but also through actual encounters as a result of communication through the internet.  I hope we can lift up our hidden treasures, unique gifts and wisdom in our diverse communities of faith.  I hope we can share ourselves and learn from each other as we laugh and share pain together.  This, I believe, will only be the beginning of a celebration of life as we say to each other, “You are beautiful!”


Peace and Joy!


Rev. John Young-Jung Lee

President, Toronto Conference



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