SSUC Transition Team

Update of Friday, May 5th

As the Transition Team continues the journey toward its mandate to make recommendations regarding our focus, vision, medium/long-range goals and staffing needs in 2023 and beyond, we are inviting you to join us for an event on Sunday, May 7th. This after-gathering event will be an opportunity for you to delve a little deeper into the six areas that have been named as priorities for SSUC. The format will encourage you to contribute in the area you are most passionate about and think about moving forward into action and identifying what resources will be necessary. We will provide lunch for those here in Edmonton. Please sign up so that we can plan for lunch. Those online can participate in a zoom version of the event. Please contact us if you can join the online conversation.

A reminder about the six priority areas: 2SLGBTQ+ Community; Moving toward Reconciliation; Expansive Spirituality; Children/Youth/Young Families; Community Outreach; Congregational Care.

Please come and help us as we move into our vision and action together as the SSUC community.


Update of Friday, March 24, 2023

Thanks to all of you who attended the Conversation Cafe on March 12 – both those who were at SSUC and those who participated online. The Transition Team has met to review the information you shared with us and we wanted to share that with you:
One of the major messages we heard is that we are doing a good job now, so – keep doing what you are doing well.

We want to ensure that we continue to live by the four identity statements of the congregation, so our results were tested against them. The four statements are:

Celebrating Diversity
Engaging life with spiritual depth
Inspiring compassion and connection
Making a meaningful difference

From the Conversation Cafe, the Team identified the following major focus areas for the work of SSUC:
– We need to maintain our expansive theology/spirituality and continue to learn and share through Sunday mornings as well as in other times of connection.
– We need to grow our children/youth/young families ministry. This requires that we have programs and opportunities for new people to find a place to belong and connect within SSUC.
– We need to refresh our social connections. As we reconnect after Covid, people want to come together for meals, social activities, and in small focus groups where they can get to know one another.
– We need to continue our focus on outreach/social justice and bridge building. In particular, people mentioned the 2SLGBTQ+ organizations and our focus on reconciliation. We have always supported housing, refugees, Bissell, etc. and there were suggestions to look at supporting schools. One way to expand our reach would be to reach out to other organizations and find ways we can work together.
– We need to continue to provide pastoral care for our members. As members of the congregation age, we want to provide support for caregivers and those experiencing loss.
– The Sunday morning gathering continues to be the connection point for many of us. The connections made through Emberwood, though not on Sunday mornings, are valued and we need to be prepared to support those members as well. Online connections may need to be enhanced so those members can connect with us outside of Sunday.
Lots of food for thought, and we would love to hear from you. Do these priorities resonate with you? Is there anything we are missing? Comments can be sent to our email address,


Update of Friday, March 17, 2023

A very big thank you to all of you who participated in the Conversation Cafe on Sunday. We had about 80 people in the room at SSUC and 19 online so there was an incredible amount of discussion and many ideas for us to consider as we move forward. Lots of support for what we are already doing and encouragement that we continue to live to our values. We hope all of those who attended found the event supportive and gave you an opportunity to meet some new people.

You can view the slide presentation that was used to share the information from the four questions and the community interviews here so if you want to review it please do. If you have questions about the information please forward them to and we will get back to you.

The Transition Team will review all of the ideas you shared and begin to discern the priorities for our future. We will keep you in the loop as we move forward. Thank you for your ongoing support.


Update of Friday, February 24, 2023

Wow, when you ask the right question you get great responses….keep them coming. The four questions we have asked are listed below. If you are going to respond to more than one of them, please use separate emails – that makes it easier for us to compile them. The email address is All of this information to date will be used to fodder the discussion on March 12. That is the date for our Conversation Cafe – an opportunity for everyone to share their thoughts and ideas and learn from one another as we discern the future for SSUC. We will have lunch and plan to meet from noon to 2:30. If you are here and plan to attend, please use the sign up sheet in the foyer. If you are online and want to participate in conversation, please send an email to Curtis Tufts at He will send you the login information for the event.


  1. What aspect of SSUC life and work is most important to you personally? What do you celebrate about this Church?
  2. Thinking back to what first attracted you to SSUC; how can we continue to build and grow our community?
  3. What programs can be newly initiated or revived that will make a difference to our neighbours, extended communities, and the world?
  4. Some people have said that SSUC is the “best kept secret in Edmonton”. How do we “let the cat out of the bag”?


Update of Friday, February 17, 2023

Thank you to all of you who have been responding to the weekly questions from the Messenger. This information is very valuable for the Transition Team as we work to discern future possibilities. The Team is planning to have an event to share some of the questions and begin discussion on March 12. We are calling the event the Conversation Cafe. That is exactly what we hope will happen – everyone who comes will have an opportunity to have a discussion with several other members of the congregation about the questions and insights they have regarding the life and work of SSUC. We will be providing lunch so please put the date in your calendar – we will be together from noon until 2:30. If you are planning to attend, there is a sign up sheet on the table this morning. For those of you on-line planning to attend, Curtis will facilitate your discussion via zoom. You can email Curtis Tufts at tufts.ouwens [at]  to let us know if you are planning to attend on line.

In addition to gathering your insights we are also capturing information from some of our neighbours – schools, churches, police, politicians. Interviewing these organizations will do two things: one, we will have the opportunity to introduce ourselves and what we do in this community and the world; two, we will possibly find opportunities for partnering or sharing events in our community. If you can help Terry McDougall with this project, please let her know.

This is week 3 of our questions – the question this week is “What programs can be newly initiated or revived that will make a difference to our neighbours, extended communities, and the world?”  You can still answer questions 1 and 2 – just indicate which question you are answering. Please send your responses to


Update of Friday, February 10, 2023

The Transition Team is in the process of gathering information – from members of the congregation, agencies, neighbours and staff. This week, please take the opportunity to respond to our SECOND weekly question. All responses will be used to create topics for a community discussion on Sunday, March 12th, following the gathering (both in person and online). Please mark that date in your calendar and plan to attend.

The question for this week is “Thinking back to what first attracted you to SSUC; how can we continue to build and grow our community?”. Please send your responses to


Update of Friday, February 3, 2023

The Transition Team is starting the process of gathering information – from members of the congregation, agencies, neighbours and staff. This week, a small taste and opportunity to respond to our first weekly question. We would encourage you to consider your response and send it to us.  All responses will be used to create topics for a community discussion on March 12 (both in person and online). Please mark that date in your calendar and plan to attend.

So, the question this week:
What aspect of SSUC life and work is most important to you personally? What do you celebrate about this church?”

Send your responses to look forward to hearing from you in this first of many ways we will be requesting your input.


Update of January 27, 2023

A 12-member team has been created to explore the future that SSUC might want to grow into. There are many exciting opportunities for us to explore. We have so many gifts and ministries on which to build: technology that helps us connect, a burgeoning nature ministry, meaningful gatherings, and caring, inclusive community – to name just a few. There are efforts we may need to revitalize and areas of ministry we have never explored too.

The team is preparing to gather information. We are interviewing staff, creating questions for the organizations and agencies in our neighbourhood and with whom we partner, and selecting questions for the e-newsletter for you to engage each week. Starting next week (February 3rd), there will be one question per week for the next 4 weeks to gather your input. The next step will be an in-person and online gathering on Sunday, March 12 to share thoughts, ideas and questions in groups. Please save the date and watch for updates. There will also be an opportunity to share more detailed thoughts via a survey later in February. All of this information will give us a foundation for discussion and discernment so we can arrive at a shared vision, focus, and the staffing model needed for our future.

We are keeping our focus on the future and on who we know ourselves to be as a congregation: spiritual seekers who are – Celebrating diversity; Engaging life with spiritual depth; Inspiring compassion and connection; Making a meaningful difference. There is no forgone conclusion regarding the recommendations – we are listening to everyone’s voices as we discern what our future might look like at SSUC.

The Transition Team Members are: Joyce Madsen, Joanne Van Beek, Kim Boyes, Alison Brooks-Starks, Dawn Guenther (Saskatoon), Anne McCracken, Terry McDougall, Andrea Rubik, Dara Smith, Curtis Tufts, Janis Zalitach, Christopher New, and resourced by consultant Katherine Weinmann.
Any questions or comments are welcomed by Joyce, co-chair of the Transition Team.


SSUC Transition Team: Terms of Reference

Purpose: To make recommendation(s) to the SSUC Board regarding the congregation’s desired focus, vision, medium/long-range goals, and the associated staffing needs in 2023 and beyond.


    • To determine methods to undertake consultations with the congregation, related agencies and groups, and/or broader community in order to achieve the team’s purpose;
    • To affirm and leverage SSUC’s strengths, history and identity to achieve its purpose;
    • To explore different staffing models and determine the best avenues to allow the congregation to meet its needs and achieve its focus/goals/visions;
    • To facilitate congregational ownership of the final recommendation(s).

 Structure and Timeline

    • The SSUC Transition Team is an ad hoc committee appointed by the SSUC Board and will follow usual practices for regular reporting to the board.
    • The Transition Team will include as inclusive of a cross-section of the SSUC community as possible, including from SSUC-Saskatoon and 1-2 members of the SSUC Board.
    • The Transition Team will structure themselves with a convenor/chair and add members at their discretion.
    • Recommendations to the SSUC Board will be made according to the Transition Team’s best judgment for a timely and effective process.

 Approved SSUC Board October 20, 2022