Dear Parkway family,
It has been an eventful year to say the least, and I am truly appreciative of the vote of confidence given by you in July. It has been my honour and privilege to lead the church through these unprecedented times that we find ourselves in.
I have said this many times over, and I continue to stand by it:
“I believe that we can and will thrive during this pandemic and not merely survive.”
With this as our focus the staff and board have worked with me over the last 8 months to adapt and innovate the ministry of Parkway Church, while continuing to hold to values and core principles that make up this body of believers.
Our overall income was down over last year, but our overall expenses were lower than the income deficit. At the time of writing the church has over $30,000 in the bank with no outstanding debts; financially the church is in a stable place.
As pandemic restrictions have shifted, we have begun to see rental income return with both The Gathering, and the Spanish church returning to the use of our facility.
With that financial stability presenting itself, the Board has moved forward in adding principal payments to our mortgage as a budgetary expense. For the next 4 months the Board has committed to paying $3000 a month to the principal on top of the $7000 a month interest charge. Please note that the mortgage of 1.87 million has been reduced to $1.67 million over the last 6 years. This mortgage is the financial responsibility of the church body and it is something that we will be addressing in the new year.
Beyond the financial responsibility, there is a spiritual responsibility to be good stewards of what the Lord has given us. It also means we are limited in the hiring of staff, the expenditures for benevolence, missions and new ministry approaches.
To rectify some of the spiritual responsibility the Board has moved forward in giving a district tithe of $500 a month. This is significant in example and practice: we as leadership are committed to engaging in the spiritual practices and disciplines that we call the congregation to.
There will be a strong focus on financial stability and responsibility as we move into the next season of Parkway, which I truly believe will grant us an unknown spiritual freedom.
Parkway has a history of using student government grants during the summer months.
A few years ago we adapted this to become an internship program wherein students would be exposed to mentoring, and staff meetings, given the freedom to create and lead ministry projects within the church, as well as to partner with existing staff in ministry leadership.
We have witnessed incredible growth in the students over the last few years and this year was no different.
In 2019 we gained the talents of Will Chapman and Alexis Bulloch, who worked in partnership with the intern from The Gathering. Together this team of three (3) connected with children and students from all over South Ottawa. They successfully ran two (2) different Church Summer Camps which included the addition of full day Summer Camp at Parkway.
In 2020 we adapted the internship program to meet the present needs of the church and brought on Rebecca Lubbers and Gavin Pedder. Both of these young adults were given ministries to oversee and pour into. I am honoured to have worked with both of these exceptional people through an ever changing ministry and cultural landscape.
In a more unseen manner, the Pastoral Staff at Parkway have also been involved with the mentorship of students at Master’s College and Seminary (formally Eastern Pentecostal Bible College). This year has been no different as we worked through curriculum and conversation with two students doing distance learning at the college, as well as facilitating the placement requirement of Rachel O’Brien.
I believe knowing where we are going allows us to anticipate and engage our spiritual development rather than to merely react to spiritual prompts or moments.
With that in mind here are ministries plans/teachings/outreaches that are currently being worked on:
- Worship in Word (Teaching)
- Current Series - They Like Jesus But Not the Church
- Christmas - Grinchmas (Maybe perhaps, Christmas means a little more…)
- January - February - The Art of Devotion
- (Church devotional/bible reading plan with sermons based on each Sundays reading)
- Christmas Eve
- Two (2) Onsite Services, One (1) Online Service.
The BIG GIVE was adapted for Covid-19 with the church giving $800 in donations to recognize and celebrate the essential workers at Greely Foodland, over 100 bags of food were donated to the Ottawa Food Bank, and about 150 cards, letters, and pieces of art were given to the Osgoode Care Centre to lift the spirits of the residents.
While Pastor Gavin and the youth staff have resumed onsite ministry nights, early in the summer Pastor Gavin spent time meeting students at the end of their driveways with care packages and conversation.
Small Groups continued to meet online during the pandemic, giving the social support people need to continue in the isolation being asked of us. The Board and Staff also spent weeks early in the pandemic calling the congregation individually to check-in on and offer support. While this initiative has tapered off through the summer, I have taken it up again this fall. I want my legacy at Parkway to be one of transparency, honesty, and care.
At the time of writing, our Warmth for the Ottawa Winter campaign has raised over $3500 with our goal being $3000. This giving in abundance is an incredible testimony to the heart of Parkway, we are a people who believe in our core the call of James 2:17
“If it doesn’t cause us to do something, it’s dead.”
This season has been one of the most daunting, stressful, exciting and appealing times of my ministry career. The arrival of the Coronavirus in Canada has caused the removal of so many common habits and practices, while at the same time giving birth to new opportunities and innovations!
Here are a few things that we have completed during the pandemic:
- Offices painted
- Sanctuary painted.
- Foyer ceiling cracks patched.
- Foyer painted and redesigned.
- Basement painted.
- Board room created.
- Small group room created.
- Resource room created.
- New storage rooms created.
During this Covid season we have adopted online ministry and have continued to see success in our reach as a church. There is a growing community of those who will never set foot in the Parkway building due to health reasons, location, or work schedule. We have adapted our services, small groups and other ministries to include this new online congregation.
We have purchased new technology, physical health and safety barriers/protocols, as well as updated our existing digital presence.
- New sanctuary computer.
- New streaming camera.
- Plexiglas barriers.
- Mobile hand sanitization stations.
- Website update.
- Streaming to Youtube and Facebook.
- Greater use of digital communication tools.
As we move into 2021, there will be a greater focus on defining and engaging this online community. While the effects of the coronavirus will be seen in the years to come, the opportunity to broaden the reach of Parkway Church is a joyful development. In learning to engage the online community we are in effect creating an online campus. Not unlike the onsite campus we have enjoyed for over a century. Each campus has its own unique needs, as we begin to understand and address them I truly believe Parkway will strengthen the influence we have on the community surrounding us.
I am indebted to the staff, Board, and the people of Parkway; none of what has been mentioned above would be possible without the prayers and support of the people of Parkway.
I need to make special mention of Elizabeth Lacey who has been so influential in my adaptation to the role of Lead Pastor. She has worked with such grace and forgiveness as I have stumbled in the dark, kept my vision upright when I find myself off focus, and she is an incredible listener. Thank you Liz for all you give of yourself to this church and its community.
I also believe that I need to ask the forgiveness of the Congregation…. During the first stretch of isolation, distance, and health protocol I failed to reach out to many of you, and to communicate clearly what was happening behind the scenes here at the church.
I have heard from some that you felt abandoned, ignored, or forgotten.
I sincerely apologize for any harm that I have caused; it was never mine, nor the staffs intent to push anyone aside. The continually changing restrictions provided to us from the Government of Ontario, and the Ottawa Public Health Unit caused us great amounts of restriction and far too much grey area for us to navigate in a timely manner.
As we move forward into this new season with new opportunities arising, I pray that you will find the prompting of the Spirit to engage in the ministry of Parkway Church.