In June 1969, the churches in South Mountain, Inkerman, Hallville and Heckston were brought together into a four-point pastoral charge (“charge”) named South Mountain-Hallville Pastoral Charge.
Since then, each congregation has continued to develop its own unique spirit and style, while co-operating as a charge to share ministerial support. We have Sunday morning worship in each church, provided by a full-time minister and a group of lay worship leaders. Every Sunday the minister and one of the lay leaders each lead worship at two points of the charge.
Each congregation operates independently with its own Board of Managers (made up of elders and stewards), and its own UCW (United Church Women) groups, Sunday Schools and choirs. We meet together as a pastoral charge at Official Board meetings, for occasional shared services, and annual events like the Epiphany Party, a summer picnic and a community Christmas concert. UCW groups in all four churches are active and hardworking, enjoying social and faith-building time together, as well as fund-raising for the Mission and Service Fund and local outreach, and for local church needs.
Bible studies, prayer chains, and other occasional study sessions take place throughout the charge. An active pastoral care team, with members from each church, visits in hospitals and nursing homes, and organizes occasional training and special worship events.
The close "family" atmosphere of the small church is evident in each congregation, especially in the joy and pride we all take in our children. The numbers of children in each congregation vary, but each church provides weekly Sunday School and we continue to explore opportunities for young people age 12 and up to explore and grow in their faith, and to maintain a connection with their church.
Rural churches continue to play a key role in our communities. We support each other and local needs as part of the mission and outreach of our churches. This is most evident in times of crisis with people quickly gathering to provide whatever is needed. The UCW groups respond to requests to provide food at funerals: other occasions and special events. All four churches support local missions like the House of Lazarus (a mission supported by the United Church of Canada), Naomi House, and Rideau Hill Camp (a United Church facility), and contribute to support other community organizations and events.
Finally, the best picture of the South Mountain-Hallville Pastoral Charge can be seen in the mission statement of each point. Note the similarity in each statement. Each congregation is unique in character but together we share a common vision.