“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. The children’s and youth ministries were significant concerns within my own family at that time. Now, my kids have grown, and their kids (my grandkids) are accessing children’s and youth ministries in their respective parts of the world. So I cannot think of a more worthy investment for a congregation than in its family ministries. This past year, it has been 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 two 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 served faithfully as our bookkeeper for the past few years and welcome Janet Hum now filling 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 passionate and excited leaders would find very difficult.
- The second thing I shared in that meeting was that “our mettle was going to be tested.” By this, I meant that this upcoming year would be a year that tests our commitment to the beautiful expression of Jesus called the bridge. But, as the challenge went out to attend online or to venture into “in-person” services, our people’s commitment to worship and service would be tested. Lingering fears of catching COVID, the learned comfort of being home on Sundays, or the inconvenient worship time (3:15 pm on Sundays) would challenge all our motivations. Inconvenience is a base-level test in a consumeristic culture, which we are all subject to.
Nonetheless, it has been a spectacular year. So many new people are now attending the bridge!! It’s been so exciting for the staff and volunteers to welcome and be there for those who have come to the bridge for many reasons and with many needs.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the staff and the volunteers 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.
We will enter our new church home in just a few short months. 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 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 on 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 are hopeful that together, we can finish this campaign well as 2022 ends.
Each year brings some transition on our Church Board, and I wish to thank each team member for hours and hours of investment each month. Winston Stewart will take a break after six years of service (constitutionally required). Neil Maskery decided not to let his name stand due to capacity issues. As a result, two new board members will serve 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 significant changes in the staff’s approach to its ministry objectives 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 position requires leadership including coordinating and communicating all church ministry objectives. The second significant change comes from bringing Care, Seasonal Groups, and LifeGroups under one umbrella. 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. What a great team!
You will see numbers, pictures, and short paragraphs reading this report. All of these invite you to get excited, give thanks, and further your engagement in the great things 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 with our community and beyond.
With love and appreciation,