Embracing the Spirit BC Fund
Terms of Reference
The Embracing the Spirit BC Fund was established as a partnership between Trinity United Church (Vancouver), Vancouver-Burrard Presbytery, and BC Conference in September 2016 from funds generated from the sale of St. James Community Centre in February 2016.
Monies in the Fund shall be invested along with other BC Conference monies and shall accrue income in the same manner.
The initial “capital” of the monies contributed by from the sale of the St. James Community Centre shall be considered to be $3,200,000 for the purposes of these terms of reference, as decided by Vancouver-Burrard Presbytery (September 13, 2016). Future contributions to the Fund, if any, will also be counted as “capital.”
Determination of Income
Income to the Fund shall begin September 1, 2016, and shall be considered a combination of dividends earned, interest earned, realized and unrealized capital gains, and the net of costs in direct proportion to the Fund contribution within the total invested funds of BC Conference.
The Finance Council of BC Conference shall determine on an annual basis how much income has been earned by the Fund.
Use of Capital and Income
The full amount of the capital and all income shall be available to be spent to achieve the Purpose of the Embracing the Spirit BC initiative.
Monies shall be used in two ways:
- The financial support of a Conference Minister person or contractor (up to half time) who will oversee and support this initiative;
- The provision of grants to individuals and groups that meet the grant criteria.
The life of the Fund will depend on the number and size of grants made. It is anticipated that it will be a minimum of three years and will remain active until its funds are spent.
Embracing the Spirit BC Grant Committee
An Embracing the Spirit BC Grant Committee shall be comprised of the Conference Minister person appointed to this work, one person acceptable to Vancouver-Burrard Presbytery, one person acceptable to another Lower Mainland Presbytery, one person acceptable to a Presbytery outside of the Lower Mainland, and, if possible, a participant in Trinity United Church (Vancouver).
Capital: Decisions regarding the investment and accounting for the monies shall be the responsibility of BC Conference.
Income Amount: A determination of the amount of “income” of the monies available for use by the Presbytery shall be made by the Conference Finance Council annually in time for annual budgeting.
Staffing: Staffing and staff support decisions shall be made by BC Conference.
Grants: Receiving and processing grant applications, including needed consultation with the applicant, shall be the responsibility of the Conference Minister person assigned to this work. Final decisions on the provision of grants shall be the responsibility of the Embracing the Spirit BC Grant Committee. Decisions shall be reported to the Executive Secretary of BC Conference.
Review of Terms of Reference
These Terms of Reference shall be reviewed regularly by BC Conference, in consultation with Vancouver-Burrard Presbytery. Alterations in the Terms are permissible with the joint agreement of the Presbytery or its Executive and BC Conference.
The purpose of the Fund is to support the creation of new communities of faith within BC Conference where Christian faith is nurtured and discipleship practiced.
BC Conference has the vision of new communities of discipleship throughout the Conference.
By “new” we mean:
- they are designed to attract, connect to, and incorporate people who are not currently attending a United Church congregation;
- they can take a number of forms including, but not limited to, church plants, intentional communities, café or social mission businesses, inter-faith collaborations, community collaborations, outreach, children and youth communities, and other forms not yet imagined.
By “communities of discipleship” we mean people:
- who are coming together to deepen their faith, to learn about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit;
- who are wanting to engage in the world from a faithful perspective;
- who may be any stage on the journey, from new seekers and curious (or suspicious), healing from wounds made by Christendom, those who have some faith background or those longing to go deeper.
Grants from the Embracing the Spirit BC Fund will be offered and awarded to seed and support up to ten new communities of discipleship, each with a strong core of participants (in most cases 10-20) who are engaged in Christian discipleship (including Christian education, regular worship, and Christian service and witness as appropriate for their context).
Each grant will provide substantial funding for up to three years to support the creation and implementation of these communities of discipleship.
The application process and continued support, consultation and evaluation throughout the funding period will be provided by a Conference Minister.
Who may apply for the Embracing the Spirit BC grants?
We will be recognizing individuals and groups that have a clear connection with The United Church of Canada, including:
- Individuals who are connected to an existing congregation or who have a relationship with The United Church of Canada. This includes lay leaders, designated lay ministers, diaconal leaders and ordained ministers.
- Congregations who are willing to support a new church plant or a “fresh expressions” style of community of faith.
- Individual Presbyteries or partnering Presbyteries who want to plant a new community of faith in their region.
- Multi-faith partners who want to co-create a community together.
- Social mission businesses who want to partner with the United Church on a faith-based discipleship project.
- Educational institutions who want to partner with the United Church on a faith-based discipleship project.
- United Church camps or retreat centres who want to start intentional Christian communities.
Grantees will remain closely in touch with and report to the Conference Minister at BC Conference. Regular oral reporting will be expected. Written reports will be required at key times in the life of the new project. Grantees will share their budgets and financials, along with updates on their outcomes, with the Conference Minister on an annual basis.
Grantees are expected to report to the Conference Minister and together assess the viability of their project when they have spent 50% of their grant.
Grantees are also encouraged to design good communication practices to maintain positive relationships with local presbyteries and other United Church constituencies.
Grantees may use their grant for wages and staffing, rent and building space, operating costs of the project, supplies and communication and promotion. Unless specifically granted by the Conference Minister and Granting committee, funds may not be used to upgrade buildings, purchase property or buildings, or fund staff housing (we recognize there may be the exceptions in the case of intentional communities).
Grantees are expected to submit with their application an attainable financial plan for sustainability and viability including, in particular, financing plans once the Embracing the Spirit BC BC funding ends.
All grant applications must include details about the faith formation plans for the community. (While these projects are encouraged to involve non-Christian partners, the goal of this fund is to create new communities of discipleship.)
Proposals that demonstrate the goal of reaching out to people and communities who do not currently have a relationship with Christianity or present congregational life will receive preference.
Potential applicants are expected to consult with the Conference Minister early in their discernment period to ensure their vision and plans will be appropriate for the Embracing the Spirit BC Fund grants.