Stewardship is the all-inclusive term used to describe our church’s management of God’s gifts and resources entrusted to us. It encompasses the nurturing and engagement of volunteers, the use of money to enable ministry, and the care of our property, the building and the grounds, as well as the Quiet Garden, reflecting our responsibility to care for God’s Creation.
Volunteers in Ministry
The full-time clergy of the parish, and very part-time independent contractors that include, at present, an Administrative Assistant, a Choir Director, a pianist (Choir) and a Contemporary Music Director, are in paid ministries. Everything else which happens in the parish is provided by members exercising their God-given gifts in ministry, as they live out their Baptismal vows. Leadership roles include, for example, Wardens and members of Council, but there are a dozen others that fall into this category.
Ministries that support and enrich our parish mission offer individuals a variety of opportunities to put their faith into action. Our worship services involve laity as readers, intercessors, Communion Administrators, Servers, the Altar Guild and members of our choir and our contemporary music group, Emmaus. Worship is also supported through administration, technology, Financial Ministries and parish artists. Discipleship Ministries include Adult Christian Education and ongoing, lay-led Bible Study, youth ministry and children’s ministry as well as special events, devotionals and need-based courses.
Outreach is owned by the parish as a whole but support ministries include collections, deliveries, our long standing support of The Well’s breakfast programme with muffins, educational opportunities and special projects, such as our Blue Door to End Homelessness and the purchase of a new washing machine for Centre 105, in Cornwall. The youth most recently were involved in a Youth Homelessness initiative that originated with CLAY. We fully support the ‘local’ Community Ministries of the Diocese and the Food Banks, as well as contributing to national and international charities.
Stewardship of our technology, finances and property provide a number of avenues for those with gifts in these areas who are willing to share their expertise. Community ministries focus on special events, open to the public, such as our Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper, and on gatherings and fellowship occasions for the parish ‘family’. The various interest groups within the church, such as the Craft Group, also come under this umbrella. The Pastoral Care Team is the group which, working with the clergy and others in leadership roles, endeavour to provide a listening ear, care and often practical assistance to our members. The Prayer Chain supports and augments this ministry. Members of the Pastoral Care Team are trained in pastoral care, with opportunities for continuing education, and meet monthly.
Every parishioner is called by God into ministry, as they are equipped and able. Discernment about what ministry to embrace is a shared process that includes the individual, the clergy and others associated with each particular ministry. Many positions require training, and refreshment training, and Screening in Faith, or Safe Church, processes which include interviews and police records checks.
The culture of St. Helen’s parish concerning finances begins with the understanding that the faith community funds our ministries with personal donations. Traditionally this has been expressed with offering envelopes, based on weekly attendance at worship. We still provide envelopes for those who wish to use them but now there are other options.
For over ten years now we have encouraged our members to give regularly through PAR (Pre-Authorized Remittance). This programme, administered by the United Church of Canada and used extensively within the Anglican Church, is a debit programme whereby the amount you name is withdrawn from your account on a monthly basis. Registering, increasing that amount or, if need be, cancelling your gift, simply requires an e-mail to the church and the Financial Ministries team will do the rest. Aside from the commitment that this approach reveals, it enables the parish to budget with some knowledge of expected revenue, rather than total ‘guesstimates’.
Our parish letters, mailed at Easter, Thanksgiving and Easter include special offering envelopes and provide the opportunity to add a financial gift to your church envelopes or PAR method of supporting the church. We also display a Canada Helps button on our website, allowing you to donate using a credit card, a practice with which many of us are now very familiar. Giving in this way provides you with an immediate receipt from Canada Helps (which also has charitable status) and you can use it as frequently as you wish. There are management fees associated with PAR and Canada Helps but these are simply the cost of doing business.
The parish also raises funds through certain events, notable the Bazaar, and other sales, in any given year. Members are invited to donate towards Memorial Stones in our Quiet Garden, and to the Memorial Flowers which grace our Nave at particular times of the year. There are, as well, special focus drives for Outreach and Youth, (in recent years including the Blue Door to End Homelessness and CLAY, respectively) and, as with our ‘Growing into God’s Future’ initiative, there are sometimes major campaigns. Most of our faith community social events (such as the Pancake Supper and Christmas Gala) are funded through ‘your generous donations’ at the time, as opposed to ticket sales. The potential rental of Trinity Hall can also provide revenue but the management of our facility is complicated and we need to remember that our ministry purpose is not as rental agents. We are not in the position of providing ‘free’ space to the public nor are we presently equipped with personnel to oversee the operations and provide security and cleaning requirements. This may well be an area for future refinement.
The Finances of the parish are coordinated by the Treasurer, in consultation with the Wardens and Incumbent and reviewed by Council as well as the membership as a whole at Annual Vestry. Day-to-day financial management is undertaken by the dedicated volunteers on the Financial Ministries team.
Christian disciples profess a particular perspective on life’s journey. Baptized into the Body of Christ, the church, we are called into community and into ministry. We witness to the “Good News” and share in the care of the world God loves. And Christians live, and die, embraced in the promise of eternal life, in the nearer presence of God and in the company of those who have gone before us into glory. Our commitment to ‘equipping the saints’ includes all aspects of our mission and purpose as we serve, not only our own faith community, but all in need of nurture of all kinds and the disciples of the future.
If you do not have a Last Will and Testament, get one! It is the least you can do for your Executor. As you have been blessed as a member of the Church, consider leaving a monetary legacy to St. Helen’s, so that the good ministry of which you have been a part can continue. When you name St. Helen’s Anglican Church in your Will, with a lump sum or a percentage indicated, your offering will benefit generations to come. A Financial Advisor can also suggest a variety of other ways this may be accomplished including: life insurance, gift annuities, gifts of retirement fund accumulations, as well as more intricate instruments. As you have been blessed, bless others with your legacy gift!
Our church building, as expanded and renovated in 2017, is a necessary and valuable resource for ministry. It provides spaces for worship, gatherings, meetings, educational events, counselling areas, and office administration, and benefits every group and ministry within the church. We are all responsible for its care and upkeep and to treat it as well as, or better than, we treat our own homes.