Providing resources for congregations, heritage advocates and community groups to revitalize these important community landmarks.
Places of Faith is a collaboration between the National Trust and Faith & the Common Good that is dedicated to offering hope, inspiration and solutions to communities grappling with places of faith at risk.
For congregations struggling with declining attendance, decreasing revenues and increasing building expenses, the task of regenerating their place of faith can be daunting. And for heritage advocates and community groups, the potential loss of those places and the multiple activities they house can be overwhelming.
Successful revitalization of a place of faith results from many intersecting actions. Many faith communities are rethinking their operational model and embracing new uses, new revenues and creative partnerships with the goal of increasing their vitality. These organizations are open to: creating a strong leadership team that involves the congregation and has a clear missional focus; exploring space sharing options based on a thorough understanding of the building; considering alternative governance models; improving building performance for financial and environmental benefits; engaging in a meaningful way with the community; and building new partnerships.
Armed with patience and inspired by examples from across the country, congregations and their community partners can undertake these actions to help retain these important places as community assets, regardless of whether still owned by the faith group as a place of worship or sympathetically converted to a new public use.
Social Enterprise is a much misunderstood concept, particularly because it has no one single definition. However, in all the many definitions, there are always three key elements, as follows: The primary guiding purpose of the business must be to address a social need or gap* in our society.
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.
On an unseasonably warm (22 degrees!) November evening, myself and my partners from ArtsBuild Ontario and Toronto Arts Council set out on a walk across Philadelphia to Christ Church Neighbourhood House. This was the first of two trips to explore the ways in which arts groups are thriving within faith buildings and often in collaboration with faith communities.