Updates from the Rector

By Barry Parker, Rector (Senior Pastor)

Posted on May 8, 2016

We have come out of a wonderful year of ministry at St. Paul’s and now as the days transition towards summer there are a number of developments in the coming weeks and months I would like to update you on. 
Ceiling Fans for the Worship Space
For a number of years, we have studied how to make the large worship space more comfortable, especially in the summer months. The most advantageous and cost-effective way we can do this is to install two large engineered fans on the ceiling rafters in strategic locations for optimum air movement. This will involve scaffolding that will be erected the week of May 30th. We expect the scaffolding to be in use for the four weeks in June. Once complete, we look forward to better airflow than has been possible through the use of floor fans. The funds to install these fans are designated capital improvement funds already in place.
175th Anniversary
This June, St. Paul’s Bloor Street enters its 175th year of ministry here in Toronto. Our founding date was June 12, 1842. We are planning on observing this great milestone in a number of ways. Our first event is planned for Sunday, September 18th. It will be visually and community oriented. Stay tuned for more details as the date draws closer. 
Above & Beyond 
Just one year ago, as a Congregation, we reached an incredible goal of pledging $3.374 million in our Above & Beyond capital campaign. To date, our pledge honour rate is 99%, and we have drawn closer to our first benchmark, a remarkable achievement.
As you will recall, our first goal is a clean financial slate, and with that, the resultant freedom to continue to work towards God’s future for our community. We began with a goal of $2.29 million to erase our debt. We are 75% of the way to that target and on track to hit 100% in the next year. It will be great to celebrate our 175th anniversary as a parish by being free of our debt to the bank.
Once that debt is erased, we move to the next stage. When the next set of financial pledges are received, we will be starting to develop the Ministry Apprenticeship Program (MAP), a mentorship program for those wanting to explore ministry as a calling, integrated into the reality of life. MAP will be based at St. Paul’s. To initiate and incubate the Ministry Apprenticeship Program, we will need $800,000.
When the MAP funding goal is realized, we will then be able to make the required strategic capital investment in the Sanctuary so we can create a worship space for tomorrow. This will use the final $260,000.
Beyond that, there are needs in the wider Anglican Church we would like to support. We are still seeking ways of expressing that wider support.
Thank you to everyone who is participating in this great adventure. We are blessed and I thank God for each and every one of you. 
Staffing Changes
In the past few months we have had a few staffing changes. To recap, Alison Chapman as Stewardship Coordinator, Tanya Baleta as Communications Coordinator and David Kirk McCleary as Outreach Pastor have all moved to different ministries outside of St. Paul’s. With these changes, we are taking the opportunity to evaluate what roles are required and how to most effectively build ministry using the very gifted and committed staff we have. Over the summer months we will be evaluating all that we are doing and can do as we prepare for an exciting new season of ministry.
Outreach Ministries
Two of our outreach ministries will be winding down for the summer months, to give our very engaged and passionate volunteers a chance to take a breath. Both ESL Café and the Snack Program go on summer hiatus at the end of this week. As part of an overall evaluation of ministry we are undertaking a review of all of our congregational Outreach programs to restart Outreach in the Fall as effectively as possible, in response to our ever-changing neighbourhood.
Sabbath Leave
Finally, on May 29th I begin a Sabbath Leave which concludes on June 25th. Different from an academic sabbatical, a clergy Sabbath leave is modeled on the biblical understanding of Sabbath—where one steps away from the patterns and routines of normal work and activity, to practice different rhythms for a season, to allow for restoration of mind, body and spirit. 
The leadership of St. Paul’s will be in good hands. With the excellent governance and oversight provided by our Trustees, along with the leadership of our Ministry Team, we will continue to flourish as we approach the summer months. I have asked Steve Shaw, who has a wealth of experience, to act as “Priest in Charge” for all Pastoral/Ministry issues. Joyce Badley, as our Executive Pastor, will work closely with Steve to ensure smooth operations through Support Ministries. And of course I continue to count on and appreciate the ongoing work of the rest of our staff and our many volunteers who are at the core of our many ministries.
I pray all of you will have a wonderful and re-creative summer season.