The Anglican Church of St John the Divine
301 Main Street East
North Bay, On P1B 1B3
Our primary purpose as the Church of St John the Divine in downtown North Bay is to be a welcoming, nurturing and worshiping community which demonstrates by word and deed the love of Jesus Christ for all creation.
1 Corinthians 5:8
The above graphic and scripture reference is the Parish Motto adopted by the Parish Assessment Team and presented to the Wardens and the Parish Advisory Committee for approval. This theme will imbue every aspect of Parish Ministry.
Just who are we, you may ask? The People of God at St John’s is a diverse group. The majority of parishioners are over age 65, and are lovingly referred to as the ‘youth group’ mainly because of their youthful enthusiasm and eagerness for the work of the church.
Within the parish are various active groups living out our Mission Statement to be a ‘welcoming, nurturing and worshiping community’. Through our Parish Motto ‘Celebrate the Feast. Come’ we offer an invitation to all. More about our ministries will follow in this profile.
In recent years, we have heard the call and responded, that God wants us to ‘go out where he is’ and be involved in deeper ministry with the poor, the homeless, the disadvantaged, the hurt, the lonely. In fact, that point was driven home quite soundly to the Concurrence Committee when we reviewed the answers to the two questions we posed to each and every member of the parish, as well as to ‘those out there’ and ‘those who can not be here’:
What kind of a parish is God calling us to be?
What kind of a pastor does God want us to have?
Here is a summary listing of the points made by parishioners about what kind of parish they felt God wanted us to be, and what kind of pastor God wants us to have. They said that they discerned we should be FAMILY:
Accepting of each other Caring Outgoing Welcoming
Scripturally-based Faith-based Loving Joyful
Friendly Non-judgemental Flexible Inclusive
In regards to ‘inclusive’, it was clear that this word encompassed the poor, rich, lonely, hungry, well-fed, sick, healthy, aboriginal, all cultures/nations, people of all sexual orientations … all of God’s creation.
And so, we feel that God’s people, the people of St John’s, is saying this:
God wants St John’s to be a Christ-like parish, and,
God wants us to have a priest who will be a loving leader and shepherd who will walk with us where God leads us
It is this type of leadership that the congregation needs.This process of discernment was imbued deeply in prayer over seven weeks, and continues still. Within the parish, the community, the diocese, indeed, even in other places and countries, individuals are praying for us, that God’s will be done! At every liturgy, we continue to corporately pray:
Almighty God, who knows the needs of your Church in every place: Look graciously at this time upon the people of this parish of St John the Divine; and give to them a faithful Pastor, who shall feed your flock according to your will, and make a people acceptable unto you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Adapted from the Book of Common Prayer.
In the following pages, we hope to let you know more about who we are, our history, our ministries, and of course, our finances.
The Good Shepherd Window above the high altar at the Anglican Church of Saint John the Divine North Bay dates from 1910 when the present sanctuary was added to the main church building.
In the Beginning It was 1883. The CPR railroad was plunging westward through the forests and alongside the lakes of Ontario, and little settlements were springing up all along the line, mostly composed of railway workers. A small station was established at Mattawa and the ribbon of steel soon reached the north bay of Lake Nipissing. The tiny settlement that grew was named North Bay and, because of its location, was designated a railway divisional point.
Along with the settlements came the Anglican ministry in the person of the Rev. Forster Bliss. Ordained in 1881, he found himself at the tiny mission of St Alban the Martyr in Mattawa. Soon Mr Bliss was charged by the bishop of his diocese (Ontario) with extending his missionary work westward along the line. This he did, and as well, established the first Masonic Lodge in the area in 1884, Mattawa Lodge #405.
On August 15, 1883, Mr Bliss held the first Anglican service in North Bay. Without a proper building the service took place in the CPR engine room. Fifteen worshippers gathered that day. One hundred twenty five years later, outdoors under a big tent, a hundred and fifty people gathered right next to the original site to celebrate God’s word and sacrament.
With Mr Bliss’s encouragement the little congregation built a rectangular frame structure on Main Street at a cost of $900. The new church, named St Michael and All Angels, opened for divine service in September 1884. But demand soon increased the services to both morning and evening and Mr Bliss could no longer cope, since he had missions to attend to all the way to Sturgeon Falls. He then turned over the work he had inaugurated to Bishop Sullivan of the Diocese of Algoma.
Now into St Michael and All Angels strode a colourful Irishman, the Rev Gowan Gillmor, soon nicknamed “The Tramp” from his practice of walking bush trails, railway tracks and frozen lakes to minister to isolated settlers. In charge from 1885 to 1891, he established the first Women’s Auxiliary in the Diocese of Algoma in 1887.
Following Mr Gillmor’s departure to further mission work in the Muskoka area, the Rev A.J. Young, the new priest in charge, worked for and witnessed the construction of a new red brick building costing $6000, which became the Church of St John the Divine. Why the name change? No one seems to know, but on August 10, 1896, the Church of St John the Divine opened for service, with congregations numbering 350 and 300.
The Middle Years Throughout the 1900’s much was done to enlarge and enhance that first brick church into the splendid building we enjoy today. In 1910 the present chancel, with its striking Good Shepherd window, was added. In 1923, under the Rev Gilbert Oliver, a large hall was erected. His successor, the Rev Harry Sims, even during the Great Depression of the thirties, added a commodious upper hall, the scene of dances, parties, suppers, teas, games and the ‘Little Theatre Guild’. During the 22-year incumbency of Canon Charles Large, eleven splendid stained glass windows were added around the nave as memorials to church pioneers. The windows present in sequence the life of Christ from his birth in Bethlehem to his bestowing the Spirit in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost.
During the middle years of the twentieth century all the church’s organizations were in fine form. The women’s groups were doing excellent work, the Chancel Guild and Servers were faithfully carrying out their duties, the Sunday School was a busy place with many children and teachers, and the choir numbered 34 (1955).
At least eleven young people, spiritually nourished at St John’s, went on to careers as priests of the church. But also, the two Great Wars took a disproportionate toll on the young men of our parish. To this day, the Colours presented in their memory by four remaining veterans remain memorialized in the church and are used each Remembrance Sunday during a special liturgy.
In 1987, during the rectorship of Canon Don Landon, a massive renovation project costing over a million dollars was begun. Added were thirteen apartments, an office story, an elevator and an enclosed corridor connecting the church and the lower hall. Bishop Les Peterson dedicated the renewed complex in 1989.
In 1995 we welcomed our first female priest, the Rev Cheryl Kristolaitis and a year later we celebrated the centennial of our church building with a nostalgic look back at 1896, using the Prayer Book of that era.
The later years In 2008, under the rectorship of the Rev Dr G Wayne Short, we embarked upon a year-long celebration of our 125th anniversary with many special liturgies, gatherings and celebrations, and were privileged to have Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada in our midst, not to celebrate our building or our organizations, but our faith, the faith lived out in the continued work of our parish beginning in 1883. In these latter years, like so many parishes, we have encountered difficulties and challenges, but, as a people, we have met these and continue to strive to be ‘a welcoming, nurturing and worshiping community which demonstrates by word and deed the love of Jesus Christ for all creation’. “Surely the Lord is in this place,” cried Jacob long ago. Indeed the Lord is in this place, as we, the ‘living stones’ of the parish, carry out our faith-filled worship and ministry today and into the future.
With thanks to Bernice Cleator for the bulk of this history
God has truly blessed us! Even through difficult times and diverging winds and meagre finances, the people of St John’s continually and joyfully offer themselves for ministry. We list just a few here for you; some will be detailed more fully:
Open Arms Café
Bliss Gillmor Apartments
Operation Christmas Child
Anglican Church Women
Mary Sherwood Madagascar Ministry
Liturgical Service: Layreaders
Servers & Acolytes
Parish Newspaper (Diviner) … and so many more
Open Arms Café Every Wednesday evening, about 120 people come in to our parish hall to share in a full meal prepared by volunteer chefs and servers. Our guests are from the street: many are homeless, hurting, poor, lost, lonely, suffering, those to whom Jesus said ‘Come to me you who are hungry and I will give you the food of life’. Our guests sit down, and are served a nutritious hot supper. One of the parishioners has stated that when he sees the throngs come through the doors, he sees the People of God, and it delights his heart! Several of the guests have now become part of our church community and some have been baptised. (Luke 1:53 the hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away)
Warming Centre North Bay’s only warming centre is at St John’s! Winters can get extremely cold here, and on those nights, we open our doors to those who have no place to go, to those who just have to come in out of the cold for a while, to those who might need a place to spend the night. Warm beverages and hot food are available. Volunteers man the hall evening and night. Support for this program has come from various groups and agencies. (Matthew 25:40 What you do for the least of these, you do for me)
Food Shelves Our food bank, open once a week, provides a necessary service to the increasing numbers of our neighbours in need in the downtown core. This has been a long established ministry at St John’s.
Community Brunch Another long-established program, once a month a brunch is held for our neighbours, near and far, who are in need. Here, food and fellowship abound with people coming from all across the city.
Mens Group This parish group, long established since the early days of St John’s, meets monthly for breakfast and fellowship. During the year, they host several meal gatherings in the parish hall that not only raise funds for the church but also provide great community fellowship for the congregation and the wider community. In between planning and cooking Spaghetti suppers, Turkey suppers, Ham & Scalloped Potato feasts, Pancake & Sausage Shrove Tuesday meals and more, they find time as well to do a bit of wall painting here, floor repairs there, and many other ‘surprise’ manual tasks that all serve to bring them closely together and to set an example to the community of Christian service.
Church School We are blessed with committed people who share their gifts and help open the eyes and hearts of our young people to the living wonderful word of God through song, play, crafts and study. We have in the past used the resources of the SPARK PROGRAM, as well as other ventures, special events and programs. Currently, under the leadership of a paid Parish leader, there are several children attending weekly. Church School occurs from the beginning of the Sunday Liturgy until the time for Communion.
Bliss Gillmor Non-Profit Apartments This building is the former Parish Hall, renovated in 1987 under the leadership of the then incumbent Canon Don Landon, to provide 13 apartment units. With a number of geared-to-income units, it is owned by the diocese and managed by the congregation through the Bliss Gillmor Board of Directors. This complex is physically attached to the Church Building. The Parish Hall is in the basement of the complex. This is an important ministry for St John’s. Previous incumbents to varying degrees have involved themselves in this vital ministry.
Because of a long history of not being able to accrue a Reserve Fund, Bliss Gillmor has found itself having to re-finance from time to time in order to meet the mortgage, repair damaged units, replace roofs and so forth. Some have called it an albatross. Others have called it an opportunity for us to be church in the downtown core. For a while, the North Bay Housing Corporation, an arm of the City, managed the rentals, and things began to get better. Currently, the North Bay branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association has entered into an agreement with the Bliss Gillmor Board to provide oversight and supply renters. Because of this, matters are getting better.
It is interesting to note that some of the residents of Bliss Gillmor have a close connection with the parish, and attend Sunday liturgy, as well as participating in special events, such as Mens Club-sponsored dinners, Open Arms Café, Community Brunch, Bazaars and other events.
Our financial situation is not the best. Even though we do struggle we have always paid our Apportionment to the Diocese (26% of givings). It appears that almost all our money goes to paying our Diocesan Apportionment and operating costs, but nonetheless, we perform wonderful outreach ministry with support by the wider community. Currently, we are ‘in the black’ with our finances, and there are positive signs that we are moving towards a stronger financial base. God has been increasingly supplying our need both financially and with resources.
Every year, through the Parish Bazaar, and the Men’s Club Fundraiser Dinners, thousands of dollars are brought into the church operating fund, as well as by other groups and events. Currently, 77% of St John’s funding comes from parishioners’ free will offerings, which is good, but, 50% of the givings are made by only 10% of identifiable contributors, and, 70% of the households give at a level of less than $1000 a year. We understand that this is a typical profile for many parishes. The annualized income is around $150,000 with expenses about $130,000. (These are rounded figures based on January to June, 2014 financial statements)
At the very beginning of this process to seek an incumbent, we had to ask ourselves if we needed to have a full-time priest, or a part-time priest. This was the subject of deep prayer and discernment, but to a person, the Holy Spirit let us know individually and collectively that God wants us to have a full-time incumbent! The Concurrence Committee urged the Wardens and the Parish Advisory Committee to adopt, as soon as possible, an effective stewardship program. It is being developed and will commence in early autumn. We truly believe that as we embark on our journey ‘out there’, God will provide. We see that this is true, for currently, we are operating ‘in the black’. We are supporting a half-time priest, and we have hope and trust, for the future.
Further on in this report, you will be presented with various other financial documents and assessments.
Worship is somewhat evenly divided between the Book of Alternative Services and the Book of Common Prayer. Regular Divine Liturgy occurs each Sunday at 1030h. Summer attendance averages between 50-60 congregants, and regular attendance throughout the rest of the year averages 70-80 each Sunday.
During the last twenty-five years or so, there has been much experimentation with varied liturgical forms authorized by the Bishop, ranging from the use of the Kenyan Liturgy, contemporary liturgy from BAS resources, and traditional BCP. The 125th Anniversary Celebrations embraced modern liturgy with Bishops and Archbishops presiding, as well as past incumbents and guest presiders. Various forms of Eucharistic bread, modes of receiving, liturgical dance and musical instruments have been utilized with positive response. This year, the Sundays of Easter, including Pentecost, has seen the weekly use of the joyful Kenyan Liturgy and the Gospel Acclamation ‘Listen Now to the Gospel’ from Nigeria.
Recent practice is to have the Sunday Liturgy printed in the weekly bulletin. This makes it easier for those who find the books too heavy, and for newcomers who find flipping through a prayer book confusing. This appears to be working well. Hard-cover prayer books are available for those who wish to follow in these.
There is a Bible in each pew. Several versions are presented in order to allow the reader a variety of translations to further deepen understanding of Scripture.
The ministry of Layreader is strong in the parish. Lay leadership is encouraged and greatly utilized. A trained committed body of Greeters, Servers and Sidespersons welcome everyone, especially newcomers and visitors. The parish also has a strong body of trained Lectors who fulfill their ministry faithfully and well.
A magnificent pipe organ enhances worship, as well as an electronic keyboard. At the present time, there are two alternating organists, and a third in training. In the past guitarists and pianists added greatly to worship. We have a dedicated Choir of about 10 members, as well as a Funeral Choir.
There is a belief amongst the congregation that since we believe Jesus is truly present in our worship we must then demonstrate this belief to all in our liturgical celebrations through posture, language and music. Vibrant liturgy leads to a deeper commitment of faith and living the Way. We embrace the admonition of 1 Corinthians 5:8 to ‘Come, Celebrate the Feast’.
OUR DIOCESAN RELATIONSHIP
Several years ago, the Diocese of Algoma adopted a Mission, Vision and Governing Values statement that we share as a Diocese. The Anglican Church of St John the Divine – North Bay fully subscribes to this document and has incorporated it into our Vestry Report:
|Mission, Vision, Values|
|MissionTo share in the gathering work of Christ so that His newness of life overflows into our hearts, homes, churches, and community.
We are joyful Anglicans, serving, growing, and proclaiming Christ’s love in Algoma and beyond.
North Bay, a city of 54,000 people nestled between two beautiful lakes just 340 kilometres north of Toronto, Ontario, and about the same west from Ottawa, and east from Sault Ste Marie, boasts ‘big city living in a rural town milieu’.
We have one of Canada’s longest airport runways with a beautiful air terminal hosting international charter flights as well as regular domestic services, an adjacent aerospace industrial park, Canadore College Aerospace Campus and a military base home to NORAD.
Miles of sandy beach with many public spaces line the southern part of the city, and include a public marina and the ever popular Chief Commanda Catamaran which cruises Lake Nipissing during the summer months. For winter enthusiasts, Laurentian Ski Hill is almost smack dab in the centre of the city!
North Bay is home to Nipissing University and to Canadore College of Applied Arts and Technology. Both institutions are renowned world-wide for their unique educational and cultural programs. As well, many Galleries and the Capital Arts Centre which offers top-rate theatre and entertainment, round off a diverse and excellent culture.
Follow this link for more information about our amazing city:
WHERE WE ARE NOW
Currently we have as an Interim Priest the retired Archdeacon Emeritus of Temiskaming Deanery the Venerable Linda White, who will be our pastor until the end of December 2015 unless a permanent Incumbent is chosen prior to that.
As well, there are five part-time staff: Church Secretary on payroll, and, on honorarium, Church School Co-ordinator, Verger, Grounds & Maintenance person, and Organist.
The Parish Advisory Council consists of elected and appointed members, as well as the Wardens, Synod Delegates, and Priest. This group meets in the afternoon on the 3rd Thursday of the month for an hour.
There are various committees integral to the life of the Parish, including Worship & Education, Chancel Guild, Choir, Lectors, Acolytes and Layreaders, Building Committee, Memorial, Endowment, and others, detailed more fully in the Appendix.
Annual Vestry was held February 8 2015. Four particular Motions were passed which address points made earlier in this Profile:
1 That we maintain the status quo regarding bulletin use, and encourage the use of the books by those who want to use them.
2 That the Wardens, Incumbent and the Parish Advisory Council engage in a Stewardship Program as soon as possible, as widely as possible.
3 That St John’s continues with five part-time stipendiary positions.
4 That St John’s continues with a half-time priest until finances permit moving towards a full-time position.
It should be noted in reference to Item 4 that the monthly offering needed to continue the mission of St John’s with a Permanent half-time priest would be $11, 667.00. January offerings were $10, 818.80.
In regards to Item 2, this item is key to whether the parish of St John the Divine has a half-time priest or a full-time Incumbent in the year 2016 and beyond. A Stewardship Committee has been formed, and implementation of the program will occur during the month of October with the assistance of the Diocesan Congregational Development Officer.
Presented at Vestry was a proposed budget indicating total income of $151, 606, and expenses of $141, 585, predicated upon there being a half-time retired priest. A full-time priest would require an additional $30,000 in annual expenses, meaning therefore that an additional $20,000 of income would be required to maintain a balanced budget for this year.
A Stewardship Committee is now active, seeking and evaluating various Programs available, meeting regularly in prayer and discernment. This group is proposing to the Parish Advisory Committee that a ‘kick-off’ celebratory weekend of meals, talks and Liturgy on the weekend of October 2-3-4, 2015 commence the formal Stewardship Process. This formal Stewardship action will continue until November 1, when pledges are accepted during a celebratory Liturgy and meal. Supplementing this process, the Stewardship Committee is also proposing two special events: a Share Festival Childrens Liturgy May 31, and, a Talents and Treasures event running from Rally Sunday September 13 to Thanksgiving Sunday October 11. This latter intentional event is to raise money to support the education of a young Guatemalan girl, the former to end the Church School year and present the biblical invitation of sharing God’s abundance.
The Budget and other Financial Statements are printed in the APPENDICES section of this PROFILE.
17 children received First Communion Christmas Eve 2014
Page 18 Envelope Secretary Report Appendix 1
Page 19 Balance Sheet Summary Appendix 2
Page 20 Profit & Loss Statement Appendix 3
Page 21 Budget – 2015 Appendix 4
Page 22 Parish Ministries List Appendix 5
Page 23 Parish Assessment Committee Appendix 6
Page 24 Concurrence Committee Members Appendix 7
Proposed Budget for 2015
Special offerings [Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas] 7,000
Electronic Offerings* 40,000
Envelope Offerings* 65,000
Open Offerings* 3,000
Fund Raising 10,000
Rental and Special Use Income 3,000
Sales Tax refunds 5,000
Projected Income 133,000
Opening Balance from 2014 18,606
Total Income 151,606
Bank charges/interest 1,000
Building Maintenance 7,000
Community Outreach & Programs 7,500
Interim Rector Stipend*** 32,000
Other Salaries and Benefits [St John’s staff positions] 24,060
Organ maintenance and repair 500
Office Expenses postage 1,000
Other Misc expenses 1,000
Professional services and fees 750
Rector’s discretionary 750
Security Monitoring 525
Synod expenses 1,500
Worship supplies, materials, music, Sunday School and
Children’s ministries 2,000
Total Expenses 141,585
* these are conservative estimates. If there happen to bequests, a successful stewardship campaign, or a general commitment on the part of the congregation to increase their offering, the income will go up proportionately
** this apportionment is an estimate and may be high. Apportionment for 2013 was $25,397.00 [in 2013 is was $33,932.] The actual apportionment for 2015 for all churches will be confirmed in June. If we have overpaid for the first 6 months, our payments for the rest of the calendar year will be reduced accordingly.
*** the budget estimate changes if a permanent incumbent is hired for St John’s. A half time priest who is not retired will cost about $48,000. A three quarter time priest will cost about $63,000 and a full time priest will cost $78,000.
Parish Assessment Committee
In the last few years, the Diocese of Algoma implemented a Strategic Planning Process wherein each Parish and Congregation in the Diocese would embark upon an assessment process in order to ‘take a snapshot’ of where each parish was in its spiritual and physical life. The Parish of St John the Divine eagerly embraced this program under the auspices of the Diocesan Congregational Development Officer, and subsequently, has embarked on an intense evaluation of where we are, where we should go, and what our resources are. A Committee comprised of a cross-section of the congregation has been meeting monthly for more than a year to digest the Report compiled by the Congregational Development Officer and to make recommendations to the Parish Advisory Committee.
The Committee recommends that St John’s adopt ‘Celebrate the Feast’’ as their Motto, believing that this represents and encompasses all that we do as a parish. It also urges that this statement of values be adopted: “The Parish of St John the Divine in sincerity and truth is called to be a Christ-centred, Spirit-led, Scripture-based prayerful community that upholds the following values:
Inviting Learning Teaching Visioning Participation Hope Charity Peace Sharing Compassion Helping Loving Listening Missional Patient Trusting Co-operating Adventuresome Respecting Kindness Welcoming Empathetic Joyful Understanding Generous Accessible
We would like to see every committee and group and activity in which the Parish is involved to reflect this vision. We would urge the Motto be placed on all communications. We would like the value statement be given to the committees so they can ensure that they can prayerfully consider these values and the Mission of the Parish and adopt at least three of them as they make plans and decisions for the future of the congregation. We also recommend that the Parish Advisory Committee ask the various committees and fundraising coordinators to designate its funds for a specific purpose or cause in line with our mission and values.”
The Committee recognises the importance of capturing the imagination of the congregation and of getting the congregation ‘on board’. We want the congregation to tell us where they think we as the People of God are now, where we should be going, and how we are to get there. What does it look like to be, to do, the Mission Statement? When we see a hunger, do we feed it? How is God setting the feast? What does God want us to do in the coming year? What are the outcomes? How do we tell the stories of it?
Several physical and liturgical recommendations for change have been proposed, such as the removal of several pews at the back of the worship area to better facilitate open space for gatherings and children’s activities, the moving of the altar forward to better facilitate Communion by removing several steps in order to get to the altar, that members of the congregation lead in the Prayers of the Faithful, that the Parish Offices be moved from upstairs to the main level and that the vacated space be converted into additional apartments for the Bliss Gillmor facility, that two pews on each side of the main aisle, in the middle of the worship area, be reconfigured to allow for wheel chairs and walkers, that the various ministries of the parish be included in the Prayers of the Faithful, that allowance be made for witnessing and sharing by members of the congregation, that the modes of communion better reflect the realities of people today, that there be a series of instructional Eucharist celebrations, and that there be ‘teaching moments’ during worship, just to mention a few. Some of these are currently being addressed and acted upon.
(in alphabetical order)
Dawn Clarke Warden
Molly Cleator Layreader
Stephen Kitzul Committee Chair
Peggy Morrison Warden
Janice Turcotte Warden