Consolidation and Renewal Team
Message for the Grace-Line from the Consolidation and Renewal Team (CaR Team)
January 19 update:
The members of the Consolidation and Renewal (CaR) Team are excited to share with the congregation our recommendation regarding the crosses at Grace United. The CaR team came to a recommendation earlier this week based on: congregational feedback received in December to our question about what word or phrase comes to mind when you think of a Grace cross, as well as the months of dialogue and feedback received in our fish bowl, via email and shared directly with CaR members. What we heard from you repeatedly was how important it was to honour all 3 parent churches while also feeling excited about where Grace United was moving in the future, including an acknowledgement that for many who have joined our congregation over the last few years … Grace is all they have known.
While the CaR Team had planned to engage with various artisans on possible designs, after reviewing your feedback and assessing all the possible options, the Team shared with the Board this week the recommendation to designate all 3 legacy church crosses as ‘Grace’s cross’. We recommended that the current cross at the front of the sanctuary remain in place with the other 2 crosses being relocated to other vibrant spaces where people gather. Our recommendation for locations is: 1) the stucco wall outside the front entrance, as a welcome to all, and 2) the loft, replacing the birch bark cross there today.
We presented our recommendation to the Board on Tuesday January 17, 2023 and are thrilled to share that we had unanimous support. The Board also agreed to share the recommendation with the congregation as soon as possible (hence this message) and ultimately request your support at our upcoming Annual General Meeting later in March. There are still logistical details to be worked out but we know for many there is great emotional and spiritual attachment to the cross and we hope that this recommendation brings peace and comfort for all.
As a CaR Team we remain excited to continue to assess other opportunities for unity within our worship space and entrance so everyone feels welcome and at home at Grace United.
In the meantime, if you have any comments or questions regarding the recommendation, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or speak with any member of the CaR Team.
The complete presentation of the Consolidation & Renewal Team’s update to the Board as well as the motion is available here for those who would like additional background on the recommendation.
January 15 update:
Message from the Consolidation and Renewal (CaR) Team
In the fall of 2022, the CaR Team was given a mandate to make recommendations to the Board (and ultimately the congregation) about the worship environment and furnishings that best represent Grace United. In December, we began exploring options related to the Grace cross(es). The Team has a responsibility to explore all the options including: keeping or repurposing the existing cross(es), integrating the 3 crosses in some way or even considering something brand new. As we continue to evaluate these options, we’re grateful to all of you who submitted your ideas about what comes to mind when you think about a ‘Grace cross’. The feedback varied but was unanimously heartfelt and faith-filled. We had people share scripture that came to mind, words that were powerful and words that were emotional. And we had a few share their desire to maintain the status quo. All the feedback will provide valuable insight to our ongoing CaR Team discussions. We also intend to share the input with local artisans who offer much needed expertise as we consider design options for all 3 of the existing crosses. We expect it will be a number of weeks before we have any specific designs but any final recommendations will be brought to the Board, and ultimately the congregation, for approval.
If you have any questions or further comments, please speak to a member of the CaR Team or send a message email@example.com
December 15 update:
As the Consolidation and Renewal (CaR) Team continues its work, we are beginning to engage with local artists regarding what is possible with our existing crosses and how we might bring them together in a cross for Grace. It’s important that we hear the voices of our congregation to provide direction to the artist(s) as we explore potential designs.
Over the next 2 weeks we are asking for your input to the following question …
When you think about a cross for Grace what words or phrases come to mind?
Some potential considerations as you reflect:
– Grace’s place in the North Burlington community/what does it mean to be a part of North Burlington?
– Our core values
– The indigenous lands our building occupies
– The look and feel of the spiritual space we worship in
– Your own faith experience and the meaning of a cross to you
PLEASE NOTE: we’re not looking for paragraphs or sentences of what you would like to see in a design. We’re just hoping to use your words and phrases to give the artists(s) some imagery to inform their design options.
Feedback can be submitted in 3 ways until Jan 1 …
- by dropping a note in the glass “fish” bowl located on the welcome table at the back of the sanctuary
- by sending your words or phrase to firstname.lastname@example.org
- by completing this form https://forms.gle/8eXPWCFVPup3yEH39
On behalf of the CaR Team, thank you for your continued engagement and input.
November 20th update:
Consolidation and Renewal Team NEEDS YOUR INPUT
The Consolidation and Renewal Team (CaR Team) continues to meet regularly with the mandate to: recommend changes to the physical environment of the entrance, sanctuary and furnishings within, that will support us as we move spiritually and emotionally forward together as Grace United Church.
As we consider the opportunity for a renewed set of baptism and communion vessels that represents our Grace United community, the CaR Team has consolidated all the existing vessels and fonts on site at Grace and developed a complete photo inventory. We recognize the importance of honouring the legacy and history of our spiritual furniture and accessories, so we are eager to hear your thoughts, specifically:
- Any history that you may have about the vessels/fonts – ie who donated them, how and when they were used
- Any recommendations for where or how they could be repurposed – either by us at Grace or perhaps as a donation to another church or organization
- Any personal stories or reflections that you may have about the vessels/font
The link to the Communion Vessel and Baptismal Font Photo Inventory showcases all the photos as well as instructions for providing your feedback. As always, thank you for your input!
The intent of the CaR Team is to create a worship environment that is uniquely Grace and represents who we are and what we stand for as a congregation. Thank you to those of you who have dropped your suggestions off in our ‘fish’ bowl at the back of the church and by email. We have reviewed and discussed every message.
As a part of our discussions, we felt that it was important to reflect on what we already have done that has helped us to become a unified Grace aside from the physical environment. We have our Core Values, Guiding Principle and a new logo. We have a list of our favourite hymns. We have a new name for our Christmas bazaar. We have also had banners made just for Grace and we are all being diligent about acknowledging that our past as Grace actually only represents the last 3 years. But in looking at our physical environment we are sure that you would agree that we do not need multiples of our various furnishings here in the sanctuary. The areas that we are currently moving forward on first are our communion vessels and our baptismal fonts. We have many different communion pieces and we recognize that many of these pieces have been donated and/or have personal significance to many of you. What we hope to do in the next few weeks is to share photos of all of these items with you so that you can identify ones that have that significance and we plan to provide an opportunity whereby you can share your stories about these pieces so that they can be honoured and either be repatriated with their original owners or decisions can be made about potential new homes for these items. In the meantime, we are looking into various options for items that will be just for Grace.
There are other items that we will be looking at in the future but we want to acknowledge that we have heard from many of you about the crosses. Please know that we will be exercising due diligence when it comes to them, and we will definitely be bringing our recommendations back to you when it is appropriate.
In the meantime, please continue to share your ideas by putting them in writing and dropping them in the glass fish or sending a message directly via email. email@example.com
Introducing the New Consolidation and Renewal Team
You may recall in the summer, the Board set some short-term goals for the rest of 2022, that would allow us to continue the momentum from our transition work and set us in good stead for Richard’s arrival later this year. One of those goals related to the challenge that Rev Helen left for us … specifically to truly achieve complete unity. The idea that we are all one, as Grace United. The Board agreed that Heather and I would bring together a group of folks over the coming months to recommend opportunities for new or repurposed “worship furniture” – in other words really get into the symbols of church life here at Grace.
So we are thrilled to share that we had the first meeting of our Consolidation and Renewal Team this past week. We chose our name because we thought Consolidation and Renewal was a good way to represent the bringing together of the histories and experiences that created Grace United, but also acknowledges the openness to renewal and growth that is bubbling up here at Grace. And that regardless of the faith journeys we have all travelled to this point – we are one, Grace United Church. And while we may already feel that in our hearts, it’s time for our space to reflect that too.
So, I want to thank the members for their willingness to be a part of this team. Each of them brings a unique and valuable perspective, but each of them has also committed to listening and learning from everyone who considers Grace home.
We agreed at our first meeting to the purpose of our team –
To recommend changes to the physical environment of the entrance, the sanctuary, and the furnishings within, that will support us spiritually and emotionally as we move forward together as Grace United Church.
We felt it was important to put some parameters on the space we’re talking about (ie this is not a capital expansion project for the entire property) but it’s important to call out the spaces that influence first impressions and faith experiences. And its equally important to acknowledge the spiritual and emotional “atmosphere” that makes up the physical environment at church. So, whether you join us in-person or virtually you feel part of our Grace community through the furnishings and space that you see or feel.
Finally, I want to emphasize that our team very much appreciates that for some this sacred space and the symbols within it, will carry an emotional connection. While others may be ready to embrace something new and creative that represents what Grace is and can be. That’s why it is important to the team to hear your thoughts, ideas and questions as it relates to our purpose. So, in addition to being able to speak with members of the team in person, you can also provide your feedback or ask questions via our “Suggestion Fish” suggestion box at the back of the narthex, or via email firstname.lastname@example.org. The team will respect any requests for anonymity should that be your request.
So, while you can use these channels to provide feedback or questions to the Team at any time, to help us kickstart our work, we’re asking a specific question to everyone:
Name one thing (in our physical church environment) that you think would enhance Grace United moving forward as one?
Please take a moment to reflect on that question and share your thoughts with the team in the coming days.
We’re looking forward to your input as we progress our work over the next few months and commit to updating everyone on a regular basis. Thank you.
Stacy Goodale along with Heather McGavin, are the Co-Chairs of the Board and Co-Chairs of the newly established Consolidation and Renewal Team.