Loans for United Church congregations with larger capital needs while undertaking church building projects

The Congregational Development Fund (CDF) is intended to help congregations with larger capital needs while undertaking church building projects.

The CDF is designed to be a self-renewing loan fund with the payments from past borrowers providing the base for new loans.

Applications for CDF loans must be approved by your regional council before they will be considered by Communities in Ministry (CIM). The Mission through Finance (MtF) Advisory Group reviews all applications before a decision on a loan application is made.

The application form, CA 3A, can be downloaded below. Please submit all applications to your regional council office.

Scope and Policy

  1. The maximum loan granted from the Congregational Development Fund is 50% of the total financial cost of the project, to a maximum of $500,000.
  2. The loan is intended to provide the final financial component—the “gap-filling” or “top-up” funding—that will enable qualifying congregational development projects to be undertaken and completed. Therefore, the fund does not provide money for feasibility studies or for program start-up costs, and it does not fund the building or acquisition of manses or retirement of debt.
  3. Financial assistance from CDF assumes the pastoral charge or congregation has active financial support for the project from its members and an ongoing stewardship development plan and program, and has involved the regional council in the congregation’s plans to build. An application for funding from the CDF must originate in an existing congregation that is officially constituted and recognized by the regional council.
  4. Congregational Development Fund applications are reviewed by CIM staff, and advice is obtained from the elected members of the Mission through Finance Advisory Group. Applications for capital support from CDF may be submitted anytime throughout the year. Each application must have a record of regional approval before a decision on the application can be made.

Completed applications include:

  • Mission Design: Provide a detailed statement of the vision and plan for ministry and the purpose of this new or redeveloped building project.
  • Partnerships: Identify regional resources committed to the proposed building project.
  • Leadership Development: Demonstrate commitment to continued development of leadership (lay and clergy/designated).
  • Finances: Provide:
    • the current year’s operating budget of the pastoral charge
    • a balance sheet identifying current expenses and revenues
    • proof of charitable status
    • a three-year projection of congregational income and expense
    • the number of contributing households
  • Project’s Financial Plan: Include:
    • equity in cash, pledges, and land
    • the congregation’s current and future debt/equity ratio
    • evidence of title to all land required for building
    • the congregation’s exploration of and ability to borrow commercially
    • the commitments secured from church and/or non-church partners
  • Review of Schematic Drawings: By the General Council’s Architectural Resource Group for location, design, technology, accessibility, and environmental concerns, and a response from the congregation to the ARG review.

Loan Terms

  1. CDF loans will be released when the required and completed documentation has been received and approved by CIM. The term of the loan begins when the CDF cheque is issued.
  2. Funds approved by the CDF loan or grant committee must be used within 180 days of final commitment and for the purpose for which the application was made, or the funds must be returned to CIM.
  3. The term of the loan is for either 10 years or 15 years. The current rate of interest is 2.5%.
  4. Loan security: Each loan will be secured by all of the following:
    • an Agreement to Repay signed by the congregation’s trustees
    • a registered mortgage
    • confirmation of a replacement value and liability insurance policy naming the lenders
  5. All CDF loans are conditional upon the continuance of a relationship within The United Church of Canada and must be repaid in full immediately if that relationship is severed.
  6. All costs for securing a CDF loan are borne by the applying congregation.
  7. If a congregation requires a loan from a conventional lender and a first mortgage is given to that lender, the United Church will hold the secondary mortgage if that is necessary.

Partnerships and Monitoring

A church building project relies on the support of many partners. A covenant of mutual support, outlining each partner’s commitment to the building project, is recommended in these circumstances. Such a covenant may take the form of a written document as well as a special worship service.

Monitoring of loan payments by all partners—including regional council and CIM staff—will be done on a regular basis. All partners have a role in strengthening the congregation’s ability to meet its commitments. Steps leading to continued collaboration among partners and ongoing support of the building project should also be identified.

If any CDF loan is in default (not in good standing for six months), relevant church courts or partners and all financial stakeholders will collaborate to address the financial difficulty and may agree to undertake any of the following steps:

  • renegotiation of terms of the loan
  • provision for the transfer of title to a specific council or court of the United Church
  • sale of the property and distribution of the proceeds