Working Groups Reports

In January of 2019, joint council appointed 3 working groups to follow up on items coming from the reVision summit in May of 2018 and subsequent decisions made at the joint council level.  They met to research, discuss, gather information and prepared a presentation for June. What follows is the mandate and summary of their work which has been built upon by joint council as we move toward an amalgamation decision.

Asset Management Working Group – Mandate

The mandate of the Asset Management Group provides a wide ranging scope to assess numerous aspects of our assets. 


Assess the assets we have and ways they can be faithfully leveraged;

  1. researching and analyzing what the financial and community value of the properties are
  2. investigate what the potential and possible uses might be for the current assets the amalgamated community of faith would currently have
  3. uncover what restrictions or limitations there may be to the various assets and ways they can be leveraged
  4. proposing a regional location with needed qualities that might serve the future needs of the amalgamated community of faith and its programs
  5. discerning the wisdom of building or leasing for the future
  6. discerning the use of current properties in the larger vision and plan;
  7. interfacing with the social enterprise and pragmatic working groups to see what needs they have articulated in relation to space and asset use and development
  8. connecting with and listening to the needs and articulated visions of neighbourhoods, district of Saanich and other partner groups

Membership:  Colin Booth – (Chair), Kevin Sing, Ann Churchill, Gordon Robinson, Clare Attwell, Kelly Orr, Cheryl Black and Mark Green

Guidelines and Findings:

The facts and figures that this group collected are found in section 7 so this section highlights some of the other findings of this group.

This group acknowledged, with deep appreciation the generations that built our three churches and the legacy that they passed onto us.  Our inheritance from those who have gone before us is rich and we live with gratitude.  Therefore; we take the opportunity and the responsibility of reimagining church for our day as a sacred trust.

This group looked at what we have as assets and endeavoured to look at them objectively. This group was mandated to be business like in their approach resisting sentimentality.

This group draws our attention that all three churches have rich connections with the community and some groups have become reliant on the church buildings for gathering space. Any change to this practice will need to be managed well and preferably with the assistance of an external consultant.

The work and information of this group has been a very helpful contribution to the work of the Project Management Team in creating proposals and guidelines and we thank them for their work.

Social Enterprise Working Group – Mandate

The Mandate of this group was to:

  • Explore and investigate what a healthy model of social enterprise might be to bring sustainable revenue streams for the church of the future.
  • To help discern a possible social enterprise that is mission centered and honours sound business practices together with core values that are lived out with integrity.
  • Discern what the current needs of the community/world at large that might be addressed by this social enterprise that will contribute to transformation of individuals and systems in the process of doing business

The membership was: Sarah Bowder (Chair), Scott Morrice, Jean Margison, Paul Malnarich, Julie Ng, Bill Fosdick, Sylvia Campbell, Ron Fisher and Thahsina Karuvetti (student from Royal Roads)

This working group adopted the principles of Lean Startup for Social Change and worked logically and creatively through the steps. They established some guidelines for social enterprises:

  • Not limited by location of the church building or to any location
  • The enterprise will hire qualified employees and pay fair wages (living wage)
  • They will not be restricted to one project
  • The projects need to be scalable

The brainstorming and research into possibilities was rich and varied. As a first project they proposed, and the joint boards took action on the franchise opportunity, “Just Like Family”.

This working group will continue to mine for values-based business opportunities for our new congregation and we thank them for their work.

The Pragmatic Possibilities Working Group – Mandate:

Areas of oversight, research and investigation include but are not limited to the following:

  • Research what other communities of faith have experimented with within these issues and models of amalgamation that we can learn from ie. Their successes and failures
  • Help us start to imagine what the following areas might look like for our communities: Worship and music, staffing models and plans for the next phases, Governance, finance and stewardship, small group ministry models, reconciliation efforts and implication for our work, intercultural grants, grants and articulating our current process and unfolding vision
  • Identify and implement possible experiments that we want to try along the way
  • Research and identify multiple models related to the issues above that we might want to explore further
  • Identify what additional resources and/or staffing might be required

Membership: Susan Draper, Kathryn Berge, Katy Nelson, Trish Schiedel, Tony Smith, Margaret Harper, Betty Anne Dempsey, Mark Green, Cheryl Black

This working group had rich conversations about the culture and practices of each congregation. The emphasis for the 6 months was on a major research project exploring what had been key characteristics of other churches that were either thriving, large membership, amalgamated, regional and/or innovative inside and outside of the United Church of Canada. The work in the specific areas couldn’t be accommodated in the time we had and much of the particular work will be completed by the Program Management Group with the assistance of an organizational consultant.  Below are the 12 characteristics found in the sample churches. This list will guide what follows and we thank the group for their work and dedication.

Characteristics of an Effective, Progressive, Collaborative Regional Church

  1.   Mission or Purpose
  • Clearly defined but open to evolution as the community discerns its way
  • Culture of giving and service to the mission is actively promoted and celebrated.

2. Progressive Theology

  • Open minded and hearted attitude
  • Evolving understanding of relationship with each other and with the earth
  • Diverse ways of connecting with God and/or what is Sacred explored/offered

3. Other Progressive Lens Evident in Life and Work of the Church

  • Reconciliation
  • Intercultural
  • Life-giving
  • Justice-making
  • Affirming
  • Equity/Diversity

4.  Partnerships with Other Faith Communities and Community Groups to Create Change in the World

  • Serves as a resource centre for smaller churches and faith/community groups
  • Promotes systemic change locally, nationally and globally
  • Provides a safe place for difficult conversations
  • Walks with the poor and vulnerable- listening and responding to their needs in a supportive way
  • Collaborates with cultural creatives and artists of all kinds to imagine and produce experiences of hope and transformation
  •  Worship
  • Inspiring and evolving preaching/teaching
  • Music- high calibre, whatever the style
  • Worship shared using IT- podcasts, live-streaming, recorded for vimeo/you-tube, etc.
  • Opportunities to worship at different times/places during week
  • Diverse worship experiences- a blend of ancient tradition, popular culture. contemplative practices, technology, and creative arts
  •  Clergy and Staffing
  • Ministers are spiritual leaders/teachers in the community, upholding the vision and values of the church and community inside and outside of the church.
  • Sufficient paid staff to fulfil all desired functions.
  • Volunteers supported by staff; expectations clearly defined.

7. Opportunities to Create Relationship

  • Small Groups- affiliation, neighbourhood, and/or companions on the journey. Pastoral care usually happens in these groups, but not necessarily. A place where one can go deeper and make authentic connections.
  • Broad variety of activities/projects/events for contribution to church life, mission and engagement with the greater community

8. Christian Education and Other Kinds of Programs/Training

  • All ages and stages provided for
  • Support for young families of all configurations offered in diverse ways
  • Courses/programs offered that meet an identified need in the greater community,
  • Leadership/volunteer training is on-going/built into model

9. Governance

  • Grounded in the mission, in service and in relationship
  • Proactive, rather than reactive
  • Accepts that the future is going to look different than the past or the present, and prepared to innovate and trial ideas when needed
  • On-going change-management practices employed, including use of professionals as required
  • Nimble, transparent decision-making system
  • Regular, ongoing collaboration/consultation with community members
  • Church community members trust in the leadership to make decisions for the greater good of the community and its mission in the world.
  • Governance structure has two streams – an operations stream that manages the life/work of the church and its building, and a stream that keeps the dream alive, explores new ideas and identifies community challenges and opportunities

10. Financial Sustainability

  • Social Enterprise or other revenue stream that reflects the mission and the “economy of Jesus”
  • Multi-purpose use of building by other groups (rentals)
  • Multiple donation opportunities for individuals offered regularly and without apology.

11. Communication Strategies

  • Essential to the mission and how we share our stories, and resourced accordingly.
  • Website is accessible and utilized by newcomers and congregation for various purposes, including sharing the message, managing registrations, signing up for courses, newsletters and small groups, etc.
  • Social media is embraced and seen as another way to tell stories, build community and share information

12. Building

  • Mission determines the building’s design and ideally, location. Function fits the form and form fits the function.
  • Accessible in all ways