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What's New?
St John's United Church


Martha Martin Retires
Martha Martin, who has served as our Interim Minister for the past several years has retired.
Farewell Martha, and enjoy the summer!

Introducing Hubert Den Draak, Our New Principal Minister
On May 6, 2018, the Congregational Meeting voted to accept the Joint Search Committeeís recommendation to call the Reverend Hubert Den Draak as our new principal minister. Hubert will be starting at St Johnís United on September 1, 2018. Like Martha, our Interim Minister, he is a diaconal minister who trained at the Centre for Christian Studies in Winnipeg. For the past seven years, he has been minister at Pinegrove United Church in Rosslyn ON, near Thunder Bay. His first career was in film, filling many positions in direction and production, both in the Netherlands and, since 1997, in Canada.

Hubert says ďAs a Diaconal Minister, my passion is to engage with new forms of being church that are more in tune with the potential, issues and concerns of the 21st century." He describes himself as having ďa reluctance to accept the status quo, and an openness to Christ-led transformation." At Pinegrove, Hubert worked with the congregation to embrace ďradical hospitalityĒ, leading to the development of Cafť del Soul, a bi-weekly lunch gathering for everyone in the community, offering food, friendship, music and art. He and his wife, Jacomyn Gerbrandy, also built their own straw bale house fully powered and heated by sun and wind.

We look forward to welcoming Hubert and Jacomyn in September. Watch the video

New Board Members Needed!
Because we are changing our governance system to be a unified board, and ending the Session/Official Board divide, we have an opportunity to reshape the way we make plans and decisions at St Johnís United, keeping the best of what has happened before and identifying new ways to strengthen our faith community.

Would you like to be part of that? The starting vision for the new board is that it will ground what it does in the Spirit through prayer and reflection, keeping the big picture firmly in view, carrying out the necessary business as efficiently as possible, and empowering committees and task groups to do the inspiring work involved in following Christís message of love, compassion, justice and peace.

Does this pique your interest? Put your name forward to be a member of the new board by speaking with Katherine Harman or Lesley Griffiths. One last point ó we want board meetings to be, dare we say it, enjoyable and uplifting, not a dreary obligation. And to end on time! Can you help make this happen?

Lenten Donations for Outreach.
Lent is often viewed as a time for giving something up, but once again this year, the Outreach Lead Team is asking you to think about giving TO something during this season of preparation for Easter.

lenten donationsThe congregation of St Johnís United regularly supports Manna for Health through the weekly collection of food items for individuals living with HIV/AIDS or other life-threatening illnesses.

During Lent (February 14 to March 31), we are asking members of the congregation to consider adding to their regular food donations by contributing the following items that have been identified as particular needs:
  • Boost supplement drinks
  • Toothpaste and toothbrushes
  • Unscented soap, shampoo and deodorant
  • Vinegar and baking soda
Donations can be left with regular food donations in the cart at the bottom of the stairs. Monetary donations are also always welcome and can be placed in an envelope marked Manna for Health and placed on the Offering plate or given to a member of the Outreach Lead Team.

Thanks for your support!

Sunday After Service Lunches.

We hope to offer a light and informal (ie. soup, bread, cheese) lunch each Sunday after church as a way to strengthen our community, and generally help us get to know one another, young and old. One way of organizing it might be to have different groups within the church (eg. bible study, Outreach, Official Board, Transition Team, choir, youth group, Christian Development) take turns hosting and preparing food each week.

If you have some ideas and energy to put towards this and would like to think it through with the minister, please email

lunch1 lunch1 lunch1

New Initiative Fund.
In December, the Official Board established a New Initiatives Fund of $15,000 to support renewal of the spiritual life and programs of St. Johnís United. The fund supports members of the faith community who have a passion for developing a program or initiating an activity that will broaden, deepen and nourish the community of St. Johnís United Church. The overall goal is to support an idea that will lead to an ongoing program or activity for a variety of interests and age groups. Applications will be reviewed and approved by the Official Board Executive and reported to the Official Board. Information and application forms are available from the office, Martha Martin or Jim Sharpe.

Joint Search Committee.
The Congregational members of the new Joint Search Committee are Louisa Horne, John Kirk, Connie Robinson, Nancy Nelson, Lesley Griffiths, Jim Sharpe, and Sean Foreman. If you have any names of potential candidates for the two positions, Principal Minister (Full-time) and Faith Formation Minister (Part-time), please contact any member of the Search Committee.

Hilda Power and the Al-Issou family

St. John's United Refugee Sponsorship Working Group member Hilda Power (left) and the Al-Issou family on October 22, 2017.

St. John's United Welcomes
The Al-Issou Family.

Our congregation welcomed the Al-Issou family during lunch on Sunday October 22, 2017 which was coordinated by the St. John's United Refugee Sponsorship Working Group. Masoud, Hamide, Levant and Leyann arrived in Nova Scotia on April 25, 2017. They were welcomed by their uncle Barran Al-Issou and aunt, Zakie Chiko who sponsored Masoud's younger brother, Mohammed.

Both brothers are qualified tailors but due to the lack of opportunities in this field, they have put plans on working as tailors on hold. Masoud is also a qualified barber and has been working in this capacity since August in a men's hair salon at Halifax Shopping Centre. He is working six days a week and attends English classes at ISANS before work, Monday to Friday. He is catching on quickly.

Mohammed is learning English and upgrading his high school education at Halifax West. He works at the Athens Restaurant on weekends as a cook.

The family are settling in very well. Hamide (Mom) is benefiting from the teaching of English by St John's United congregation members Roberta Sharpe and Susan Sharp. Levant is attending preschool two afternoons a week and enjoying it.

We are fortunate to welcome this wonderful family into our community!

Would you like to find out what is happening in our very active, vibrant church on a weekly basis? Please send your e-mail address to Marilyn Peacock at the church office- ...We will add you to our mailout list and you'll never have to miss the news!

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