Sydenham Street United Church is an historic downtown congregation affiliated with The United Church of Canada. Parts of our building date back to 1852. We invite you to join us on your spiritual journey. Here you will find that spiritual life, music, the arts, social justice and outreach are high priorities. We are committed to creating a just community which welcomes people regardless of age, race, gender identity, sexual identity, ethnic origin, economic circumstance, ability and challenges. If you are in our vicinity, come and worship with us — you will be warmly welcomed!
In January 2018 we evolved to a shared resources arrangement with Chalmers United Church. We share staff: Minister, Minister of Music, Operations Manager, and Office Administrator. Worship services alternate between the two sites on a monthly basis.
We seek to be a vital faith community within The United Church of Canada
engaged in spirituality, justice and creativity,
informed by Jesus Christ and the Bible,
and discerning the call of the Trinity
as we celebrate diversity, inclusivity and abundant life.
In this endeavour, we are committed to
- Deepening our spiritual relatedness and honouring the worth of each individual by extending hospitality and pastoral care, and sharing relevant and meaningful worship, spiritual practices, and small group ministry.
- Broadening our outreach/social justice through existing programs, advocacy and new initiatives to address local, national and global needs; and to welcoming the use of our space by those involved in outreach/social justice seeking to live lives of compassion and peace.
- Being nurtured by the arts within the congregation and wider community by encouraging use of our facilities by those engaged in any and all artistic endeavours.
The Annual Report provides the latest description of the activities of the congregation You can view or download it here.
Developing a Path Forward
In late 2015, with the impending retirement of our Minister Rev. Elizabeth Macdonald, a Joint Needs Assessment Committee (JNAC) was set up to plan for the future. Its report, issued in May 2016, gives a picture of the congregation, history, mission, organization, and trends from the perspective of 2016. As a result, an interim Minister, Rev. Rienk Vlietstra, was hired for a year.
In an effort to make more efficient use of available resources, a joint Chalmers-Sydenhamstreet study group was set up to explore the sharing of resources between the two congregations. The report was issued in May 2017, and recommended that “Chalmers United Church and Sydenham Street United Church implement a model of shared ministry/staffing for the two congregations, with the aim of having a full joint ministry/staffing team in place by June 30, 2018 at the latest”.
That was followed by a joint Chalmers-Sydenhamstreet JNAC which reported in September 2017. The recommendations included a plan for joint services and requested that “Four Winds Presbytery to declare a vacancy for an ordered, fulltime ministry personnel effective January 1, 2018”. A search for a new Minister was initiated.
A joint Worship Committee was set up to develop a shared worship services plan, and recommended joint services to alternate on a monthly basis between the two locations, starting in January 2018.
The social, spiritual and communal value of congregations like SSUC has long been accepted. The economic value of these congregations to their surrounding neighbourhoods is a different matter entirely. What is the economic value of SSUC? This report attempts to answer that question.
Minister: We are in the process of selecting an interim Minister
Organist & Music Director: David Melhorn-Boe
Office Administrator: Carol Sleeth
Operations Manager: Donald Mitchell
Custodian: Justin Sowik
Co-Chairs of the Congregation: Lyn Freeman, Jack Soule
Co-Chairs of Engaging the Spirit: Vicki Ruthven, lyn Freeman
Chair of Art and Soul: Barb Carr
Chair of Social Justice and Outreach: Jim Leake
Treasurer: Kirby Ruthven