Looking to 2016

An update from the Centre’s Board on…

  • Hosting and Programming for April 2016 – Please share widely
  • Winter staff
  • Planning long term – report available and more news to come
  • Sponsoring Refugees
  • Continued Financial Support Needed
  • New Contact email for the Board: tatacentreboard@gmail.com


Open in Spring for Hosting and Programs – spread the word!

Your Board has been working hard. We have reached a place where we feel optimistic about the Centre’s future. Although we have closed the physical site for the winter, the Centre will be open for programs and hosting from mid-April to November in 2016. We have already received bookings for hosted events and are in the process of exploring what Centre programs might be offered in 2016. We hope to have the Centre’s own program schedule out in March. Please broadcast through your networks that the Centre is alive and well and is very interested in providing hosting for groups starting in the spring. They should contact us for bookings now!

Winter Staff

Throughout the winter there are staff people working at the Centre. Katja Burtis is in the office on Mondays. Lisa Pollard continues until the end of January. The staff of BTS (Jackie McVicar and Lisa Rankin) and Peace & Friendship (Joe Michaels) are still working away at their respective tasks. The buildings are checked daily and we have made arrangements for plowing and snow clearing.

New Staff: The Board would also like to introduce you to Heather Allen Johnson who has been hired as the Centre’s bookkeeper and is in the thick of completing our 2015 financial accounts for our annual audit. Heather is also taking steps to ensure we have good financial management systems in place as we move into 2016. Heather lives in the Westchester area and, in addition to being very capable, has already proven to be a joy to work with. Welcome Heather!

Planning for the Centre’s Long-Term Future

A number of people met on November 21, 2015, to talk about transformation – looking at long term possibilities for the Centre. Many questions were raised and many ideas where shared. A key question became “Has the purpose of the Tatamagouche Centre changed? Can we do what we have been doing in a sustainable way? If not, is there a radically different way to do what we have always done – inspire, inform, and engage people in profound transformation?” We clustered our ideas and divided ourselves into four groups to begin the work of researching the viability of those ideas. The report from that day, facilitated by Brian Braganza and Darren Brown, can be found on the Tatamagouche website under the link “Tata Transformation”.

To further facilitate this process the Centre is investigating contracting a coordinator to lead this process to assist the volunteers and to integrate their work into an effective sustainable strategy for the Centre. Look for more news on this in our next update.

Supporting Refugees

Last November the Board offered Tatamagouche Centre to the Province of Nova Scotia as a possible hospitality site for incoming refugees. So far there has not been a need. Last week the Board was approached by the North Shore Refugee Sponsorship Group with a request to rent Steven’s House for the refugee family they hope to sponsor in the near future. We were delighted by the request and look forward to working with the North Shore Sponsorship Group.

We Need Your Continuing Financial Support

Last year, as we are all aware, was a very challenging one for the Centre. It became apparent part way through the year that the current operational model was not financially sustainable and that an infusion of funding as well as significant operational changes were going to be necessary for the Centre to move into the future. Fortunately for the Centre many of its supporters came to the table with significant donations, a special thanks to Kenley MacNeill who worked diligently and successfully on this cause. The resulting generous financial support has put us in the position where we can plan opening in the spring, and further, plan for the longer term. However we still need your ongoing financial support. If you have provided financial support in the past please consider renewing it or perhaps contributing for the first time. The financial contributions from the Centre’s supporters are one of the key building blocks for a stable long-term sustainable future. If you would like to discuss a donation or ongoing support please contact the Board at tatacentreboard@gmail.com  and a Board member will get back to you.

Thanks for giving this request your consideration.


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Co-housing and Social Enterprise at the Centre

In imagining possibilities for the Centre, Wilf Bean, Trudy Watts, Ron Kelly, Wyanne Sandler, Charlotte Campbell and Ann Manicom began with the idea of cohousing on a portion of the land at the Tatamagouche Centre. And as we brainstormed, the ideas grew into thoughts about all of the land becoming a land trust with a range of social enterprises. We decided to post our thoughts on this blog, to connect with other ongoing  conversations.

So first, we offer preliminary thoughts on the Cohousing idea. And then we sketch thoughts on a Land Trust model.

Cohousing Co-Op Model

Cohousing is a type of “intentional community of private homes clustered around shared space and facilities. Each attached or single family home has traditional amenities, including a small kitchen. Shared spaces typically feature a common house, which may include a large kitchen and dining area, laundry, child care, guest rooms and recreational spaces. Shared outdoor space may include parking, walkways, open space, and gardens. Neighbors also share resources like tools and lawnmowers. Households have independent incomes and private lives, but neighbors collaboratively plan and manage community activities and shared spaces.”

Benefits to the Centre of a cohousing project on a portion of Centre land around one of the exsting houses:

  • The purchase of Stevens House (for example) provides immediate cash
  • The ownership of property is kept within the Centre community
  • The values and design principles of cohousing fit with Centre’s values
  • The work (creating the cooperative, seeking investors, design etc) is done by a separate entity (i.e. not Centre staff or Board)

How it might work:

A new Co-op Housing group purchases Stevens (or Reid) House and surrounding land.  (Stevens House land extends to the river and to Rte 6). Money to do this would be raised by the Co-op. (One suggestion is that 40 investors @$5,000 could raise $200,000:  $150,000 of it as purchase price, with the remaining $50,000 for urgent repairs following the purchase, and for some development funds.)  This stage could happen quite quickly, perhaps within a 2-3 month period.  (Note – our thought was that the investors would be just that – not necessarily the people who would ultimately become owners/leasers of the co-housing units, but rather people willing to put forward funds to keep the land and house in the hands of people associated with the Centre. )

Over two years, a Cohousing Co-op Planning Group would

  • Administer repairs and/or rental of the current house (income generation for the co-housing project), pay taxes etc
  • Initiate design process with professionals, develop governance model and financial agreements for the cohousing cooperative
  • Outreach to prospective residents
  • Involve prospective residents with professionals in cohousing design, which might include Stevens House as the common building
  • Communicate with investors
  • Begin building for first occupancies

Land Trust and Social Enterprises Model

A Land Trust model would encompass all property and buildings.

It would be administered by a new entity/board

The various social enterprises would share land and buildings, and could include:

  • Programming Collective
  • Partner groups
  • Hosting Services
  • Co-housing on some portion of the land
  • Food Catering enterprise that provides services to Land Trust events (as well as to wider North Shore community
  • Market Gardening that sells to other Land Trust enterprises and to the wider North Shore community
  • Health and Wellness Enterprise that provides a range of services to Land Trust events (eg massage during retreat programs) as well as to wider local community
  • Administration (grounds and property maintenance) – could sell services to Land Trust enterprises (eg Cohousing) as well as to wider local community

Benefits to the Centre of a Land Trust and Social Enterprise model:

  • A Land Trust encompasses the entire property and buildings, leaving the land base intact
  • The newly-formed entity of a Land Trust (and the social enterprises that develop within it) allows the transformative work of the Tatamagouche Centre to continue
  • Each enterprise shares vision and core values of the Tatamagouche Centre, i.e. rooted in social justice, spirituality and ecological integrity AND each is connected to the local community
  • Each enterprise is financially self-sustaining, yet interdependent with other enterprises. Programming would be supported by hosting and fund-raising revenues, as well as possible contractual contributions from the other social enterprises. It is potentially a financially sustainable model of continuing the work of T.C., embodied within each of the enterprises


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Report on the October 3rd meeting of the Society

The latest meeting of the Society of Tatamagouche Centre was held on October 3, 2015 beginning at 10am. Because there was an encouragingly large number of youth attending a Youth Forum event at the Centre itself, we met at the Tatamagouche Fire Hall. Nineteen people were present. Several others were unable to attend as the meeting date coincided with the funeral of Thomas Turay in Antigonish. Thomas was a good friend of the Centre and our deepest sympathy goes out to his friends and family – he will be missed.

Board Member Karen MacNeill gave a brief statement with regard to our finances. We are essentially in the same position we were in last June. It is only because of the wonderful generosity of several key people coupled with an additional grant from General Council that we have been able to run programs, meet pay roll, and pay our suppliers throughout the summer. We are so very grateful for that generosity.

Board Member Lori Crocker offered the image of a square transforming into a circle as a metaphor for our present situation. We are right now in the movement from one form into another, and if we do not pay keen attention to this in-between time the hoped-for future cannot emerge. It proved to be a helpful image as the meeting progress.

The Board Members then tendered their resignation as a group, feeling that they had brought the Centre as far as they could and now needed to pass the task onto others. The meeting accepted their resignations with thanksgiving and gratitude. David Hewitt spoke with appreciation for the tremendous personal commitment the Board has shown and acknowledged that the work of the past few months has taken a tremendous personal toll on the Board members. They have done well through a difficult time.

David Hewitt, as Executive Secretary of Maritime Conference, then took the position of Chair and called for nomination of a new Board. The new Board is Peter Hough, Dwayne Semple, Jim Wicks, and Karen MacNeill. This is the bare minimum number of Board Members allowable under our By-laws. We are looking for another 6 people to join us. If you have any interest in becoming a Board Member please speak to either

Kathryn Anderson at kathrynande@gmail.com or Karen MacNeill at kmacn@live.ca

If you know of someone you think would make a wonderful Board Member, please speak to them and encourage them to have a conversation with Kathryn or Karen.

The proposed terms of reference for a Future Planning Team were distributed and discussed then referred to the new Board for action. We are presently recruiting people for this work as well.

And finally, we are looking to form a team around fundraising – for immediate needs and for long term planning. We have one or two committed folk already but they need technical support and other help. If you have gifts in this area we need you! The fundraising team will meet on November 7th, 1pm at the Centre. If you are interested, just come along – although it would be nice if you let Katja know you were coming. If you would like to help out but cannot make that date then please let us know so we can be in touch with you after the meeting.

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Notice of Special General Meeting – October 3, 2015

Atlantic Christian Training Society
Notice of Special General Meeting

Saturday, October 3, 2015

10 am | Tatamagouche Fire Hall

202 Main Street, Tatamagouche
Click here for directions


The Atlantic Christian Training Centre Society (Tatamagouche Centre) is pleased to invite Members to a Special General Meeting to be held on Saturday, October 3rd.  The meeting will take place at the Tatamagouche Fire Hall beginning at 10 am and will run until lunchtime. Click here for directions. Parking is available behind the fire hall (off Church Street) and at Tatamagouche Elementary School (also on Church Street).

The business of this this meeting will be to elect a New Board of Directors to serve the Centre during a time of dynamic transition, and to form working groups to oversee the activities of the Centre. The Business Meeting Agenda is at the end of this message.

The current Board of Directors has put in a lot of time during this intense period associated with learning the Centre is insolvent. The Board’s commitment was to ensure it clearly understood the Centre’s financial position, and be a stable presence until the end of staff lay off period on September 30th, 2015, in order to support the necessary transition to a very different organization.

Post-September 30th, a new phase in the life of Tatamagouche Centre begins. This phase of re-visioning and re-building must involve the wider Tatamagouche Centre community.  In order for this to happen, we believe the Board of Directors must also start afresh. On October 3rd, the current Board of Directors will step down so a new Board can be elected.   

In order to begin this transition, a few Board members have already stepped down. We wish to thank Berta Gaulke, Daniele Hart, and Andrew Jantzen for their dedication and contributions to the Centre.

Until October 3rd; Karen MacNeill, Jim Wicks, Lori Crocker, Jen Graham, and Theresa Halfkenny are the Centre Board of Directors. The Board is currently spreading the responsibility across its members, and there is no Acting Executive.

The Board is very small, and would really appreciate help from our community. We are looking for people committed to being part of the Centre’s transition, in the following ways: facilitation, communications, inclusion and diversity, mediation and conflict work, financial management, volunteer recruitment and coordination, fundraising, general maintenance, visioning, planning, and just being willing to take on particular tasks.

Our most immediate needs are:

Nominations Committee: Our bylaws call for (at a minimum) one Board member, a staff member, and a community member to form a nominations committee to make recommendations for  potential nominees. This committee would work to identify and screen potential new board members, and make recommendations in the form of a Nominations Committee Report at the October 3rd meeting. At this time we are looking for two people, staff and/or community to serve on this committee. They will join Karen MacNeill, sitting Board member, in carrying out this work. Volunteer here.

Board Members:  We will be looking for seven new board members.  We need all backgrounds and skill types; however,  facilitation, community building, financial planning and sustainability/business planning would be particularly valuable at this time.  The appointment will be effective October 3rd, through to the June 2016 AGM. Full description of Board responsibilities here.  Please contact Karen MacNeill to express interest.

Transition Committee: The Board will be supported by an accountable transition committee who will work with the Board to channel community and Board efforts. A Terms of Reference is being developed for the Transition Committee, and will be adopted at the Special General Meeting. Recruitment for the Transition Committee will begin in-parallel with Board recruitment. Please contact: Wilf Bean for more information.

With thanks for your continued support,
Tatamagouche Centre Board of Directors


Special General Meeting

Saturday, October 3, 2015
Tatamagouche Fire Hall | 10 am
202 Main Street Tatamagouche | Directions

Business Meeting Agenda

10 am Call Meeting to Order
Appointment of Secretary Designate for Meeting
Nominations Committee Report
Election of Board of Directors and Officers
Terms of Reference, Transition Committee (For Decision)
Formation of Transition Team
Formation of Working Groups for:
•    Fundraising
•    Property
•    Personnel & Volunteer Coordination

Please RSVP for the Special General Meeting.

To vote at the Special General Meeting you must be a member in good standing; i.e., your annual dues have been received. Contact us to confirm your membership status or to apply/renew.

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Sacred spaces, critical decisions

UCC Observer logo

Check out this article about the United Church Centres and their uncertain future in the United Church Observer.

Sacred spaces, critical decisions

Do you know how your nearest learning centre is faring?

By Carolyn Pogue

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Notes from Community Meeting

Tatamagouche Centre hosted a community meeting on August 29, 2015. It was a chance to share information on the current financial situation of the Centre, allow for sharing of feelings and hopes for the Centre, and generate ideas and commitments for building the future of the Centre.

Community Meeting Notes 29-Aug-15, amended 8-Sep-15


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Audited Financial Statements 2014

Some people have asked for more detailed financial information in order to get a clearer picture of the situation.

Our audited financial statements are one of the best pieces of information. Below are statements for 2014 and 2013.

ACTC Audited Financial Statements 2014

ACTC Audited Financial Statements 2013

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Aug 29th Community Day Reflections

We are working hard on getting the full record of the day finalized and up here for you – it should be up over the next few days!

In the meantime, we at the Centre want you to know that we are holding and honoring all the feelings, ideas, concerns and hopes from the day that were sharing by everyone in the Centre community. We are such a wide, diverse and beautiful community/communties. The image below was created from words shared at the day – hopefully you can find yourself reflected somewhere in here.

[Image description: Words from the day. Full list below]

Tata Centre Wordle

Centre, Place, People, Tatamagouche, Staff, Relationship, Space, Understand, Anger, Build, Language, Sadness, Mi’kmaw, Work, Pain, Hope, Gratitude, Leadership, Grief, Anxiety, Despair, Clarity, Opportunity, Thankfulness, Overwhelmed, Helplessness, Potential, Balancing, Sacredness, Energy, Importance, Reconciliation, Healing, Partners, Love, Trust, Immediate, Certain, Recognition, Humanity, Individuals, Gifts, Transformation, Funding, Acceptance, Uncertainty, Impact, Peace, Marginalized, Heart, Fears, Spirit, Ideas, Confidence, Vision, Hard, Foundation, Time, Board, Here, Around, Plan, Change, New, Treaty, Need, Money, Forward, Feel, Heard, Connected, Contribute, Situation, Conflict, Recognize, Future, Learn, Being, Today, Financial, Good, Great, Hold, Thing, Term, Culture, Insurmountable, Confusion, Apprehension, Helpful,  Risk, Finance, Bad, Optimism, Greatest, Chaos, Options, Profound, Careful, Sustain, Justice, Skillful, BTS, Look, Happens, Leaders, Honour, Business, Acknowledgement, Ecological, Realistic, Caught, Different, Act, Programming, Material, Role, Failings, Grasp, Slow, United Church, Relief, Move, Raises, Between, Those, End, World, Inevitable, Organization, Use, Morning, Go, Down, Dollars, Organized, Hopelessness, Represent, Assets, Policy, Imagery, Gives, Much, Beyond, Cycle, Dying, Plant, Regenerate, Wrong, Doing, Sector, Decision, Structure, Surprise, Historical, Aspect, Dealing, Getting paid, Gobsmacked, Hand, Turnout, Leverage, Complex, Advisory, Committee, Analysis, Profundity, Key, Covenant, High, Regard, One Another, Come, More, Won, Throwing, Market, Out, Short, Measures, Open, Without, Thought, Now, Called, Step, Alternative, Sources, Public, First, Province, Mattered, Showed up, Continue, Set Aside, Entire, Spent, Half hour, Raft river falling apart, over, long, both, know, hopefully, towards, sense, very, model, antiethical, social, develop, present, upon.

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Financial Sustainability Plan

On June 20, 2015 the Annual Gathering of Members and Annual General Meeting took place. In addition to wrapping up the business of 2014, the meeting agenda was focused on the work of the financial sustainability task group, which had been struck in January, as well as other initiatives for financial sustainability that have been initiated by Board and staff.

Please check out the draft Financial Sustainability Plan.


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New Frequently Asked Questions Page

Today we are launching a new section of our blog for Frequently Asked Questions, put together this week by the Board of Directors. Please do get in touch if you have questions that are not listed here!



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