Categories: Council


We begin this gathering by acknowledging the land on which we gather is the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples, many of whom continue to live and work here today. This territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties and is within the land protected by the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Agreement. Today this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Metis and Inuit people and acknowledging reminds us that our great standard of living is directly related to the resources and friendship of Indigenous peoples.

Present in person: Bev Cutler (CD), Hugh Graham (Chairperson), Sandy Graham(Guest), Sharon Olesevich (Recording Secretary), Christina Paradela (Minister), Doug Willford (Regional Council Rep.), Kathy Young (Memorial)

Present via Zoom: Heather Denoncourt (M&P), Shelley Gault(M&O), Carol Sernasie (Incoming Chair), Tom Wilkinson (W&M)

RegretsDel Fraipont (Property), Jane Koruna (Transition Team), Dave Reed (Men’s Group, Search Team, Treasurer, Finance), Wendy Reed (Fundraising, WOW)


The meeting was called to order at 7:06 p.m. Doug read the land acknowledgment. Christina opened with a prayer.

Approval of Agenda, as amended

Moved by:  Doug Willford Seconded by: Kathy Young

Carried:  √

Approval of Minutes of January 24, 2023 meeting, as amended:

Moved by:  Bev Cutler Seconded by: Doug Willford

Carried: √

Correspondence: None

Business Arising from Previous Minutes:

  • Supply Minister:

Motion: that Wesley United Church approve the position description for Supply Minister as presented, to commence on Monday, April 17/23 for six months or until such time as a minister is called, with appropriate notice.

Moved by:  Sharon Olesevich Seconded by: Tom Wilkinson

Carried: √

Motion: that Wesley United Church approve the suggested salary of $66 631 @ 50% + 10% = $36 647.05, as outlined in the Supply Minister position description.

Moved by:  Sharon Olesevich Seconded by: Tom Wilkinson

Carried: √

  • Advocacy/Social Justice: Letter to City of Welland Council. Hugh explained that a second draft was prepared; however, inadvertently was not sent to Council members. Hugh said he will get the second draft out to everyone and look for feedback. At the next Council meeting, we will revisit this issue, which allows some time to seek the support of other communities of faith. Christina raised the issue of how the letter should be delivered to the City, which topic will be discussed at next month’s meeting. Doug suggested that perhaps a delegation to City Council would be a good idea. 

New Business

  • Horseshoe Falls Regional Council Newsletter: Doug explained that he is the Representative to Regional Council who provides a very informative newsletter. Christina suggested that Doug take out snippets that would be of interest to Council members and committee Chairs. He is looking for Council’s feedback. Doug made note of what each Council member would like to receive, either the entire newsletter or snippets. 
  • Kathy enquired as to whether someone can let Rick and Mary Van Loon know when Robins Halls is being rented so they can plan around that for set-up for Coffee Hour. They need to know ahead of time if the hall is rented. It was suggested that they call Shawn on Fridays to find out about rentals. Alternatively, Shawn can email them the calendar, when available, which includes rentals.
  • Kathy also inquired about having a protocol for leaving the building; in particular, which doors need to be closed. Hugh indicated that this issue will be turned over to Property. 

Transition Team Report:

  • Christina shared about plans for the March 16 event and wrap-up plans for the Transition Team. The Transition Team is very happy that Gordon will be continuing at Wesley in the capacity of Supply Minister, having been on the Transition Team and now on the Search Team for a new minister. The Transition Team will be decovenanting on April 9, 2023. 

Search Team Report:

  • Two interviews had been set up to speak with prospective ministers. During the Search Team meeting, one of the candidates declined, so there is only one interview going ahead. 

Committee Reports:

Board of Trustees:

  • Wesley has received three e-mails concerning the new UCC Protect Insurance Program. We are still waiting for the documentation to arrive to confirm our renewal premium for 2023. Our new coverage starts commencing in March when the old insurance expires. The new coverage does not include Cyber insurance. Does Council feel that we should look into finding separate Cyber insurance down the road? 

Submitted by Betty Lane

  • Tom inquired as to the cost of Cyber insurance. It would be easier to make a decision if the cost was available. Council felt that more information would be helpful. Tom also asked what would the damage be if the church was hacked. Christina thought it would mostly be financial in nature. Council will ask the trustees to research what will be covered and what coverage would cost. Tom shared that there are workshops that are available to safeguard organizations from phishing and hacking. We will look into that as well.  

Christian Development:

  • No report.


  • No report.

Membership & Outreach:

  • Can You Bring a Can Campaign“: This was a well-received drive by the Community of Faith. Over 100 sandwiches were “built” in the church kitchen, then delivered to the Hope Centre for their bagged lunch programme. Gina, the kitchen manager, was thrilled to receive the sandwiches and remaining mixed tuna and chicken. Our plan is to run the “Can Campaign” again.
  • February meetingcancelled till further notice (due to COVID cases)
  • Next meeting TBD 
  • New Member:  Dan Barrett 
  • members are to answer emailed questions on our accomplishments, missteps and future plans, for discussion at next meeting.
  • Women’s Place letters of thanks will be read during the March 5 Service.
  • Keeping committee informed on an ongoing basis:  As Chair, I plan to keep the committee well informed. To this end, information I’ve received, in turn, will be shared with the members whenever appropriate to do so. Most recently, each committee member has been emailed our “Annual Committee Report” and our “Charity Work Information”.

Submitted by Shelley Gault


  • Nothing to report.

Submitted by Kathy Young

Men’s Group:

  • No report.

Ministry & Personnel:

  • Nothing to report.

Submitted by Heather Denoncourt, Acting Chair


  • Secretary of Council


  • Nothing to report.

Submitted by Del Fraipont

  • Question from Betty: She noticed a write up in the Standard recently about the new proposals around the Niagara blue box recycling to start in 2024, where places of worship may be ineligible??? This may need some looking into. 

Hugh shared how the manufacturers will now be responsible for payment for the collection of items discarded in blue boxes. A list of ineligible organizations has been created, one of which is churches, i.e. there would be no blue box collection at Wesley. At this preliminary stage, Hugh shared that this is just a piece of information, and we will have to keep watching to see what happens next with this issue.

Treasurer’s Report/Finance:

  • For the month of January, the Local Ministry Fund had a deficit of $10,256.
  • Some good news, at the end of January, the Endowment Fund had “book value”

earnings of $21,862. (Note, as of February 15, these “book value” earnings have

dipped to about $11,000).

  • In January, $10,000 was transferred from the Tangerine Local Fund Savings account

to the CIBC chequing account to maintain a positive balance.

Submitted by Dave Reed, Treasurer

Worship & Music: 

  • Doug and Shawn met to discuss a Wesley brochure and the work is in progress. The brochures will be printed on the office printer. They will be available to groups using the church to learn more about Wesley.
  • The Committee contacted Glen Moore about the puppet ministry. He said that this ministry will resume when the COVID problem lessens and ministry members feel safe.
  • Christina presented George’s suggestion for the Good Friday Service at a meeting of four clergy but it was turned down. We will have the traditional joint service with Central, Fenwick and Fonthill. The service will be a dramatic reading led by four clergy with all churches at Wesley. 
  • The proposed joint service with four churches for Ash Wednesday and Maundy Thursday was also turned down, so Fonthill and Wesley will have joint services. Ash Wednesday service will be at noon on February 22 at Wesley. Maundy Thursday service will be at 7 p.m. on April 6 at Wesley.
  • George will try to get a trumpeter for the April 9 Easter service. Christina proposed an interactive service with a liturgical drama featuring five stations, six or nine participants and a procession possibly led by a real donkey or a person in costume. 
  • March 26: Christina will be on study leave. John Van Duser will lead worship.
  • Regarding policy when church is closed as in a snow storm, Council agreed to have the worship service led by the minister on Zoom.
  • George suggested using the digital sign outside to advertise for singers.
  • Scripture reading on screen: After discussion on putting the readings on the screen to help people understand what is being read, the committee decided to try it.

Submitted by Tom Wilkinson, Chair


  • No report.

MotionThat Council approve the February committee reports as a docket.  

Moved by:  Doug Willford Seconded by:  Shelley Gault

Carried: √

Minister’s Report: Christina offered apologies for the Zoom service on Sunday. Zoom has been updated and these updates caused some difficulties with the broadcast. Christina has been working on services for Lent, including an extravaganza on Palm Sunday. She is looking for some additional emergency readers, if need be. John Van Duser is scheduled for March 26/23. Doug will introduce him. He asked that someone provide him a short bio. Christina shared that three people from the community will be attending Ash Wednesday’s service as a result of seeing the sign. She suggested that Wesley may need to provide additional activities that are not the usual activities for Wesley in order to attract new members. 

Around the Table

  • Bev said that it was nice to see everyone and how nice it is to see how this Council works and stays in touch with one another and is willing to do the work of Wesley.
  • Doug shared that when Christina mentioned “Open Doors”, it reminded him that we should have an “Open House”. He shared that Central had an “Open House” last Saturday, sponsored by their “Fresh Ideas” Committee. Doug attended and wondered whether Wesley should be doing something similar to invite the community members into Wesley. 
  • Kathy shared how thankful she is that Hugh has led Wesley for many terms. He has been a very good leader and facilitator. She hopes that he will attend meetings as Past Chair.
  • Sandy shared with Christina how much she appreciated last Sunday’s service. Regardless of the technical difficulties, it was a great service! Sandy also thanked Hugh for the work that he has done as Council Chair, being a steady leader, even in difficult times.
  • Tom wanted to add to Doug’s comments, re the “Fresh Start” idea. He suggested that we could split the M&O Committee into two; one being focused solely on membership. 
  • Heather thanked Hugh and Sharon for their hard work on Council. She advised that there will be someone else at the next meeting representing M&P as she will be away.
  • Shelly expressed her thanks for Council persevering through the technical difficulties this evening. She also thanked Hugh and Sharon for their work on Council.
  • Christina shared that “Fresh Start” is a national program which may or may not have been connected to the “Fresh Ideas” Committee at Central. The Transition Team event on March 16 will include a discussion on next steps for Wesley, looking for new ideas for Wesley going forward and may result in something similar to Central. She reminded everyone that Lenten study starts this Thursday on Zoom. It appears we have a signed contract with the Scouting group at Wesley. 
  • Carol wanted to add her thoughts about Hugh. She has very much appreciated the guidance he has provided to Council and looks forward to having him sit on Council as Past President.

Chairperson’s Remarks: Hugh wanted to take time to share, specifically with Council, his thanks. He has sat for approx. 15-20 years on Wesley Council. Hugh mentioned that one of his traits is as a peacemaker. His steadiness is a trait, which has served him well. He thanked everyone for their participation. He tried to make an effort to make sure everyone was heard in a place where everyone can speak their minds, without fear of being chastised, for this he is grateful. He shared that it is important that Council going forward continues to work in harmony, because in the last couple of years we have made tremendous strides in determining what Council is supposed to do. For that notion, he thanked Christina. He thanked the current Council and past councils. Thanks to Sharon for helping meetings run smoothly. Thanks to Christina from Council and personally for all that she has done for Wesley. He has come to know Christina as a person and a friend. When Christina leaves, she does not keep in touch, so we will be happy and sad to see her move on. Hugh thanked Sandy for her support. They are a team and support each other in all manner of things. We have lived a lot as a community of faith, and it was important to Hugh to have been a voice in the guidance of Wesley. He is looking forward to good things from Carol and will be there to support her. 

Closing Prayer: Bev


Moved by:  Sharon Olesevich Seconded by: Kathy Young

Carried: √

Next meetingsAnnual General Meeting-March 5, 2023

                              Council:  Tuesday, March 28, 2023 or by call of Chair.


Date:               ______________________________


Chairperson:   ______________________________  Hugh Graham


Secretary:       ______________________________ Sharon Olesevich