OUR PULPIT IS EMPTY – Trinity United
JNAC Report 2018
Trinity United Church is seeking a full-time ordered minister of word, sacrament and pastoral care for a welcoming, inclusive Christian community of 345 members and adherents. A member of the Hamilton Presbytery, Trinity United Church is in Grimsby, Ontario. The minister will respond to the spiritual, emotional and pastoral needs of the congregation. These needs were identified through the Joint Needs Assessment Committee, appointed by the Church Board in fall 2017, after the full-time minister, Reverend Svinda Heinrichs was called to pursue other directions . Svinda had been instrumental in developing strong lay leadership, for which we are grateful. The congregation is appreciative of the current ministerial services of Rev. Dr. Alan Minarcik as supply minister. Alan’s warmth, humour and knowledge, are much valued in this time of change. The JNAC team is charged with helping the congregation identify its needs for a paid ministerial staff member. Towards this end, the JNAC team met weekly, organized and prepared an anonymous survey, interviewed key individuals who could amplify our knowledge of the congregation’s needs, including Rev. Svinda Heinrichs and Rev. Alan Minarcik and had much discussion with each other and the larger church body.
Community of the Pastoral Charge
Grimsby is one of the highest growth areas for Niagara, particularly for retiring seniors. Increasingly Grimsby is attracting individuals and families from larger urban centres due to the benefits of a smaller population base, slightly lower costs, and a higher quality of life. Almost everything in town can be easily accessed by car, bike, or on foot. The current average cost of a three-bedroom home (detached, semis, and apartments) in Grimsby is now $424,000, per Canadian Real Estate Magazine and there are many new condominiums and townhouses being built near Lake Ontario by the Casablanca exit to the QEW and the new GO station.
Ministry of Pastoral Charge
Our Mission is “Opening Minds, Opening Hearts, Opening Doors .”
There are 345 members and adherents registered with Trinity, with an average weekly attendance of 100-120 congregants. We are a hospitable, financially stable congregation of friendly retired or soon-to-be retired middle-class people, most of whom are married or widowed, drive a short distance to church, speak English, are Caucasian and have few, if any caregiving duties. Many have the time, resources, abilities and inclination to help others.
Strengths and Opportunities
Based on information gleaned from surveys, interviews, and after much reflective discussion, we present the following as our interpretation of the strengths and opportunities for Trinity.
- a) We are an engaged, energetic congregation who care deeply about the future of our church. A recent survey of 310 attendees had a response rate of 52%.
- b) We have developed a strong lay ministry program over the past four years. The lay ministry assists with crisis, shut in visitations, and contributes to Sunday services as needed. We also have four retired ministers in regular attendance at our services.
- c) We have a vibrant volunteer-led music program with skilled musicians in the congregation, and choral and hand bell groups. It is currently going through a time of change and renewal to continue to meet the musical needs of the congregation.
- d) We have a strong work ethic amongst dozens of volunteers serving in a very committee-focused, cooperative manner. In a recent congregational survey, more than 30 respondents indicated that they could contribute more to Trinity’s activities.
- e) We have some midlife individuals who are still working and many early retirees who contribute greatly to our church life. Very few young people, families or children attend. Reflecting the general demographics of Grimsby, we have very few visible minorities or those who speak second languages. People with visible disabilities are also notably absent.
- f) We own a beautiful large mid-century modern worship facility in a historic central Grimsby neighbourhood, close to the Niagara escarpment.
- g) We have the financial resources to cover costs for a full-time minister, and various part-time roles including music director, bookkeeping, office administration, and custodian/sexton as well as ongoing building maintenance.
- h) The church space is well used by many external groups throughout the week. These include Niagara Speech Services,Girl Guides, AA, Al Anon, a theatre and a woman’s choral and drum group, Yoga, Scottish Dancing, local theatre group, among others. These groups contribute to Trinity for their use of the space.
- i) We have many social activities to foster fellowship and a sense of belonging among church members and of the community coordinated by Trinity committees. These are offered
throughout the year and have included a pancake dinner, trivia night, roast beef dinner, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Pickleball, ukulele group, etc.
- j) We continue to strive to meet our mission of Opening Minds, Opening Heart and Opening Doors by ensuring the Trinity community is generally accessible and welcoming to all members of the community who wish to participate in our services. We ask questions about barriers, as we did in our recent congregational survey, and continue to look for ways to improve.
- In our recent church survey, when asked if the respondents’ spiritual needs are currently met by the church, 75% of respondents said yes, with 11% saying no and 13% declining to answer the question. Hence, there appears to be a great opportunity for the church to deepen spiritual journeys for many already in attendance. We must listen more carefully to discern how we can actively encourage each other’s spirituality and relationship with God.
- We must identify, develop, and implement a method that will attract more people to Trinity, especially young individuals and families. Very few individuals under the age of forty and only a few children regularly attend services. Only five individuals under forty years of age completed the survey. Weekly Church School attendance averages five children per week.
- Although we see ourselves as open and inclusive, we can do better. The JNAC survey indicated that 15% of our congregation is GLBT or has GLBT family members. We do perform same sex weddings. The opportunity remains to make the decision to become an Affirming congregation.
- We have a great opportunity to enhance our long-term financial stability. Not one survey respondent indicated that they must start giving less; 17% said they could give more and 9% were undecided at this time. This represents a strong opportunity for a stewardship campaign.
- Our church building space is under-utilized and has the potential to attract additional revenue.
- f) There is an opportunity to build further on our interest in and capacity for volunteerism and leadership, both within the church and in the larger community. We are open to exploring how Trinity’s resources can better address the needs of our community.
- g) Our central location and a magnificent sanctuary make the church property ideal for larger community public events. With a few changes and even some fresh paint in bathrooms and hallways, we think this could, potentially make our church an even greater hub of community activity.
- h) We aspire to improve communication among committees, events, and personnel. We need to maximize the congregations’ use of electronic tools to improve communication.
Priorities for Ministry Personnel
The recent congregational survey indicated our priorities for our new Minister in the following order of priority. As required by the Hamilton Presbytery, we recommend the following allocations of the minister’s time for a typical week to reflect our congregation’s priorities:
*Inspirational Sunday services anchored by a well-crafted sermon: 16 hours (40%)
*Crisis visitations for people in time of need (pastoral care): 8 hours (20%)
*Guidance to the Lay Ministry: 6 hours (15%)
*Outreach to specifically address attaining additional members/adherents: 6 hours (15%)
*Administration/communication: 4 hours (10%)
Marriages & Funerals
In addition to the aforementioned priorities, our congregation survey indicated that officiating at life rituals such as baptism, confirmation, weddings and funerals is one of the most important ways the minister can serve our community. Currently baptism and confirmations take place during worship.
Weddings and funerals are on a case-by-case basis with additional payment made directly to the minister as well as supporting staff members for each service. Same sex marriages and baptisms of children of same-sex couples are treated the same as any other. More information is at: https://www.trinityunitedgrimsby.ca/celebrations-of-faith/
Qualifications and Terms
Given these priorities, we recommend the following for Trinity Grimsby’s new minister:
- An experienced full-time, ordered minister with a post-secondary degree and in any United Church pay grade up to level F. Advanced degrees such as a Masters of Divinity or additional certificates would be equally valued with relevant practical experience.
- Outstanding oratory skills with the ability to connect the word of God with contemporary 21st century life.
- Co-operative leadership experience with excellent pastoral relationship-building skills and warm inter-personal communication.
- Demonstrated ability to develop and implement a clear plan to expand membership.
- Organizational and developmental skills and/or management coaching experience.
- Skills to effectively work with congregation, committees, and board in the community and develop changes we must undertake to attract new people including younger people. As the top goals our survey expressed, we expect great enthusiasm and a demonstrated plan for attracting younger people.
- Balance our current congregation needs while making changes where they will have the most positive effects balanced with the comforting aspects of our long-standing traditions.
- Experience working with volunteers and staff of varying skills and abilities; including collegial planning and development of Sunday services. Fostering healthy and inclusive communication to encourage each person to find their niche in the life and work of the church.
i). Good comfort level with knowledge of and/or willingness to learn Facebook and Twitter
- j) Working knowledge of Microsoft Office product (e.g. Excel, Word, PowerPoint, scheduling software, etc.)
Terms of Call
Based on United Church guidelines for our region, we recommend the following:
Salary: Salary based on current United Church of Canada published guidelines including any category for which the Minister qualifies up to Category F . Cost of Living Category 3 in the 2018 United Church salary schedule plus any negotiated premium. It should be noted that salaries are now inclusive of housing allowance.
Continuing education: $1,500 annually
Phone: $900 annually
Mileage: as stipulated in the Manual
Study leave: 3 weeks/year
Vacation: 1 month/year (includes 5 Sundays)
Moving expense: as per United Church guidelines
Other personal benefits will be in accordance with the United Church Manual
Organizational Changes for Long-Term Success
Volunteers have spent considerable time and talent to improve our church’s Ministry.
To comprehensively evaluate all aspects of our organization is beyond the scope of the JNAC
committee. We will focus on those parts of the Church operation which we believe will warrant attention warrant attention soon because these priority actions will strengthen our call for a new m Minister.
Reflecting some of our survey results, we would like a minister who will be an involved community member. We welcome applicants who have a long-term vision with Trinity. We prefer someone who will lay down local roots and stay with us for a long time. Given this, we recommend the following:
- Given that most ministers available for a call are at the level F category, we set our call range up to level F to have the broadest pool possible.
- We recommend that we pay according to pay grade plus a negotiated premium.
- We recommend an ongoing review of telephone and supporting technology to ensure our systems are up to 21st century standards.
- The Committee had considered commenting on suggestions to enhance office support for the Minister and the congregation in light of feedback from the survey. However, we are aware this area is already under active review by the Ministry and Personnel Committee.
- We recommend that the church continue to encourage its members to build upon our tradition of volunteerism by doing community service together–outside of the church. As it happens with the Wesley dinner, we get more in the habit of looking outward together.
6) We recommend the Board continue to apply for any Government or Foundation grants as might be available and appropriate.
7) We recommend the Board consider joint services in the summer with another church.
Recommendation & Motion
As a result of the JNAC’s mandate to review the ministry and mission of Trinity Grimsby and to provide recommendations to the congregation and Presbytery regarding our needs, we put forth the following motions:
That Hamilton Presbytery declare a vacancy for a full-time Ordered Minister .
- That Hamilton Presbytery appoint representatives to a Joint Search Committee for Trinity Grimsby United Church effective immediately or on such date as is feasible.
- That this Joint Needs Assessment Committee be disbanded.