“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
3 John 1:4
When I came to the bridge, I had a daughter in grade 3, and a son in grade 11. Both the children’s ministry and the youth ministry were very important concerns within my own family at that time. Now, my kids have grown, and it’s their kids (my grandkids) who are accessing children’s and youth ministries in their respective parts of the world. I cannot think of a more worthy investment for a congregation than in its family ministries. In this past year, it has been such a pleasure to witness our children’s ministry volunteers step up and fill the leadership void that developed when Pastor Shauna moved to Nova Scotia.
The Kidzone Lead Team, comprised of Esther Agbaji, Sarah Chung, Sarah Dimilta, Gaby Cardenas, Joanne Williams and Maureen Won were stalwarts in maintaining our ability to cultivate a vibrant faith in our kids. We thank Jasmine El-Sawaf for the administrative support she brought to Children’s Ministry over the last 2 years and now welcome Elissa Lam to the team. With the transitional administrative leadership of Thivyaa Thirukeswaran, as our Children’s Ministry Intern, and the Pastoral oversight of Pastor Sam, Pastor Rod and Pastor Emily, we have much to be thankful for.
I want to thank Giselle Albi who severed faithfully as our Bookkeeper for the past few years, as well as welcome Janet Hum who is now filing this role. This past year we also saw the hiring of a new Connections Pastor, fulfilled by Bonnie Lam. We are so grateful to have her on our team.
In September of 2021, just over a year ago, I had the leaders of the bridge at my home. It was there we looked ahead to the ministry year that we are now reviewing and giving thanks for. There are two things that I shared in that meeting that are still resonating:
- It’s going to be a year like no other. How so? Coming back to in-person services would not be something that would be done en masse. Even today, half our congregation has not yet returned, and is waiting till the new building opens, or is inconvenienced by the 3:15 Sunday afternoon service time. This was a challenge that the passionate and excited leaders would find very difficult.
- The second thing I shared in that meeting a year ago was that “our mettle was going to be tested”. By this, I meant that this upcoming year will be a year that tests our commitment to the beautiful expression of Jesus, called the bridge. As the challenge went out to attend online, or to venture into “in person” services, our people’s commitment to worship and to service would be tested. Lingering fears of catching COVID, and or the learned comfort of being home on Sundays, or the inconvenient Worship Time (3:15pm on Sundays) would challenge all our motivations. Inconvenience is a base level test in a consumeristic culture, which we are all subject too.
Nonetheless, it has been a stupendous year. So many new people are now attending the bridge!! It’s been so exciting for the staff and for the volunteers to welcome and be there for those who have come to the bridge for a multitude of reasons, and with a good number of needs.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the staff and the volunteers as who helped navigate through another year of adjustments and a temporary church location. We are thankful for the hospitality and support that The Olive Branch Church has shown us as we met there in person this past year.
In just a few short months, we will be entering our new church home. It’s been a productive year on so many fronts, and progress on the building is one of them. A huge thanks to Kevin Aide as he continues to lead this project, and thanks to Ron Cariglia and Peter Furnell for their team effort.
We also appreciate the leadership and vision that Neil Maskery has brought to our Building Hope campaign. As a church, we want to continue to grow in our impact in the community and look forward to seeing our new building being utilized to help fulfill our ministry objectives. Thank you for your generosity and prayers for the campaign. We hopeful that together, we can to finish this campaign well as 2022 comes to an end.
Each year brings some transition on our Church Board, and I wish to thank each who are on that team for the hours and hours of investment each month. Winston Stewart will be taking a break after six years of service (constitutionally required). Neil Maskery decided not to let his name to stand due to capacity issues. As a result, there will be two new Board members serving in this upcoming ministry year. Chrissie Shum finished off a two-year term and has allowed her name to stand for a new term of three years. A huge thanks to each Board member.
Two big changes in the staff’s approach to its ministry objectives, which included the development of the new Church Ministries Pastor role. Pastor Emily fulfills this role and gives oversight to Family Ministries, Groups and Care Ministries, Connections Ministries, and OnMission Ministries. The role requires oversight that includes coordination and communication of all church ministry objectives. What a great team! The second big change comes in the form of bringing Care, Seasonal Groups, and LifeGroups under one umbrella, so to speak. Pastor Anna is now our Groups and Care Ministries Pastor. She is building her team that seeks to minister to Adults in various stages of their spirituality and wellness.
When you read through this report, you will see numbers, pictures, and short paragraphs. All of these are inviting you to get excited, to give thanks, and to further your engagement in the great things that God is doing.
God has done much, is doing much, and will continue to do amazing things in the year ahead. We need you! Lend a hand wherever you might hear of a need as we transition back into our building, and let’s hit the ground running as we share the love of Jesus to our community and beyond.
With love and appreciation,