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 As announced during the service on May 28, the Board wants to hear from everyone - congregation and staff - about our vision for the use of our building during the week.   For the past couple of years, due to Covid, we had a sharp drop in the use of the building. Now we are gradually returning to gathering in person. Coffee times are back, we recently had an in-person reception for Linda Butler, and our Board will meet in person this month for the first time in ages.  

We have a wealth of choices to adapt to this trend, and wonderful resources in the form of beautiful facilities, caring staff and volunteers, and excellent communications technology. We know we will continue to offer the choice of attending worship services in-person or by Zoom.  We will continue to hold some meetings by Zoom. A wide range of supports from staff will continue to be available remotely, by phone, e-mail and Zoom as well as in person.  

The challenging part of this is to find the right mix, of remote or on-line, and in-person contact. How much on-site presence do we need, and when?   There are two things driving this. First, a few people have said it would be good to have more regular staff presence during the week, especially office hours. Others have told us that things are working fine as they are. If we look around to see what other congregations do, we’re right in the middle, with the office staffed 20 hours a week. Among other Richmond Hill congregations this ranges from nine hours a week to 40.  

We have learned, like so many other organizations, that many functions can take place remotely, and sometimes better than before. But we also know that some things are simply best done in person. Some amount of on-site presence, by staff or volunteers, is always going to be needed.   What the best mix will be for our needs is something we at the Board want to work on.  

The second driver is our Re-Development Project. As our engagement with the community grows, we will be hosting more cultural and artistic events, so we are expecting to welcome more visitors from the community. That will also mean people dropping in more often, and this is a good thing. That’s part of the reason we are working on the appearance of the building, from the street.   When we begin applying for funding, and start a capital campaign, potential funders and donors will want to know who comes to our building? How many, and how often? We need to be prepared to make them feel welcome, just as we do for visitors to Sunday morning worship. We want to improve the external appearance of our building, and we need to think about the visitor experience inside the building as well. It is important, in attracting partnerships and funding, that we be seen as a vibrant and hospitable place. 

There are no easy answers on this, and there is no one solution. But we have time to plan and to get ready. This conversation has been going on for a while, and we want now to give it some structure so that we can take some lessons from it and plan our future, with all the resources we have.   Whatever your priority – in-person fellowship and mutual care within the congregation, or activities for the community – access, and receptiveness in our buildings is probably of some importance to you.  

Please consider coming out to one of the Consultation meetings later this month.  

Monday June 19th, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. by Zoom.        

Thursday, June 22nd, 10:00 a.m. to noon, in person, in the Parlour.  

If you want to attend the Zoom meeting you will need to let me know. An RSVP for the in-person meeting is preferred, but not required.   More times will be offered if needed. If you prefer to offer your input in writing, or just to chat, please feel free to get in touch. You can email me at, or phone me at 416-553-8706.

You can also reach out to anyone on the Board.   Thanks in advance for your help. We need all your ideas!   Doug Loweth, Board Chair