Welcome Paula Zanello Antunes

Welcome Paula Zanello Antunes

Hello First Baptist Community

Those who attended the Congregational meeting on Sunday, June 19th will be aware that, through a generous gift from the E. Irwin Fund designated for programs to support equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), the Board of Management was recently able to approve a term part-time coordinator position to communicate and engage with our internal and external communities on several upcoming special initiatives related to EDI.  More information will be forthcoming in the weeks and months ahead, but these special initiatives include communications via print media, social media, web page, etc. and strategies with respect to reaching out to newcomers: 

    1. Promoting Jeff Chu, our largest name guest speaker in many years. Jeff is co-director of the Evolving Faith Network who will not only be preaching but also offering a Saturday evening session and Q&A that will be open to the broader community. 
    2. Communicating Ryan Sato’s visit.  Ryan’s congregation at First Baptist Edmonton recently made the decision to be inclusive, and Rusty was recently a guest speaker in that pulpit. 
    3. Celebrating the ordination of Arla Johnson, probably the first openly gay/married Baptist Minister ordained in Canada – a wonderful way to show that our actions are in sync with our words
    4. Promoting guest preacher, Kesa Munroe-Anderson, who will speak for Remembrance Day Sunday
    5. Developing a plan to involve newcomers in our World Communion celebration, to connect with newcomer members of the congregation and coordinate their involvement
    6. Defining opportunities for our outreach to Newcomers – e.g. planning and implementing Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings specifically with Newcomers in mind, identifying opportunities for outreach with the international student community at Dal (perhaps focusing on food security needs), etc. 

We also have other significant communications initiatives upcoming on our 195th Anniversary. The Advent Events, including Carols by Candlelight highlighting a guest Filipino choir, will be another opportunity to reach out to our broader community. 

These initiatives would be a challenge for our existing church staff to support successfully in the best of times. As it happens two of our staff are facing medical challenges that require surgery soon, one with an extended recovery period. It was an incredible blessing to have the E. Irwin Gift available to resource the creation of a term, part-time position of approximately ten hours per week for the period commencing July 1 through December 31 of this year. The coordinator, reporting directly to the Senior Minister (staff report) and Chair of the Personnel Committee (lay leadership) will work collaboratively with all staff and provide weekly updates to the direct reports and monthly updates to the Senior Minister, Diaconate and Board of Management.  

With authority delegated by the Board of Management, a selection panel comprising Rusty Edwards (Senior Minister), Dianne Kokesh (Vice-Chair of the Board of Management and member of the Personnel Committee) and Sheila Stanley (Chair of the Personnel Committee) met on Wednesday, June 15th to interview a candidate and unanimously agreed to appoint Paula Attunes to the Coordinator Role. 

Paula holds a Master’s in Science degree, and she is also engaged in a program of study in digital marketing while also using social media to promote her teaching career and organizing and leading conferences and events. Paula brings first-hand experience of being a Newcomer to Halifax, and FBCH, and is already actively serving on our Refugee and Newcomers Committee.

We are delighted and grateful to welcome Paula in supporting this important work for our Congregation. 

-Sheila Stanley, Personnel Committee Chair

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