Prairie to Pine
Weekly News

The United Church of Canada
We acknowledge with gratitude the traditional territories of our Indigenous and Metis neighbours and their hospitality. We offer our respect and commitment to living into right relationship with all our relations.
November 25, 2020

Information that you would like included in the Weekly News should be sent to Cherry through this email by 4:00 p.m. on Tuesdays: 


We REALLY want to facilitate the sharing of news about pastoral concerns, celebrations, educational opportunities and events so PLEASE share them with us. Due to the volume of requests, we will be pleased to publish announcements about events on 2 occasions before the deadline for registration and/or the actual event.

NOTE: We will be aiming to send out the Weekly News on Wednesdays.

  • Our thoughts and prayers are with Joanne and Bob Kury as they relocate to Calgary in the days ahead to be closer to family. Joanne is a retired Diaconal Minister in formal association with St. Charles-Headingly United Church of Prairie to Pine Regional Council.
  • Our thoughts and prayers continue to be offered for everyone during these pandemic times but most especially for those who are struggling with COVID 19 infection, those who have lost a friend or family members to the disease, those who are struggling with the restrictions, the frontline workers in Heath Care and service industries who are at higher risk of exposure and all who are doing their part to help flatten the curve.


(Current as of November 18,2020 based on Public Health Orders that same into effect on November 12, 2020 and correspondence with government sources after that date. Most of this information was shared by email on November 13,2020 with active Ministry Personnel and Pastoral Charge Supervisors)

On Tuesday, November 10, 2020 the Premier and Chief Public Health Officer of the province of Manitoba announced that the whole province will be moving into RED and further restrictions will come into effect as of Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. for the period until December 11,2020. Those restrictions include the closure of several non-essential businesses and the closure churches and other faith based organizations. Details of the public health order are now posted online at:
Read more

Manitoba Bridge Grant  Update

Some questions related to aspects of the application form for the Manitoba Bridge Grant have come to the Regional Council Office. Many of the answers to questions can be found online at:

Scroll done to the section “common questions and answers”. The one most frequently asked was whether churches who are closed but are providing online services are eligible and the response in this section is ‘yes”.

Some matters raised specific to our denominational structuring have been directed to Erik Mathiesen, the Chief Financial Officer of the United Church of Canada. One question is about line in the online application form requesting a "Companies Office Registration Number" in addition to a Business Number. Erik’s response indicated that United Churches are not incorporated and therefore do not have a Companies Office Registration Number. They do have the charitable number and business number registered with the Charities Directorate federally. Erik has sought some counsel from the Manitoba Government on this matter and in the absence of a response from them to date he is suggesting that: since the field requires input, put in "0" in that line. If your application is returned or denied because of that please let the Regional Council Office ( or Erik  ( know so we can provide some assistance.


The Prairie to Pine Weekly News is our primary means of dispensing information during these times. For those who are not currently receiving, to get registered to receive the Weekly News please email Cherry Abad with your request (
Some information is also available through the Prairie to Pine Regional Council website:

Community of Faith Events Calendar

Reminder: our Community of Faith events calendar is open 24/7 for online events! As long as the public is invited, you can post it. From workshops to worship, go for it. Here’s the handy form:

New phone numbers and extensions
for some staff 

Executive Minister Shannon McCarthy, Program Assistant Jamie McKay and Young Adults and Youth Minister Twila MacNair have new phone numbers: 
Jamie: 1-800-268-3781 ext 2040  
Shannon: 1-800-268-3781 ext 2028
Twila: 204-781-8124

Archives Holiday Schedule  New

Please be advised that the Archives will be closed from Dec 9 to Jan 4th.

Ministry Personnel Support Gathering  Reminder

The Committee on Ministry Personnel Support of the Prairie to Pine Regional Council recently sent out an email about a program offering the listening ear of some experienced retired/retained colleagues, the MP2MP Connectors. Every two weeks on Tuesday afternoon at 3:00 p.m., Ministry Personnel are offered the opportunity to check in with one another through a ZOOM connection. The next one is December 1st, 2020 with the link for the connection available on the P2P website under the events calendar or in the Weekly News.

2020 Assessments: Final Reminder! New

Finance administrator Heather Dootoff has some reminders about assessments (because we all know how much fun we have with year end finances.) It’s been a tough year, and for those of you how have already paid your assessments in full: please know that we appreciate that you done so in these very challenging circumstances. Your assessment makes a huge range of ministry in our church possible

Reminder to submit any
anti racism resource receipts 

Speaking of year end: This is the last call on the Regional Council offer to pay for anti-racism resources for use as study or in your community of faith. Finance administrator Heather Dootoff asks you to send the receipts to her by email if possible by December 11:  
What’s this about? Click here to learn more.

Insurance Matters Update

Further to information shared in past editions of the Weekly News related to Officers and Directors Insurance, an email from Erik Mathiesen, Chief Financial Officer of the United Church of Canada on November 19, 2020 points us to
Information available as FAQs at
The extra work for local property and liability insurance arises because our insurer wanting to have a current application on file as opposed to just renewing automatically. All insurers getting stricter.

ADP Update  New

ADP has begun the process of updating the pastoral charge business platform.  The notice  was sent to all the  treasurers who use this service.  Undoubtedly pastoral charges will need to be aware of these changes. If questions arise about this change, they should be directed to Angelica Benalcazar. ( See details of notice to treasurers through this link.

Advent and Christmas Update

Advent begins on Sunday, November 29, 2020!  Some links to resources have been provided in previous editions of the Weekly News.

In recent conversations with clergy and lay leadership there were some requests for coaching or assistance on some matters related to technology. Heather Sandilands, Ministry Personnel from Cornerstone Pastoral Charge reached out to the person doing the Video Editing for their Christmas Eve virtual worship (each household who is asked to sing, read or light a candle, and/or "Passing the Light" during Silent Night will record themselves on devices and send to the VE).

Her name is Terry Lee-Alphonso and is open to helping with questions on tech ("not to do it, mind you").  Best option is to find her through Facebook or Messenger. Her profile pic is a Sienna or grey-white head-and-shoulders photo.

Blue Christmas Service New


Dec. 9/20 - 4.30pm PST, 7:30pm EST, 9.00pm NST)

Christmas can often be a difficult time for many of us. Usually, the world is in a grand celebratory mode, and doesn't make much space for people who are grieving, or are feeling sadness, anxiety, frustration, or loss. Many communities of faith gather for a time of worship "when Christmas doesn't feel like Christmas." This year, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, many of these feelings are stronger, and many more people are struggling with Christmas. As we mark one year of changed life because of Covid-19, we would like to offer a denominational-wide service of Lament for Advent. (If you've got one, you might want to bring a candle - battery or match operated - for this time of prayer, reflection, and song. Watch for deatils at

Support for Ministry Personnel

These are stressful times when ministry personnel are attempting to fulfill the tasks associated with their role and calling and find safe and creative ways to keep congregations connected and spiritually nurtured. For many the time it takes to draw upon the gifts and skills of others to carry out some tasks and the learning curve around new technologies to enable meetings, study groups, worship and virtual coffee times to happen is significant. Ministry Personnel are encouraged amid all that is being required of them, to tend to self care and seek out the support of others if and when it might be helpful. The Employee and Family Assistance Plan of the United church of Canada offers several supports accessible online or by calling: 1-800-387-4765

With further details under:

About Annual Meetings of
Communities of Faith / Pastoral Charges
for 2020 before December 30, 2020

The Executive Minister, Shannon McCarthy reminds all congregations that they need to have an electronic Annual meeting in whatever way works best for them. Given the restrictions in gathering sizes presently in the province of Manitoba this meeting could be held by Conference Call or zoom. Meetings need to tend the minimum list that is in the Manual, this is required by CRA. The agenda can be very short and just do the things listed in section B.5.2 the Manual (page 61). For details on how to notify people of meetings being held through these means please see the attached directions :
Read more

Canada Revenue Charity Returns 2020
due by December 31, 2020

Earlier in 2020 the Canada Revenue Agency extended the deadline for submission of the 2019 Charity Returns with a form T3010. Just a reminder that those 2019 Charity Returns ARE due in by December 31, 2020. The failure to file these returns can result in your Charity Status being revoked and among other things an inability then for your Community of Faith to issue charity receipts for any donations. The governing body of your Community of Faith should check with your Treasurer that this important piece of work has been completed.

Mission and Service Fund Donations 2020

Mission and Service Fund. Some communities of faith forward donations received locally to the national church at intervals during the year and others traditionally hold them until the end of the year. This year to manage cash flow many congregations opted to do the latter. A reminded that any donations received for Mission and Service Fund are considered designated givings and must be forwarded to the national church preferably by the end of the calendar year or as soon as possible thereafter. Monies in the Mission and Service Fund are used for mission and ministry of the United Church in Canada and around the world. For more information about ministries supported through that fund please see

Financial Webinars United-in-Learning

The next webinar on United in Learning will be on November 25, 2020 on Preparing Budgets for 2021. There will also be a session on December 2,2020 called “Ask us Anything (for treasurers)” For more information about webinars please see further details at :

Sharing resources for re-engaging during COVID 19

During recent ZOOM meetings with leaders from Communities of Faith (September 15,2020) and Ministry Personnel (September 22,2020) requests were made from some for samples of protocols developed by Communities of Faith for worship in building, celebration of baptism in person, celebration of communion in person, celebration of virtual communion on World wide Communion Sunday and plans for Sunday School or ministry with children and youth (both in person and virtual). If you are willing to share any of your resources please send them along to Cherry Abad and indicate whether you are willing to have a link posted on the Weekly News or prefer that they be available to others only upon request from Regional Council staff.

A reminder that there are links to resources of various types on both the Prairie to Pine Regional Council website and the General Council website. Another website with resources for ministry with children and families is Messy Church at Home:

Resources for re-engaging during COVID 19       

The United Church of Meadowood are offering their Pandemic Policy and Plan  as a sample for those who are in the process of developing one and could benefit from a sample. It has approved by their local governing body and been implemented.

For further information please contact :Sandy Katyrynuik Office Administrator at UCiM: 204-256-7002
Westworth United Church, Winnipeg is also sharing their Reopening Plan. For the month of October, the church has returned to online worship and beginning its Online Sunday School.
Fort Garry United Church Safe Reopening Plan
This reopening plan is the result of a small ad hoc committee, struck by the Leadership Team, whose efforts were extraordinary at tailoring a plan to suit the specific needs of Fort Garry United Church. Our response to COVID-19 was quick and we switched to worshiping using Zoom on March 29, 2020 right at the beginning of the pandemic. Out of concern for the safety of our congregation, we have not returned to in person worship services, even when over the summer our cases in Manitoba dropped to nearly zero. Using the results of a congregation wide survey to garner ideas, as well as our Provincial Health Authorities, and United Church of Canada recommendations, this Safe Reopening Plan was developed. We will be ready when it is safe to return to in person worship. 

Reminder: be careful with photo copyright!
Here are some tips

Photos are vital to our websites, social media, worship PowerPoints and much more. They add a lot to our online ministry and in-person PowerPoints. And they’re sometimes a little too easy to take and share. So please beware, and follow good copyright practices. Click here for some further information, resources, and ideas for copyright-free or fair use photos.

Advent and Christmas Preparations

The Moderator of the United Church of Canada, The Rev. Richard Bott is planning a Blue Christmas Services for December 09, 2020. Please stay tuned for further details which will be shared when they become available.

When the lay leaders from various Communities of Faith met via ZOOM last Tuesday and the Ministry Personnel met yesterday, there were some discussions about how to do Advent and Christmas in these pandemic times. There was discussion about various resources available online through the United Church website in Advent Unwrapped including a 2020 Advent Calendar, instructions for making an Advent wreath, various liturgies including a couple involving multiple hymns or carols that can be used for services at home or for those either worshiping in person or sharing worship with their communities through email, mailings, live streaming or YouTube taping. The link for these resources is:
Continue reading
Our world seems smaller and more confined since COVID began. May these stories help widen it, and help us see where our prayers and actions from home can support those we may never meet in person, but with whom we are part of the Body of Christ.

National church apologizes
for adoption practices 

The United Church of Canada has issued an apology  for its role in separating mothers and their babies in maternity homes it operated from the end of World War II to 1980. “Women told us that they felt, pressured, coerced, or forced to give up their babies and the church recognizes it participated in the culture of shame that surrounded unmarried mothers at that time,” says the Rev. Daniel Hayward, chairperson of the church’s Theology and Inter-Church Inter-Faith Committee that recommended the apology. Please read the full story here

Mission and Service emergency appeal
for natural disasters

Please make a donation today to the United Church’s Emergency Response Fund to support our Mission & Service partners’ critical and lifesaving work. Your gifts will support partner response to the 2020-2021 hurricane and typhoon season as they provide food, safe drinking water, and shelter and help restore livelihoods for the thousands of people effected by Hurricane Iota in Central America, and Typhoon Goni in the Philippines. 

Stewardship update for November:
around the globe and at home

God’s Mission, Our Gifts offers the latest stewardship news and resources. This month, stories include gratitude from Beirut, Lebanon for our gifts; the ongoing struggle for peace within and between some Asian nations; ideas for thank you letters at a time when people may struggle to give; a reminder of other resources, including offering prayers for November that are here. Read the whole (short!) newsletter here. If you or your community of faith want a snapshot of all of our Mission and Service givings and what they support, click here for the 2019 overview.

Virtual Choir (congregation) performance  New

Marissa Smirl would like to put together a virtual choir (congregation) performance of Silent Night that would be available to be used by all congregations that wished. If you would like to sing in this congregation, please fill out this form (, and instructions will be emailed to you. All video submissions must be received by December 8th, 2020.

Job posting: Office Administrator  New

Westminster United Church is seeking an Office Administrator whose responsibilities encompass a range of administrative and communication skills. He/she offers the first greeting to all who enter the building or who contact the Church; provides administrative support to the Minister, other staff, board members, and congregants; as well as coordinates the utilization of the Church’s space while promoting its rental potential. This part time position to start January 4th requires attendance at the office 5 hours/day Monday through Friday except on statutory holidays. Job description is available here or for more detail visit website or search Westminster Church on

2020 Advent Devotion  New

A group of United Church ministers from the south end of Winnipeg are collaborating to offer a series of reflections, “enceinte: united church advent devotions during a pandemic”.
Enceinte (/änˈsant/) is an ancient word with two meanings: pregnant, and a protected enclosure .  As we journey toward the birth of Jesus during these covid times, the devotions offer a fold in your day to reflect and restore.
Continue reading

Breakthrough Moments  New

"Breakthrough Moments- This collection of biblically based short stories that can be used as a resource for Sunday worship, Bible Study, Senior Sunday School Classes, Women’s and Men’s Groups, Book Discussions, and personal devotions. As a writer, Rev. Stobie is best known for  worship resource for lay leaders and clergy, Dipping Your Toes in Planning Small Group Devotions which is being used across the United Church, especially by UCW’s." - Rev. Janet Stobie, Author
Breakthrough Moments is being launched on zoom, Nov.28, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. EST. Please click here for more information.

Advent Unwrapped 2020 resources!

Get ready for Christ(mas)! Advent—a holy, four-week countdown to Jesus’ birthday—begins on Sunday, November 29! Get ready to make room for Christ and the radical, countercultural messages that Christ brings. Throughout the season, videos, prayers, family resources, and reflections on this page will introduce and explore the Christmas story. For more worship resources visit our Advent and Christmas worship pages. Follow our Advent Unwrapped Facebook page for regular updates on all kinds of resources.

Prairie to Pine Covenant

The Regional Council Executive approved the Prairie to Pine Covenant. A copy of the document can be viewed here.

Greenshield Announcement

This past week a notice went out from Greenshield, the Benefits provider for the United Church of Canada to all members informing them of new requirements related to its Online Services. It requires members to log into their account and to share banking information. A few calls were received at the Prairie to Pine Regional Council Office inquiring about its legitimacy. Having connect with General Council the office, the Pastoral Relations Convener wants to assure the constituency that it is a legitimate invitation.

If you do have questions about the legitimacy of any notice that you receive requesting personal or banking information it is good to check it out with the Regional Council Office, General Council Office or the actual agency before opening the email. 

Clusters and Networks update
(and reminder of $$!)

We know more online meetings may be the last thing on your mind. But just in case: If you are considering starting a new Network or Cluster, or if you’ve already been gathering, please take a moment to make sure that the Regional Council knows you’re meeting.

If your Cluster or Network is open to new members (and we hope it is) please make sure you’re listed. Please contact your Regional office (at the bottom of this newsletter) or Julie Graham ( to make sure we have contact information and a short description. And remember: there is money in the Regional budget to support your work. Maybe you want to offer to pay for event registrations or resources. Maybe you want to submit receipts for a get together lunch over Zoom to support a sense of community. Questions about this? Contact the office.

New Resource for Musicians and Ministry
and Personnel Committees

There is a resource now available online, which is specifically written for M&P Committees and church musicians. It was a collaborative piece of work between Adam Hanley of the Ministry and Employment Unit, Alydia Smith who resources the Worship Desk at GCO and some reps from Music United.  For those of you with a longer history in this work, you might want to know that it's a revision of a long out-of-print resource from 2004.   

Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble

Kitchen Sink open conversation series

Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble Kitchen Sink open conversation series, December 1, 5:30PM in MB. Full information on the series is here. Focus for this final event in the series: Global partners and LGBTQIA+ rights.

Peoples of African Descent
and the Canadian Churches

Thursday, November 26, 6:00-7:30 PM in MB and SK. This is a cross-Canada Conversation on the International Decade for People of African Descent (IDPAD), hosted by the Canadian Council of Churches. Click here for full information.

Facebook group to support your
live streaming learning curve

If you live stream your service, or are thinking of moving things online, and you want a place to share ideas, check out this Facebook group!

Open Out Podcast

Open Out podcasts are currently in the Commencing series - looking at the lived experiences of churches that are opening outwards
#2. "Decluttering concepts" - navigating through the worlds/words of intercultural competency, cultural intelligence, cultural humility, etc.
#3. "Space, place & displacement" How the concept of placemaking can anchor and enrich our intercultural explorations
#4. "Storytelling, deep listening & disengaging expectations" Group decision-making is never easy - but with a culturally diverse group sometimes it seems almost impossible! Why?  We explore the challenge of making decisions together as a diverse community with Erik Law of the Kaleidoscope Institute.  Also Adrian Jacobs of the Sandy Saulteaux Spiritual Centre shares a Haudenausonee teaching.

Music for Life

Please see the poster for a Zoom webinar hosted by Music for Life.

CLICK HERE for information about this group.

Send an email to to REGISTER and get a Zoom link to the webinar.

Naramata Centre

Cozy up to Winter with an Online Program
Rest, reflect, and create through Naramata Centre's virtual programs. Meet with others around the country and join in on live sessions intended to nurture your spirit. Browse through some of the upcoming online classes for December and January and register now to secure your spot!
See All Online Programs

St. Andrew's College
Winter Online Courses

Feeling cooped up? A little bit of cabin fever? Is your mind feeling numb and blank? Forget COVID 19 … you may be experiencing theology deficit syndrome! St. Andrew’s College has just what the doctor ordered: a panoply of winter courses.

Please click here for more information and how to register.

Gifts with Vision catalogue
open for your Christmas gifts

The United Church’s Gifts with Vision offers us alternative gifts that empower communities and don't add more "things" to a world awash with them. Consider this for Christmas or birthdays this year. Have a look at the many inspiring options here.

United in Learning webinars for November

Lots of webinars are on offer, from preaching to racial justice, retirement resources to the continued series for church treasurers and other leadership who are navigating COVID finances. Click here for the latest.

UCW Statistics Report

To all UCW Pastoral Charges, please complete the statistics form. Completed form should be mailed or emailed to Gaye Pokotylo by December 1, 2020 (address and email are on the form).

1JustCity Community Ministry
St. Matthew's Maryland

Do you want to help West End families enjoy a special Christmas this year?

Can You help us make sure COVID-19 doesn't Cancel Christmas? Our annual Christmas Store will be a new challenge this year, no doubt! But we are committed to keeping Christmas from being cancelled this year for West End families.

Please click the poster to find out how you can help.

'Just Christmas'

For the past 12 years, the United Church congregations of Northeast Winnipeg have held a ‘Just Christmas’ event, featuring vendors who promoted and fund-raised for non-profit local and global justice projects. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have regretfully cancelled this year’s event.
For those wishing to support some of those projects this year, here is information provided by four vendors:
List of vendors

Prairie to Pine Reaching Children,
Youth and Families

As a follow-up to a Zoom sharing session, a Facebook group by the above name was formed. We feel there’s a need to share ideas and resources across communities of faith, as we figure out how to reach children, youth and families while unable to meet in-person, or while following physical distancing measures.  Please click here to be directed to that Facebook Group. Then join to add your own questions or post ideas and/or links to resources.

Stewardship update for November:
around the globe and at home

God’s Mission, Our Gifts offers the latest stewardship news and resources here. This month, stories include gratitude from Beirut, Lebanon for our gifts; the ongoing struggle for peace within and between some Asian nations; ideas for thank you letters at a time when people may struggle to give; a reminder of other resources, including offering prayers for November that are here. Read the whole (short!) newsletter here.

Livestreaming Everything?!
Resources available

Recently the United Church’s Edge network hosted a meeting on the sometimes difficult task of live streaming worship. Here’s a 50 minute video of that meeting; a summary of resources for live streaming best practices is here- you can download and share.

Shared Recording Music (hymns/anthems/slideshows)

Many congregations have been recording music (hymns/anthems/slideshows) for use in on line worship.  Sharing our work is an effective way to be good stewards of our time and talents.  A small number of congregations have been sharing files through Drop Box and are now inviting others to do the same. (there is no cost to upload or download from drop box). There is no obligation to contribute material, but if you have music which can legally be shared (copyright is to be respected) that would be great. We are working on a simple spreadsheet which will serve as an index to the materials available.
Contact Don Schau ( for more information. 

Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday!

To make a submission of United Church related news to the Prairie to Pine Weekly Newsletter:

Subject line:


Tuesdays at 4:00 PM
"Prairie to Pine Weekly News"

TITLE of your news piece
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Prairie to Pine Regional Council
1622-B St. Mary's Rd
Winnipeg MB R2M 3S7
Local Phone
Toll Free
General Inquiries

Prairie to Pine Regional Council

Shannon McCarthy

Executive Minister for
Prairie to Pine Regional Council
Living Skies Regional Council
Northern Spirit Regional Council
1-800-268-3781 ext. 2028

Jamie Mckay

Program Assistant for
Prairie to Pine Regional Council
Living Skies Regional Council
Northern Spirit Regional Council
1-800-268-3781 ext. 2040

Judy Hare

Pastoral Relations Minister
Prairie to Pine Regional Council

Twila MacNair

Minister of Young Adults And Youth
Prairie to Pine Regional Council

Cherry Abad

Administrative Support
Prairie to Pine Regional Council

Off-site Staff

Heather Dootoff

Financial Administrator for
Prairie to Pine Regional Council
Living Skies Regional Council
Northern Spirit Regional Council

Julie Graham

Regional Minister: Justice & Communication for
Prairie to Pine Regional Council
Living Skies Regional Council
Northern Spirit Regional Council
Phone: 306-244-2157

Erin Acland

Keeper of the Archives
Prairie to Pine Regional Council
Phone: 204-783-0708
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