Decisions on Small and Rural Ministries
Small and rural ministries represent a substantial proportion of the United Church as a whole and bring real strengths. But they also face unique challenges as they seek to meet the needs of their ministry personnel and communities. Commissioners at the 43rd General Council made several decisions in the hope of addressing such challenges on Day 7, Friday, July 27:
- Support will be offered to small and emerging congregations that do not have paid accountable ministry leadership.
- The church will offer guidance on governance structures that reflect the needs of new and emerging communities of faith.
- The General Secretary will work with the regional councils to address the challenging financial constraints in rural prairie communities of faith and the growing numbers of ministry personnel vacancies.
- The capacity of pastoral charges to use technology will be given a boost. They will receive help connecting with other bodies of the church for meetings, webinars, online meetings, and so on; communicating with the new regional body of the United Church; and supporting each other’s congregations.
George Bott, commissioner for the Conference of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario, is happy with the decisions. “This is a wonderful step toward supporting small and rural ministries that struggle to see hope in the continuation of their ministries,” he said. “In particular, access to funding for technological solutions has the potential to move them forward in their call to discipleship.”