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  So What?
    Now What

The following comments are those gathered during week one of seeking: honest questions for deeper faith & mission in the world. Included are the comments gathered during the Sunday Gathering on February 26th and on the Zoom Gathering on Monday February 27th.  Also included are the responses offered via email and the webform.  The purpose of this conversations was to describe the current situation of the congregation.


Comments offered by those participating via the online community are recorded in italics.

The slide image summary of the Task Group can be found at the bottom.

What are the challenges facing Sackville United Church?

Finances (x15 entries)

Our financial problem is the priority 

Our income is changing

Deficit budgets are not sustainable in long term


With the cessation of the Lafford payments, the end of the Sharing the Table Grant, the gap for financial year 2024 will be $30 000. 

What will do with less money coming from Lafford?

Lafford payments ending, resulting in loss of income; cost of living going up, which will

affect our bottom line as well – but costs for repairs etc. will stay the same or rise



I gather that we are challenged for funds to maintain our presence here and a minister.

I think the larger community, as everywhere, is challenged for funds to carry on connexions

among the people.

Filling seats, financial, keeping open.


My biggest challenge is being able to contribute to this church community. I tried to donate

online through Facebook but did not hear back as to whether my gift was received. That’s all.


Because of the demographics of the congregation - seems unlikely we will see an increase from individual contributions.


We have struggled to have meaningful conversations about levels of stewardship


Looking at expenses and what could be changed

Spending $ on too many things not helping those in need and there are many in need


Our faith energy is being misspent

Faith and energy is reduced because of fewer members in church

Maintenance of an older building (x3 entries)

Do we need a building the size of one we currently use?

Could we become a tenant rather than an owner?

What do we do with our building?

Building usage (more even sanctuary space to community)

Too much focus on our building

Cost of everything is going up - insurance 

Rising prices



Find a balance between the income we have and projected expenses - salary and building (big expenses)

Perception of other people about our church

For some folks – traditional vs. non-traditional services (ours are quite non-traditional

compared with, say, the Presbyterian or Baptist churches – for some this is the attraction to

SUC; others might find it off-putting)

The challenge of how Christianity and religion are widely perceived in North American culture

Getting the good word out about ongoing initiatives

Declining membership (x 4 entries)

Aging congregation (X 5 entries)

Older community - seniors

Absence of those who were regular people who attended before covid

Replacing church members

Attracting new members

Degree of increase in #’s is too great for our ability to recruit

Visibility for folks not familiar with building, do they know we are here?

We need to figure out a way to have Pride/Trans flags

Aging population – how to attract congregants of all ages and keep them coming? Being

able to do so would bring fresh ideas into SUC about how we can continue to be

progressive as a church; also fresh ideas on how to support all ages as they navigate

various life challenges

Back to the larger community, I think we, like everywhere, are challenged by not having enough people to do the things that need doing.

Accelerated diversity

Challenges attracting cultural diversity - black , indigenous, people of color

UCW groups


Membership-young people

Shortage of younger people in leadership positions

Reaching youth 

Need more young people


Loss of sunday school

Lack of Sunday School and Youth Groups

No youth groups

Shortage of ages 12-30 for leadership development

One challenge I think we have is how best to extend a vibrant ministry for all ages and be

present with people in their life struggles

Keeping the children and youth here in SUC.

Other activities 



Understanding role of church 

Little growth 




Adapting to change

Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees

Scope of perceptions of problems of SUC


A vision and mission that we all buy into and can articulate.


Assumptions are challenges: that all ‘are in the know’ regarding how we do things and the history of the church and the community and that all can afford to be a part of the community.

What are the challenges facing the larger community?

Healthcare and hospital (x 7 entries), food insecurity, housing, 

Health care (family doctors, nurses, hospital)


Food insecurity (x 6 entries)

High use of foodbank

Increased use of foodbanks 


Lack of Affordable Housing and homelessness(x 13 entries)

Affordable housing and food security in regard to seniors and low-income folk


Fragmented community

Few community gatherings

Loss of community focal points 

Other activities

Face to face

Opportunities and activities age related 

Town gown divide

Lack of newspaper communication

Poor communication - no local newspaper or radio


Will centralization to Moncton break our social fabric

Premier Higgs (personal opinion)


Financial challenges

Financial needs/insecurity - basic needs are not being met by so many

Losing small business

Businesses closing - Mels, Liquidation Store, Cattail Ridge, Dorchester take-out..

Rising prices



Cost of living 

Cost of living rise;challenges to feed your family healthy food

Cost of food


Inflation (x 4 entries)

Poverty (x 2 entries)

Increased inequality in income

Financial challenges


Support service challenges

Transportation , child care services, needs


Lack of public transportation

Lack of childcare spaces

Lack of resources and skilled workers (and burnout of those workers)

Those without computers are sidelined re_ info and connections

Isolation and loneliness, hopelessness


Finding space for refugees

Space for refugees, asylum seekers 

Welcoming newcomers



Covid 19 challenges still (no masking)

Few wear masks

Returning to normal 

Travel (x 2 entries)

Travel - can’t count on schedules

What are the challenges for those participating online?

Lack of connectedness to members of the congregation

Recognition of how valuable it is - but also an awareness that it is not equitable/full participation.

Online is like a balcony experience for me. It is a different and unfamiliar perspective in


Maintaining a sense of connection and community for those not attending in person.

Ability to engage with community in ways that are equally lifegiving

Community feeling

Mobility - connection

Lack of community time “feelings”

Losing touch with everyone

Losing touch with people

Feeling part of on-site community

Connection to attendees at church

Connection to attendees at church

Disconnection risk - it’s easy to be passive, isolated

We are still suffering from covid - social disconnect 

Personal contact

Not able to go to church

Not able to face to face, to speak 

Hard to maintain connection 

Ability to connect

Connection with others (not persona)

Not being there live to get a feel

Remembering the faces of the congregation.  

Feeling a part of the larger whole.

Worshipping “alone” – greater isolation; risk of losing connection to the community

Observing the service rather than participating in it

Online can be an uneven experience: I am gratefully receiving but not totally present.

Connecting with online congregation, making them feel part of the service.

For those of us online it is difficult to feel as engaged as we are when physically interacting with the group. 


As an online only participant, I often wish I were there to assist with the concerns of your



(13 viewers online - comments were made by 4 people.) 

Online difficult for elderly - seniors being left behind

Seniors left behind tech-wise

Touch for seniors

Seniors not on-line


Technology itself presents challenges. (x 4 entries)

Ability to connect

Hard to focus 

Some people can’t focus online

Not everyone has a computer

Equipment and use

Hearing, sight 

I don’t always hear correctly.


Technical difficulties sometimes

The work of keeping us online.

Occasional technical errors

Tech glitches in sound

Various practical/technical A/V issues (volume wonky, video down)

What is happening in the larger world that contributes to and/or threatens a healthy world?

War (x 5 entries)

Russia Ukraine War (x 3 entries)

War in Ukraine - are we on the eve of WW III?


Leaders at odds

Tension between China and USA


Putin, Donald Trump and possibly Justin Trudeau


Poverty, systemic racism,sexism, ableism, and inequality

drugs, crime


Police brutality

Racism, sexism, ableism

Rise of anti-LGBTQ2+ sentiments

Ongoing systemic racism

People not caring

Increased income inequality and a system too unregulated to address it


Rich / poor gap

Greed and empire (x 3 entries)

“Greedflation” due to corporate dominance going unchecked!

Short term economics are guiding decisions - change economics!!




We are in a period of pervasive societal regression.


Covid 19 (X 4 entries)

No masks where needed


Climate change (x 12 entries)

Climate emergency!

Global warming

Natural disasters

Man made disasters

Industry - near and more

Environmental pollution

In the larger world we are dealing with strange weather, pollution, a need to change from our

current use of oil, gas, coal, etc.


Health care - doctor and nurse shortage (x 5 entries)

Doctors, hospitals, schools 

Repairing roads, giving medical care, ... There aren’t

enough young people to balance out us baby boomers.


Hunger,health, and mother earth



Mental health issues 





Neurodiversity in a neurotypical world


Change is happening so quickly

Our perception/concept of safety (in the world) has changed.

One challenge might be how to process anxiety that some people feel about the future (when

comparing with the past).


Global migration and refugees (x 4 entries)

Ongoing refugee crises

No news of hope

misinformation/fake news

Media sensationalism

Fake news!


Contributing to a healthy world:


Intergenerational outreach

Cooperative movement

Open sky powerhouse

Renewable energy research and development

dedicated people working for social justice

We deeply appreciate all the effort that is invested in keeping us up tp date. It is yet

another example of the significance of inclusion to SUC.



Thanks be to the Harm reduction vending machine and Ensemble Moncton!

Thanks be to independent music festivals such as SappyFest!

Thanks be to the Sackville Food Bank even as we work to address the root causes of food insecurity that threatens food sovereignty and life!

Thanks be to advocates for Universal Basic Income!

Thanks be to the curiosity of children seeking learning through play!

Thanks be to the fact that We’re still here!


Rising Ideas:


 Our current problems force us to imagine things differently


Community is changing - more diversity


If there would be no physical building to worship and we would be online ?


Possibility of sharing space with another church - should we approach those church communities facing similar challenges? 

When you move into someone else’s space it is a delicate situation. Requires a lot of diplomacy and effort on everyone’s part. 

Most successful mergers are when both parties sell and acquire something new. 


We are in a post church culture - what does that mean ???


Understanding the role of church ???


This summary is by no means exhaustive - it is intended to serve as a means to entry into the next conversation.


The Task Group is always asking itself questions such as, What is missing? Whose voice or perspective is missing? 

If you think we have missed a key idea or perspective, please be in contact with us through the Secretary, Rebecca Houtsma.

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