Governance Working Model

On May 1, Rev. Karen used Acts 16:9-15 to illustrate that at times, just as Paul was asked to proceed to “Macedonia”, we, too, are called to go in a different direction from the one we first thought we wanted to go. She used Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken”, as a further example of being open to new directions.

The elected Board of St Andrew’s has in recent months agreed to the restructuring of the Board Model into a Service Team Model. The model, at this writing, is underway but is subject to evaluation.  The first meeting of the Service team was held on May 17, 2016.

In February, 2016 the Board approved a motion whereby the Governance Working Model (GWM) would go into effect once the members-at-large had been identified but not later than May, 2016.  A brief overview of the Governance Working Model (GWM) was presented at the AGM on February 21, 2016. Although the United Church of Canada encourages and endorses new initiatives, no final governance model can be entered into without Congregational and Presbytery approval.

Although there were some concerns raised regarding the validity of experimenting/using a working model of governance before updating the Constitution of St. Andrew’s, both the Board and the Governance Interest group were confident that the GWM was allowed in UC Policy.  At this time, we want to assure the congregation that according to Shannon McCarthy, Executive Secretary, Conference of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario, The United Church of Canada, “Governing groups have the liberty to experiment with a new model before changing the church’s constitution.”  Ms. McCarthy addressed the Board of St. Andrew’s on April 19, 2016.

At this meeting, also, our ministerial team helped us to understand that while the board has seen many changes over the years, it has consistently worked to serve God.  Members took a moment to celebrate and reflect on the past as they lit a candle to indicate that the light is not extinguished, but burns brightly as we prepare to undergo change.  Reverend Karen and Reverend Cathy closed with a prayer of thanksgiving for what has been and asked for continued blessings as St. Andrew’s moves into a new phase of governance.

Principles of the Governance Working Model:

  • The GWM will further the mission of our church in all of its manifestations
  • The Service Team (formerly the ‘Board’) is accountable to the congregation of St. Andrew’s and to Winnipeg Presbytery
  • No work of either committees or interest groups is affected by this model. In fact, leaders along with their groups will be given increased autonomy and more time to carry out the work of their groups.
  • The members of the GWM will continue to work according to the St. Andrew’s River Heights United Church Regulations Document
  • The GWM will be reviewed on an ongoing basis during the course of the trial period. The Service Team and the Governance Interest Group will be developing criteria to determine the efficacy of the GWM. Currently it is expected that the trial will last until February 2018.
  • The congregation will be updated whenever it seems appropriate.
  • An interim report to the Congregation will be presented at the AGM, February 2017.
  • Ultimately, if there is a recommendation to change the Governance Model permanently, the congregation must approve the format prior to its being submitted to Presbytery for final approval.

We are pleased to report that the Nominating Committee, with input from the existing Board, has identified and contacted members to act as members-at-large. At its May 17, 2016 the Service Team confirmed the addition of Shari Bertram and Anne Grewar as Members-at-Large.


Did you know that at St. Andrew’s we have more than a dozen committees and interest groups? Did you know that there is always a need for more people to join these committees and interest groups? Do you have an interest or a passion that would allow you to spend some time in any of these committees or interest groups? We encourage you to participate in these groups. Contact Andrea in the office and she will be able to direct your queries to the correct person.

Respectfully submitted:

Governance Interest group: Ellen Bruneau, Linda Paul, Joan Stevenson