Category Archives: Community

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 or Karen MacNeill at

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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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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Community Meeting August 29 Full Details


Dear Tatamagouche Centre supporters,

The August 29 meeting of the wider community of the Tatamagouche Centre, A Day of Voice and Choice, is taking shape.  The Centre needs your help and we hope you will be able to attend the meeting because your voice is important.  Please share this invitation widely to help us reach as many people as possible.  You can share this event on Facebook at:

Register now at

Date: August 29, 2015

Time: 9:30 am gathering, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm meeting

Purpose of the meeting:

  • To share information on the current situation and discuss decisions that have been made so far. For background information please visit “Happenings” at
  • To create a space for people to express feelings, ideas, concerns, and hopes
  • To generate ideas, foster action and commitment for moving forward

We know that these are ambitious objectives for our time together. We also believe that this is the first step to engaging our community and supporters, and there will be other steps to come.  We are all working from the best of intentions to create a productive and meaningful day, that reflects the Centre’s core value, in which we can look to the future of the Centre.

Lunch: Please bring your own lunch. We will have snacks available along with tea and coffee donated by Just Us!

Accommodations: Overnight lodging can be reserved at your own expense. Please provide your own breakfast.

Childcare:  We are hoping to provide childcare, and are in need of volunteers to do so! Please let us know when you register if you need childcare and/or can volunteer your time to help care for children.

Carpooling: Please let us know when you register if you are interested in carpooling.

Meeting planning:  We would like to hear from you to help guide the preparations. Please take a minute to answer the following questions:

  1. What would help you participate in this meeting?
  2. What do you hope to learn?

Please send your responses to Paula Gallant by email at as soon as possible, at the latest Wednesday, August 26, 2015.


Please register online at  (Go to and click on Programs, then All programs by date)


In collaboration,

Paula Gallant

On behalf of the August 29th Planning group and the Tatamagouche Centre Board


Posted: August 20, 2015

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Notice of Community Meeting August 29


In July, the Board of Tatamagouche Centre had to share some very difficult news regarding the financial position of the Centre. This news had significant and dramatic impact on the Centre’s current operations, with changes in store for the remainder of this year. To read the full message from the Board click here {insert link}.

On Saturday August 29  there will be a  day-long meeting of the wider  community  of the Tatamagouche Centre.

The meeting  is a call for all  who are concerned about the present  crisis our Centre is facing to try your best to be present.  This is true  whether you be staff, Board,  member , PDT, PRG,  committee volunteer, local community member or simply someone who loves the Centre and wishes to see it continue to offer its witness of faith, justice, transformation and inclusion to the world.

We hope that this meeting will be an opportunity to explain our situation to the community, discuss the decisions made so far, give people a chance to express their feelings, and then start seeking commitment and interest as move forward.

We are in a critical situation, which developed over a number of years.  We don’t expect one meeting to solve everything, but we hope that this meeting will result in a number of individuals and groups committing to working together to help the Centre survive and transition to a more sustainable future.

Please plan to come to this meeting. It will be held at the Centre.  The planning team for the event is at work but starting and ending  times for the meeting have not been pinned down yet.  We do know that it will  most likely need to be an all day event,  perhaps starting mid morning and finishing mid afternoon.

We will be sending further updates as our planning work progresses.

In the meantime, we are encouraging people  to become involved in any way they can.   We know that not everyone will feel comfortable or want to attend a meeting and yet we need to ensure that all Centre related groups and partners are represented. We encourage people to meet ahead of time with groups they care about and want to see represented at this meeting. We are working to prepare information packets to support those who want to gather and host their own conversations and meetings both before and after August 29th

If you have questions or want to be involved more directly in the planning process please be  in touch with  either  Andrew Jantzen or Lori Crocker  

Still further details about this meeting will be forthcoming so keep an eye out for them.

With appreciation for your attention to this opportunity and with gratitude for your support,

Lori Crocker,

for the  August 29th Planning group and the Tatamagouche Centre Board

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Update on the financial situation from the Board

Dear Members and Friends,

During the AGM on June 19, 2015 the financial situation of Tatamagouche Centre was presented through the Audited Financial Statements. At that time, we were already struggling to meet our monthly payroll. The Board advised you that we were going to pursue more detailed information regarding our Cash Flow Projections for the remainder of the year, information we felt was necessary for informed decisions. During that meeting, you, the members of the Society, directed the Board to keep you informed and to share what information we had as it became available.

The Board engaged the services of Angus Bonnyman to confirm the exact financial situation of Tatamagouche Centre as of June 30, 2015, and to provide cash flow projections for the remainder of the year. Angus is a Chartered Accountant who lives in Tatamagouche and teaches at Saint Mary’s University. We are very grateful to Maritime Conference who provided the money to do this work.

On Wednesday evening, July 8th, 2015, the Board received the report from Angus Bonnyman. As of June 30th, 2015, between our line of credit with Scotia Bank, deferred revenue (grant money we received to support programs we have not yet run) and money owing to endowment funds or organizations associated with the Centre, our current indebtedness is between $275,000 and $300,000.

Further to this, Angus Bonnyman’s work with the cash flow projections indicates that even if everything this summer and fall went as planned we would increase our operational deficit to $380,000.

This means that Tatamagouche Centre is insolvent, unable to pay its debts in a timely manner.

There has been some good news. The Spirit of the East Hootenanny did very well – thank you to Av Singh, our Staff, and our Community, and to Scotia Bank who matched all the proceeds up to $5,000. We raised $12,000 and cleared nearly $10,700. And money has been coming in from the Big 6-0 Appeal – the project undertaken by Kenley MacNeill and David Stevenson to find 10 donors, or groups of donors, willing to make a donation of $6,000 each.

It is good to see such support for the Centre. Yet the Board cannot deny the weight of our financial indebtedness. We met with the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) on Saturday, July 11th to share the report with them and to talk about some of the hard choices before us. When an organization is insolvent, the law has some very clear instruction as to which creditors get paid first. To protect our staff and to comply with our responsibilities, the Board has taken control of the cheque book and the General Ledger. During the past week we have been seeking legal advice regarding laying off staff. Again, thank you to Maritime Conference for their referral. Salaries are our biggest and most relentless expense and we do not want to reach a point where we cannot pay our staff for work already completed.

The Board has had many conversations and meetings within the Board, with Maritime Conference, and with legal advisors. On July 16th, 2015, the Board has made the decision to lay off all staff effective September 30th. The staff were informed of this decision on July 17th and the notices will be delivered in person at the Centre on July 27. Any viable program or event will go forward between now and September 30th. We have already identified some programs and events in October that we want to see proceed. It is our hope to set in place a skeleton staff so that this can happen this fall. This means it will be October before we see any change in our operational expenses. We would have liked to have engaged in broader discussion with the staff and community but time has pushed us to act according to our best wisdom.

We have also begun to get Real Estate quotes for the sale of Stevens House and Reid House. It is very likely we will need to sell one or the other in order to redress our present financial challenge.

We do not do this lightly. Our line of credit with Scotia Bank is secured by Stevens House. If we cannot stay within that line of credit, the Bank is within its legal rights and obligations to foreclose on the property. We would rather sell it ourselves and perhaps realize a bit above what we owe. This is also something that takes time as we would require discussion with the community and permission from Maritime Conference before we could proceed.

We know that most of you already financially support the Centre. Your support is needed now more than ever – not for visioning or programming or mission but to pay our staff and manage our debt. We need your support and engagement. The staff  have prepared a letter to go to all PAR donors and a message for our website to ensure that people understand how their gifts will be used.

There are possibilities on the horizon. The recently approved application to the Catherine Donnelly Foundation would see us engaged in a 5 year program. The proposed changes in the United Church would mean an urgent need for lay leadership development and training, something we do very well! We have our business plan for increasing hosting as a revenue stream. We are re-evaluating how to make the most of our program offerings. We have just begun to wonder and explore common purpose with organizations within the First Nations Community. We are reaching out to neighbours, building partnerships, linking our efforts to similar efforts within the local community. But none of this addresses our current losses, our struggles to find money to meet our monthly payroll and expenses.

The future holds promise. It is the present, this moment now, which needs our care and our commitment.

It is our intention to call a general meeting of the membership early in August. We are trying to find a good facilitator for that meeting and will set the date as soon as we have one. In the meantime, below is a list of Board members with their contact information. Please feel free to contact us.

With deep concern,
The Board of Tatamagouche Centre

Jennifer Graham, Co-Chair, (902) 453-1776
Theresa Halfkenny, Co-Chair, (902) 660-2780
Daniele Hart, Secretary, (902) 835-8267
Lori Crocker, (902) 329-2227
Berta Gaulke, (902) 657-1135
Andrew Jantzen, (902) 483-8899
Karen MacNeill, (506) 943-0204
Jim Wicks, (902) 368-3207


Posted: July 21, 2015

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Report from the 2015 Annual General Meeting

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.

Below are documents from the event, which you may download:

Thank you to each of you who has participated in these conversations and who has offered their care and support. We continue to be awed and heartened by the wisdom of this community.

If you have comments, questions or feedback please get in touch:

Michelle Ferris
Organization & Outreach Director
(902) 657-2231 |

Daniele Hart
Secretary, Board of Directors


Posted: June 25, 2015

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