The President’s Report, 2019

Jørgen Rohweder 2018 was what I would call a more 'normal year' in the life of our church. Most major projects had been completed, our pastor and family were settling in, and we could breathe a bit easier. Which is nice for a change.

There were still plenty of activities going on, don't get me wrong, as we are a busy church. It is good to see that so many of our events are well attended, and that is all due to the efforts put in by 3 auxiliaries; The Ladies' Auxiliary, The Sunday School Auxiliary, and The New Auxiliary. Together in addition to organizing the events they also created a not insignificant income stream for the church. Thank you very much ladies.

I just wish to point out two activities from last year:

  1. The Danish Constitution Day in June was celebrated with a service at the Scandinavian Centre. I think it is very nice that we move out of the church once a year to celebrate with other Danes. This is covered in more detail in Pastor Susanne's report.
  2. The one big project we were facing last year, was a much needed digging out for an extension to our Memorial Walk. Following Poul Erik Rasmussen's detailed drawings, and the preparatory work he had done in this regard, we were successful in getting a wide semi circle dug out of the front lawn. Paul Christensen will cover this in more detail in his report on the church.

    Likewise Kurt Nielsen will report on improvements to the parsonage.

Like many other churches we face the challenge that our membership is not increasing. This is nothing new, and this situation has been faced by previous boards as well. Your outgoing board has been grappling with this as well, and we have been evaluating how best to reach out to other Danes who live in the greater Vancouver area. This has taken the form of using social media like Twitter and Facebook, and I hope that we as a congregation will welcome them as warmly as I and my family was greeted many years ago. You will be surprised how many Danes there actually live and work in the Greater Vancouver area. They are busy people, so the challenge is to catch their attention. If you do, then they will also come, we have seen that. This is obviously a ongoing process. They may only come to church occasionally, but obviously there is a need we can fulfill for them. Some are single, some are families with children, and they may live in Vancouver from 6 months to maybe two years, and then return to Denmark, or they settle down here. The sound of small children in the church, when it happens, is something I think we all view positively. It is a nice disruption.

I am pleased to report that the physical state of the church building as well as the parsonage is excellent. Previous boards have done great work in that regard as well. We have been in the very fortunate position over the last four years, that these renovations mainly have been financed by gifts by individuals or donations from estates, which have enabled us (with approval at the various AGM's) to carry out this work. There is nothing major in the pipeline for 2019, and we still have money in the bank! But as you will see from the financial reports to be presented later, it will continue being a challenge to get our accounts to balance without such support.

We have been truly blessed.

This is my last report as President. First of all I wish to thank the congregation for the support and encouragement you have given me and the board over the 4 years I have held this role at the church. I have enjoyed it, and the various projects going on have made it interesting. Finally many thanks to my fellow board members for your hard work on behalf of the congregation, it was a pleasure working with you. A special thank you to our outgoing board members: Gwen Dahl, Susanne Chaffe and Kurt Nielsen for your valuable contributions during the two years you served on the board. Thank you to pastor Susanne for your sermons, your leadership, and you never failing positive attitude. And not least a heartfelt thank you to all the volunteers: your hard dedicated work is what keeps the Danish Lutheran Church going.

Thank you.

Jørgen Rohweder, President.