dedicated rentals

building maintenance


commercial insurance





Find out more about accessibility and the church on the United Church of Canada website.


Building Maintenance

There are a few parts of building maintenance where there are relationships and savings in place. 

We are looking for more, especially when it comes to manufacturers of the building supplies, as installation is often done best at the local level.  Do you have a great supplier?  Is there an area of building maintenance where you really need some support? Please let us know!

Top Tips

1. Property is an Asset

Often it feels as though the older buildings are more of a liability than an asset, but they would be considered an asset by most people who step into your building.  Sometimes that best way to be reminded of this is when we engage with our neighbourhood who sees our buildings very differently than we might. 

2. .  Do Your Research

With the cost of building maintenance being much higher than our own homes, it is sometimes hard to be able to determine what the best service provider option is. The best thing to do is to get multiple quotes to determine what is the range and to ensure that at least one of the quotes is from a local service providers. Especially for building maintenance services like roofing and landscaping and any other trade, travel costs need to be factored in.  Often the best quality and the lowest price is locally based. 

3.  Save for Maintenance Even If You Aren't Spending It

General maintenance (not including utilities and general upkeep) is 1.5% of the value of the building.  So if your building is worth $2M, it isn't uncommon to budget approximately $30,000+ a year on it, especially with aging buildings. Deferring your building maintenance and not saving for this is deficit budgeting, it is assuming that this maintenance cost is going to be included in a future budget.  

Here are some things that that you should be saving for: 

  • HVAC replacements and repairs

  • the roof

  • the parking lot

  • lighting

  • accessibility

Great Resources

UCC Protect Building Safety Checklist 

Building Maintenance Budget

Accessibility Guide





Herowork is a charity that supports the non-profit sector by performing radical renovations.  Unlike other renovations there are:

  • musicians and an opening parade

  • 100s of volunteers

  • volunteer trades people

  • donated and at cost building supplies

  • food vendors and community dinners as the volunteers work

  • a celebration when the renovation is complete

This model has helped to do $2.5 million renovations at a fraction of the cost to the non-profit and charities.  They have designed a needs assessment model to be able to evaluate what non-profit infrastructure is the most at need and would benefit the most from a renovation to maximize their impact.  And Herowork is ready to scale out to Vancouver in 2020. 

The United Church of Canada was an early funder of the scalability program of Herowork.  

United Church Case Studies in the Greater Victoria Area

Esquimalt United Church

Camp Pringle

Contact Information

Paul Latour | (250) 590-4221

Founder & E.D. of HeroWork


Commercial Insurance

When deciding on your insurance provider there are a few important things to consider: 

1. Are you getting the best deal out there?

This seems like an easy question as you are able to simply get a price quote and compare.  But that leads us to the next question.

2. Are you getting the best coverage?

When comparing pricing, you need to know whether you are also comparing coverage.  Are the companies giving you the same coverage if something happens? Are they demanding the same deductible?  How easy is it to work through the claim process? For this, we have worked hard to ensure that UCC Protect is the most thorough coverage for the best value. 

3. Are you working with someone local?

This is important! Most of the larger organizations work with your local broker, so that you can have someone close to home to work with. 

4. The final question, would you have more savings through a United plan?  

The answer here is 'yes'. The average insurance company spends over 10% on marketing and sales.  If United Church of Canada was to all buy into the same insurance program, we would all expect to save about 10%.  Currently over 50% of churches are using UCC Protect.

UCC Protect

HUB International has a plan has been designed to respond to the needs of each congregation or other church ministry and address the unique exposures faced by the church. It is also available to incorporated ministries, such as camps, seniors’ homes, and education centres. UCC Protect offers the following insurance policy coverages as chosen by each congregation:

•Commercial General Liability (CGL)
•Directors’ and Officers’ Liability (D&O)
•Equipment Breakdown
•Property and Business Interruption
•Third Party Event Liability
•Umbrella Liability

To find out more information or to get a competitive quote, contact:

Danielle Antoine

Phone: 1-888-550-5458 or

Newfoundland Conference

 The Newfoundland Conference has an "all in" approach for commercial liability insurance with Ecclesiastical.  By all of the communities of faith using the same insurance company, they are able to save together as a region. 


Dedicated Rentals

Many of our communities of faith are blessed with amazing space. There is an emergence of understanding that this is our 'ministry of space' within the neighbourhood.

What is a dedicated rental?  This is when an organization has exclusive access to their own space.  This could be a daycare that needs this for specific regulation, a non-profit that is using office space, or a number of other organizations that prefer to have a space that is their own for storage or other reasons.

Top Tips

1. Flexible Vs Dedicated

What we have seen is that typically a community space is sustainable with 4 to 7 dedicated renters, depending on the square footage that each is taking. There are implications with either approach.

Dedicated space: The community of faith may not have access to this space anymore, especially in the case of a daycare. The positive is that there could be leasehold improvements to the property that are part of the negotiation. There can be ongoing conversations that make this relationship very amenable with new ways to work together emerging. And this allows for some stability and forecasting in terms of ongoing income. Finally,  this allows for a more sophisticated cost sharing of other building expenses including potential property taxes, utilities, and caretaking.

Flexible space: This is still an important part of a community space, especially with many of the relationships with community groups including AA, Girl Guides, Boy Scouts, and many others.  Many of these groups and event rentals bring in new people to the church building, which is a great thing! The challenge in most flexible space rentals, is that they are scattered throughout the building, require room booking management, and more variability in caretaking/set up costs. 

A best practice is to try to see if a handful of rooms can be used for these types of rentals in order to make room for dedicated space and longer term relationships as well.

2. Being Easy to Work With

Starting to consider dedicated space is a mindset change for the community of faith. You are actively moving in with another organization, and that does take accommodation just like when you get a new roommate.  The biggest thing in welcoming someone new to your space is to be hospitable and have an open conversation of what works for you and what doesn't, just recognizing that they might have a different perspective.

One part of being easy to work with is have a policy in place with the Board that the person(s) in charge of property are able to agree to new dedicated tenants without coming back to the board.  If the process is too cumbersome, you might lose a potential tenant.  Example: A community of faith wasn't sure if they wanted to do dedicated space.  It took the Board 6 months to decide 'yes', and by then the organization had found a new home. 

3. Set Expectations

With growing rentals and partnerships being formed, it is going to be natural that room allocations for nonprofits and your own committees or choir are going to change.  This is part of the 'ministry of space' and setting this expectation upfront is helpful. 

A great example is that a community of faith's Board was speaking about room allocations for a theatre group that needed dedicated space. The best location for this was the choir practice room that is used for 90 minutes once a week and has been used in this way for 35 years.  When someone mentioned that due to this legacy, it would be impossible for this to be the dedicated space.  Since the understanding of 'ministry of space' had been set, this was not considered to be an objection by the Board.

4. Are They Renters or Are They Partners?

This is a great question to be asking yourself.  

- are their values aligned with yours?

- is their work helping  you with your mission?

- do you have a positive relationship with them?

- do they actively engaged and communicate about their relationship with you?

Which of your renters are partners?  Or could be partners?

When you decide, the general understanding of a partner is one where you should be doing the following:

- Planning: Annual planning where you talk about each of your plans for the next year & discuss what happened this year.  When you do your annual report with the community of faith, should you be sharing this with your renters as well?

- Communication: Are they on your weekly newsletter?  Are you on theirs?  Do you have a wine and cheese or other events, and do they attend? 

- Shared Operations: Obviously sharing the same space makes this easier. But information on utilities or upgrades, do you share a booking system, or do they have access to the building?

- Shared Risk / Reward: Again, sharing the building automatically ties the organizations together.  But is there a general understanding of this?  How could there be a sharing?

5. Negotiation

When you have found potential partners to be working with you, the conversation of what the rental agreement and all of the components with this begins.  A few best practices are;

- don't come from a place of desperation.  It is difficult if you are just starting with rentals, but think about if the mission is a fit prior to moving forward.  It is harder to go backwards.

- think like a partner and relationship from the beginning

- understand their cash flow as a non-profit. There are creative ways to structure the relationship with sharing of tickets or even following the ebbs and flow of their funding.

- consider sharing in their success. What could that look like?

Great Resources

Halo Project: This demonstrates the economic value of a community of faith in its neighbourhood.

Sample MOU for NonProfit Dedicated Rental Relationship with cash flow considerations



The United Church of Canada has pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. You are part of this!

Plus there is a huge savings for you, as energy costs have a huge impact on a community of faith's budget and also on their environmental footprint.  

How to save on energy? 

Just start thinking about this!  Simply by keeping this top of mind will start to have you doing things differently.  The easiest thing to do is to start with your behaviours, but there are lots of opportunities to evaluate where you have high energy costs and actively investing in reducing these.

Visit Greening Sacred Spaces for tips sheets and other resources.

How to reduce your environmental footprint?

Often the savings tips are also the way to reduce your environmental footprint.  However there are specific grant programs out there to help you do this with utility rebates, energy efficiency grants, and solar panel & geothermal programs.

The United Church of Canada's Faithful Footprints

With the pledge of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, a new grant program has been created to support communities of faith in doing their part. Learn more here...

Great Resources

Financial Incentives by Province:


British Columbia


New Brunswick


Nova Scotia

Prince Edward Island




Preferred Suppliers

Irving Heating Oil

Bullfrog Power



Selling your church property is an emotional time with a lot of decisions.  Here are some helpful things to consider as you go through this process.

Top Things to Consider

1. Sale Value

Depending on where you are located, if your church is heritage, how much land you have, the zoning of your land, the bylaws of the municipality, and many other factors, the value of the church property and building will vary tremendously. 

A real estate agent gets paid based on the sale happening. It is always good to get a second opinion from someone who does not benefit from the sale of your property.  EDGE ( can support you through this process.

2. Furniture, Stained Glass, and More...

What to do with all the stuff in the church?  The key is that there are some very important things to be preserved in the church and there are some things that are simply junk. 

A good exercise that you could do as a council or as a congregation is to walk throughout the church with coloured stickers.  One colour can represent things that are absolutely necessary to keep or preserve.  Another colour for nice to haves.  And a final colour for things to donate, sell or throw away. By doing this, it is a grieving process as you walk through the building contemplating the loss.

For when you have the things that you are donating, throwing away, or selling, consider having an auction or an event to get rid of these items. 

3. Your Legacy

What to do with the proceeds from the sale?  If you know that you want your funds to do specific work, consider having a trust or endowment set up under the United Church of Canada Foundation or giving a part of the proceeds to an existing fund within the Foundation.

Example: A church was sold and wanted to replant and reimagine church in the future.  A portion of the sale was donated to the existing New Ministry Fund. 

Example: A church was sold and wanted to ensure that its mission of seniors in the small town continued to be supported.  They were able to create an endowment with this specific mandate to continue supporting local initiatives. 

Great Resources