The United Church of Canada is going through changes. On September 21, UCC launched the United Property Resource Corporation to assist churches who are considering closing or merging with other congregations and selling their buildings to repurpose those buildings for positive community development.
Community Innovation Hub encourages communities of faith to ask whether they’re making the best use of their buildings. After all, studies show, that communities of faith use only 20-30% of their physical space between 8:30 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. Some communities of faith rent out underutilized spaced and become community hubs – places where people meet, access services, and where events and activities take place. Check out Creative Collisions to learn more about how communities of space can more effectively use their physical space in general.
Implementing more effective use of your community of faith’s building space, whether you decide to become a community hub or another social enterprise, has the practical benefit of bringing in money to meet operating costs. You (and the community) benefit in other ways, too.
Paul Latour has given this a lot of thought. His company, Herowork, does Radical Renovations on buildings and spaces that house charities, with the generosity, expertise and volunteer time of Victoria, BC residents. The benefits? People from all walks of life come together to give spaces a needed face-lift, making their utility for charities that serve the neighbourhood skyrocket. Building community on multiple levels!
Wouldn’t it be great if companies like Herowork could partner with organizations like Community Innovation Hub to bring exciting change to communities of faith that face the prospect of closing and selling their buildings?
How about you?
The Community Innovation Hub offers a Starter Kit to our community of faith members instructing them on how to evaluate how they use their indoor and outdoor physical space and how to develop and implement plans to use space more efficiently. These plans benefit both the community of faith and the wider community.
Check out these examples!
Eglinton St. George’s United Church – This Toronto church used part of its surrounding land to build an agrihood space with raised-bed gardens so community members with no room for their own garden can grow their own produce.
Kirk United Church Centre – Mindful of how it provided worship and community space for spiritual and secular organizations, this church continued its tradition of providing positive societal impact even after it dissolved, transforming into a community hub that still serves Edmonton, Alberta.
Sanctuary Coffee YYC – Calgary’s Knox United Church’s coffee shop in the church sanctuary demystifies sacred space by offering a space for community, connection, and beauty – in the center of a church building.
Shelburne Primrose Pastoral Charge – As part of its exploration into how to truly embrace the idea of being a community hub, Shelburne Primrose is increasing efforts to strengthen the connections between everyone involved with Trinity United Church: the ministry staff, the congregation, the community organizations the church houses, and the community itself. They are currently experimenting with an open-space minister’s office that gives community leaders a space to connect, learn from and challenge each other.
The Raw Carrot – A testament to the power of partnerships, The Raw Carrot uses physical spaces in communities of faith buildings to create healthy and delicious soups, which it then sells that in local businesses. The Raw Carrot provides employment to people whose disabilities make it difficult for them to find and keep work.
The Village Hive – Located in Markham, Ontario, in a former schoolhouse, this coworking space has no church affiliation. However, a quick look around their space shows that it does have, in abundance, the hospitality, organizational capacity and working space needed to run both an effective coworking space and a connected community of faith!
White Rock United Methodist Church – This Dallas church opened The Mix, a coworking and creative space. The Mix has a makerspace for artists, with sewing and textile labs and painting spaces, as well as sound labs and a dance studio, all in the White Rock UMC church building.
How about right now?
Visit the Community Innovation Hub website to get more information about becoming a member and accessing our development kits and support. Membership is $100 per year for communities of faith.
Use these resources to learn more about repurposing buildings!
Building Up – Toronto’s leading social contractor. A great social enterprise whose model could be replicated!
Girls Build – Girls Build teaches girls 8 – 14 years old the basics of carpentry, electrical, plumbing, roofing, painting, auto and bike mechanics, sheet metal and more.
Contact us at Community Innovation Hub if you have any feedback or questions!
Peter, Carla, and Sarah