St. Matthew’s United Church eBulletin Nov. 10, 2019  Remembrance Sunday


  • What's coming up at St. Matt's
  • Please keep in your prayers …
  • Thanks to …
  • Annual congregational meeting update
  • Things you can donate to St. Matt's
  • Book Club meeting Nov. 19
  • Nov. 24 Anniversary Sunday speaker Dr. Greg Hirsch


 What's coming up at St. Matthew's  (* see below for more information)

Sun. Nov. 17   Worship and Music Committee, after church

Tue. Nov. 19       Book Club, 2 pm *

Sun. Nov. 24       Anniversary Sunday


Please keep in your prayers …

  • All those for whom Remembrance Day is particularly and personally difficult, especially those mourning great loss and those living with PTSD


Thanks to …

  • Participants in the Act of Remembrance: trumpeter Jeff Stern and Lt.-Col. Fred Donaldson, who led the Act of Remembrance


Annual congregational meeting update

The annual congregational meeting was held on Nov. 3 after church, preceded by a potluck luncheon. The following are some notes of interest from the meeting:

 Outreach and ministry

Out of the Cold Shelter (OTCS) – Unfortunately the Shelter has decided to relocate this year, after being unable to meet financial and administrative guidelines required by St. Matthew's. Funds designated for OTCS are being transferred in stages to Adsum House, which has taken on an oversight role. OTCS has not yet announced its new location, although it is hiring staff with the intention of operating this winter. OTCS plans to shift its focus toward finding long-term housing solutions. Leonard Preyra had been acting as our liaison with the Shelter, and along with Ken Moors was commended for trying to make this relationship work for all.

Extreme Cold Warming Centre – St. Matthew's will once again be a warming centre for those who need a daytime place to stay in extreme weather conditions.

Caritas monthly service – For several years St. Matthew's provided a monthly worship service at Caritas retirement home, which housed several women who were former residents of Victoria Hall. However, the number of Protestant residents has declined significantly and only one is without a church affiliation, so the service has morphed into a pastoral visitation instead. The Caritas organization sent St. Matthew's a kind acknowledgement of the long-standing volunteer ministry.

Melville monthly service – Betsy Hogan and Matthew Fraser have been providing a monthly worship service at Melville Heights retirement home, which is attended by 20-25 people. Joyce Anderson and Hope Toumishey are among the residents who enjoy this service.

Breakfast program – Coordinated by Carol Smillie, the Breakfast program currently has five leadership teams in rotation, representing 50-60 volunteers. Several are family groups who choose this as their way of giving back while spending time together. Between 30-60 guests are served each Sunday morning.

Property matters

Structural assessment – Ian Austen, chair of the Property Committee, reported that the structural assessment of the historic church is complete, although we have not yet received an official report from the consultant. It is believed that the structure is fundamentally sound, but some repairs and lots of maintenance are still necessary – to be confirmed in the coming weeks, when the report has been completed. An anonymous donation last year covered  the cost of the comprehensive building assessment and the new fire alarm system.

            Scaffolding at the front of the church  is related to repairs to the steeple, which was damaged in last year's storm. The cladding on the side of the steeple has deteriorated and needs to be replaced; this work may be done before the scaffolding is removed.

            Other pressing work includes a new roof for the hall and sealing of the buttresses, which have exposed brick.

Maritime Centre renovation – St. Matthew's has an agreement with Slate REIT about using the north lawn as a staging area while that corner of the Maritime Centre is renovated. This work will not happen until next spring. The mature locust trees may be lost during the construction, but something will be planted once the work is done because the city requires this green space to be maintained. Anne Fay has been investigating whether a graft from one of these trees (which may be at the end of their natural lives anyway) can be nurtured and replanted in a few years time.

St. Matthew's will be paid a fee for the weeks that Slate is using the north lawn, and the property will be remediated at Slate's expense once the work is complete.

Financial matters

Last year was a challenging transition for treasurers -- Marg Arklie had to resign due to ill health, and it was several months before she was replaced. A new volunteer, Allan Mills – assisted by Dora McGrath, Ken Moors, Greg Bent and Tim Matthews, and Marg – was able to get the books back in good order. All were applauded for their work in difficult circumstances.

            The church continues to struggle with financial sustainability. Expenditures exceeded revenue by ($108,709) for the fiscal year, a shortfall that has been managed in the short-term by income from the Endowment Fund and a special restricted donation. As a brief summary of the unaudited financial report for the year ended June 30, 2019:

  • Revenue was slightly more than expected due largely to increased external use of the sanctuary and hall. However, givings were down about $8,000 from budget.
  • Overall, expenditures were $20,000 more than expected; key factors were the cost of fuel and building upgrades to meet fire code. However, some of the expenditures, including the structural assessment, have been covered by a 2019 anonymous and restricted donation ($200,000).


Volunteer news

Elders – Gayle Reiner, Amber Gareau, and Carol Smillie are reappointed for five-year terms.

Sunday School – Amber Gareau has stepped into the role of coordinating the Sunday school, taking over from Laura Stiles-Clarke. Kim Moors is the cornerstone of the weekly lessons, and the volunteer teachers include Amber, Laura, Jocelyn and Tim Covert, Kathleen Woods, Anne Fay, and Noella Whelan.

Publicity – On behalf of the Publicity committee, mourning the loss of Helga Mills, chair Tim Covert welcomes more volunteers to assist with publicizing church activities.

Worship and Music – Janet Hulford has joined the Worship and Music Committee.

Ushering – Weekly ushering volunteers are being coordinated by Anne Marie Dalton and Johan Geldenhuys. Volunteers can use a link in the weekly eBulletin to sign up.

Fellowship – Linda Campbell has organized four leaders and a group of volunteers to coordinate the Sunday Fellowship time under the Rose Window.

Membership Committee – Joan MacKinnon has taken on the role as chair of the Membership Committee, replacing Marg Arklie

Brunswick Street Mission – Shirley McInnes is the new liaison to the Brunswick Street Mission, replacing Carol Smillie.

Volunteers – There are many opportunities for volunteers at St. Matthew's, ranging from ushering or reading in church on Sunday to joining a committee to help keep our operations operating. Anyone in the congregation who has an interest in volunteering in ANY church activities should contact Laura Stiles-Clarke ( or Betsy Hogan (


Things you can donate to St. Matt's

Do you have extra MUGS? -- More mugs are needed for Sunday Breakfast. If you have any to donate, please mention to Carol Smillie in the choir OR just bring them on a Sunday morning.

Tim Horton's Gift Cards – These are used by both the Breakfast Program and the church office when people in need stop by. Cards valued at $10 are preferred.

Board games, jigsaw puzzles, art supplies, DVDs/VHS and machines to show movies on – St. Matt's will be an Extreme Weather Warming Centre for Halifax this winter, and it would be wonderful to have more fun things available to keep people occupied during inclement, cold, or unpleasant weather.

 Book Club meeting Nov. 19

St. Matthew's Book Club meets on Tue. Nov. 19 at 2 pm at  5662  Roberts St. We will discuss The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline. This book shows “...tremendous emotional depth and tenderness, connecting readers with the complexity and compassion of Indigenous people.  A dystopian world that is all too real and that has much to say about our own.”  For more information contact Elaine Murray at


 Administrative Stuff

Church office: (902) 423-9209,  

Pastoral care: Rev. Betsy Hogan, (902) 423-9209,

Sunday Worship: 10:30 am

Minister of Music: Wayne Rogers, (902) 429-1680,

Student Organist: Matthew Fraser

On the web:


Ushering – Click this link to open the sign-up page


EarthSpiritAction Resources for Thinking About God's Green Earth:


Meeting Schedule 2019-20

Congregational Meeting       May 3, 2020 (budget)

Session, Stewards, Board       Jan. 12, Mar. 8, Apr. 26

Worship and Music                Nov. 17


Regular Activities

Sunday Free Breakfast  – Sundays 8:30 am

Thursday Noon Bible Study – TBA

Choir Practices – Thursdays – Handbells 6:15 pm, Sanctuary choir 7:30 pm

Lunch Bunch community choir – Fridays at 12:15 pm

St. Matthew’s Book Club  – Third Tuesday

Melville Heights Service – Third Sunday at 2 pm at Melville Heights retirement lodge

Potluck Church  -- TBA


Enjoy St. Matthew’s United Church weekly bulletin. Contact the office to add your email or to unsubscribe: or (902) 423-9209