Essentially the study asks: “If Sydenham Street United Church ceased to exist, what would it cost the City of Kingston to replace the programs and services the congregation provides to the wider community?”

In the winter of 2017, the congregation of Sydenham Street United Church commissioned a Halo Study report to determine the economic impact on the community of all the operations at The Spire for the preceding year. These operations included activities of Cantabile Choirs; Kingston Association of Museums, Galleries and Historic Sites; Kingston Canadian Film Festival; Helen Tufts Child Outreach Program; Loving Spoonful; Beyond Classrooms Kingston; several self-help groups; Kingston Choral Society; Reelout Arts Project, and of course, the work of the congregation of Sydenham Street United Church. The Halo Study report concluded that the operations at The Spire represented a value to the community of $1.7 million.

What are Halo Effect Studies?

Halo Effect studies have been conducted in Philadelphia, Toronto, Montreal and Kingston, based on the 2010 study carried out in Philadelphia by Partners for Sacred Spaces and the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice, and more recently in Canada by Sphaera Research. These studies explored the economic benefits a congregation and its building provide to its surrounding community.

Our Spire logo is “Building community since 1851”. What does that mean for our city and community in 2017? How did we arrive at figure of $1.7 million?

Dr. Mike Wood Daly of Sphaera Research was contracted to conduct a Halo Effect study to determine the economic impact of our operations on our community. Thousands of volunteer hours, thousands of community members using our spaces, hundreds of people’s lives enriched by our presence in the city were assigned a value by the researchers at the Halo Project. The overall Halo Effect of the operations at The Spire, including Sydenham Street United Church, for 2016 is $1,707,365.

Digging into Our Community Impact

Let’s look at some of the ways we have been building our community. In 2016, here are some key facets of our impact.

We provided food for many people through the Loving Spoonful drop-off, donating close to 1500 kg of fresh produce, food voucher program, Christmas baskets, and community garden.

  • We enabled hundreds of musicians to bring joy to all — Cantabile choristers of all ages, Kingston Choral Society, Orchestra Kingston, the Military and Communications band – all regulars in The Spire’s historic spaces.
  • We provided a large, gracious concert space for charitable fundraising and hosted a heart-warming singalong fundraiser for the Ongwanada choir.
  • We provided spaces for members of Cantabile choirs and the Helen Tufts Child Outreach Program to teach and learn.
  • We provided affordable or free space for community artists to share their work – recently welcoming 100 000 Poets for Change, local theatre groups, a reading of Dickens’ Christmas Carol, participants in the Kiwanis Music Festival, and solo recitalists.
  • We provided affordable working space for our resident not-for-profit organizations, including Cantabile Choirs, the Kingston Association of Museums, Beyond Classrooms Kingston, the Kingston Canadian Film Festival, the Reelout Arts Project.
  • The Spire’s rainbow flag is a beacon for many who enter the building.
  • We donated low- or no-cost weekly meeting spaces for hundreds of people gathering for multiple AA and other self-help groups – as we have done for decades.
  • Members of the congregation of SSU have worked endless volunteer hours to build our community. Let’s look at support for refugees. In 2016 alone, members of SSU invested hundreds of volunteer hours each month, $1800/month directly, and nearly $10 000/month in in-kind services to supporting several Syrian refugee families through the Interchurch Refugee Partnership.


Social Justice, Arts & Spirituality

The ongoing commitment to social justice, arts and spirituality at The Spire is evident every week. Our building is a community hub, where the work of community-building continues. A key category of community impact is “Social Capital and Care”.  Here are some facets of the community contribution of The Spire operations to the social capital and care of community members:

Through the direct use of its own space, renting it out to community groups and offering volunteer time, the many operations at The Spire provide an economic benefit to the community of over half a million dollars.  In 2016, volunteers provided 23,000 hours in direct community service.  These community volunteer hours, alone, have an economic impact of more than $496,944.

In total, the Spire operations reported on 46 programs that offer benefit in this category.  When the value of space, volunteer time and in-kind contributions is factored in, the top five contributors are found to be:  the Kingston Canadian Film Festival, the Kingston Association of Museums, Friends of The Spire, Narcotics Anonymous, and the Food Voucher program with a total impact of $398,799.80.

Here are some Halo Effect numbers:

Halo Effect:                        $1 707 365.02.

Spending Index:              $1 to $5.40   For every $1.00 The Spire spends, the community gets $5.40 worth of common good services.

Volunteer Hours:            23,161 Hrs.

Program Hours:               20,706 Hrs.

Avg. Vol. Hours:               272.5 Hrs.

Social Capital and Care value: $612, 816.00

You can find the link to our Halo Study below (red button).


(If the report does not display check your downloads folder)


SSUC:  $612,816.32 – 36%

Toronto:       13%

Halo Canada:     36%

Join us at the Spire

Contact Us

613.542.9616 ex. 202

82 Sydenham Street
Kingston, Ontario
K7L 3H4

Visit Us

We are located on the corner of Sydenham and William Streets in Downtown Kingston

Office Hours

M-F: 9am - 4pm
Sat: Closed
Sun: Closed

Program areas open as scheduled