42 Church Hill
Fonthill United Church
P.O. Box 926
Fonthill, ON L0S 1E0
Our mission is to be an inclusive community of hope,
offering opportunities for worship, learning and fellowship
which inspire us to follow on the path of Jesus:
loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and
loving our neighbours, as we love ourselves.
We Offer the Experience of Worship – The Sunday service is the focal point of the congregation’s week together. The service begins early, at 9:30 am. Our style of worship can be described as traditional United Church: the emphasis is on the Bible and preaching, the hymns are from Voices United, congregational singing is accompanied by a pipe organ or piano, and there are no screens or projectors. But traditional does not mean boring. The language is inclusive, the theology is progressive and the message is for today. We strive for excellence in music and preaching so as to facilitate an experience of God’s presence and to inspire Christian faith. After worship we meet in the lower hall for fellowship and enjoy some refreshments.
We Offer Learning Opportunities – The minister leads discussion groups to explore the relevance of Christian faith for living today. Most of these happen after church on Sunday for an hour from 11:00 to 12:00. Many of them have followed popular video series which have prompted lively discussion. People come and go as they are able and everyone is welcome to drop in for as many sessions as they like.
We Extend Pastoral Care - The minister works with the Pastoral Care Committee in order to enable a network of mutual caring and support. Committee members have taken a training course in pastoral care and they have provided vulnerable sector reports. Once every month they meet with the minister to talk about concerns in the congregation. They endeavour to be good listeners, to be non-judgemental and to keep sensitive information confidential. By visiting, they help people to feel connected and to assure them that whatever they are going through, they are not alone. In addition, others in the congregation make regular friendly visits, mostly in seniors’ homes. Together we try to create a network of caring and support.
We Offer Signs of Hope - Spiritual care and the love of knitting and crochet have been combined into a prayerful ministry that reaches out to those in need of comfort or solace. Beautiful prayer shawls are knit or crocheted, then given to people in hospital or who are going through recovery. The knitter begins each shawl with prayers for the person who will receive it so prayer shawls become a tangible expression of the prayers of the community. People have often talked about the experience of comfort and hope they received from receiving one.
The Minister's Visit - A minister’s visit is often prompted by a significant occasion or a life changing event. When the minister is aware of this he will usually initiate a visit. When people want to talk with the minister they are welcome to invite him to their home or they may come to the church office. The minister welcomes the opportunity to accompany people going through times of sickness and other difficulty. We hope that if you are in need of pastoral care, or know of someone who is, that you or a family member will contact the church office to let us know. If you are calling on behalf of someone else, please tell them what you are doing.
We Celebrate Baptisms - Since baptism welcomes an individual into the Christian family, our custom is to celebrate baptism during the morning worship service. We baptise infants and adults.
We Celebrate Marriage - We welcome those who want to celebrate their marriage in the context of Christian worship at Fonthill United Church. You do not have to be a member of our congregation to be married here. We welcome those of other religious backgrounds or of none, and those who may have been married before, to celebrate their marriage in our sanctuary. For more information about our wedding customs, please follow this link.
We Celebrate Lives - Whether or not people have a current religious affiliation, they often experience the death of someone close to them as a sacred occasion to be marked by an appropriate service. Fonthill United Church’s minister, the Rev. Dr. Garry van Bruchem, is available to conduct services and to offer pastoral care to anyone regardless of their religious affiliation. The church is available for funeral and memorial services. We have good relationships with all of the local funeral homes in this area and work closely with them. When no funeral home is involved, we are able to assist in conducting a memorial service for the person who has died.
We are Sponsoring Syrian Refugee Families - In 2015, when the Syrian refugee crisis began, Fonthill United Church partnered with several of the other Pelham churches and people in the Pelham community to form the Pelham Syrian Refugee Constituent Group. We raised money and made application to the government to support a Syrian refugee family. We have now sponsored two families who have settled in the Pelham/Welland area. To see a video of another United Church’s experience of refugee support follow this link.
We Support Local Missions - Fonthill United Church’s mission includes supporting those who are making a difference in the Niagara Region by helping those in need. The Church Council has allocated three grants of $1,000 each to support the following local missions in 2018:
Wellspring Niagara – The recommendation to support Wellspring comes from the UCW. Wellspring is Niagara’s only free cancer support centre, offering free supportive care services to men, women and children who are living with cancer. Our donation will go to the Help us Build Hope campaign to support the construction of the new regional cancer support centre and ensure that the important services Wellspring Niagara provides can continue long into the future. Wellspring Niagara is a registered charitable organization that relies entirely on donations for daily operations and programs from the community.
The Hope Centre – The mission of the Hope Centre is: To assist the most vulnerable citizens in Welland and the surrounding area in their time of need by providing food and housing stability, and to empower change in their lives by increasing their future resilience to poverty and increasing their capacity to be self-sustaining through counselling and training. The Hope Centre is planning a new building project.
Brock University Ecumenical Chaplaincy – is a ministry to students, supported by the three denominations: United, Presbyterian and Anglican. The Rev. Dr. David Galston is the current chaplain and he is a United Church minister. The Ecumenical Chaplaincy is about:
Making connections on campus and in life.
Reflecting on the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual journey of life.
Openness and honesty before the "big questions."
Activities like suppers, discussion groups, and multi-faith events.
A trusted campus presence on university committees and leading university events.
We Support the United Church of Canada - We support the mission of the United Church of Canada, the denomination of which we are a congregation through:
The Mission and Service Fund (M&S) - We allocate a portion (8%) of regular donations made to Fonthill United Church for the support of the United Church of Canada’s Mission and Service Fund. This is the denomination’s main fund and the largest contributor to the annual budget. Mission and Service donations support congregations and new church development, Canadian outreach programs, international relief and development, training and supporting ministers, maintaining ecumenical relationships, and administration and governance work. Once a month our worship services feature a “Minute for Mission” which tells us about some aspect of the work we support.
World Development and Relief (WDR is supported by the UCW) - The United Church of Canada has a long tradition in overseas mission. WDR money supports both long-term development work and short-term responses to humanitarian crises. The United Church works within partnerships with churches and agencies that have established strong community development programs. These focus on agriculture, community health, education, childcare, youth work, and HIV/AIDS prevention. Many of these same partners have community-based networks for distributing emergency supplies in times of crisis. The United Church is committed to helping not just with the immediate needs of crisis, but also with long-term work as communities re-build and re-establish.
Niagara Presbytery and Hamilton Conference - Fonthill United Church participates in the work of Niagara Presbytery. We send three representatives to its monthly meetings and they serve on various presbytery committees. Two of our members are on the Board of Cave Springs Camp and one is on the Executive of the Niagara Presbytery Extension Council. In addition to the involvement of its people, Fonthill United pays an annual assessment to support the work of Niagara Presbytery and Hamilton Conference.
We Open the Church to the Community - Fonthill United Church welcomes the community to use the building. It is used by: Beavers, Cubs and Scouts, a badminton group, a pickle ball group, Tai-Chi, quilters, an a cappella choir, and music lessons. A pedicure salon offers specialized foot care for seniors (Sarah Lilley 905 931-7921). It is very gratifying to see our building being so well used and appreciated by the local community. Rental fees help us to defray the costs of operating the building and are very reasonable. Please see the rentals section here and contact the church office at with any inquiries 905 892 6433.
We Care for Creation - At Fonthill United, caring for the environment is one of our highest values. We have taken steps to make our building as energy efficient as we can. In the past few years we have installed a new energy-efficient furnace, programmable thermostats to control heat distribution and energy-efficient light fixtures. We are particularly proud of the solar panels on our roof. In 2011 we participated in Ontario Hydro’s MicroFit Program to generate up to 10 kilowatts of electricity. We hope that this project will stimulate discussion about our environmental responsibility and inspire people to reduce their own carbon footprint. You can monitor our solar panels by clicking on this link: Solar Panels.
We Make Fellowship Inclusive - The church engages in various activities to promote an inclusive fellowship. Everyone is welcome to participate in all church activities.
Choir - Fonthill United Church has an excellent choir of about 20 voices to lead congregational singing and to sing anthems for Sunday worship. The choir normally practices on Thursdays at 7:00 pm at the church. If you are interested in joining the choir, feel free to come to one of the practices. You will be welcomed right away!
Friendship Group - This group normally meets twice a year: Once to attend the annual Port Colborne Operatic Society production (http://www.portcolborneoperaticsociety.com/) and once to have a Christmas dinner together. Everyone who wants to join them is invited to come.
Quilters - On most Tuesday mornings a small group meets in the church to quilt and then have lunch together. We often hear their laughter echoing through the church! An extra pair of hands will always be put to good work.
House Tour - The annual “Homes for the Holidays” Christmas House Tour is a local legend. Professional designers decorate six or seven local homes for the holidays. People go around visiting the homes, admiring the decorations, and then come to the church for the bake sale and to enjoy homemade scones. The house tour typically draws over 400 people and lots of church volunteers. By the end of the day everyone is tired but satisfied that they provided a venue for fellowship and raised money for the church, while some of the proceeds of the house tour go to local missions.
United Church Women (UCW) – “The purpose of the UCW is to unite the women of the congregation to the total mission of our church and to provide a medium through which we may express our loyalty and devotion to Jesus Christ in Christian witness, study, fellowship and service.” All the women of the congregation automatically become members of the UCW and are welcome to participate in all its meetings. Meetings are normally held on the second Wednesday of the month at 1:30 pm in the Friendship Room. The UCW hosts a Community Dinner in the fall, and the annual “Lessons, Carols and Cookies” service in December. It supports some local mission projects in the Niagara region, and the United Church World Development and Relief Fund. The annual Giant Flea Market in the spring generates a lot of fun and its proceeds help to support the church’s programs.