July 2016 Congregational Update

Since our last update we have had two Board meetings, our Annual Congregational Business Meeting, been part of the historic apology for the 1981 Bathhouse Raids, a very successful community fundraising event, Pride, and have been represented at the MCC General Conference in Victoria! Here are some of our highlights from this very busy and exciting time!

2015 audited financial statements

We reviewed and accepted the 2015 audited financial statements and report that were then presented to the congregation at our ACBM.

2016 budget is available on our website

This year’s budget incorporated staff and operational cuts which will not directly impact programs and services, however it will demand some shifting and additional responsibilities for the remaining staff. We are vigorously monitoring our revenue and expenses. The summer time typically creates cash flow challenges for us so if you have not yet opted to have your offering automatically deducted from your account or credit card – now would be a great time! Details are available here.

Welcome Bentley Springer to the Board of Directors!

Bentley and his wife Denise have been active in the ushering ministry and just assumed new responsibilities in communion serving and anointing. Bentley is an IT professional with strong experience in leading organizational change by planning and executing strategic projects, leading teams to dramatically improve the customer experience and creating efficiency. He will complete the one year Board term vacancy from Michael Serapio and will join our Fund Development Committee. Welcome aboard Bentley!

Cheryl Smith, CPA, CA, MBA, MLS

Cheryl was also elected for two years to complete Darrell Jensen’s mandate. Cheryl’s professional knowledge and familiarity with our financial area gained through her generous volunteer efforts give her vital insights in her role on the Finance and Audit Committee. We value her questions and answers!

Regrets expressed for Bath House Raids

On June 22, 2016 Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes was part of a historic event when he acknowledged and accepted Chief of Police Mark Saunders’ apology for the actions of the Toronto police in 1981 at the bath houses. Brent approached him months ago and assisted in the crafting of the statement. It was a remarkable evening as the police and LGBTQ community recognized their challenging history and committed to a continued improved relationships – including Mark Saunders announcement of a commitment to education and sensitivity to the Trans community.

Successful fundraiser

At our 20th Anniversary celebration “Safe to Learn” on June 23, Rick Mercer hosted a fabulous evening starring the students of the Triangle Program, and our fabulous choir and special guests.

Event co-chairs Meredith Cartwright & Vicky Bassett, Bonte Minnema, and Michael Dolan and their teams, with Diane Leah leading the Staff team, hosted another great event. We were thrilled to recognize our Honorary Event Co-chair John Campey. Funds will be used to support all the programs at MCC Toronto, including the Triangle school. Although we don’t have the final financial results at the time of writing, we do expect to have modestly exceeded our budget goal of $50,000 (net of expenses).

2016 Pride

We had a very successful Pride, with the Prime Minister and a number of other dignitaries in attendance at our Church on Church St. service. All 900 seats were occupied and we estimate another several hundred people were standing to take in our service. Although we don’t have the final financial results at the time of writing, we do expect to have achieved our conservative budget goal of $8,200 (net of expenses). More to come on this in the week ahead.

Senior Pastor Selection Process

The Governance Committee (Lori Boyce, Anne Brayley and Brent) are responsible to the Board and the congregation for ensuring we have a clear and robust Senior Pastor selection plan. This is a major objective in 2016 and we commit to continued communication via Town Hall meetings, eNews, etc. This has already been a major topic at our last two Town Halls.

The Governance Committee has developed criteria including a focus on progressive theology criteria for potential candidates. The congregational survey endorsed our criteria. We will continue to seek input and opinions in this critical journey. Andrew Fleming has joined the selection committee. Ultimately the search team will come to the Board with a recommendation. When the Board has endorsed the candidate, the individual will be presented to the congregation. Members in good standing will then vote on the candidate.

Our mandate is to identify the strongest possible candidate who will be strongly endorsed by the congregation to partner with us as we continue to grow as a vibrant, inclusive, progressive Christian church.

At this point we are in the process of proactively identifying possible candidates who may be interested in applying. This search has extended beyond MCC. Next we will be conducting an open call and inviting interested parties to apply.

Congregational survey results are summarized

We are now in the process identifying the optimal methods to communicate and engage the congregation with our summary – and next steps. The survey focused on understanding what is critical for us to do as we strive to be the church that God calls us to be. This is of particular urgency with Brent’s planned retirement within the next several years.

The survey addresses four key sections:
1) What you value most about MCC Toronto
2) Your thoughts about being and becoming the Church of the Future
3) Your input regarding the criteria and characteristics needed in our NEXT Senior Pastor
4) Basic, anonymous background to help us better understand our collective input

Please note our next FUTURE TOWN HALL is scheduled for September 25, 2016.