by Bill Mous
A new report commissioned by the diocese reveals its eighty-three congregations make a substantial social-economic impact of approximately $114.5 million towards the local economy.
“This quantitative analysis of the impact of faith communities and our diocese in particular should give us sure confidence – and frankly pride – in our works of faith,” says Bishop Susan Bell.
The Halo Canada report indicates that the Diocese of Niagara plays a key role in the social and economic life of southern Ontario. Its direct “Halo” contribution was conservatively estimated to be $100.1 million in the neighbourhoods directly served by the diocese. This figure swells to approximately $106.9 million when the contributions to denominational programs and other ministry and service organizations outside their neighbourhoods are factor into the calculation. Also, when parishioners’ secondary volunteer contributions to organizations outside their local congregations are considered, the socio-economic impact increases to approximately $114.5 million.
“In a time when there’s so much talk of the declining numbers in the Anglican church and our diminishing sphere of influence, this data helps us reframe our own story,”
“In a time when there’s so much talk of the declining numbers in the Anglican church and our diminishing sphere of influence, this data helps us reframe our own story,” says Canon Christyn Perkons, Director of Congregational Support and Development. “The report helps us better understand that our parishes not only help people explore religious beliefs, deal with grief and sorrow, celebrate significant milestones and build community but that they also have a significant economic impact in their neighbourhoods and in the Canadian economy.”
Recent studies suggest that for every dollar the average congregation spends, the wider community receives $3.87 towards its common good. The report also suggests that when these findings are applied nationally, places of worship contribute more than $15.5 billion to Canada’s social economy. On average, congregations in the diocese had a halo-impact of approximately $1.38 million.
Canon Perkons also notes that the data in the Halo report can be a real asset as parishes seek to develop partnerships in their communities and as they seek grant funding to support ministries that benefit the neighbourhood in which they’re situated. This local impact is drawn from research which suggests that that 80% of a congregation’s annual expenditures are spent within a 3 to 5 km radius of their church.
“what this study does, most importantly, is affirm the Anglican Diocese of Niagara as a strong and essential contributor to the common good of the community it serves.”
Lincoln region was the area in the diocese with the highest Halo impact, contributing almost a third of the diocese’s socio-economic impact. Its fifteen parishes had an estimated impact of nearly $35 million dollars, largely as a result of more significant spending by its parishes.
According to the report’s authors, “what this study does, most importantly, is affirm the Anglican Diocese of Niagara as a strong and essential contributor to the common good of the community it serves.”
The study was conducted by Sphaera Research as part of its Halo Canada Project, which seeks to explore the socio-economic benefit of local congregations on their surrounding neighbourhoods and towards Canadian society in general.