Week's Agenda

 

 

 

Fenwick United Church

Update of 2016 Joint Needs Assessment Report

 Draft - December, 2017

 

Introduction

The purpose of this document is to update the September 2016 Joint Needs Assessment Committee (JNAC) report and to recommend next steps.

Community Profile

Found in southern Ontario between two of North America’s Great Lakes (Ontario and Erie), Niagara enjoys a better climate, with earlier springs and later falls than most of southern Ontario. Our natural features, rich soils and unique climate have contributed to the area having some of the best farmland to be found anywhere. Niagara is renowned for its award winning wine industry and tourism attractions.

 Nestled in the heart of the Niagara Region, the Town of Pelham was created in 1970 to unify five historical communities: Fonthill, Ridgeville, Effingham, North Pelham and Fenwick into a single town covering 126 square kilometres, with a current population of 17,500.  Fenwick is expected to continue to grow as a bedroom community and at the same time retain some of its rural roots.  Pelham as a whole could experience significant growth in the next few years as the large urban area on the east side of Fonthill is developed.

Ministry of the Pastoral Charge Profile

Our Mission Statement is:To be an inclusive faith community in Fenwick practicing the teachings of Jesus.”  Goals/Actions by which we have or hope to attain our mission:

1. We are a place of worship with study, music and fellowship.
2. We provide opportunities for spiritual growth and reflection.

3. We provide love and support for our Church family.
4. We are welcoming to everyone; providing a safe and nurturing environment.
5. We provide outreach to those in need locally, nationally and internationally.

6. We enjoy service to God and others.

The congregation is open to new understandings of the Bible.  Families take pride in and value the fact that children take an active role in worship and are welcome to share in communion.

Resources Profile

The congregation supports the mission and ministry of the church by using its talents and actively participating in the life and work of the church.  Fenwick United Church has widespread congregational involvement on committees and council, with a number of members providing strong leadership.   

Fenwick United Church moved from full time ministry to half time ministry in January 2017.  The church has a part time secretary and a part time children’s ministry leader.  The church also contracts the services of a minister of music. 

Our 146 members and 123 adherents live across Niagara Region, including Fenwick, Fonthill, Welland, Port Colborne, Wainfleet, West Lincoln and Niagara Falls (total of 102 families).  Attendance in 2017 averaged about 40-50 people per week.  A small children’s group attend through the school year, and some teenagers and young adults are available for projects.  Approximately 20% of our congregation is over 80 years of age.  Age demographics has more than a financial impact, as older members find it harder to organize and support church activities to the same degree they did when they were younger.

The 2017 church budget estimates total income of $114,146 including annual hall rental of $8,000 (negotiated on an annual basis with the Early Years Program).  The church manse was sold in 2017 and no longer generates rental income, although the proceeds provide investment income and it may be possible to use some of the capital to fund maintenance projects (requires Presbytery approval).  On the other side of the ledger, the 2017 budget for expenses is $120,456, resulting in a forecasted deficit of $6,310.

Fenwick United Church completed a Joint Needs Assessment Report in September, 2016 that recommended the move from full time to half time ministry.  The 2016 report also recommended the formation of a Planning Committee to develop a clear plan for the future of the congregation, including but not limited to options such as a two point charge or amalgamation.  The Planning Committee began its work in December, 2016, and its recommendations are included in this report.

Position Profile     

Fenwick United Church and Bethany United Church are looking to move forward together through shared ministry.   Together, we are seeking a full-time minister to lead worship and encourage music in each congregation, visit members of the congregations with the assistance of pastoral care committees, and support children and youth activities. 

This will be a collaborative arrangement between the two churches with each congregation entering into a separate contract with the minister.  Administering this shared ministry will be a work in progress with both churches committed to ensuring its success.  At this time it is envisioned that Joint meetings of representatives of the two congregations will be held to coordinate activities and address other issues as necessary.

Skills Profile

Fenwick United Church is seeking a half time minister with strong leadership, organizational and communication skills.

Terms Profile

The congregation’s needs, resources and financial forecast will enable us to pay a minister in a half time position. We are able to meet all requirements of the manual according to the Salary and Benefits Schedule of the United Church of Canada up to the equivalent of Category F, adjusted appropriately to reflect a half time position and the candidate’s experience and gifts. 

Recommendations

1)       That Fenwick United Church hire a half time minister effective the summer of 2018.

                                                    -  End of Updated JNAC Report -

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Joint Needs Assessment Committee Report (Final)

  September 17, 2016

Community Profile

Found in southern Ontario between two of North America’s Great Lakes (Ontario and Erie), Niagara is a very diverse area.  The buffering effect of the two lakes is such that Niagara enjoys a better climate, with earlier springs and later falls than most of southern Ontario.  Our natural features, rich soils and unique climate have contributed to the area having some of the best farmland to be found anywhere. Niagara is renowned for its award winning wine industry and tourism attractions that include the Welland Canal and Niagara Falls.  The region has an abundance of walking trails, cycling and driving routes, such as the Niagara Parkway that follows the Niagara River.  The Niagara Wine Route connects dozens of wineries, through some of the most scenic countryside in Ontario.

We are bordered to the east by New York State and are within an hour’s drive from major cities such as Hamilton, Toronto and Buffalo.

Niagara, which has a population of 435,000 and covers 1854 square kilometres, is made up of 12 unique and distinct local municipalities.  They vary from the larger populated cities of St. Catharines and Niagara Falls with their urban intensive features, to Pelham and West Lincoln with a more rural or natural area setting.

Nestled in the heart of the Niagara Region, the Town of Pelham was created in 1970 to unify five historical communities: Fonthill, Ridgeville, Effingham, North Pelham and Fenwick into a single town covering 126 square kilometres, with a current population of 17,500.  Pelham is ideally located in that it borders the big cities but remains a peaceful, pleasant community surrounded by fruit orchards, green houses and vegetable farms.

Adventurous people with a strong sense of community spirit have served the Pelham area since the early 1800's and have helped preserve our small town atmosphere.  Fenwick is expected to continue to grow as a bedroom community and at the same time retain some of its rural roots.  Pelham as a whole could experience significant growth in the next few years as the large urban area on the east side of Fonthill is developed.

Recreational opportunities:

ú   Steve Bauer Trail, Harold Bradshaw Park and Short Hills Provincial Park
ú  
Abundance of golf courses
ú  
Cave Springs Camp (United Church)
ú   Plans for the development of a community centre Arts and Culture
ú   Fenwick Library (expansion currently under construction)
ú  
Pelham Historical Society
ú   FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, Brock Centre of the Arts, Shaw Festival, Gypsy Theatre in Fort Erie, Garden City Productions, Rodman Hall Art Gallery, Music Scene

Fenwick has a lot to offer.  The one thing it doesn’t have is a traffic light.

Ministry of the Pastoral Charge Profile

Our Mission Statement is:To be an inclusive faith community in Fenwick practicing the teachings of Jesus.”

Goals/Actions by which we have or hope to attain our mission:

1. We are a place of worship with study, music and fellowship.
2. We provide opportunities for spiritual growth and reflection.
3. We provide love and support for our Church family.

4. We are welcoming to everyone; providing a safe and nurturing environment.

5. We provide outreach to those in need locally, nationally and internationally.

6. We enjoy service to God and others.

We work together to reach out to our church family through:

ú   Sunday School
ú  
Family activities including movie nights and game nights
ú  
Funeral luncheons
ú   Publishing and delivery of the Communicator newsletter
ú   Taping of services and distribution to shut ins
ú   Weekly coffee hour after church

We work together to reach out to the local community through:

ú   Bake sales, book sales, flea markets, plant sales, and an annual church bazaar
ú  
Rental of church hall to church members and groups
ú  
Support for Cave Springs Camp
ú  
White gift donations to local Pelham Cares
ú   Supporting Pelham Cares (financial support for their new building, volunteer driving, helping with Christmas and Easter baskets, working on the food drive and supporting the community food bank)
ú   Supporting community Christmas toys in Welland
ú  
Supporting Hope Centre in Welland
ú  
Supporting Niagara South Women’s Shelter
ú   Preparing Harvest Dinners at Central United Church in Welland
ú   Providing meeting space for an AA group
ú   Partnership with Ontario Early Years Centre – paid use of church space
ú   Supporting the Alzheimer’s Society by hosting a coffee hour
ú   UCW support for the Brock Chaplaincy Program, Hospice Niagara, Niagara South Women’s Shelter, and the Niagara Nutritional Program
ú   Support for a new skate park in Pelham

We work together to reach out to the world community through:

ú   Lenten projects such as support to the Syrian Refugee Fund, Women’s Place, etc.
ú   World UCW projects such as the Canadian Bible Society, Canadian Food Grains, the Angola scholarship program, St. Paul’s College, and the Missions and Service Fund
ú   Generous congregational support to the Mission and Service Fund
ú   Actively participating in and generously supporting the Pelham Syrian Refugee Constituent Group.  This group includes four local churches and community members, all working together to raise funding to sponsor a Syrian refugee family.

We share fellowship with other local congregations in the form of socials, special occasions, speaker events and choirs.   We participate in community worships organized by the Pelham Clergy Fellowship such as the Service for the Bereaved and a service during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  We also participate in World Day of Prayer organized by women from local congregations.

We have a particularly close relationship with Fonthill United Church and share resources with them as outlined in the Resources Profile section below.

The congregation fits within the broad spectrum of United Church theology but with a leaning towards a more liberal perspective.  The congregation is open to new understandings of the Bible.  Families take pride in and value the fact that children take an active role in worship and are welcome to share in communion.

Resources Profile

 The membership provides significant volunteer resources and groups that include:

ú   14 member council and other committees
ú  
United Church Women (UCW)
ú  
Men’s Group (Tuesday morning coffee hour)
ú   Circle of Friends – keeping in touch with shut ins
ú   Prayer chain
ú  
Licensed Lay Worship Leader(s)
ú   Adult Choir

The congregation supports the mission and ministry of the church by using its talents and actively participating in the life and work of the church.  Fenwick United Church has widespread congregational involvement on committees and council, with a number of members providing strong leadership. 

The church has a part time secretary and a part time children’s ministry leader.  The church also contracts the services of a minister of music.  Fenwick and Fonthill United Churches are partners in the sense that we share many resources, including a secretary and organist/ music director.  Our ministers cover for each other on holidays and sabbaticals and we have joint church services during the summer and other occasions.  Our men’s clubs include attendees from both congregations.  We each include a monthly activity schedule in our respective church bulletin that show upcoming events for both churches. We even share a phone directory.

The church does not have a custodian on staff.  The janitorial, light maintenance and yard work is done by an ad hoc committee of volunteers.  This approach was established as a cost cutting measure.  The work is usually done on one specific day of the week (currently Fridays and as required). 

By the year 2000 the original church building was a century old and had serious structural problems, particularly in the foundation and floor of the sanctuary.  The congregation made a decision in 2001 to carry out major renovations and construct an addition to the church building, making it totally accessible and air conditioned.  The upgrades were completed in 2003.  All loans associated with the work were paid off by 2008 and the church has been debt free since that time.

Our 146 members and 123 adherents live across Niagara Region, including Fenwick, Fonthill, Welland, Port Colborne, Wainfleet, West Lincoln and Niagara Falls (total of 102 families).  Attendance in 2016 averages about 45-50 people per week.  A small children’s group attend through the school year, and some teenagers and young adults are available for projects.  Approximately 20% of our congregation is over 80 years of age.  Age demographics has more than a financial impact, as older members find it harder to organize and support church activities to the same degree they did when they were younger.

The 2016 church budget estimates total income of $125,887, including manse rental of $8,592 per year and annual hall rental of $8,000 (negotiated on an annual basis with the Early Years Program).  On the other side of the ledger, the 2016 budget for expenses is $162,507.  The result is a forecasted deficit of $36,620.  Assuming status quo with a full time minister, the forecasted annual deficits continue to increase year over year with our reserve funds running out mid 2019, Assuming a significant reduction in personnel costs at the start of 2017, such as a change to part time ministry or a two point charge, the forecasted deficits continue but are reduced and our reserve funding lasts to approximately mid 2024.

We recommend the hiring of a half time minister at this time as outlined below in the remaining sections of this report.  We also recommend that there be future planning initiatives undertaken by the congregation to explore other options such as amalgamation or moving to a two point charge.

Position Profile     

We are seeking a half time ordained minister of The United Church of Canada to fulfill the responsibilities listed below.  This list is in order of higher to lower priority as per the results of a congregational survey completed in September, 2016.  

ú   Lead worship including presiding at the sacraments, weddings and funerals.
ú   Visit members of the congregation as needed
ú  
Support the music program and work with the minister of music
ú   Work closely with committees and council
ú   Support children and youth activities and encourage young families to join

The minister is accountable to the church council through the Ministry and Personnel Committee.  The minister relates to all the committees of the church.  The minister of music, the children’s ministry leader and the secretary are accountable to both the minister and the Ministry and Personnel Committee.

Skills Profile

The congregation is seeking an ordained minister with the strong leadership, organizational and communication skills required to fulfil the responsibilities listed above.

In addition, the congregation is looking for an experienced minister that can work with committees and council to develop a clear plan for the future of the congregation.

Terms Profile

The congregation’s needs, resources and financial forecast will enable us to pay a minister in a half time position. We are able to meet all requirements of the manual according to the Salary and Benefits Schedule of the United Church of Canada up to the equivalent of Category F, adjusted appropriately to reflect a half time position and the candidate’s experience and gifts. 

Recommendations

1)       That Fenwick United Church hire a half time ordained minister as of January 1, 2017.

2)       That the congregation form an Ad-hoc committee to work with the minister and the council to develop a clear plan for the future of the congregation, including but not limited to consideration of options such as a two point charge or amalgamation.

Resource Documents (on request):

Brief job descriptions of staff.
Fenwick United Church 2011 to2015 Annual Reports (includes financial statements).