Dear Friends,

Earlier this year, Council worked to review and update St. Andrew’s United Church’s strategic plan to set organizational direction and to help better inform the annual budget process.  This plan is built on the good work of others from previous years.  In this new document, you will see that there are edits and updates to the mission, vision and strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis), and, the addition of new goals and objectives for 2021.

To appreciate this plan fully, one needs to reflect on the 2020 planning context where we find ourselves.  A context that is heavily influenced in no small part by four significant factors: COVID-19 the global pandemic, church finances and living beyond our means, staffing changes resulting from 3 anticipated retirements in 2021 and facilities redevelopment, fixing the old and developing new space. The impact of each, for better or worse, will be felt many years.

2021 will see each of these factors dealt with, having a positive impacting the St. Andrew’s community.  This plan has identified three goals to address these challenges; Building a Community of Faith, Creating Purposeful Partnerships, and, Sustainable Finance.

Please review this draft document and provide me your thoughts and comments for consideration in the planning final document by December 11, 2020. Email me your comments to office@saintandrewshfx.ca

I look forward to the continued evolution of St Andrew’s United Church.

Peace be with you.

Bob Hanf, Chair of Council.




St. Andrew’s United Church

 Strategic Plan


Who we are

 We believe that St. Andrew’s is a place of transformation, both for ourselves and for our world

  • Here we gather, in space that is safe, with others who offer support and compassion for our weary spirits. Here we are accepted for who we are and find an identity in sacred and holy love.
  • Together we are invited to go deep, to shed the superficialities with which we too often settle, and to wrestle with the critical issues that affect us. We are informed by ancient wisdom in both our Christian and other faith traditions and ask how this connects to current culture and challenges. Listening is as important to us as speaking. Through deep encounters with the divine presence and one another, we find healing and direction.
  • Finally, we are led to act upon what we have experienced in order to be agents of transformation, offering compassion to a broken world.


Our Mission

Definition:  A mission is a brief description of why St. Andrew’s exists. It explains what the church does, who it serves, and what differentiates it from churches. It’s used to provide focus, direction, and inspiration to the Ministers and staff while it tells congregation what to expect from the church.

St. Andrew’s can best realize its beliefs by focusing our ministry (in Halifax and around the world) on:

  1. responding to the spiritual hunger in our community. While our society is wealthy in many ways, it dwells in profound poverty in others.
  2. creating community across religious and social borders. We seek to bring together diverse perspectives that intersect in our community.
  3. standing for justice: social, economic and environmental


Our Core Values

Definition: Value statements are declarations about how the church community wants to value its congregation and be valued within their own internal community.  Value statements explicitly define how people will behave with each other in the church. Priorities and actions are grounded in the church’s values.

 Several core values are fundamental to who we are:

  • To love God and to love one another: As Christians, we seek to follow Jesus’ summary of the Torah or the Great Commandment. Within this simple ethic lies a lifetime of challenge!
  • Inclusion of all: All genders and orientations, all abilities and challenges, all seekers and questioners, all followers of different faith traditions. By welcoming all, we open ourselves to the insights and perspectives that they bring. Our diversity leads us to value integration of different points of view and disciplines for a more holistic understanding.
  • Courage: We face life’s challenges open to change and unwilling to settle for traditional ways that no longer carry meaning.
  • Excellence: Andrew’s works with passion and energy to provide the best we can in our worship, programming and outreach projects.


VISION Statement

Definition:  A vision statement is an inspirational statement of an idealistic future of the church. Vision describes the basic human emotion that Council intends to be experienced by the people the Church interacts with it grounds the group so it can actualize some existential impact on the world.

St. Andrew’s constantly strives to expand the impact of our mission

to be recognized

as a spiritual and social justice leader in Halifax.


SWOT ANALYSIS – Updated 2020

Definition:  SWOT stands for ‘Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats’. This is a method of analysis of the general environment or environmental scan for the church. SWOT is made of two parts: the Strengths and Weaknesses refer to the internal factors of a church while the Opportunities and Threats are external to the church and are exogenous factors. 


St. Andrew’s Strategic Context

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats


·       Mission and values (identified and understood)

·       Progressive theology, worship, music

·       Talented ministerial, staff team and congregation

·       Physical assets

·       Location

·       Endowment Funds

·       Community reputation

·       Small group consultation process


·       Governance; unclear staff roles and responsibilities

·       Structural deficit, aging infrastructure and carbon footprint

·       Resource deficit

·       Aging congregation

·       Need to be more culturally relevant



·       Understand what motivates people today

·       Reach out to non-religiously affiliated, individuals and communities

·       Communication: promote our message, online presence, build relationships, e.g., youth, young adults, other cultural groups

·       Innovative engagement approaches

·       Develop new partnerships, co-create solutions to spiritual and social challenges

·       Tap into societal change, transform worship, be relevant to community needs

·       Site re-development


·       Mainline church in decline

·       Religion: seen as right wing and socially conservative or quaintly irrelevant

·       Failure to engage youth, young adults

·       UCC governance erosion

·       Fragmented society

·       Competition from other faith and secular offerings

·       COVID-19






goal is an idea of the future or desired result that the church Council envisions, plans and commits to achieve.

Objectives define strategies or implementation steps to attain the identified goals


Goal 1. Building the Community of Faith – Participation and engagement

The goal of Building St. Andrew’s Community of Faith will be achieved through engagement and participation with the congregation.  We succeed through our inspiring spiritual message, innovative programming, strong and active congregation, engaged lay leadership, capable and committed staff, value-added partnerships, and community engagement.

Missiological view of Community of Faith:

Generous and Gracious live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others the way God lives toward you. Matthew 5:48

Christianity is practiced in community – it is not a belief system – is a practice in community, shared goods (Scripture from Acts), priesthood of all believers, Martin Guber et.al.

Goal 1 Objectives:

  1. Communicate the expectations as a Christian tenet in all our messages. Not volunteer language – it implies a hierarchy, rather “I am trying to live my faith”. Helping rather than volunteering. This fundamental tenet in Christianity needs to be purposefully communicated.
  2. Identify groups of people with leadership potential, and grow connections within this group identify persons to lead.

Iii. Develop a pool of emerging congregational leaders and helpers that is more diverse to do the work of the church. Support them in their actions properly equipping them for the tasks and the good work of the ministry in all matters.

  1. Model and uphold people who are living the Christian Tenet within St. Andrew’s. Consistently highlight in worship, on the website, in the newsletter, and, etc.
  2. Use congregational voices and presence in elements of worship to better connect congregation to the spiritual message.
  3. Prioritize youth, children and family programs to better support opportunities for participation.

vii. Develop small group communities of faith that encourage creativity, participation, and engagement to foster a culture of change. Let people run with ideas and find means to support these ideas. This is the theological basis of the early church.



Goal 2. Build the St. Andrew’s Community through Purposeful Partnerships:

The goal of Building our Community through purposeful partnerships will require us to prepare ourselves for meaningful dialogues with other communities, people having conversations with other people more diverse and younger – strive to grow our community of worship to reflect our neighbourhood, city and region.

Missiological view of Community:

Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet? Amos 3:3(ESV)  

And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25(NRSV) 

What God requires he has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8(NRSV)

 Goal 2 Objectives:

  1. Implement Indigenous and African Nova Scotia awareness education for Council, Chairs, Ministers and Staff.
  2. Invite speakers from outside our community in worship one per month.

iii. Determine where we are putting our efforts for partnership and enact reach out to co-develop ideas.

  1. Celebrate and highlighting the work of the Social Justice Committee, and the established partnerships: Brunswick Street Mission, Kairos, etc.
  2. Foster new relationships with Dalhousie Chaplaincy, ISANS, performing arts communities, and Pine Hills.
  3. Identify groups in our local community where we are weak – We need to do the work to prepare ourselves for meaningful dialogues with other communities, find anchor leader with under represented demographics (e.g. Robert Wright)

vii. Support developing alternative, transformational leadership within our community – and leaders in various fields. There is a need for strong leaders who will respond to the challenges our society is facing (e.g. TLI).

Viii  Determine how St. Andrew’s can support the United Church of Canada’s initiatives in social justice and specifically in near-time concerning racial injustice.


Goal 3. Sustainable Finance

The goal of Sustainable Finance is to align operations through a balanced budget with the Vision that minimizes draw on the capital of the endowed trust funds.

Missiological view of finances:

For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.-Matthew 25:29

Goal 3 Objectives:

  1. Develop and implement plan for site re-development that optimizes asset value to support the Mission of St. Andrew’s United Church. Congregational approval on site development is a priority in 2021.
  2. “What mission can our finances support?” Complete Needs Assessment with a missiological view, taking into consideration the current resources available and shape organizational design and staffing accordingly in 2021 to work to a balanced annual budget.

iii. In 2021, develop of a special campaign to begin raising the funding necessary to save the Tower and “Ring the Bell”.

  1. Continue to develop and grow sources of revenue from sanctuary and hall rentals, through partnerships and relationships with performers and other groups through improved uses of technology and cloud services.
  2. Encourage envelope users to change to Pre-Authorized Remittance (PAR) and on-line gifts.
  3. Stewardship the Planning for future generations – this is profound stewardship. We are in communion with those who have come before, and those who will come after. Set clear explanation of the expectations of being part of our community – tithes, talents, bequests and legacy gifts.