Our 45th Anniversary calls for lots of celebration. We have so much to be proud of. Today, we’re going to celebrate lots of people. Let’s start the celebrations by honouring a special group of people that we refer to as our Fund Development Committee. This group of volunteers brings incredible passion for ensuring MCC Toronto will be a vibrant and sustainable organization for many years to come. For many years, they’ve been guiding us in the areas of congregational engagement and giving, and they’ve become a critical strategy development partner for staff. Please join us in celebrating Andrew Fleming, Bev Wybrow, Teresa Harvey, Bentley Springer, Guy Lacasse, Cynthia Phillips and Alex De Melo. Thanks as well to the many wonderful people that served on this committee over the years. It’s a long list and we’re grateful for all of you.
On behalf the committee, thank you for your continued generosity. We have become the church for all people.
Your generosity has allowed us to be at the forefront of human rights change since our inception. As we celebrate our 45th Anniversary, we have so much to be proud of:
- Close to 1,000 people call MCC Toronto their spiritual home.
- We have the largest Christmas Eve service in the city.
- We own our own church building mortgage-free.
- We’re the only Canadian organization that focuses on LGTBTQ2S+ refugees as a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) with the federal government.
- We have the fastest growing program for spiritually-minded LGBTQ2S+ families in the city.
All of this has been possible because of your generosity.
And as we renew our vision with our new senior pastor, Rev. Jeff Rock, our future is very bright!
Today we are pleased to launch our new Community Pillars Program. This program seeks to honour and celebrate the special giving of some key donors. These donors contribute $5,000 a year or more to the work of MCC Toronto. Today, this list includes 50 couples and individuals and, with their permission, we’re celebrating them.
As we celebrate their support, and all the contributions made, we’d also like to provide some vital information related to the church’s financial health.
Year over year, expenses have decreased as we’ve completed the transition to a new senior pastor. At first, we thought this was a cause for celebration! Then we realized we should hold back on that cheer. We have a beautiful but old church building in constant need of maintenance and repairs. Our operating budget does include a small amount for building repairs. It does not allow for major costs. This is a critical expense that is causing some shrinking congregations to sell their buildings and close or merge with other smaller churches. We do want to celebrate the good stewardship of the church but we’re cautious to not get too excited about declining expenses given the needs of our old church building.
Unfortunately, revenues have been declining. Despite an increase in attendance, regular giving (automated giving and plate offerings) are on the decline. We know that the economy is still not great, and the latest figures show unemployment is on the rise. In addition, as more of our congregants get to enjoy retirement, they’re forced to make do with less and their charitable giving declines as a result.
Our congregation is diverse in many ways, including our ability to give. Some of us have the financial capacity to give a lot. Some of us do not, due to a range of life situations. Some of us can, and do, give generously for our circumstances, whether that be a little or a lot. Some of us could do more. It’s important that everyone feels welcome at MCC Toronto, regardless of our ability to give, while we also collectively meet our financial responsibilities to our church home.
Our congregation’s regular giving only covers about half of our financial commitments and it’s getting increasingly difficult to raise the $38 per week, per person, that’s needed to operate the church. Many congregations older than 50 years have generous endowments due to bequests from congregants in the past. Earnings on these endowments do things like pay to maintain their building. We only have a small endowment and have had to seek outside funding for major repairs or renovations to our building, such as the Trillium Foundation funding that allowed us to renovate space in our basement. For the Triangle school
We remain committed to operating within our means. Some of us may wonder why we have more paid staff than other churches. This is because we are a much larger congregation than most – many congregations these days are small and shrinking. We are a congregation of close to 1,000, plus we webcast to more than 100 countries. We need staff who have professional skills and are able to provide support to the 400 plus volunteers that enable us to be the vibrant church that we are today. If necessary, we may have to reduce the programs we provide. We consider this to be a last resort alternative. We’d much prefer to grow the regular financial support from the congregation and find new innovative ways to raise the funds we need. The Fund Development Committee is always looking to increase the regular giving of the congregation and if you’re interested in joining the committee or volunteering in some other capacity, please contact John Farrell at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lastly, if you’re in a position to become an automated giver, or if you’re already an automated giver but could give a little more, it actually is a big deal and would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you and Happy 45th Anniversary!