Joint Needs Assessment Report
to the Council and Congregation
Grace United Church, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
Congregation Members: Leslie Woodward, Peter Joselin, Gail Martin, Gord Hallit
Presbytery Members: Rev. Elizabeth Agnew, Margaret Blewett
1. The Joint Needs Assessment Committee of Grace United Church recommends that our Pastoral Charge request Niagara Presbytery to declare a vacancy to be filled, through a Call, by a full time United Church of Canada Order of Ministry.
2. The Niagara Presbytery approve a Joint Search Committee for Grace United Church and that the JNAC be dissolved.
GRACE UNITED CHURCH
JOINT NEEDS ASSESSMENT COMMITTEE
NEEDS ASSESSMENT PROFILE #1 - COMMUNITY
HISTORY AND POPULATION
Niagara-on-the-Lake is in the north-east corner of the Niagara Peninsula in Southern Ontario. NOTL was the capital of Upper Canada from 1792 to 1796 and was known as Newark. After four years the capital was moved to York, now Toronto, because Newark was too close to the USA and vulnerable to attack. This became true during the War of 1812 when, in 1813, the town was sacked and burned.
The municipality of Niagara-on-the-Lake is in a picturesque location bounded on the east by the Niagara River, (the international boundary with the USA), on the north by Lake Ontario, on the west by the Welland Canal and the City of St Catharines, and on the south by the Niagara escarpment and the City of Niagara Falls. The town has many historic homes, beautiful gardens and has been named “Most Picturesque Town in Ontario” and in 2016 the “Most Picturesque Town in Canada”.
The municipality had grown to a population of 17,511 in 2016. This was a 13.7% increase over the past five years, compared to 3.5% for the St. Catharines - Niagara Region. Neighbouring municipalities had varying levels of growth with St. Catharines proper growing 1.3%, Thorold 4.9%, Port Colborne -.6%, and Niagara Falls, 6.1% growth. Niagara-on-the-Lake's growth has been significantly higher than the National growth average of 5% and the Ontario average of 4.6%.
Census data from 2011 reveals that the municipality has an above average and growing level of married-couples’ families - 84%, compared to 67% for Canada, 72% for Ontario, and 68% each for St Catharines and Niagara Falls. Consistent with this, over 85% of dwellings in the municipality are single detached homes compared to 55% in Ontario and Canada. There are few visible minorities except in the summer when several hundred Caribbean and Mexican workers come to work on the farms. There is a large Mennonite population, particularly around the Village of Virgil.
The economic base of the municipality is tourism and farming. Tourism centres on the Shaw Festival, a renowned repertory theatre company that operates four theatres in Old Town from April to November. Productions are plays by George Bernard Shaw or his contemporaries, and are a major attraction for visitors. The Shaw Festival is a major employer, but as with the local farming, has a summer seasonal bias, leading to a slowing down over the winter season. Farming is principally fruit orchards, vineyards and wine production.
There are 26 wineries in NOTL and 88 wineries in total in the Niagara Region. These wineries range in size from large producers such as Inniskillin, Trius, Peller Estates, Jackson Triggs and Konzelmann to small producers that sell only from their winery. Over recent years Niagara wines have won many international awards, and one of the best-known products is ice wine, for which the Niagara climate is especially suitable. History is also a growing attraction with the commemoration activities pertaining to the War of 1812 and the presence of Fort George and Navy Hall. Another attraction is the many well-maintained Heritage homes, and a vibrant Historical Museum.
HEALTH AND EDUCATION
There are two elementary public schools in NOTL and the Glendale campus of Niagara College is in the western part of the municipality. Brock University in St Catharines is within easy reach, about 20 minutes drive from the Old Town.
Medical doctors work out of two locations, one a now disused hospital with a walk-in clinic in the Old Town where nurse practitioners see patients supported by a team of family doctors. The other medical clinic operates in the Village of Virgil.
A major new 375 bed Regional Hospital was opened in March 2013 providing one million square feet of care in a state-of-the-art, patient-centred environment in the west end of St Catharines - a 30-minute drive from the Old Town. This hospital provides a multitude of services including comprehensive cancer care, a heart and stroke centre, and a specialized centre for mental health which provides 24 hr. psychiatric emergency service. The new hospital is the hub of regional dialysis services.
There are four traditional churches in the Old Town - Grace United, St Andrew's Presbyterian, St Mark's Anglican and St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic - and a few others, particularly several Mennonite and a Lutheran, mainly in Virgil. Another United Church is in St David's. There are a number of service clubs, including Lions, Rotary and the Canadian Legion and outreach to the needy is provided by Newark Neighbours. The Niagara Advance provides weekly news service to the municipality, and an annual magazine. There are a wealth of bed-and-breakfasts, and cottages for rental, in addition to three large hotels, and several smaller hotels and inns.
Most of the home building in the municipality at present is in Virgil and St. David's, though many new town home developments are popping up in the old town as land becomes available. There is next to no building in Queenston. These demographics mean that housing is expensive in "Old Town" and Queenston, and relatively cheaper in Virgil and St. David's. Assessment values are quite high and the municipality has the distinction of paying the most municipal taxes per residence in the Niagara Region.
Both Old Town and Virgil have grocery and other stores for day to day purchases, including pharmacies, but for department stores, one has to go to St. Catharines or Niagara Falls. Thus it is an advantage to have a car. One very pleasant feature is the number of vegetable/fruit stands and the abundance of locally grown fruit in season.
The municipality is well served with recreational facilities. There are two ice rinks in the Virgil arena with figure skating, hockey and public skating offered. There is also a ball park and a skateboard facility. There are two outdoor swimming pools, lawn bowling and tennis courts. Niagara-on-the-Lake has Canada's oldest golf club next to the Niagara River. With the Niagara River and Lake Ontario, and a local Sailing Club, there is ample opportunity for water activities.
A new, enlarged and much enhanced Community Centre has been opened alongside a modern, up-to-date Library. Aside from the Shaw Festival there are many cultural activities including Music Niagara, book clubs, garden club, and bridge clubs. There is an active Newcomers Club and Social Club.
GRACE UNITED CHURCH
JOINT NEEDS ASSESSMENT COMMITTEE
NEEDS ASSESSMENT PROFILE #2 – THE PASTORAL CHARGE
GRACE UNITED CHURCH ACTIVITIES
Grace United has an active congregation, including groups such as the UCW, The Men's Club, Choir, Prayer Circle and the usual Church Committees. We have many annual fund-raising events, such as a Ham Dinner, Beef-on-a-Bun Supper, Jolly June Jamboree, Festival Market on Labour Day Saturday, Chili Supper Night and the Christmas Market in November. Throughout the year both women and men participate in making the best meat pies in town!
Grace United has a strong tradition of Outreach. We hold community lunches several times a year. Financial support has been given locally to Newark Neighbours and Red Roof Retreat as well as Out of the Cold in St. Catharines; Cave Springs Camp; and Women’s Place in Niagara Falls. Farther afield, we supported a Girl's Orphanage and Wells of Hope in Guatemala and now actively support our Syrian Refugee Family based in St. Catharines. Because of our close connection to the farmers and vintners in our neighbourhood, support is given to the local Caribbean Workers Outreach programmes for seasonal offshore workers. CWOP was founded by Grace United Church over 25 years ago. As the need in both Community and the World arises, Grace U.C. tries to be aware and to act according to our abilities. We, of course, are great supporters of the United Church Mission and Service Fund.
Transportation is provided, on request, for church services and medical appointments. Our church is wheel chair accessible.
There is a Ministerial Committee of the ministers at the four "Old Town" churches. All four churches take part in the Good Friday Ecumenical Service, the location of which rotates among them. At times the Choirs from all churches will participate in the Remembrance Day Service held at the Town's Cenotaph, our Clock Tower.
In 1998, Grace United Church established A Week of Guided Prayer (now known as a Week of Personal Reflection) and invited the community to attend. This Week includes the walking of our own Labyrinth in silence and meditation; as well as a time for daily personal reflection with a companion on chosen biblical passages. This program is currently in hiatus, but may return to Grace in the future.
Our Church Hall is used regularly (for free) for Sparks (Girl Guide Organization) and The Evergreen Singers, a community choir originally founded by one of our own Grace members and we also support the Nyanyas.
Niagara-on-the-Lake, particularly "Old Town" has become a retiree community. Young families in the area tend to live in Virgil or St. David's and, if they attend church, do so in those communities. We have a reputation for being a friendly, happy group of people and the recent new members to Grace report that the friendly welcome received was a large influence on their joining Grace United.
The church has a website (www.graceunitedchurch.com) and uses PowerPoint to enhance each Sunday’s services. We are currently updating our sound system and have recently installed a monitor on the back wall of the church to help both the Minister and the choir follow the power point presentations.
OUR VISION STATEMENT:
We, the people of Grace United Church, followers of Jesus Christ, strive to be a warm, welcoming community of faith, proud of our past and willing to accept today's challenges. With God's Grace, we seek to nurture one another, to reach out to meet the needs of local and world communities and to continue to use the gifts and talents with which we have been blessed, in order to be a blessing to others.
Note: Available with this profile are significant historical pamphlets designed and printed by our Outreach Committee as part of our community’s War of 1812-14 Bicentennial recognition.
Grace United Church’s latest Annual Report is also available upon request.
GRACE UNITED CHURCH
JOINT NEEDS ASSESSMENT COMMITTEE
NEEDS ASSESSMENT PROFILE #3 - RESOURCES
Grace Church has a Finance Committee that reviews each month’s financial statements on a timely basis and are fully committed to working with the Treasurer and Church Council. They keep abreast of all revenues received and expenses incurred on a regular basis. The 2016 reports of the Finance Committee and the Treasurer, including the 2016 Financial Statements, are included in the 2016 Annual Report enclosed with this presentation. In the face of rising costs, operating funds are a serious challenge.
Income is in the form of weekly giving’s, special offerings, donations including bequests, etc. investments & investment income, fundraising initiatives by our valued U.C.W. and Men’s Club (i.e. Bazaars, annual Festival Market, Beef-on-a-Bun Dinner, Chili Dinner, Ham Dinner) and miscellaneous income i.e. weddings, church/hall rentals and donations from community events.
Expenses incurred include salaries and allowances, required payroll deductions, administrative expenses, property upkeep and utilities, and other operating expenses i.e. insurance, presbytery dues, church committee expenses.
As can be seen from the Financial Statements, Local Giving’s of $95,300 in 2016 fell short of the Salaries and Allowances of $100,295. Fund Raising projects totalling $26,900 helped to close the gap in 2016 with the bottom line showing a small surplus of $4,800, after removing special project costs that were covered outside local giving’s. Fund raising projects have become an increasing strain on an aging congregation, and there is no assurance that the current level of fund raising income can remain at its present level, but every year significant funds are raised through a variety of events. The 2017 Annual Financial statements will be available soon, which will reflect another year with a small surplus.
In addition to a negotiated annual salary the Minister receives a Cell phone allowance, a Book allowance and expenses related to the charge are reimbursed monthly. Grace Church does not have any financial commitments/debts in the form of mortgages, loans/liens with any financial institution. It holds Manse sale funds in trust, and other designated funds which continue to be eroded to support an aging building.
Grace Church owns the church building and the land on which it sits. The church cemetery is located at Gate & Gage Streets in Niagara-on-the-Lake (the cemetery is no longer in use but is maintained year-round). The Church properties are maintained and repaired as required through contracted construction and repair professionals; donations; and volunteers’ time, skills and efforts.
Grace United Church was built in 1854 by the Presbyterian congregation but was consequently sold to the local Methodist Congregation. The Sunday School Hall abutting the rear of he Church was built in 1902 and the Kitchen/Office/Minister’s Study was added in the 1960’s.
Our Church Office and Minister’s Study are on the second floor with no elevator. It would be very difficult to change this. The Church Office comes equipped with high-speed internet and computer photocopier. The Minister’s Study is a bright windowed room equipped with a large office desk and desk chair, bookshelves, computer and printer. The room is large enough for small meetings and contains a round table that easily seats four.
At Grace, we are now working with the Power Church computer software and find it comprehensive and helpful with our financial and administrative concerns.
PROFILE #4: POSITION PROFILE
At Grace United we require one full-time, ordained minister of the United Church of Canada to provide oversight and care to our members and adherents.
The position is accountable to Niagara Presbytery for the general conduct of the ministry and to Grace United Church Council for the programmes and goals of the congregation. Mutual assessment of the ministry will be conducted by the Ministry and Personnel Committee of Grace, at least once a year.
A full-time Minister of Word, Sacrament, and Pastoral Care, responsible to the Pastoral Charge through the Ministry and Personnel Committee under the oversight of Niagara Presbytery and Hamilton Conference of the United Church of Canada.
DUTIES OF MINISTER AT GRACE
We, the people of Grace United Church, followers of Jesus Christ, strive to be a warm welcoming community of faith, proud of our past and willing to accept today’s challenges. With God’s Grace, we seek to nurture one another, to reach out to meet the needs of local and world communities and to continue to use the gifts and talents with which we have been blessed, in order to be a blessing to others.
Our Minister needs to assist Grace in carrying out our above Vision Statement by:
· Creatively lead worship services on Sunday morning
· Help us understand God today with joyful and inspiring messages
· Respect the history and traditions of Grace United while encouraging variety, creativity and flexibility in changing times
· Conduct weddings, funerals and baptismal services as required
· Conduct special services that may include Christmas Eve, Good Friday, World events and others as needed
· Help us maintain the strong focus that music plays in worship at Grace United
· Work with the council and congregation in fulfilling the Mission of Grace United Church
· Collaborate specifically with the Worship and Music Committee and the Choir Director and work collaboratively with the congregation, church staff and committees
· Inspire the congregation to use their talents
· Encourage and promote Lay leadership
· Join with the congregation to provide effective, compassionate pastoral care which would include visitation for shut-ins, those who are ill or bereaved
· Together with the congregation develops strategies to encourage growth in membership
· Encourage and participate in fellowship/community building events at Grace United
· Support and encourage local and global outreach
Grace Church has a small but very talented, vibrant and committed membership. The church is blessed with a supportive congregation having a wealth of skills, knowledge and experience.
Ÿ Members of the congregation willingly offer their time and efforts in all areas of church life - from maintenance of the building, property, cemetery, gardening, fundraising, U.C.W. and Men’s Club activities, to name a few.
Ÿ Grace Church leadership is strong and committed. The church is led by Church Council that holds regularly scheduled meetings to oversee the day-to-day operations of the Church, both spiritually and physically, and very importantly to support our Minister.
Ÿ The following committees exist - Ministry and Personnel, Finance, Property, Worship and Music, Christian Education, Outreach, Church Family, Communications, Nominating, U.C.W., and Men’s Club. Grace church also has a representative at Presbytery and an active Board of Trustees.
Ÿ In addition to monetary donations and the gift of time and talents, gifts other than money are much appreciated and welcomed. Gifts are donated in memory of friends, and loved ones, or for worship purposes. For example, items such as specially made cushions for the pews, an antique pump organ, brass candle lighter/snuffer, air-conditioning in Sanctuary and Church Hall were all donated.
Grace Church employs on a part-time basis, a Church Secretary, Music Director and Custodian. The Church Secretary offers secretarial and administrative services to the Minister as well as assisting the congregation and committees with administrative services. The Music Director works with the Minister on music selections for worship services, special services and concerts.
PROFILE #5: MINISTERIAL SKILLS REQUIRED
Niagara-on-the-Lake is well-known as a tourist and retirement community. Hence most of our congregation consists of members and adherents over sixty years of age. After a successful return of our survey on Skills and Qualities required to minister to Grace, we believe our priority needs will be met by a minister who:
· Preaches inspiring sermons, with conviction and passion, addressing current issues and how, we as Christians, relate to them
· Has a warm and welcoming manner that fosters fellowship within the congregation
· Has a variety of leadership styles and well-developed communication and listening skills
· Will encourage and promote outreach within the community
· Is compassionate and will visit those who need comfort and support
· Has a sense of humour
· Is organized and able to manage multiple priorities
· Developed social media skills are a definite asset
PROFILE #6: TERMS PROFILE
Salary, Benefits and Allowances will depend on the candidate’s qualifications and are negotiable following the guidelines of the United Church of Canada. A monthly cell phone allowance will be provided. Mileage at the current rates set by the UCC. Standard vacation, education allowance and study leave will be provided on a yearly basis.
We would prefer our Minister to reside in the Community and to become active in its affairs, but recognize that this may be financially difficult.