November 25, 2000
Meeting of pastoral relations [and other interested persons] to
- consider the national report on ministry sections dealing with future trends
- consider trends within different denominations
- consider the ministry personnel resources of presbytery in relation to short term/long term needs [with reference to section 334 of the manual if required]
- other related business
Present: Don Anderson [chair], Dave Bauman, Manford Bohn, Len Norlock, Cliff Evans
Report on Ministry:
"In every year since 1990 the church has been losing ministries, jobs, and Congregations. The church's own statistics project that by 2010, another 712 full-time ministry positions (more than one-fifth of current positions) will be lost or become part-time."
"It is not a question of the church reaching a leadership crisis in 10 or 20 years. The church is in crisis now. In relation to ministry, the church is pressured to stop thinking about the next decade and to start thinking about the immediate future."
"Eighty percent of the Canadian population is urban, but 56 percent of United Church Congregations are located in communities of less than 2,000 people, and another 20 percent are located in communities of less than 30,000. As a result, two-thirds of the United church's ministry personnel serve one-third of its membership. Rural depopulation and the exodus of young people to urban areas is resulting in the decline of many rural Pastoral Charges."
While not found with the above [explicitly] the indication is than many rural pastoral charges will become either part-time or amalgamated with other pastoral charges over the next ten years. Conversely, several congregations within presbytery have dramatically increased in size in recent years, possibly 'cultic personality' of communities identifying with particular ministry personnel.
The anticipated move to Regional Councils [combining the functions of presbytery and conference into councils covering areas larger than most presbyteries] and consequent staff redeployment does not alleviate this problem.
Limited statistics from other denominations indicated similar [though lesser] membership decline of reform churches, though it was noted than newer denominations were growing.
Available ministry personnel:
The presbytery has limited immediate ministry personnel resources for short term supply while a pastoral charge is without regular ministry personnel due to illness/disability/change in pastoral relations. With a number  of the pastoral charges being less than full-time, and possible changes in other pastoral charges in the future, the limited immediate ministry personnel resources and difficulty in calling ministry personnel to less than full-time positions is likely to present significant problems.
With thirteen of twenty-nine pastoral charges presently with a presbytery presence [typically requiring five persons - two jnac/jsc, pastoral charge supervisor, presbytery appointee, interim supply], presbytery itself is pushed to the limit of what it can handle without requiring double appointment of people.
We saw a need to recruit and encourage young people to consider ministry, recognizing at the same time we questioned considering ministry in the church with its present directions. Evangelism, for example, no longer means the same thing within our church. The problem has more to do with current directions within the church - a nondescript disillusion with the church - and outside pastoral relations.
The presbytery has two areas of need:
- a cluster of part-time pastoral charges in the north
- a lesser group of part-time pastoral charges in the south
with the possibility that parts of existing pastoral charges might join these within the next few years. Typically congregations all want sunday morning service.
There was question as to whether presbytery could hire personnel, though it could assist pastoral charges to share ministry personnel.
The presbytery has an abundant resource in lay preachers, though with little utilization
The above directions, questions, and resources left us considering other use of ministry personnel, and asking the different levels of the church [presbytery, conference, general council] if this might be permitted.....
- respect "7.6.4 to see that, as far as possible, every Pastoral Charge within its bounds shall have a pastorate without interruption, and that every effective member of the Order of Ministry shall have a Pastoral Charge, and to effect this through a Settlement Committee;"
- as changes permit move towards a modified 'circuit rider' system which uses recognized trained lay personnel in ministry and pastoral care within a pastoral charge with ordered ministry personnel as supervisor and resource to clusters of pastoral charges which find themselves without ministry personnel
- settlement should have priority over modified 'circuit rider system'
- lay preachers and lay pastoral care teams for northern pastoral charges
- students, lay preachers, and lay pastoral care teams for southern pastoral charges [proximate to Queens']
- congregations would be responsible for ordered ministry and lay preacher/pastoral care team remuneration
- cluster to include up to six part-time pastoral charges w/quarterly meetings of ministry personnel
- encourage/support/finance more training for lay personnel
- distribute a listing of lay preachers within presbytery
- request possibility of Queens' students availability
4.2.1 Measures of Decline
If one looks only at statistics, the picture is grim for the United Church. Compared with 30 years ago, the church is attracting few new members. In 1961 the vast majority of United Church members were 29 years old or younger, with the largest single group being 20 to 29; in 1999 the vast majority of United Church people were over 50. In every year from 1960 to 1965 the church was able to create new ministries, new full time jobs, and new Congregations. In every year since 1990 the church has been losing ministries, jobs, and Congregations. The church's own statistics project that by 2010, another 712 full-time ministry positions (more than one-fifth of current positions) will be lost or become part- time. In 1962 the average age of the congregational minister was 32. In 1996 the average age for Ordained Ministers was 51; for Diaconal Ministers, 49; for Staff Associates, 48; and for Lay Pastoral Ministers, 55. The largest age group for Lay Pastoral Ministers is 58-62; for Ordained Ministers, 53-57; for Staff Associates, 48-52; and for Diaconal Ministers, 53-57. In each category, the smallest age group is 35 and under.
These statistics do not say that the quality of ministry in the church is poor. It is unfair to suppose a direct relation between quality and age. But the numbers do reveal plainly that the United Church is not attracting young people as it once may have done and the Division is committed to taking this seriously. If trends from the last decades continue, membership in the church will continue to shrink even though the overall population in Canada is increasing. Perhaps more significant for the future, participation is decreasing, especially among people born between 1946 and 1966 the very age group from which the church should now be looking for leaders.
The ethnic makeup of our ministry personnel does not reflect the makeup of our society or even the makeup of our Congregations. We have not been successful in recruiting new leaders from the ethnic groups that comprise Canada today; neither have we been able to recruit from the protestant French Canadian community. Many of our current leaders have been recruited from other countries. We need to be more proactive in our invitations to Canadians to consider a vocation within the church. It is not a question of the church reaching a leadership crisis in 10 or 20 years. The church is in crisis now. In relation to ministry, the church is pressured to stop thinking about the next decade and to start thinking about the immediate future. We must see this as an opportunity to respond boldly and choose life.
4.2.2 Pastoral Charge Distribution
A further reality is that the distribution of Pastoral Charges does not match the general population distribution in Canada. Eighty percent of the Canadian population is urban, but 56 percent of United Church Congregations are located in communities of less than 2,000 people, and another 20 percent are located in communities of less than 30,000. As a result, two-thirds of the United Church s ministry personnel serve one-third of its membership. Rural depopulation and the exodus of young people to urban areas is resulting in the decline of many rural Pastoral Charges. Larger rural parishes of clustered or amalgamated Pastoral Charges will likely develop, resulting in different expectations for ministry personnel who will not be able to live among, or even near, the Congregations they serve.
Many urban Congregations are also experiencing decline, which will increase the possibility of multi-point city charges or the number of part-time positions. In many communities, ecumenical relationships will form as necessity clears the path that good intentions could not find.
Pastoral Relations report on the future needs of presbytery
The primary unit of the church is the pastoral charge; while other courts of the church have specific responsibilities their primary responsibility is to promote the work of the pastoral charge.
"Authority without responsibility is irresponsible, and responsibility without authority is cruel and repressive"
Relevant sections of the Manual
Basis of Union
5.6 The liberty of the Pastoral Charge shall be recognized to the fullest extent compatible with:
5.6.1 the oversight of the spiritual interests of the Pastoral Charge by the member(s) of the Order of Ministry settled in the Pastoral Charge, and a body of persons specially chosen and set apart or ordained for that work, who shall jointly constitute the Session;
5.6.2 the efficient co-operation of the representatives of the various departments of the work of the Pastoral Charge by means of a meeting to be held at least quarterly;
5.6.3 the hearty co-operation of the various Pastoral Charges in the general work of the Church; and
5.6.4 the exercise by the higher governing bodies or courts of their powers and functions, hereinafter set forth.
6.4 It shall be the duty of the Presbytery:
6.4.1 to have the oversight of the Pastoral Charges within its bounds, review their records, and form new Pastoral Charges or local churches;
6.4.11 to adopt measures for promoting the religious life of the Pastoral Charges within its bounds;
6.4.12 to consult at the earliest possible date with a Pastoral Charge or the Official Board when the minister dies, becomes disabled, or is unable to perform their duties due to an emergency. The Presbytery shall ensure that appropriate arrangements for pastoral care are made;
7.6.4 to see that, as far as possible, every Pastoral Charge within its bounds shall have a pastorate without interruption, and that every effective member of the Order of Ministry shall have a Pastoral Charge, and to effect this through a Settlement Committee;
9.1 The pastoral relationship, when initiated by call and/or settlement, shall be without time limit.
9.2 The policy of the Church shall be that every Pastoral Charge shall have, as far as possible, a pastorate without interruption, and that every effective member of the Order of Ministry shall have a Pastoral Charge.
040 Without Time Limit. The pastoral relationship, when initiated by call and/or settlement, shall be without time limit. (Basis 9.1)
041 Pastorate Without Interruption. The policy of the United Church shall be that every Pastoral Charge shall have, as far as possible, a pastorate without interruption, and that every effective member of the Order of Ministry shall have a Pastoral Charge. (Basis 9.2)
332 Oversight of Pastoral Charges. It shall be the duty of the Presbytery to have the oversight of the Pastoral Charges within its bounds, to review their records, (Basis 6.4.1) to adopt measures for promoting the religious life of the Pastoral Charges within its bounds, (Basis 6.4.11) and to ensure that the Pastoral Charges comply with policies and polity of the United Church.
334 Amalgamate, Disband. The Presbytery shall have power to amalgamate, realign, reconstitute, relocate, or disband Pastoral Charges, Congregations, or Missions within its bounds.
350 Pastoral Relationship Without Interruption. It shall be the duty of the Presbytery to ensure a pastoral relationship without interruption by making where appropriate an appointment to a Pastoral Charge, Mission, or Outreach Ministry of one of the following: Candidate Supply, Intern Supply, or Student Supply; Lay Pastoral Minister, Lay Pastoral Minister-in-Training, or Staff Associate; Ordained Supply or Diaconal Supply; or United Supply (including Retired Supply and Interim Ministers).
salary 23828.00 - 30789.00 lay
pastoral minister category A - ordained category F
housing 10000.00 calculated for Renfrew area, where minister lives up to minister
travel 12250.00 35¢/km up to 35000km/yr*, time/travel calculated from Renfrew
secretarial supplied by participating churches
office 500.00 may require additional phone package @ 600.00
benefits 5804.00 - 7500.00
total 54182.00 - 62839.00
* assumes it inappropriate to spend more than 25% of person's time driving, hence limit of 35000km/yr
a. note pastoral charges presently receive
-presbytery pastoral relations committee
-pastoral charge supervisor
-presbytery appointee to be present at meetings
at no immediate cost to the pastoral charge, but at the expense of other pastoral charges [typically a significant portion of lay and paid ordered ministry time] and of presbytery [travel, telephone, etc]
b. this model replaces the pastoral charge supervisor/presbytery appointee where presbytery would otherwise have to appoint such person(s), charges their expense directly to the pastoral charge, and partially relieves the time demands on the presbytery pastoral relations committee/other pastoral charges
c. desirable, but not a requirement, that individual have recognized qualification in interim ministry to serve as resource/supervisor in pastoral charges requiring interim ministry
Observations from other models:
- with reference to 'lay shared ministry', "any christian community that can't do these things is not a church but a mission field"
- "belief that God placed in the local church all the gifts that are needed"
- the enabler [typically ordered ministry person] does not participate in the day-to-day ministry/worship
- "it's better to go straight for the 'lay ministry team' strategy than attempt to merge it with normal ministry - they are not, ultimately, compatible"
- "switching from the 'one minister - one charge' model to any alternative model of ministry isn't something that most congregations are likely to do until there appears to be no alternative"
The most limiting factor is the inability of a congregation to clarify what it understands by mission; a congregation which is focused on keeping its doors open isn't going anywhere.
The next most limiting factor is the hesitance of the higher courts of the church to support the required models.
moved , seconded ,
that presbytery promote the recruitment and training of lay preachers and maintain/annually circulate a list of recognized lay preachers to all pastoral charges.
moved , seconded ,
that presbytery promote the creation of lay pastoral care teams and to that end annually sponsor pastoral care team training programs at two locations accessible by pastoral charges in the northern and southern portions of presbytery.
moved , seconded ,
that presbytery maintain/semi-annually circulate a list of available ministry personnel to all pastoral charges.
moved , seconded ,
- initiate at the earliest feasible time
- in consultation with participating pastoral charges determine the responsibilities of a circuit rider ordered/lay pastoral ministry person, with the expense to be paid by presbytery and allocated proportionately to participating pastoral charges.
moved , seconded ,
that initially the presbytery pastoral relations committee or sub-committee appointed by and accountable to the presbytery pastoral relations committee be responsible for initiating, directing, and consulting with participating pastoral charges, and that the presbytery pastoral relations committee or sub-committee work with the presbytery treasurer in allocating expenses proportionately to participating pastoral charges and collecting the same.
moved , seconded ,
that presbytery encourage pastoral charges without regularly settled or appointed ministry personnel to move to a circuit rider model utilizing a shared ordered/lay pastoral ministry person with lay preachers and lay pastoral care teams to provide a regular ministry of word, sacrament, and pastoral care.