relating to the possibility of an
Amalgamation between St
Stephen and Tansley United Churches in Burlington ON
An offer was extended by the Tansley Board, on your
(Tansley Congregation’s) behalf, to St Stephen board to begin talks that would
support them as they made decisions regarding their future. The talks that began
in January with a small group from each congregation was open to the possibility
of amalgamation but that was not the express purpose behind the talks. As
meetings progressed though, it became apparent that there were many
commonalities between the two congregations, which then led to a larger group
meeting on April 28.
The decision has already been made, that as of June 2019,
St. Stephen will be closing their doors at their present location.
St. Stephen set themselves a firm deadline of June 3, 2018
to decide where their future lies. To this end a congregational meeting was
held on June 3 to determine if they would like to move forward with talks with
the intent to amalgamate with Tansley or move in a different direction. The
vote was in favour of pursuing amalgamation. We, at Tansley, also need to have
a congregational meeting to confirm that the majority are in favour of this.
ON Sunday, June 17, 2018 the following motion was
considered by those in attendance at Tansley United Church and was passed by a
vote of 63 in favour and 4 opposed.
The same motion had been considered by St. Stephen UC on
June 3, 2018 and passed by a vote of 36 in favour, 10 opposed and 2 abstentions.
“That Tansley United Church enter into formal discussions
with St. Stephen United Church for the purpose of amalgamating our
congregations. A joint amalgamation team with an equal number of members from
St. Stephen and Tansley to be enacted within 1 month (by July 17, 2018). The
task of this team is to perform due diligence to give each congregation all
required facts in order to make a final amalgamation decision by congregational
vote, post July 17, 2018. If all parties are in agreement at that time, then
the amalgamation will be scheduled to occur on or before June 30, 2019.”
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS from the June 17/18 Congregational
1. Q. Will we amalgamate for just a short time?
A. If we amalgamate it will be an
2. Q. What is the cost of amalgamation?
A. We don’t know yet. This is one of the factors
to be considered by the joint amalgamation team.
3. Q. How many members does St Stephen have?
A. We don’t know the exact number of members at
St. Stephen. This too will be identified in the work of the joint amalgamation
team. We have been told that an average of 40-45 people worship at St Stephen
4. Q. Does St Stephen vote on this also?
A. St Stephen voted in favor of this motion on June
3/18. 48 people cast votes: 36 in favour, 10 opposed and 2 people
abstained from voting.
5. Q. What will be the impact on paid staff?
A. We don’t know yet.
6. Q. If we amalgamate what happens to paid
A. We are unsure right now. Further steps need
to be considered. General Council meets next month and will be voting on 8
Remits (information has been made available to the congregation on Remits as it
has been received from the United Church of Canada (UCC)). If the Remits are
accepted there will be changes to the structure, policies, procedures and
practices of the UCC.
7. Q. Why are we going through amalgamation with
St Stephen since they are closing?
A. St Stephen is not closing. Their property
has been sold and their building is being torn down. The congregation needs to
vacate their existing space by June 30/19. If St Stephen were to close/cease
to be a congregation, all their assets would go to the UCC. If they amalgamate
or find space elsewhere to worship they will maintain their assets.
8. Q. Will the name of our church change?
A. We may see a variety of changes to Tansley as we know
it. A name change is one possibility. If we amalgamate we are creating a new
During the next step the joint amalgamation team, made up
of members from Tansley and St Stephen will discuss what is important to both
congregations. There will be compromise on items that can be agreed upon. The
team will discover whether there are any items on which compromise may not be
possible. The team’s findings will be brought back to both congregations before
their recommendation to amalgamate (or not) is voted on individually by each
9. Q. Is a Joint Needs Assessment Committee (JNAC)
compulsory or our choice?
A. If the recommendation is that Tansley and St
Stephen amalgamate, and that recommendation is accepted by both congregations,
it is likely that a JNAC would be required as this would be a second
amalgamation for Tansley within 2 years. Some of the tasks of a JNAC are to
determine the needs of the congregation (outreach, youth, adult studies,
worship) develop a position description to meet those needs and recommend the
level of staffing that would be required: - whether we need one minister, one
and half etc.
10. Q. Why did we not have one when Nelson joined?
A. Nelson and Tansley amalgamated July 1, 2018.
We were not required by Presbytery to have a JNAC at that time for a number of
reasons. Primarily there was no job loss for clergy. Rev Daryl Weber remained as
minister at Lowville, the office administrator also retained her position at
Lowville. Music leadership had been provided on a contract basis. The increase
in membership did not impact the terms of Rev. Huntley’s call.
11. Q. Could we make a friendly amendment to the
wording of the motion and change the word “amalgamation”?
A. Amalgamation is the word UCC uses in these
situations so we must use this word. This is also the same motion on which St
Stephen voted on June 3 and consistency is necessary.
12. Q. When would the amalgamation take place?
A. We are only voting today to decide if talks
will commence to discuss possible amalgamation. We are not voting on
amalgamation today. This is only a 1st step to identify areas of agreement and
areas not in agreement. It is possible that the recommendation of the joint
amalgamation team will be made early in the fall. A vote on their recommendation
would take place at that time. If the vote occurs prior to December 31, 2018,
only those who are members of Tansley UC (or St Stephen respectively) may
participate in that vote, as per The Manual 2016 The United Church of Canada.
13. Q. Is there a way we can provide the working
group with questions and input for consideration?
A. Yes there will be a way for you to have input
in the questions that are part of the discussion. The wish is to keep
14. Q. Who will be the team?
A. Tansley’s representatives to the joint
amalgamation team will be: Mark Goodale, May Turner and Dale Martin. Paul Bartu,
Heather McGavin and Dave Shilton will represent St. Stephen.
15. Q. Is St Stephen speaking with any other
A. No. St Stephen was approached by another UC in
Burlington about possible amalgamation. St. Stephen has communicated with that
congregation that they will not pursue amalgamation with them. St Stephen did
have a “Relocation Committee” looking at other options. The work of that
committee has been suspended so that the work of a joint amalgamation committee
could proceed Should Tansley vote against formal discussions with St Stephen,
and or amalgamation, then St Stephen would resume looking for other feasible
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS provided to the Tansley Congregation
in advance of the June 17/18 vote:
1. Q. Do I need to be present to vote?
A. Yes. A quorum (minimum of 20 people) is
required and only those present may vote. Proxy votes are not permitted. Please
make every effort to be present for this meeting. It is important to the life
and work of this congregation.
2. Q. Why are we voting about this now?
A. The congregation of St. Stephen United Church
voted “YES” to this plan on June 3, 2018 and in order to move forward the
Tansley congregation needs to consider and vote on the same question and give
them our answer in a timely manner.
3. Q. What are the next steps if we vote “NO”?
A. We will not move forward in conversations
towards amalgamation with St Stephen United Church.
4. Q. What are the next steps if we vote “YES”?
A. As outlined in the motion an initial joint
amalgamation team will be formed and will have a first meeting on or before July
17, 2018. The team will have an equal number of members from St. Stephen and
Tansley. The team’s task is to perform due diligence so that each congregation
has all the information needed to make a final decision on amalgamation.
5. Q. How long will the initial amalgamation
team take to perform due diligence?
A. It is expected that the team will complete
this task within 2-3 months.
6. Q. If we vote “YES” on June 17, 2018 are we
amalgamating with St Stephen on June 30, 2019?
A. The vote on June 17, 2018 is to initiate
formal discussion with the intent to amalgamate. After the initial joint
amalgamation team completes its work and if it makes its recommendation to
amalgamate the congregations of St Stephen and Tansley will individually, but on
the same date, vote on the recommendation.
7. Q. When would this second vote take place?
A. It is anticipated to take place in the fall.
Following this second vote another team would be struck to work through the
details of amalgamation.
8. Q. How will the vote be conducted?
A. While the Manual for the United Church of
Canada outlines that votes may happen by show of hands, a written ballot will be
used on June 17. The results will be tabulated and announced during the meeting.
. The wording of the motion will be on the ballot allowing people to refer to it
as they consider their options: “In Favour” “Opposed” “Abstention”.
9. Q. Usually the minister is present at
congregational meetings and Rev. Huntley will be on sabbatical. Can we have a
meeting and vote without him being present?
A. A member of ordered ministry is to be in
attendance for such a vote. Through the
Executive of Halton Presbytery and the Pastoral Relations
Committee of Presbytery permission has been given for a member of Pastoral
Relations to represent Presbytery at this meeting.