January 2019 / Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
Kingston Road United Church "Future Quest" Update
By Derek Pinder
IA couple of years ago, the Bluffs Monitor was invited to a Round Table discussion organised by the Kingston Road United Church (KRUC). The Round Table was convened by KRUC’s “Future Quest” team to kick off an initiative to build relations with the entire community regardless of personal beliefs. In October we sat down with Anne Erickson to hear how the initiative had developed.
Anne explained that the Future Quest team has spent the last two years consulting the congregations of this and other churches and talking to local people and organisations to seek ideas on how the KRUC can be transformed into a place that is deeply involved with the community. A clear message emerged that forming community partnerships would be the right approach and a plan for moving that message forward is being implemented by a KRUC team that has been imaginatively named “Space Lift”.
One component of the plan is to transform the church building to better meet the needs of community partners such as musical and theatrical producers, debates, youth groups and health-service providers. An architect will be retained to carry out a building assessment and cost estimate for the upgrades.
The plan will also build on the already-successful and decades-old community lunch program and use it as a foundation for employment training. People who are struggling to get into the work force will be given three months of training and experience in food services, achieve food service certification and receive a stipend during their training period.
A part-time experienced fund raiser will be hired for six months to raise financing and help develop community partnerships.
The KRUC has been a much-loved part of the Bluffs community for 93 years and it is laudable that, in these times of declining church attendance, it is seeking new ways to remain a community hub. They can’t do it by themselves. Anne Erickson, who is directing the Space Lift plan, pointed out that, for example, over half of the volunteers in the lunch program are not members of the church and there is an open invitation to anybody who would be interested in being involved in the Space Lift initiative.