By Rev. Dave Holmes
On January 29, we held our annual congregational meeting and, in a very positive atmosphere, launched some significant new initiatives.
Risk and challenge
We passed this year’s budget with a deficit of over $100,000! This deficit is a reflection of a few significant factors: the Inn from the Cold is no longer using our hall space on a nightly basis as an overflow shelter (in the current climate, it is no longer needed). Our congregational offering income still reflects the slow decline felt across our denomination. And our budget reflects the decision, taken two years ago now, to staff for growth and renewal rather than for continued decline. Solid work by our finance people, by lay leaders, and Kay de la Ronde in her continued work with the Inn from the Cold have reduced the deficit significantly from what it might have been! But these numbers are, of course, not sustainable and remind us of the need for new initiatives, new ministry partnerships, new growth.
The Next 1100 Days
At this meeting, the congregation unanimously passed the four basic initiatives in the Next 1100 Days proposal. They are:
- Develop a relational leadership structure. This is an effort to build community, and also to invite new leaders (and new leadership styles) into Knox. This is already working in the Justice commission and with children’s ministry.
- Become a post-colonial church. This is an effort to set aside our assumptions of privilege, and our automatic support of the status quo establishment. We will learn to address issues of racism and justice by seeking to learn from and partner with other religious groups, neighbours, and First Nations, and learn to be honest and intentional about our own healing and transformation.
- Create a mission-driven vision for our 1960 building. With the Inn from the Cold likely moving out of the picture, we need to find ways to use our 1960 building in ways that generate income for us, but which also open new opportunities for mission work. We are currently in conversation with Woods Homes for a significant partnership, and other possibilities are also being discussed.
- Launch a new community ministry in our historic building. Current thinking has us opening a coffee shop in the back of the sanctuary, a full-service café in the theatre below, and a co-working space in the Parlour. Each of these (while significant ministries of re-connection in themselves) offers us new opportunities to minister to the downtown community in ways not possible at present.
The next 1100 days are now counting down: in three years or so we hope to have a vibrant, active church community in the centre of a community of partner-ministries, operating out of our buildings.
The vision will take shape as it unfolds, as partners are found and opportunities present themselves. Decisions will be made at each stage – no “blank cheques” were issued at this congregational meeting! But the stage is set for Knox to become a very exciting church indeed, in the not too distant future. Three cheers for Knox’s courage and leadership!