Gifts of Collaboration
Since PiE’s inception, PiE has been gifted with an ever expanding circle of co-conspirators and partners in creativity. From board members helping to develop vision, to participants approaching PiE staff with ideas and energy to lead, to churches sharing spaces and funds, we have an abundance of collaborators as we accompany young adults in the Waterloo Region.
In many ways, we can see partnership present in everything we do. And as we reflect back on 2019, we would like to celebrate two new collaborations that felt particularly significant.
The first is our deepening connection with the Student Christian Movement (SCM) of Canada. Thanks to the initiation of SCM director, Peter Haresnape, we co-hosted two events this year: Holy Saturday Lament for the Earth and the Grounding retreat. Both events were seeking to create space for engaging with the realities of climate change in the context of prayer and spirituality.
The Grounding Retreat brought together young adults, and a smattering of elders, from across southwestern Ontario (and even one from Manitoba) to
gather for a weekend of prayer in the context of climate change at Loyola House in Guelph.
While PiE is a locally focused ministry, it is an immense gift to be able to build relationships with young adults in Toronto, and beyond, who share an interest in the intersections of social justice and spirituality. For PiE staff, this work can occasionally feel a little lonely, so it was also a cherished opportunity to have an additional colleague whose ministry and organization shares so much in common with PiE.
In addition to SCM, we were delighted to collaborate with the Queer Christian Community (QCC) based at the University of Guelph for the first time. In late October, members of our Queerly Christian group traveled to Guelph for a joint worship service with QCC. It was a beautiful evening of singing, sharing in communion, and celebrating that we are all truly God’s beloved. We hope there will be more joint gatherings in the future!
Volunteer Highlight: Cedar Klassen
We are grateful for the many people who share their gifts with the PiE community so freely. This year, we’d like to honour one of our volunteers who has been giving hours and hours of their time: Cedar Klassen. Cedar initiated, and has helped give leadership to, the Queerly Christian group for three years. This has included worship leading, music planning and leadership, graphic design and marketing, and perhaps everyone’s favourite contribution – freshly made sourdough bread for communion!
Beyond QC, Cedar has also planned and lead “Songs for the Holy Other”, our Queer Hymn Sing in November….along with many other activities. Cedar, your gifts and passion for worship and for bringing LGBTQ2SIAA+ experience into Christian worship are so deeply appreciated. Thank you!
Climate Strike Prayer Service
Another collaboration with Mennonite pastors from a variety of churches, PiE helped plan and host an outdoor prayer service prior to the September Climate Strike in Uptown Waterloo.
+ Songs for the Holy Other
Thanks to the vision of young adults like Thea Andres and Cedar Klassen, PiE has been providing opportunities for churches to learn more about how to affirm and celebrate the Queer community inside their congregations and beyond. It has been a delight to see how much energy there is for these kinds of events in our community.
In 2019, PiE ran a deficit of $1,566, a significant improvement over 2018’s deficit. This reflects the reality that as grant income decreased by $5,000, donations increased by more than $9,000 thanks to the success of our first ever online auction, as well as an increasing number of churches that have included PiE in their budget lines. Additionally, fee for service income increased by $7,000, due to the revenue generated by our larger scale fall retreat, as well as the first Beyond Binaries conference. Looking ahead into the rest of 2020, there are many unknowns. Several of our fee for service income generating events have already been cancelled due to COVID-19, and it is unclear at this time whether any in person events will be possible in 2020. Wage subsidies from the federal government are helping us to bridge this income gap for the time being, but it is not known how long these subsidies will last. As we move forward in this uncertain time, we are continuing to explore new granting opportunities, as well as reimagining what retreats, conferences and fundraisers might look like in an online format.
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019
People of PiE
Pamela Girardi, Pastor
Tamara Shantz, Pastor
Jessica Reesor Rempel, Pastor
(On parental leave)
Steven Reesor Rempel, Bookkeeper
Board of Directors
Nolan Andres, Chair
Steph Chandler Burns
Anneke Pries-Klassen, Secretary
Thanking Church Donors
PiE continues to work for financial sustainability as we enter our last year of support from the Mennonite Church of Eastern Canada (MCEC) Legacy Initiatives Fund. As we make this transition, we are grateful to MCEC for their founding support, and to the churches who are now offering support in a variety of ways:
Including us in their budgets: Stirling Ave Mennonite Church,
W-K United Mennonite Church, Erb St Mennonite Church,
Mannheim Mennonite Church
Sharing space and contributing funds to particular projects:
W-K United Mennonite Church, Erb St Mennonite Church,
Rockway Mennonite Church, Waterloo North Mennonite Church