BY MARK ROYALL
Huron Chapel's impact measured in millions by study
Earlier this year Huron Chapel was approached by Ryerson University in Toronto to participate in the Halo Project. This particular component of the Halo Project wanted to measure the fiscal impact and value rural churches were having locally.
They choose four rural churches in Ontario, which were recognized as already making a spiritual impact upon their community. However, they wanted to know what sort of economic value these churches were having on the surrounding areas where they served.
I had never considered evaluating the church’s contribution to their community in monetary terms before. So I was intrigued by this project, plus I was honoured that Ryerson had chosen us as a rural church they saw already having a spiritual impact on their community.
Under the leadership of Dr. Michael Daly of Ryerson we began to identify all the events, programs and services Huron Chapel were involved in that served their community. These were not to be ‘money-raising’ events for the church but purely areas where the church was giving to its community. So we looked at things like the “Love Does” event we did in the spring with author Bob Goff and our summer Vacation Bible School. We noted things like how the church provides space at no charge for a community children’s choir to practise in, for an Auburn’s mothers’ group to meet in, for a counsellor to meet clients, and for Victim Services when they needed a large room.
We measured all the volunteer hours people gave to serve their community through the ministries of Huron Chapel… and it was a lot. Having filled out lots of paperwork, participating in conference calls, and numerous e-mails, I heard back from Dr. Daly this week about the results from their study. I was very surprised and pleased when he reported to me that the economic value Huron Chapel had on their community for this past year was $1.9 million. The Halo project will share this information with the provincial government.
So I hope this will encourage other churches in our area as well as they serve our communities. While I know we want to be noted for the spiritual and social impact we are making on our neighbourhoods, it is interesting and valuable to note that the government will see how we are also having a strong monetary impact an on our community as well.