Congratulations to the 2023 Baillie Volunteer Service Award Recipients
TUCC’s Baillie Volunteer Service Awards are granted annually to youth and young adults who have demonstrated a strong commitment to volunteer service in their churches and communities. In 2023, 12 young people based in communities of faith across southern Ontario received the award for their engagement in a variety of forms of service and justice work. This year marked the highest number of nominations received and awards granted since the program was created in 2014! At TUCC, we are so pleased to see this program grow and to continue to collaborate with communities of faith in celebrating the ministries of their young members. The Baillie Volunteer Service Awards are made possible thanks to the bequest of James Baillie, a visionary church leader who recognized that the contributions of youth are important elements of our church’s future.
Congratulations to the 2023 award recipients!
Ashleen Finbow (Norval United Church)
Adam Gayler (Scarborough Bluffs United Church)
Maya Gazzard (St. Davids United Church, Queenston)
Olyndra Irving (Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council/Stayner United Church)
Jonisha Lewinson (United Church of Canada General Council Office)
Christopher Niemela (St. Mark’s United Church, Toronto)
Kayin Paul (Birchcliff Bluffs United Church)
Ally Phillips (Silver Spire United Church)
Robin Roach (Grace United Church, Brampton)
Grace Sturman (St. Paul’s United Church)
Victoria Vickers (Islington United Church)
Ian Wood (North Bramalea United Church)
You can read more about the awards and find links to the nomination criteria and recipient stories here.
New Horizons Grant Webinar Offered Grant Application Support to Communities of Faith Developing Programs by and for Seniors
The New Horizons for Seniors Program Grant is a federal grant that provides up to $25,000 to support communities of faith to develop and deliver programming by and for seniors. On September 7th, 2023, TUCC hosted a free webinar offering guidance to communities of faith on completing their grant applications. The webinar was led by Katja Brittain, Director of Church Engagement, Kindred Works, Jill Strapp, Coordinating Consultant, Centre for Church Development and Leadership, TUCC and Janice Meighan, Director of Fundraising and Donor Care, TUCC. The roughly 30 attendees shared the details of their projects in development and had the opportunity to ask questions about the grant application process.
You can view the webinar recording on CHURCHx (you will be prompted to log in or create a CHURCHx account if you don’t have one already). The application deadline has been extended to September 28th, 2023, so there is still time to submit an application.
TUCC Welcomes Janice Meighan as Director of Fundraising & Donor Care
In August 2023, TUCC welcomed Janice Meighan as our new Director of Fundraising and Donor Care. Janice brings extensive professional fundraising experience and academic degrees in Christianity in the public sphere, ritual, and biblical studies. Janice is looking forward to directing TUCC’s culture of generous philanthropy, creating opportunities for impactful giving that align with the values and faith of individuals, congregations, and church organizations. These current and legacy gifts change lives and support the church community over the long term. Janice is committed to the cultivation, nurturing, and stewardship of donor relationships ensuring a brighter future for the church. You can contact Janice at firstname.lastname@example.org or 905-771-5124 ex. 22.
Congratulations to Birchcliff Bluffs United Church, 2023 Recipient of TUCC's Vincent Alfano Fund Grant
TUCC is pleased to announce that Birchcliff Bluffs United Church is the recipient of the Vincent Alfano Fund grant for 2023! The Vincent Alfano Fund supports the creation of opportunities for emerging church leaders to gain experience developing community ministries that are responsive to the diverse contexts they serve. The 2023 grant to Birchcliff Bluffs will support the leadership role of Julian Munro, a recently approved candidate for ministry in the United Church of Canada, in the creation and start-up of Rainbow Community Places. Rainbow Community Places will restructure two existing ministries, Toby’s Place and Dorothy’s Place (drop-in programs for 2SLGBTQIA+ youth and seniors respectively), into one intergenerational ministry. Overseeing this process will provide Julian with valuable experience in community ministry leadership and development, as well as an opportunity for theological reflection. As the team at Birchcliff Bluffs reflected in their grant application, it is through community ministries that United Churches put our faith into action and respond to the calls of Jesus to love our neighbour. Just as Jesus engaged and journeyed with people living at the margins of power, the church, through programs like Rainbow Community Places, can build relationships with people in broader communities, offering hospitality and acceptance by creating a place where they feel safe(r), welcome, and free to be themselves in a supportive community. TUCC is proud to support Birchcliff Bluffs United Church, Julian Munro, and Rainbow Community Places in this important work.
Summer Student Spotlight
At TUCC, we take immense pride in supporting youths through our summer youth program. As we embark on another exciting year, we are thrilled to have six students on board, each contributing their talents to various projects. Their passion, dedication, and creativity are driving our program forward, and we are confident that their contributions will make a positive impact in our community. Together we look forward to a summer filled with growth, learning, and inspiring accomplishments.
Pictured from left to right we have Margarita (Camp Facilitator), Eunice (Admin and Finance Intern), Monica (Property Researcher), Audrey (Camp Facilitator), Jacob (eLearning Website Development Intern), and Nicholas (Student Researcher).
Extension Councils Establish Legacy Funds with TUCC.
Presbytery Extension Councils rightly boast a proud record of spearheading the expansion of the United Church in the ‘extension’ era of the 1950s and 1960s as well as continuing to faithfully provide capital support for ministry work in their areas in the succeeding decades. But finding volunteer leaders for the future is proving a challenge to them, just as it is at all levels of church life, and some extension councils within southern Ontario are finding a new way to continue their important work.
In 2022, three extension councils chose to ensure that the assets they had previously managed would continue to support United Church ministry by gifting them to TUCC to manage on their behalf. Each gift has its own particular focus and the parties have worked hard to ensure that the legacy of past work is balanced with the opportunity to contribute to the reshaping and refocusing of the mission of the church for the future. Read more about these partnerships in TUCC’s February 2023 newsletter.
Introducing CHURCHx - TUCC's New e-Learning Website!
In a time of both challenges and opportunities, TUCC has launched a new e-learning website called CHURCHx to meet the needs of congregations, clergy, and the organizations that support them as they navigate a fast-evolving reality.
CHURCHx has been developed by TUCC’s Innovative Ministry Centre, building on the digital pivot required of all church organizations when the COVID pandemic hit. It is designed to be a place where Christians can explore questions related to faith and social justice, learn new skills for leading worship or managing congregational finances, and find guidance for grappling with difficult decisions or responding to the challenges of a post-COVID world.
Built on the model of “a campus with many schools,” CHURCHx partners with a variety of institutions across denominations. By hosting content developed by different institutions and educators on one platform, learners are given access to diverse approaches to missional learning as well as a vast learning community, where they can connect with people and ideas beyond their usual circles. The General Council of the United Church has chosen CHURCHx as its exclusive platform for elearning and you can already find United in Learning and EDGE courses offered there.
Visit churchx.ca and browse the courses on offer. We are confident that more than one will be relevant to your context!
TUCC Pledges $36,000 to Gibimishkaadimin Over Next Three Years
TUCC is a proud supporter of Gibimishkaadimin, a project of reconciliation engaging Indigenous youth from across Canada and non-Indigenous youth from Shining Waters region. Each year, Gibimishkaadimin’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants set out on a canoe trip in Northern Ontario. The focus of the trip is on collaborative and experiential learning through an Indigenous perspective as well as fostering relationships with one another and with the land. Gibimishkaadimin was established by Bloor Street, Fairlawn and Rosedale United Churches in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. It is directed by a six-person Board, three of whom are Indigenous. TUCC has made a commitment of $36,000 ($12,000/year for three years) to support trips in 2022, 2023, and 2024. Due to the popularity of the program, two groups of youth went out this summer
Wasaga Beach United: Recovering from COVID-19
At TUCC, we have been so pleased to see that churches are beginning to recover from the impacts of COVID-19. Wasaga Beach United Church has made special efforts to pay off its bridge loan with TUCC. TUCC was glad to make special arrangements when COVID disrupted the life of so many congregations, and live out its reputation as the “the friendly banker” to our church.
TUCC Grant Helped Sustain Stone Soup Network through Critical Transition
At its June 23rd meeting, TUCC’s board approved a $10,000 grant to the Stone Soup Network to help sustain them as they sought a more permanent source of funding to develop their program at a national level. Started out of Windermere United Church in Toronto in 2016, the Stone Soup Network invites local businesses to share products and services with neighbours in need. During its six years in operation, over $250,000 in donated goods and services have been shared with over 3,000 people struggling with poverty. The good news is, on July 13th, the Five Oaks board voted to assume the Stone Soup Network national program and its assets. That means that they are now in a position to apply for grants as a program of Five Oaks which will greatly increase their financial sustainability. We are proud to have supported the work of Stone Soup Network at a critical transition stage and look forward to seeing their grassroots community support model roll out across the country.
East Plains Child Care Centre Opens with Help of Investing in Ministry Fund Loan
East Plains United Church recently completed renovations that allowed the new East Plains Child Care Centre to open in its premises. An Investing in Ministry Fund loan from TUCC provided just under half of the funding for this project that will offer much needed secure childcare places for up to 77 children in the Aldershot community and be a source of income for the East Plains congregation.
TUCC’s Investing in Ministry Fund is a unique church to church capital pool providing loans to ministries and income to investing communities of faith. The fund’s 2021 report is now available, including information on capital projects assisted by the fund in recent years as well as the rate of return for investors.
TUCC's SELF Fund Supports Geothermal Installation at Camp Scugog
Amidst the many challenges faced by United Church camps over the past two years, one story of hope is that of the farmhouse renovation currently taking place at Camp Scugog. Awarded a Trillium foundation grant to expand their programming into the shoulder season, the leadership at Camp Scugog knew that their 19th century farmhouse, used as a dining hall and gathering place by the camp, would need to be converted into a four season facility.
Bringing young people into close contact with the natural world, United Church camps are known for fostering environmental consciousness (pictured in this post are participants in Scugog’s nature school programming, featured recently in the Toronto Star). When it came to upgrading their dining hall, Camp Scugog wanted to put the respect for creation they instill in their campers into practice by choosing an eco-friendly geothermal climate control solution. The geothermal system will use water circulation to convert the natural, underground temperature of the Earth to warm (or cool) indoor spaces with almost no carbon emissions.
While Scugog’s Trillium grant is providing the bulk of the funding for the farmhouse renovation, a TUCC Sustainable Energy Loans Fund (SELF) loan is assisting specifically with the geothermal installation. Since its establishment in 2010 the SELF Fund has supported a wide variety of energy saving initiatives – from solar installations, to energy efficient furnaces and windows, to building envelope upgrades – but this is the first geothermal project for which funds have been accessed. TUCC is delighted to support Camp Scugog in this venture that is a real investment in future campers and the world they will inherit!