Exploring Amalgamation

History of Amalgamation


Spring-Informal conversation at smugglers cove with St A and GHUC leaders

Dec – Tri-church advent gathering at CBUC


Jan/Feb – Proposal from CBUC Board to GHUC for Amalgamation and care taking designed

Mar 1 -Proposal shared at CBUC at AGM and affirmed by congregation to proceed

Apr–Aug – Cleaning up and sorting GHUC property, paperwork and taking over admin

Sept – Victoria Presbytery declares GHUC and CBUC to be amalgamated

Dec– Last Sunday Service in GHUC


Jan–Apr– Wednesday afternoon services and tea at GHUC

Apr –  St A’s takes over this ministry and combines it with their Sr. program to create “Happy Hour”

July/Aug–  Remedial renovations to GHUC property to prepare for Arts Calibre Academy renting full days all year long

Sept– GHUC Parents and Tots program moves to St A’s

Fall -Relationship building with St A’s resumes


April–  reVision proposal for both councils to consider doing together is discussed and affirmed

May-Aug– reVision teams and leadership recruited and work begun

Sept–Nov– Mixed small groups of 160 people from both congregations meet

Nov -Summit #1A meets at St A’s to share insights and some possible directions moving forward


Jan– Summit #1B meets at CBUC to deepen insights and create 5 major focus groups and 3 sub-groups

Jan–May–  Focus groups meet to research and discern

May – Summit #2  meets at CBUC to focus groups to report findings and recommendations. Timelines for integration proposed and motion is affirmed by those gathered. Cordova Bay joins us to observe. reVision process ends

Aug–Dec -Joint councils meet for the first time, to sort out how they might relate to each other, build relationships and trust and figure out strategy for ways forward. 

These include:

  1. Creating 3 working groups to research and make recommendations (Asset Management, Pragmatic and Social Enterprise)
  2. Work together on sharing program offerings and first joint program booklet created
  3. Joint Stewardship initiative with shared research about demographics and income streams
  4. Joint Application for Provision Grant is begun and consultant hired



  1. Three working groups begin their work together to research, discern, struggle and prepare to make recommendations.
  2. Grant application is made, sent back for clarification and resubmitted again with revisions.
  3. Congregational AGMs at both places vote to put $50,000 each toward the vision of “From Neighbourhood to Regional: a new platform for a 21st Century Church” and the general direction and vision is affirmed
  4. Congregations work to clean up membership roles and adherents lists

June – Working groups share insights and thoughts about next steps to joint council gathering at Sunday afternoon retreat.  Joint council meets 3 times that month to discern next steps for summer action and implementation for the fall. New timeline is created and shared with congregations

Summer -Small group conversations in both congregations in a variety of formats exploring concepts of church outside the box and possible implications of an amalgamation


  1. Joint council sets a date for Amalgamation vote of Nov 24 and criteria for adherants list and membership lists for voting. These list are posted in each congregation on Sept 15
  2. Congregational meetings called for Sept 22 and Oct 27 in advance of the vote
  3. Joint council creates an advisory subgroup to guide the work of amalgamation and make proposals to council and congregation as appropriate
  4. Consultants interviewed to guide some of the processes involved now and in the future
  5. Social enterprise initiatives being researched and pursued on a number of fronts

Steps Toward Integration Taken

Building on the mission strategy that “we can be more together than we are separate” and following the motion in May of 2018, work has happened on a number of fronts to integrate the mission and ministry of the two congregations.  The following are some of the integrations that have occurred.

  1.  Program Brochure

For a second year, the program offerings at both church churches have been combined into one program brochure with members of both congregations moving between the two campus’ and enjoying the diverse offerings. Overlap and competition for times and programs have been illuminated or streamlined.

2. Stewardship Campaigns

For a second year, the approach to the fall stewardship campaign has been to do this together. In the first year a comprehensive booklet with testimonies of givers in each congregation, statistics about demographics and donations, budgets and income streams and an invitation to pledge were jointly prepared. The parallels between the two congregations were quite similar to the surprise of many. In year two, a joint letter and pledge card was distributed post-Thanksgiving.

3. Joint Council

Beginning in the summer of 2018, members of both elected councils have met on a semi regular basis to discuss steps, discern hopes, dreams and differences and work to understand each other’s way of doing and being church. In that time joint decisions have emerged and joint recommendations to each respective congregation have also been proposed. To help focus this work, a Project Management Team was formed with representatives from both councils to guide decisions and make recommendations back to the joint board.

4. Joint Working Groups

Beginning in January of 2019 and building on the work of the focus groups leading up to the final summit of reVision, the joint council appointed members from each congregation to 3 working groups. The Pragmatic Working Group, The Asset Management Working Group and the Social Enterprise Working Group. Groups had staff and/or consultants working with them to help focus their work. In June they presented their research, questions and suggestions to the joint board and to each other.  A summary of their work was presented to the congregations through newsletter articles and presentations for those interested. Insights have informed decisions the joint council has made or recommended and further work may be asked of these groups in the future.  Their research has also guided the Project Management Team.

5. Joint Social Enterprise Venture

In June of 2019, the Social Enterprise Working Group sent a proposal to the joint council of a possible social enterprise venture for the two congregations to invest in together. After much conversation and discernment the decision was made to proceed.  Lawyers were hired to advise us regarding our charitable status.  The National Church was contacted and they were enthusiastic and supportive.  A small grant to help cover the legal costs was applied for and granted. Discussion and negotiations ensued over the summer. An independent board was established and members appointed by the joint board.  In October, the good news was shared with both congregations simultaneously of our investment in the JUST LIKE FAMILY franchise. (see social enterprise section for more details)

6. Congregational Gatherings

A number of combined congregational gatherings have happened over the last 2 years including Shrove Tuesday Pancakes Supper,  50s’ Rock and Roll Dance, Sunday post service lunch and small table group conversations, participation at the Pride Parade and Climate Action Strike, Walk for Homelessness Team  and many other opportunities as they arose.

7. Joint Family Camp/Retreat

For the last two years we have had our annual June retreat together at Camp Pringle for a weekend of programing, relationship building and much laughter. This past year we also partnered with First Metropolitan United.

8. Joint Refugee Sponsorship

We are in the beginning stages of working together to co-sponsor a Palestinian refugee       family.

Timeline Moving Forward

How to Read the Draft Timeline for the Amalgamation Process?

The draft timeline above gives a general idea of how the process of living into the amalgamation might occur.  It is a fluid timetable written in 3 month blocks to indicate what we will be focusing on during that time.  We know only a few precise dates.  We recognize that the process of amalgamating our two congregations will be affected by many factors, some beyond our control.  So, let’s look at the timeline.

  1. The Social Enterprise, Just Like Family, has been announced on schedule (September) and is in the process of hiring a manager, then recruiting care aids and clients. It is now launched and will be largely independent of our amalgamation
  2. Small Groups are scheduled to begin this fall, and due to circumstances beyond ou control, these will probably begin in January. Then, under Margaret Harper’s leadership, we will ease into joint small groups.
  3. Worship discussions to discern the worship offerings will have in our combined church will begin this fall and continue in the first 6 months of 2020. This will offer diverse worship styles at a variety of times. The current worship styles of the two congregations will form the basis of the expanded worship offerings.
  4. Affirm Status is currently being worked on with regards to its transferability to the amalgamated congregation.  Affirm’s policy is that the status is not transferable in an amalgamation.  We are in conversation with Affirm for a solution.
  5. We applied for a ProVision grant and were given a one year grant of $67,000 to assist us in our amalgamation, our social enterprise launch and our small groups launch.  We need to reapply based on what we have accomplished thus far and with the results of our amalgamation vote in hand.
  6. Mission and Purpose Discernment: We have begun this process with the document “From Neighbourhood to Regional: A New Platform for a 21st Century Church” that was affirmed by both congregations at their AGM’s at the beginning of 2019.  Work with this document has shaped many things over the course of the year so far including grant proposals, working groups, mandates etc.  On Sept 30th both congregations came together following worship to share lunch and to reacquaint ourselves with the document and its contents. Discussion followed and we were led in a process where people wrote on the sheets what they imagine various aspects of church will look like in 2030 given the changes that are happening in transportation, communication, education, neighbourhoods, etc.  We are beginning to envision what we can be in 2030 and our mission and purpose will be to develop into that church step by step. We will hire a consultant to begin work with us in January 2020, to assist us sorting out this issue as well as others.
  7. When a positive Amalgamation vote occurs on Sunday, November 24 we will take the month of December to focus on Advent and Christmas.  That vote will be a major step in our process and is the basis for all the steps following.  But we also need to rest and live with that decision.
  8. For the first six months of 2020 we will make plans on how we will temporarily live together as well as determine what our permanent home will look like. We will make our temporary space livable for the new church and congregation for the time it takes to renovate our permanent site to be what we need it to be. These location decisions will be made together by the Joint Councils. This will be a period where we will have the help of a consultant who will facilitate our coming together to consider this vital decision and let the Joint Councils listen.  It will also be a time, once the permanent and temporary sites have been chosen to consult with architects and apply for necessary municipal permits for both locations.
  9. During that first 6 months we will also be working together to determine a new name for our new congregation with its new vision, mission and mandate.
  10. During the summer of 2020 we will move into the temporary site and begin worshipping in the temporary site in September 2020.
  11. During the first 6 months of 2020 we will also work with the Pacific Mountain Region of the United Church to formalize the amalgamation and get all the “church related motions and denominational requirements” completed.  The project management team will also be working during this time to propose the best way to amalgamate the finances and the requirements of CRA and our charitable tax number and all other financial considerations of the two founding congregations.
  12. In January 2021, the finances will be amalgamated under one CRA number and in accordance with denominational and governmental requirements for a charitable organization.
  13. In the Jan – June 2020 period we will be in conversation with the P.M. Region as well as working with a consultant to establish a model of governance for the new congregation which will be implemented in September 2020 – when we begin to live in the same temporary site.
  14. From Jan – June a new staffing model that will both lead us through the transition time and that we will be evolving into will be worked on by the Project Management Team. Current staff will all remain under appointment while the transition is taking place and help to lead the new congregation into their new home and new staffing model.  New calls for ministers will be made by the new amalgamated congregation as the new staffing model is approved.

Guiding Principles for Amalgamation

Guiding Principles for Amalgamation Rationale: All parties to the amalgamation need to be working within the same parameters. These principles will guide our decisions and actions after the vote for the subsequent 2-3 year process of amalgamation, with the understanding that flexibility will be required in order for us to pivot and move forward together.

• Principles of Relationships: Knowing we are not alone, we will walk gently with each other, finding our way through change and loss, and we will walk with courage, upheld by the knowledge that collectively, our voice for a compassionate and just world is louder and we can do more to serve poor and vulnerable people.

• Principles of Worship: Opportunities for worship will expand and diversify rather than be reduced and absorbed.

• Principles of Finances: We will build upon diverse sources of revenue and income including but not limited to social enterprise, sale of assets, grants/bequests, rentals and donations, in order to create a regenerative economy for our new church. As stewards of these financial assets, our goal will be to secure the future of our new vision, a vision that may require risk-taking and flexibility as well as an awareness of the implications of the global situation. At all times, we will be guided by the need for financial sustainability and resilience.

• Principles of Greater Community Engagement: Our mission will be shaped by engagement with the greater community using the principle of ‘adding value to community’ by our presence and programs and through our selection of community partners and social enterprises that fit our vision and values. Relationships with community partners will evolve but reciprocity will be our hope and expectation. Engagement with the greater community will also be a goal of an expanded and revitalized on-line platform and presence, recognizing that our vision of church must extend to the digital world where so many of us now live, work and play.

• Principles of Building: Our goal is to permanently relocate to one of our three current sites. Temporarily, we will relocate to one of our sites, allowing us to thoroughly deconstruct and then renovate the permanent site so that it meets the requirements of our new mission in the Saanich region. It will be a new space for everyone, allowing us to give life to the bold vision of our amalgamated community. While professional input will be part of this process, consultation with the congregation will also happen as needed.

• Principles of Building Improvements and Non-Essential Maintenance: All buildings will cease to have improvements and non-essential maintenance done unless to do so would damage structural integrity and/or compromise safety of users.

• Principles of Staffing: The clergy from each congregation will continue to work for the new church during the 2-3 year amalgamation process. Where there are non-ministerial staff redundancies, severance packages will be fair and generous. Because of the nature of our new vision and mission as a regional church, a diverse multifaceted staffing model is likely to evolve; staff job descriptions and responsibilities will likely change throughout the amalgamation process in order to better serve the new church we are creating together.

• Principles of Naming: A new name for the new congregation will be chosen and congregational input will be part of the process.

• Principles of Governance: Because neither of the current governance models being utilized will support our new vision and mission adequately, a new model of governance will need to be discerned. Professional assistance will be sought in order to create a system of governance that will enable our new church to bring its vision to life – a model that will reflect United Church values and allow us to be flexible, collaborative and decisive in our decision-making style.

• Principles of Consultation and Communication: Consultation with the congregation and other community partners will be sought throughout the amalgamation process as needed. Council will communicate the process and progress of the amalgamation with the congregation on an on-going and regular basis.

Official Motions for Nov 24th Meeting

Voting Privileges for Adherents

1. Moved/ seconded by __________________/_____________ that voting privileges for Adherents named on our Voting List and according to the criteria set by Joint Councils, September, 2019, be approved.

Amalgamation Proposal

2.  Moved/ seconded by __________________/_____________ that the PROPOSAL FOR THE AMALGAMATION OF Cadboro Bay/Gordon Head United Church and St. Aidan’s United Church be received.

3.  Moved/ seconded by __________________/_____________ that the approval of the PROPOSAL FOR THE AMALGAMATION OF St. Aidan’s United Church and Cadboro Bay/Gordon Head United Church requires a 60% majority of votes in favour from those present and eligible to vote.

Vote by each congregation: 

4.  Moved/ seconded by __________________/_____________ that (CadboroBay/Gordon Head United Church) / (St. Aidan’s United Church)

approve the PROPOSAL FOR THE AMALGAMATION OF Cadboro Bay/Gordon Head United Church and St. Aidan’s United Church and request that the Pacific Mountain Region approve the amalgamation of St. Aidan’s United Church and Cadboro Bay/Gordon Head United Church to create one community of faith/pastoral charge of the United Church of Canada, effective  May 31, 2020.

For Information on the Action of the Secretary’s of both Church Councils after a positive vote for amalgamation:

Proposal for the Amalgamation of

Cadboro Bay/Gordon Head United Church and St. Aidan’s United Church.

Verification of Resolutions

I, _____________________ (name), Secretary of the Council verify that the following resolutions related to the Proposal for the Amalgamation of St. Aidan’s United Church and Cadboro Bay/Gordon Head United Church were passed at the congregational meeting of __________________ United Church on (date).

List all motions: moved/seconded/carried.

Dated this ____ day of ____________