An Updated Case Study, Three Years Into A Split Governance Experiment. Areas of Interest: Governance Shifts, Community Centres, Accessibility Upgrades
Beginning in 2007, following a discernment process, Sydenham United Church in Kingston, ON began talking about their vision for sharing their building with the whole community. Artsand community -based groups already broadly used the space, but upgrades to accessibility would enable more usage and solidify the position of the building as a community hub.
Following a sustainability study in 2012/13 the congregation adopted a path that led to taking on a new governance structure in late 2015/16. A new not for profit was launched (Friends of The Spire Inc.) enabling involvement of the Friends in the oversight of the building with both church and non-church community members serving on the Business Management Group. Friends of The Spire has taken on responsibility for raising funds for capital upgrades and fundraising for the building, while the church board maintained the title to the building and responsibility for church activities.
Following two years operating under this structure, Friends of The Spire reports good progress on the capital upgrades and increased building usage.
The Spire hopes to continue building on its successful partnerships, bringing in more community groups and increasing usage over time. They believe that they are two to three years away from a fully financially sustainable model.
The challenges facing historic places of faith are daunting, yet across the country congregations and communities are finding creative new uses and partnerships to revitalize these important landmarks.
Playwright Marcus Youssef upon accepting this year’s Siminovitch Prize for playwriting gave a speech that clarified my interest in the intersection of faith communities with the broader community. Youssef wrote about his interest in points of intersection and the space between people, spoken and unspoken.
Special events can be a great way for organizations to raise funds, create public awareness and build volunteer base. They range from big to small, from car washes, to golf tournaments, charity auctions and gala dinners. Careful planning and execution are needed to ensure your organization achieves its goals for your event.