The Investing in Ministry Fund Responds to COVID-19 Challenges
One of the ways in which TUCC supports the ministries of the United Church is through its stewardship of the Investing In Ministry Fund. Through this fund TUCC facilitates a unique connection between churches with funds to invest with others facing capital needs. In response to the COVID-19 disruption TUCC offered relief to both sides of this partnership of ‘investors’ and ‘borrowers’, making a special loan from TUCC resources to the former, while allowing payment relief for six months to the latter. As 2021 begins almost all borrowers have been able to return to normal payments, while the recovery in financial markets has allowed a 2.25% distribution to investors. Despite the challenges of the year over $1.4 million was loaned to complete a major renovation of Metropolitan United Church in Toronto, and new church extension at Wasaga Beach United Church, as well as space reorganization at Islington United Church (kitchen pictured at right).
The Winston & Merle Roach Camp Leadership Fund Established to Support Black Youth Leadership in United Church Camping
Winston and Merle Roach were members of East End United as well as active members of regional and national bodies of the United Church of Canada. After their passing, their adult children made a generous gift to TUCC in order to establish a fund in their names that would support the development of the leadership of Black youth in the church’s camping programs. The Winston and Merle Roach Camp Leadership Fund is now a part of TUCC’s camping funds. Following their acceptance of the gift at a TUCC Board meeting in October, the December meeting saw directors vote to ensure that the new fund has enough income in its first three years (2021 to 2023) to sponsor new grants to the camps. From 2024, the annual investment income from the Fund will underwrite the hiring of Black youth as camp leaders at Shining Waters Region camps. You can contribute to the building of the fund here or by sending a cheque to Toronto United Church Council at 24-30 Wertheim Court, Richmond Hill, ON L4B 1B9. Indicate with your submission that the gift is earmarked for The Winston and Merle Roach Camp Leadership Fund
The Camping Opportunities Fund Helps United Church Camps Weather Difficult Times
In a time of great uncertainty, United Church Camps in southern Ontario have been able to turn to TUCC’s Camping Opportunities Fund for support. Thanks to the generosity of our donors and a challenge grant that matched COF gifts dollar for dollar in 2020, by year end $266,288 had been raised – an amount that will go a long way towards helping the camps survive these difficult times. Without campers onsite, COF funding has been channeled to help cover maintenance costs and other fixed expenses and sustain distance programming that keeps young people connected to the world of camp. You can read the stories of two of the camps here and here. Moving into 2021, TUCC’s five partner camps will continue to meet virtually to assess how COF funds can best support them through another challenging year
Heart & Vision 2020 - Perspectives on a Crisis
TUCC’s Heart & Vision Awards Concert certainly looked a little different this year as the program was adapted to an online format. Though physically distant, guests appreciated the chance to come together remotely and celebrate the Rev. Dr. Anthony Bailey and Dr. Hazel Bigby who offered some powerful words on the urgency of anti-racist action in our churches and communities. Approximately $8000 was raised to for two funds that will support Black leadership within the United Church and anti-racist initiatives across south central Ontario. The entire evening can be viewed at right.
The Virtual Pass It On! Marathon Raised Over $11,000 for United Church Camps
Coordinating teams of runners and walkers to participate in the annual Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and fundraise for United Church camps in southern Ontario is one of the ways TUCC supports youth ministries. Since 2008, marathon proceeds have helped fund numerous maintenance and new construction projects at Camp Big Canoe, Camp Scugog, Camp Simpresca, Ryde Lake Camp, and Sparrow Lake Camp. This year’s marathon looked a little different! Due to COVID-19, the marathon went virtual and throughout the month of October, participants completed their distances solo on local streets, wilderness trails, and treadmills, raising a total of $11,000 for their efforts. The ongoing support of both volunteer participants and donors will help the camps survive these difficult times.
East Plains United Church Childcare Nears Completion
When the members of East Plains United Church in Aldershot considered the future of their community they saw that one of the needs of the rapidly growing population would be affordable childcare. So, they set about constructing a not-for-profit, 6000 square foot child-care centre that is slated to open in January 2021. Said President Paul Echlin, “It’s a perfect model of how communities can use existing buildings and have places where you mix children and elders together and have a place where people feel safe.” TUCC is proud to have supported this project with a $650,000 loan. To learn more visit https://epucchildcare.com/ or check out these recent news articles in The Bay Observer and Inside Halton.
Missional Consulting Online
When COVID-19 changed everything in March, TUCC considered how we might use technology to continue to offer missional consulting services. Adapting quickly to new realities, we are now engaged in online processes with a number of communities of faith. One of these, a Church Futures process, involves a community of faith considering whether they should sell their property, merge with another congregation, or choose to close on an agreed timeline. The team has successfully collaborated online to prepare a presentation about their options for the Board and church members. Working online adds another level of complexity to sensitively acknowledging feelings of loss and of hope for what the future might hold, but is still possible. Another example is the continuation of a pre-COVID 19 visioning project with a small group, testing topics raised in previous sessions with their Council. Three online sessions have enabled us to confirm our original conclusions as well as gain some new insights. Like many of you, we faced a steep learning curve to getting the best out of the online platforms, but we have been pleasantly surprised by how well the sessions have gone, the depth of the conversations and the ability this gives congregations to move ahead in spite of the pandemic.
Congratulations! - Wasaga Beach Completes New Extension
A major building project happens once in a lifetime for most churches – if that often. Wasaga Beach United Church has just seen the completion of its second major build in five years. With financial assistance from TUCC, and a major PTCC grant through the former Northern Waters Presbytery, the extension almost doubles the space available for ministry. Since building a new church in 2015 the congregation has welcomed approximately 100 new members and now looks forward to expanding the programming it offers to the local community. Congratulations!
TUCC Strikes a Balance Between Ministry Mandate and Rental Income at Islington United
The German International School of Toronto (GIST) needed to move. Their requirements included proximity to a subway station, and exclusive use of approximately 3500 square feet with regular access to a hall, a kitchen, and some other rooms if possible. When the school came to TUCC for help, they had already exhausted their options with several real estate agents. TUCC was able to present three church buildings as potential options and GIST will open on 1st September in Islington United Church. Through its networking, TUCC plays a number of roles in these situations. As well as directing potential tenants to the availability of church space, TUCC remains focused on the interests of the communities of faith, supporting them during the process of rental negotiations. Among other things, TUCC staff is able to provide accurate and up-to-date information on market rental rates and other details about rental procedures; lead rental committees through the process of weighing between the ministry mandate of a congregation and the need for income generation; and share contacts to the TUCC network of suppliers, agencies, and resources. While TUCC gives priority to and is most knowledgeable about United Church buildings, its work and networks also apply to buildings of other denominations as well.