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 A Story of

 

Wesley and Temperancevlle Pastoral Charge

 

York Presbytery

 

Wesley and Temperancevill Pastoral Charge consists of two very different congregations; both have a rural sense about them; both are debt-free and both had an older male ministry for the previous 17 years.  Average attendance was 35 at Wesley when she arrived two years ago; now there are 70 attending; Temperanceville went from 23 to 40 in the last two years.  We look at numbers not for the sake of numbers, but for what it can tell us, she said.

 

The church school uses Whole People and the liturgical year, e.g. color.  There’s a visual arts team in both congregations now that are warming up the sanctuaries. 

Vicki visited everyone she could get to in the first month, getting to know the people.

Vicki visited everyone she could get to in the first month, getting to know the people.  This helped the people to get to know her too so it brought trust and respect in worship.  When she initiated change, the people were generally open with some trepidation.  People can see that she is dedicated to her faith and taking care of herself and being honest about who she is. 

 

She gathers “successful” people who are supportive, more experienced than herself.  She described herself as being green in years of ministry, but not in life, and that helps in worship with her past experiences.  Some things had to change, she said, e.g. a communion liturgy from 1965 was being used.  Children read scripture, others use gifts in drama, re-writing stories.  Honoring the traditions while learning to embrace the new is a huge challenge.

 

Addressing conflict is important, i.e. not allowing things to lie.  Projects to get excitement flowing included a talent night; $800 in $10 bills was given out to members of the congregation, and when the money was returned, $9,000 came in.  The anniversary services were a time to celebrate. 

 

They had visioning days at each of the congregations and involved Presbytery people.  A photo directory was produced with both congregations in one book.  There’s a woman’s spirituality group now that involves both women from the congregations and the community. 

There’s a woman’s spirituality group ... from the congregations and the community. 

 

A men’s group is about to begin, and they are looking for a youth leader.  Six were confirmed last year and 12 this year. They have used newsletters and flyers in wider mailings.  Temperanceville has a web site.  An administrative assistant has been hired for 10 hours a week to do bulletins and phone calls.  People in the congregation are key because of their dedication to their churches and growth.

Parking is a challenge, the manse is falling apart; the buildings are 120 years old.  Closing one congregation for a special service doesn’t work because the numbers dropped right off.  A Christmas Eve service was instituted and 200 showed up. 

 

Questions/comments: 

Most of the visiting is still done by the minister.  The church school at Wesley is 25 and Temperanceville

Some of the new people... like the smaller church where they are known. 

a little less.  There is no proper nursery because of space problems.  Some of the new people moving into the area church shop, and some have said they like the smaller church where they are known.  The web site was created by a person in the congregation. 

 

What happens when the churches are full? 

Both are talking about parking problems and possible expansion.  The churches are concerned that she’ll just up and leave.  Quite a few are coming from the Catholic tradition and some people from the wider community who are exploring their spiritual hunger. 

 

 

 

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