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Kelowna United Churches Amalgamation Proposal

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September 28, 2020

A Letter to Members and Adherents of

St. Paul’s United Church, Kelowna from the Church Board

Regarding Amalgamation of Central Okanagan United Churches

Last January members of five Central Okanagan United Church congregations met to discuss how we might operate collectively in the future given that membership for most of us was decreasing and several of us were facing issues regarding our facilities, finances, and ministerial leadership.

At the urging of those in attendance at the January meeting, a working group (Exploration Team) was formed to explore various ways in which we might collaborate. The Team included four members from First United, three from St. Paul’s, two from Westbank, three from Rutland, and one (Allison Rennie) from the Pacific Mountain Region who served as facilitator. Winfield United is supportive of the initiative but declined to participate at this time.

The Team met over the summer on multiple occasions as a whole and in thematic sub-groups. They drafted a report which was circulated to the combined church Boards on September 18 and discussed in a Zoom meeting the next day. The Boards and the team agreed that the proposal should now be discussed by the four participating congregations and voted upon. The essence of the proposal, and the question to be voted upon, is as follows:

That the four existing communities of faith of Westbank United Church, First United Church Kelowna, St. Paul’s United Church, and Rutland United Church join to form one congregation with multiple physical locations. This would be a first step which would allow the communities of faith to minister with:

a single governing body

a coordinated and cooperating staff team

a coordinated administration hub

the potential for powerful mission, outreach, and worship.

A congregational meeting will be held following the Zoom worship service on October 18, 2020 to receive questions and comments regarding the proposal and to vote on the motion. The results of the vote will be forwarded to the Team which will consider next steps in the process.

If the four congregations vote to proceed with the proposal, a formal memorandum of understanding dealing with issues pertaining to the amalgamation will be developed. Some of those issues include the form of governance, composition of the Board, use of facilities, and allocation of finances. The memorandum of understanding will then be submitted to the participating congregations for their approval before being forwarded to the Regional Council’s Approval Committee for its advice and approval.

Please bear in mind that the report from the Exploration Team describes many possibilities, but what we would be committing to at this stage is just what is included in the motion, but not any of the possibilities noted in the report. Much detailed work will remain to be done to develop a memorandum of understanding which would be returned to each congregation for its consideration.

Gary Dickinson

Chair, SPUC Board

St Paul's United Church

T: 250 762 5443

1305 Gordon Dr,

Kelowna BC

V1Y 3E7

Located Inside the First Mennonite Church.

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