Interim Ministry Update
November 21, 2019
The questions and comments from the Interim Ministry Congregational Event mirrored the conversations that the TT had been having about the two different sets of conversations that Living Spirit United Church had been having with Hillhurst United Church and L’Arche Calgary. Like some of the comments shared, the TT had tried to find a way to accommodate a four-way partnership that would include the Klub Care Out-Of-School, Hillhurst, Living Spirit and L’Arche.
We learned that it was not going to be possible to partner with a “For Profit” organization like Klub Care, but we could hold the rental relationship as a priority when having partnership negotiations with the other two groups.
The TT took a long hard look at the amount of space that L’Arche would need if they were to become co-owners of the building. The space needs would have included the basement, renovated to create several offices, along with the use of both the Fellowship hall and the Sanctuary for programming. There would have been significant renovations required to make the kitchen larger to accommodate wheelchairs and more people as much of L’Arche’s programming is centered on cooking together. They also would have needed to renovate one of the accessible washrooms to accommodate a lift for core clients with many physical challenges. Taking these space needs into account the TT did not see a way that our church building could accommodate both the renovations and overall space needed for L’Arche and the start-up of a fresh congregational partnership with Hillhurst United. A new congregational start-up would need more space than would be available if L’Arche were a co-owner of the building. With some regret, the TT gave a recommendation to the Council last night at our meeting (Nov 20) to end the partnership conversations between L’Arche and Living Spirit United Church, and to focus the partnership conversation solely with Hillhurst United Church. This recommendation was accepted by the Council.
Also at the Council meeting last night the names of the Next Steps team or Negotiating Team were brought forward. We appreciated that there were two names brought forward from the congregational Interim Ministry event, along with names of people nominated from the Transition Team and Council who were talked to about becoming members of the new team. This new team will have an intensive schedule and several people nominated did not see themselves being able to accept the intensity of the time commitment. Some of those approached will be called upon later in the process to provide input as a source of ‘sober second thought’ to the new team. The team that will take on the negotiation process will be two trustees: Pam Gaudette and Paul Davies; one Council member: Carrie Reid (who is also a member of the TT); and two members of the current Transition Team: Shannon Morey and Anne Cunningham.
The Transition Team’s work will continue alongside of this team that will be doing the negotiating with Hillhurst United Church. The focus of the TT will be on the health and well-being of the congregation through the next steps of our Interim time. The among of overlap in membership between the team doing the negotiating and the TT will help the process to be transparent and assist with anticipating the pastoral needs of Living Spirit along the way.
Our next congregational event is on Sunday. Dec 1 when we will take the opportunity to help the congregation process these decisions and steps talked about here. It will also be the first Sunday in Advent so we’ll reflect how our Interim journey to this point is reflected in the Advent story of awaiting the arrival of the Christ Child in our midst. Please mark your calendars and plan to take part in the Interim Ministry Congregational Event and lunch on Dec.1.