Athens United Church
“Living Faith Journey”
Athens United Church
Sharing our faith with all through living, learning and leading.
Vision for Athens United Church
We anticipate a great deal of change over the next 10 years and it is important that our church thrive and remain active in the future. Our vision is to continue to discover new ways of “doing ministry” as followers of Jesus Christ. We wish to be relevant to all age groups by sharing the love, hope, joy and peace of Jesus in a rapidly changing world. We are committed to not turning inward and focusing all of our energies and resources on self-preservation.
Our Witness to the Gospels
Our primary witness to the Gospels is through practical service to our community, our country, and our world. This involves; community outreach projects, community lunches and dinners, outreach to Athens District High School, and programs designed to address loneliness and isolation. We are very active in supporting causes which try to improve the lives of women, children, First Nations people and refugees. We are dedicated to working with other Christian Churches to provide ecumenical opportunities to worship and serve together.
Why We Want to be a Church?
We are a Christ centered community who believe that we are called to follow the example of Jesus Christ in our service to humanity. We cannot do this without the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, the guidance of the Christian Scriptures and the continuing revelation of God to lead us through life. It is the people who make up the Church, not the building, and as a people we are on a faith journey together through the joys and the challenges of modern-day life. We are committed to the Creeds and Faith Statements of our denomination.
On the Path to Affirmation
Our 2018 Survey of the congregation revealed that 87% of our congregation wished to pursue becoming an Affirming congregation through Affirm United. 74% of the congregation were approving of same sex marriages being performed in the sanctuary. Our current Minister performs same-sex marriages. The Church Council in 2019 approved the baptism of children of same sex partners.
Athens United Church operates on the Church Council system which was adopted in October 2014 when a new Constitution was created. This change in governance structure occurred after the separation of Athens-Addison Pastoral charge took place September, 2014. While it was a difficult separation, both churches have thrived as healthy communities of faith since that time and there is currently an excellent relationship between the two churches.
There is a chair and vice chair appointed for 2 years. Administration includes a recording secretary, publicity, technology and communication. There are 10 subcommittees with a representative who attend the council meetings and report on activities. A Regional representative and/or alternate also attend the council meetings. The constitution of the council is reviewed on an annual basis.
The pastoral care committee is a dedicated and busy group. They continue to provide Christian support and fellowship with their programs. Many congregational members use their talents to create beautiful shawls, fleece blankets and wooden crosses. The prayer shawl program, holding cross and prayer circle support those in our congregation and surrounding community members dealing with illness and loss. The committee also provides fleece blankets for the local volunteer fire department to hand out to people who need a bit of warmth and comfort while dealing with an emergency situation. Every fall, a care package is sent to our younger members who have moved on to University or College to show our support in their next step in life. There are many visits made to our congregation members who are not able to attend Sunday service either temporarily or permanently.
Our technology committee is a vital part of our worship and outreach. A modern sound system has just been purchased and slides and videos are used during the service and they are an integral part of the sermons.
We operate a website www.athensunitedchurch.com and Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Athens-United-Church-239388872897978/ as a part of our ministry. We have acquired a new laptop and overhead projector system for the sanctuary.
The Worship committee is an active, creative group of individuals who also provide a strong lay leadership role. The worship style is a mixture of traditional and contemporary worship.
The past few years we have continued to exceed our annual M&S goal. Our congregation is aware of the importance of maintaining this important outreach. The vibrant UCW group also contributes to various outreach programs such as Morogoro. The UCW enriches the life of our church.
Athens United draws its members and adherents from the local population of 1,100 and surrounding rural areas. There is a regular Sunday attendance of 30-50 people with a larger membership totaling 115. The congregation consists mainly of a more senior to middle aged demographic. While we prepare for Sunday School each week with a gifted group of teachers, we often do not have any children attending on a Sunday. The congregation is a warm, caring, friendly and open-minded group. Members strive to provide a welcoming and supportive atmosphere.
Athens United is situated next door to the local small high school. The church basement has been used on a weekly basis to allow the teens a space to hang out in a safe environment and have some lunch with friends. This program is called “Grapevine”. To finish off the season before summer a hot dog BBQ is held at the high school to thank the teens for their support over the year.
The Ministerial Association consists of 6 denominations, including Athens United, in the community. They are very active in providing joint services throughout the year such as Good Friday, Remembrance Day, Farmersville and Advent Services as well as the World Day of Prayer for Christian Unity. The churches work together to provide children’s programming such as Vacation Bible School and Bursaries for students. The Local Food Bank is a ministerial program that Athens United supports with regular donation both monetary and food items. Two of our congregational members are on the board.
Our church is a large stone building with beautiful stained glass windows that have been well maintained. There is a new handicapped accessible entrance located at the west entrance and enclosed in our working Bell Tower. Our bell can be heard most Sunday mornings
In 1966 the Christian Education building was added onto the main church. There is a large room upstairs that can be divided into 2 rooms. The secretary and minister share the office. The office has been updated with a new laptop computer and printer. We have also purchased a camera, projector and supporting software.
Our washroom upstairs is wheelchair accessible. The library is well equipped with resources for both young and old. Downstairs we have a newly renovated kitchen with a large room for dining activities, meetings, Sunday school classes, rummage sales, art classes etc.
We are blessed with a wonderful music director , Gail Stopfel, who plays at our services and leads our choir in providing music which enriches our services.