42 Church Hill
Fonthill United Church
P.O. Box 926
Fonthill, ON L0S 1E0
We are a congregation of friends, celebrating God’s presence among us and inviting others to join us. We are like an extended family in that people of all ages enjoy being together and supporting one another as we live by our Christian values. We try to be faithful to follow Jesus’ teachings and to continue the ministry he began. Jesus reached out to all kinds of people with love and we try to do that too.
We are a congregation of the United Church, which is the largest protestant denomination in Canada. It began in 1925 as an amalgamation of Presbyterians, Methodists, and Congregationalists, but now it includes people from many Christian traditions. The United Church is like a big tent in that it can encompass a wide variety of opinions and beliefs.
We are mature. A high proportion of Fonthill residents are retired and an even higher proportion of Fonthill United Church members are too. Some of them have been living in the Niagara Region all their lives but an increasing number of our members have recently moved to Fonthill and area. Many of our members spend their winters in warmer climates so our attendance seems to expand and contract like an accordion.
But we are growing. We welcome new members every year and many of our newest members have taken positions of leadership in the congregation. With the expansion of Fonthill and the new housing developments in Welland, we expect more people will find their church home at Fonthill United.
And we miss the children. Fonthill United does not have a Sunday School program for children because none of the people who attend regularly have school age children. When children come, they are always welcome to be in church and may sit with their parents during worship. There is a quiet room at the back of the church, equipped with a washroom for children who need it. Parents can see and hear the service as their children play.
We are partners with Fenwick United Church. Both congregations are located within the Town of Pelham and are only 6 kilometers apart along the Canboro Road. While each congregation remains separate and has its own minister, both congregations are served by the same secretary and music director. We worship together for 12 Sundays of the year; 10 in the summer and 2 after Christmas. When one minister is away on vacation or study leave, the other will respond when pastoral needs arise. Summer services are held at 10:00 am. Fenwick’s sanctuary is air conditioned so if it’s a hot summer, we worship there all of July and August.
Fonthill United Church is a congregation with a long history. We’ve been here since 1842, having worshipped in several buildings. Our current building was modernized in 1991. It is completely handicap accessible and we are proud of it, as we are of our history. But living our faith in the present and creating community inspires us to keep going. As a community of God’s people, we invite you to join us.
How We Do It - Financial Support
All the costs of maintaining the ministry of Fonthill United Church are borne by the members and adherents of the church and we continue to be encouraged by their generosity. There is no “outside funding.” As costs rise, our congregation continues to meet the challenge, because people are committed to the church and because they understand their contributions to be an offering to God. All contributions made to the church are tax deductible and the church issues income tax receipts at the end of the year.
Many of our members make their offering every Sunday using special envelopes that are available through the church office. Others sign up for the PAR program. In this program you tell us how much you want to give and the bank automatically makes the withdrawal. All you need to do is call the church office to set this up and it is the best way to help the church because you make your offering even when you are away, so the church can be sure of a steady income. If you want to stop the withdrawals, all it takes is another call and if you do, no questions will be asked. The amount you give is treated as strictly confidential, and known only to you and to the church secretary.
Are you Ready to Get Involved?
Church Council is always looking for people who are eager to offer gifts of leadership, so if you would like to meet new people and participate more fully in the church’s life, we’d be glad to have you join us. Some people like to help the church by doing something about which they already have some expertise. Others like to try something they have never before done and to enjoy a new learning experience. Whichever suits you, we have opportunities to get involved.
But we don’t want to put any pressure on you! Some people like to attend on Sunday morning, and aren’t ready to join in the work of the church. If that’s you, then don’t worry! We try not to pressure anyone into doing something with which they’re not comfortable. There are times in life when we just need the services the church provides and aren’t in a place in life where we’re able to give a lot. That’s okay with us.
Are you ready to join us? – Becoming a Church Member
We are very glad for every person who attends worship services at Fonthill United Church and who takes part in the life of our faith community. Everyone who comes enriches the life of our congregation and we hope that you feel welcomed and accepted. When people have come for a while we invite them to become full members of Fonthill United Church. “What does that entail?” you ask. Church membership has both a legal aspect as well as communal and spiritual dimensions.
First legally, the United Church recognises every baptised person a member of the church, regardless of where that baptism took place. Presuming that you were baptised, you already belong as a baptised member. (If you have not been baptised, then I hope you will give me the opportunity to baptise you.) In addition to baptised members, the United Church also recognizes those people who have confirmed their baptism by professing their faith as “full members.” Legally, the difference between “baptised members” and “full members” is that full members get to have a say in all matters of church life. United Churches make decisions democratically but you have to be a full member in order to vote at meetings or to sit on the governing body we call the Church Council. If you have been coming and contributing, we believe you deserve a say in what we do and we want to open the door for you to serve in a leadership role.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, church membership has a communal and spiritual dimension to it. By joining a congregation you say, “I belong here. I’m with the people who are trying to follow Jesus’ teachings in their lives in this community. I want to participate in the spiritual legacy of the Christian faith, and seek to be faithful to it in the way I live.” You can put your own words to it but joining a church is a way of identifying yourself as a Christian, however you define it.
When people have been members in other congregations, we send for their certificates of transfer, and membership is automatic. Sometimes when people join us, it is the first time they have ever joined a church, and we celebrate that too. Periodically, we have New Members Orientation events and then introduce the new members to the congregation during a service of worship.
We welcome all who want to affirm or reaffirm their faith by becoming members of the church. You do not have to believe specific doctrines in order to become a member of the United Church of Canada. Just be willing to follow in the path of Jesus, and to be part of this faith community. If you are interested in becoming a member of Fonthill United, the minister would be glad to welcome you.