Limited funds are available to provide financial assistance to both lay personnel and members of the order of ministry. Specialized funds have been developed, as described below.
Compassionate Assistance Fund
Purpose: To provide financial assistance in the form of grants and/or loans to eligible applicants where the family income is insufficient to meet recognized basic living expenses due to extraordinary need. Active and retired lay and order of ministry personnel as well as their dependants, as defined by the pension and group insurance plans of the church, are eligible to apply for assistance.
To apply: Active lay members, contact your supervisor or regional council pastoral relations minister. Active order of ministry personnel and retired members of the pension plan, contact your regional council pastoral relations minister.
Interim Ministry Sabbatical Fund
Purpose: To provide funding in order to cover the salaries and benefits of those interim ministers taking sabbaticals who are not in receipt of a pension.
To apply: Complete and submit the application form (FA 001), under Downloads, below.
Minister’s Loan Fund
Purpose: To provide financial assistance in the case of emergency by lending a small sum at low interest to ministers who are in financial difficulty that is adversely affecting an otherwise promising ministry.
To apply: Active order of ministry personnel, contact your regional council pastoral relations minister.
Personnel Emergency Fund
Purpose: Available to order of ministry personnel who qualify according to section J 8 and 9 of The Manual.
To apply: Contact your regional council pastoral relations minister or Office of Vocation minister for assistance in making an application.
Support and Advocacy Fund
Purpose: To provide support and advocacy through financial assistance for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and two-spirited ministry personnel (as defined by The Manual) who are experiencing difficulties in maintaining employment in the church because of their known or perceived sexual orientation.
To apply: Contact your regional council pastoral relations minister.
Fund for Survivors of Sexual Abuse
Purpose: To help ministry personnel who are survivors of sexual abuse to stay in active ministry while participating in therapy to deal with sexual abuse issues that are part of their history, and to enhance the healing of individuals who have experienced sexual abuse in The United Church of Canada context, as defined by the Sexual Abuse Prevention and Response Policy, by extending the ministry of the United Church to include financial contributions toward the cost of counselling or therapy. Applications can be from lay and non-United Church individuals.
To apply: The regional council pastoral relations minister can assist in making an application.
Ministry and Life Assessment (Vocational Assessment) Fund
Purpose: Provides funding to members of the order of ministry and recognized designated lay ministers for vocational assessment undertaken at their own initiative.
To apply: The regional council pastoral relations minister can assist in an application.
Torrance E. Bissell Bursary Fund
Purpose: Provides a bursary grant for post-high school education for the dependent children, as defined by the church’s pension and group insurance plans, of active members of the order of ministry and recognized designated lay ministers in The United Church of Canada.
To apply: Applications are made through the regional council pastoral relations minister.
Fund for Visiting Ministry Personnel during a Sabbatical
Purpose: To provide funding to assist pastoral charges that would be subject to undue financial difficulty in funding supply ministry during a sabbatical leave of ministry personnel and to encourage the vitality of ministry personnel who refrain from taking a sabbatical leave because of the financial difficulty of the pastoral charge.
To apply: Complete and submit the application form, under Downloads, below.
History of Financial Assistance
In the 1920s, the General Council recognized a need to provide compassionate assistance for members of United Church communities, both lay and order of ministry. In the ensuing years, through the relationships developed by Conference personnel ministers and pension convenors, ministers and their families who found themselves in desperate circumstances as a result of financial need or emotional distress have been able to access limited assistance through a number of special funds.
These funds are supported by local church givings, donations to Mission & Service, and endowments from the community at large. Financial resources available are limited and there are always more who seek help than it is possible to assist in any one year. However, like the loaves and the fishes, a little spread among many can make an enormous difference in the life of each individual who shares in that gift.
More information about the funds, ways to contribute to them, and applications for assistance are available through your regional council pastoral relations minister.