April 10, 2024


Present: Heather Denoncourt (M&P), Joan Simpson (Chairperson), Hugh Graham (Recording Secretary), Lennox Scarlett (Minister), Dave Reed (Men’s Group, Finance), Wendy Reed (M&O, WOW), Carol Sernasie – ZOOM (Member-at-Large), Kathy Young (Memorial), Tom Wilkinson (W&M)

Regrets: Del Fraipont (Property), Doug Willford (Regional Council Rep.), Shelley Gault (Member-at-Large), Bev Cutler (CD)

Welcome/Opening: Meeting called to order at 10:05 a.m.

Opening Prayer: Reverend Lennox

Approval of Agenda:
Moved by: Heather Denoncourt Seconded by: Dave Reed
Carried: Y

Agenda Item: Strategic Plan for Wesley United Church
• The meeting has been called to discuss the possibility of Wesley United Church conducting a strategic plan.
• Rev. Lennox has been asked to open the discussion by describing what a strategic plan is.
• Questions that may be answered include:
o why do we need a plan,
o what would we get out of it,
o how much will it cost to have the facilitators,
o have other churches done this and what have been the results
• Members are invited to raise any questions they would like discussed.

Reverend Lennox opened with a list of concerns that he feels for Wesley United Church:
• We have an aging congregation
• There are few children in attendance
• There are few youth (teens to 30) – we do have some Niagara College students but they are transient, staying 3 years maximum in the area
• There are few young families – such as the Busalpa family
• Our community presence is close to non-existent – we do some specific things for a couple of specific causes, but the community does not know us
• Our community of faith is comfortable in this existence (our current finances can support us for 5 to 10 years remaining)
• We are an inward-looking congregation, not outward-looking – we do things for the members of the church
• We have a silo approach to governance of the church – we are good in our areas, but do not look across the breadth of the work
• We have more external groups using the church facilities than we do internal groups of the church
• Bible Study and Prayer Groups are not taken seriously by the church leaders – no visibility within these areas

Other discussion points:
• Our brand is strong (UCC and Wesley UC)
• We need to take a critical look at our weaknesses as well as our strengths
• We need to ask what our opportunities are what are the threats to our survival

What is a Strategic Plan?
• It is a roadmap of what needs to be done to reach a goal – in our case the goal is growth
• It will drive change and transformation
• It presents the big picture, the shared vision, purpose, and values
• Process includes SWOT analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats
• Create SMART goals which are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Time-dependent

Further Discussion:
Reverend Lennox continued his discussion:
• Purpose – why does Wesley do what we do?
• Are we driven by Christian values?
• Assess our current situation internally and externally (is our physical area of influence a ½ mile radius around the church?)

• Lennox said he would like the end goal to be adding 50 new members to the congregation within the next 3 years
• Influenced by/resulting in intergenerational activities, increased givings, deeper level of spirituality, more community involvement
• The process will create disruption – in a good way
• What is the budget? – New things come with costs
• Who can help us with this? UCC has created position of “Growth Animator” to assist congregations with the process of growing. There are also professional facilitators who can assist with developing and implementing a strategic plan (these cost $$$)

Remarks from Heather Denoncourt:
• The congregation needs to take part to make it work

Motion: Wesley United Church will engage a Growth Animator from the UCC to help us develop a 3-yearstrategic plan.
Moved: Tom Wilkinson Seconded: Heather Denoncourt
Carried: Y

Reverend Lennox was asked to contact Greg Smith-Young for his dates of availability, and we will arrange a meeting with him.

Chairperson’s Remarks:
• Thank you!!

Closing Prayer: offered by Dave Reed

Moved by: Kathy Young Seconded by: Wendy Reed
Carried: Y

Next Meeting: Tuesday April 16, 2024 or by Call of the Chair

Chairperson:________________________________________ Joan Simpson

Secretary:__________________________________________ Hugh Graham