(Brooke’s generosity Blog)
January 19, 2020
We are forward oriented at Knox. We treasure our history and heritage, while celebrating the witness of this congregation to new generations.
We are in the middle of a generational change in ministry. In July Rev. Hugh Donnelly preached for a call to this congregation as the Lead Minister. With overwhelming excitement and support Hugh began ministry here on October first.
The transition process has been meticulously researched and adopted as a best practice for Knox. The overlap of staffing in large congregations in the USA has been an increasing practice since the mid 1990s. The initial conversation for this process began in 2013 when Dr. Kennon Callahan spoke with some of us from Knox. The conversation continued in 2016 when he spent a week in Waterloo consulting with Knox staff and session and other congregations in our Presbytery.
Dr. Callahan encouraged us to consider the growing practice of transitional ministry. It is no secret that many congregations have experienced decline over the past 4o years. In 1989 Knox was the seventh largest congregation of the 34 congregations in our Presbytery. Today we are at the top in attendance and number of people served in ministry. We are number one in donations to support ministry. We celebrate this, while striving to improve.
This happened because we never tried to “recreate the past.”
Knox Waterloo prayerfully named our values before creating a new building to reflect those values. Weactively researched best practices for ministry in the 21st century. While many congregations made reference to ‘vision statements’ and ‘adopting new practices’ most of the actual practices were devoted to moving towards the comfort zone of those who experienced church in the 1940s to the 1970s. Knox stuck to known values.
Honestly, most of the research we used was not Canadian based. Canadian congregations are generally behind the practices of many American congregations. The focus on children and youth was bolstered by staff attending APCE (Association of Presbyterian Christian Educators) where leading edge programs were featured. LOGOS was brought to Knox via CE Director Shirley Carter in 1993 when seven people attended a workshop in Troy New York (driving through a raging snowstorm!).
Elder Tupper Cawsey led the congregation through the process on becoming unicameral (investing power in one group, the session) in 1995. Tupper led us to adopt a Living Legacy Fund in 1999, encouraging enduring gifts. (wills, life insurance, charitable annuities, gifts of stock and real property).
Today well more than half of the ministry giving is electronic. PACK (Pre-Authorized Cheque to Knox), giving via debit and credit cards using a point of sale machine, or recurring gifts through Tithe.ly and other ways to give that are being developed.
It is a new Decade and there are new ways to give. Knox Waterloo, always faithful, always innovating to serve our Lord Jesus Christ.