2020 Annual Report

Creativity in Transitions – 2020 Annual Report – Pastors in Exile

Gifts in Transition

As 2020 started out, we as staff and board members of PiE were prepared for a year of big transitions. Jessica Reesor Rempel would be coming back from parental leave in April and Tamara Shantz would stay for a month of overlap before ending her three years of ministry with PiE. Meanwhile, Pamela Girardi would move into a permanent position as a pastor with PiE. In those early weeks of the year we dreamed and planned for retreats, conferences, worship gatherings, bible studies, potlucks and many spiritual care meetings over tea. When we gathered over Zoom as a pastoral team of three for the first time in April, however, it was quickly becoming clear that plans for 2020 would need to be entirely reimagined. And that is what we did. The next week, we marked Holy Week with an online Good Friday Lament gathering, an online Easter Sunrise Celebration and an online Easter Hymn Sing led by friend of PiE Emily Rempel. 2020 was a year for creativity at PiE. 

Creativity in Motion

Rather than cling to our usual patterns for ministry (adapted to fit COVID protocol), we felt called to stay rooted, yet flexible so as to adapt to the ever changing needs of the young adults in our PiE community. In spring and summer, this looked primarily like offering opportunities to gather online, such as an interactive farewell gathering for PiE pastor Tamara Shantz, a garden blessing service and a participant led book study on Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Anti-Racist

Moving into the fall we heard from our participants a desire to limit time spent online and a longing to be together in safely distanced outdoor contexts. Listening to these longings, we put together an event called “Night Church.”  On a cool September evening, twenty three participants gathered at a distance under the stars in Mary Allen Park to take part in a brown bag communion service with fiddle music provided by friend of PiE Laura Enns. It was powerful to be together as a worshipping community after so much time apart. In a similar vein, our bi-monthly Queerly Christian group worshipped at a distance in Waterloo Park for much of the fall, and our weekly group Feminist Bible Study met at a distance around a backyard campfire.

As winter approached and COVID restrictions tightened, we found new ways to gather meaningfully online. A participant initiated online service for Trans Day of Remembrance and an online Christmas House Concert are highlights from the end of a beautifully different year. We look with hope into 2021, not knowing what may or may not be possible, but trusting that the Spirit of creativity will continue to draw near to all of us.

Volunteer Highlights

We are so grateful for the many people who share their amazing gifts with the PiE community!

This year several PiE participants envisioned an event or group that would be important and meaningful to the larger community. Thank you Bekah Smootenns and Krista Bowman for dreaming and running the Maker Space, a place for people to come together and create. Thank you Sidong Fu for facilitating the Spirituality Today group on campus. Erin Sy, we are grateful for you leading us in online exercise during the pandemic. Cedar Klassan thank you for creatively finding ways to lead music for QC online! Ally Siebert, thank you for your work to gather resources and help to vision and facilitate our How to Be An Anti-Racist reading group. Katrina Matthies we are so grateful for all of your work to organize our Auction! Erika Toffelmeire we are so grateful for the gift of your creation blog series! 

Photo credit: Jacquie Reimer

We’d like to thank Anneke Pries-Klassen, Jono Cullar, and Katie Steckly who finished their service to PiE’s board of directors in 2020. They’ve shared so much of their time and talent to support PiE’s growth from a brand new organization to what it is today. We are grateful for your leadership, event planning and human resource expertise, financial reporting, fundraising ideas, marketing expertise, and passion for PiE!  

There are so many in our wider community who support PiE. You bake bread for outdoor communion, make soup for groups to enjoy as they meet in cool weather, donate items to our online auction, fundraise for bible trivia, play music for worship, share your worship and meeting spaces with us, deliver food and care packages, take photos at our events…. There are so many ways that you generously support and encourage our ministry.  Thank you to all of you!

Financial Update

In 2020, PiE faced many unknowns. Several of our fee for service income generating events were cancelled due to COVID-19. Wage subsidies from the federal government helped us to bridge this income gap. New monthly donors and general donors sustained our work and allowed us to innovate and respond.  We reimagined fundraising events, such as Bible Trivia night,  as online opportunities to be together.

As we move forward in this uncertain time, we are continuing to explore new granting opportunities, as well as reimagine retreats, conferences and fundraisers in an online format this year.

Financial Summary

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020

People of PiE

Jessica Reesor Rempel, Pastor
Pamela Girardi, Pastor
Tamara Shantz, Pastor
Steven Reesor Rempel,  Bookkeeper

Board of Directors
Nolan Andres, Chair
Anneke Pries-Klassen, Secretary
Jono Cullar, Treasurer
Caleb Redekop
Katie Steckly
Heather Lee
Steph Chandler Burns

Thanking Church Donors

PiE is grateful to Mennonite Church of Eastern Canada (MCEC) for their foundational and ongoing support of our ministry. We are also so grateful for the support of the Basilian Human Development Fund.

There are many churches that offer support to PiE’s work in a variety of ways. Thank you!

Including us in their budgets: Erb St Mennonite Church, Mannheim Mennonite Church, Stirling Ave Mennonite Church, St. Jacobs Mennonite Church, and W-K United Mennonite Church

Sharing space and contributing funds to particular projects:
Erb St Mennonite Church, Rockway Mennonite Church, Shantz Mennonite Church, Waterloo North Mennonite Church, and W-K United Mennonite Church