Rebate helps keep church cool and dry

Logo for Our Faith-Our Hope
 on October 1, 2014

Churches can keep 40 per cent of the funds they raise in the Our Faith-Our Hope: Re-Imagine Church campaign. If they reach their parish total, they can keep 75 per cent of any money raised after that. To date, parish rebates total $7,162,188. This story looks at how one church is using its rebate to replace its roof and install air conditioning.

Grace Church, Markham, is a growing multicultural and multi-generational parish in the city of Markham, northeast of Toronto. Over the past 10 years, we have been in the process of re-imagining how we celebrate God’s amazing love, and what that looks like on a week-to-week basis. As we have grown, we have been inspired by the resources of the Alban Institute and the church growth conferences at St. Bartholomew’s in New York City. We have learned about radical welcome and we strive to greet each guest as Christ himself.

Over this time, worship has transitioned from being book-focused, with worshippers looking down into their books, to PowerPoint worship, with the words and images projected up on screens. The congregation now looks up, and there is much greater participation.

Children are an integral part of our parish life. As such, the nursery school area was renovated two years ago. At the same time, our music shifted from a fairly exclusive repertoire of hymns to a broader tradition, offering not only hymns but praise music and music from the different backgrounds of our parishioners. The parish has added a third Sunday worship opportunity known as Eucharist in the Round in the parish hall.

There has been a concerted effort to upgrade Grace Church’s buildings for the 21st century. We have a new kitchen and new washrooms, and we have repainted the interior. Hardwood flooring has been added to the sanctuary to improve acoustics. Our lighting is almost completely upgraded to LED lighting, making our building not only brighter but more cost effective. A multi-year plan, which calls for a new sound system and further improvements to the heating system, has been developed to propel Grace Church into the future.

The Our Faith-Our Hope: Re-Imagine Church campaign came at an opportune time in the life of our church, as we required new roofing over the church and parish hall. These were major expenses that the parish was not in a position to fund, even with increased attendance and activity. During the campaign, parish pledges totalled 110 per cent of our goal. This enabled us to proceed with a new state-of-the-art insulated roofing for the church and parish hall.

With our rebate from the campaign, we also added air conditioning to the worship area and parish hall. With our increasingly hot summers, people find air conditioning is as essential today as plumbing was in the last century.

Grace Church is grateful for the Our Faith-Our Hope: Re-Imagine Church campaign and to our parishioners who responded so generously to it.


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