November 2018 Update

News from the MCC Toronto Board of Directors

As part of our commitment to more regular, transparent and timely communication with the Congregation we want to highlight some of our recent activities. We meet bi-monthly and will provide you with the key points arising from our meetings. This month we held a Town Hall meeting, below are the notes from that meeting.

Town Hall meeting November 4, 2018

COMPLETE OUR NEW CONGREGATIONAL SURVEY!  We expect it may take about 20 minutes to complete.  Your input is critical as we seek your thoughts about what you value and prioritize!


After almost nine months as our Senior Pastor, Jeff shared with us his desire to partner with us to discern what we want to continue to do, what we need to stop doing – and what we need to start doing as we continue our journey to be the church God calls us to be.  We have had financial challenges for the past several years and we need to reconsider our budgeting process: instead of fitting our programs into a budget, we need to consider our budget from both the perspective of what programs we value, and our consistent pattern of income projections not being achieved.


Finance Update


Major Building Structural Repairs

Several years ago, we made major repairs to our roof.  Regrettably major storms in the spring exploited other known issues: the vulnerability of our foundation, and specifically flooding near our electrical panel.  We commissioned a report from a structural engineer to guide our decision making in prioritizing critical repairs.   Our Finance Committee reviewed the report and proposed potential funding methods to the Board.  We are in the process of requesting tenders.  The Board believes that we may be able to leverage long term investments to finance most of the anticipated $500,000 cost.


Budgeting challenges


Congregational Giving

Approximately 60% of our revenue is from regular giving. For the past several years we have experienced a downward trend in offerings- both plate and from our “automated” givers (those who donate via pre-authorized chequing/credit card/etc.).  The decrease has been in a variety of forms: some sustainers have reduced their offering, some have cancelled and, in some cases, credit cards have been declined (remember that when you get a new credit card, the information at the church needs to be updated if you have pre-authorized withdrawals from your credit card).


Major Events

In addition, approximately 20% of our revenue is projected to be generated by three annual labour intensive, expensive major events: Pride, Christmas Eve at Roy Thomson Hall, and our “mid year fundraiser”.   These events require a major commitment of staff time, volunteers, and significant sponsorships.

Pride’s Church on Church

As many of you will recall, Pride’s Church on Church this year was rained out and, through the outstanding work of staff and volunteers, re-located to the church within a couple of hours of having been cancelled. The relocation was a tremendous testament to our resilience and creativity, but it did still leave us 7%  short from the budgeted income. Staff is exploring possible Pride alternatives for 2019 to mitigate our reliance on reasonable weather after three years of weather challenges.


Mid-Year Event

We postponed the original Bridges to Hope and Freedom event which had been scheduled for the spring at the new Globe and Mail building due to a lack of sponsorship.  Major events in external venues can often attract new people and individuals who support our social justice efforts. They enable outreach beyond our congregation and promote our work by highlighting our unique non- church specific commitments like  the Triangle program, our Refugee ministry, etc. The venues we have chosen in the past (ie:  Arcadian Court, Daniel’s Spectrum, Carlu) have enabled us to encourage corporate sponsorship and premium ticket prices. The challenges are that these events require intense major staff/volunteer efforts and have significant up-front costs since in addition to rent, typically the facility requires you also use their own premium catering, AV resources, etc.

We ultimately moved this event back to the church in order to contain expenses. In return, it was more challenging to recruit major corporate sponsorship and we knew the revenue goal would not be achieved.  Instead of the targeted $50,000 goal we netted $17,000.


Christmas Eve at Roy Thomson Hall

Our goal this year is to net $33,000  from this outreach worship service.  This venue has anticipated expenses of $55,000  and so we need to generate $88,000  in order to reach our goals.


Year End Appeal

For several years the staff and Board have shared a common goal to reduce our reliance on a year end appeal to meet our basic operating expenses.   However, at this point we have not been able to execute on our goals to find additional sources of income or expense reduction, and so we still have a goal in 2018 to generate $50,000  from our year-end appeal.


Planned Giving-Wills and Estates

MCC Toronto is blessed to have had generous individuals name us as a beneficiary in their estates. In fact, these unexpected sources of income have often helped us to avoid finishing the year in a deficit situation. This year we acknowledge Ken Rose, a true MCC champion and evening regular who died tragically this spring, for his generous bequest of  $144,000 to us.  In addition, we’ve received approximately $8,000 in memorial donations.


Expense Management

MCC Toronto is not your typical church or non-profit: we are a unique institution that has historically over-achieved. We do not simply offer Sunday services: we seek to transform lives and the world through our commitment to individual and collective needs. We were instrumental in providing support during the AIDS crisis. We have been at the forefront of the battle for same sex and trans rights. Our commitment to social justice is manifested in tangible commitments: we separately fundraise $40,000 – $50,000 a year from primarily corporate donors to support the cost of hosting the Triangle program.

Our church covers the overhead costs of the Refugee program, but you may not know that we have a Strategy and Fundraising Advisory Team that  separately fundraises for direct program costs.   In addition, volunteers fundraise for the financial support that goes to refugees we privately sponsor or co-sponsor with the government.

It is with heavy hearts that, as we reviewed our 2018 budget in preparation for planning for 2019, we made the difficult decision to eliminate the roles of Team Leader of Communications and Team Leader of Giving Programs.  We express our sincere appreciation to Kendrew Pape and Kevin Coutu respectively for their dedication and contributions to MCC Toronto and hold them in our hearts and prayers as we wish them well in the next chapters of their journeys.   A new position, Director of Development and Communications  has been created that will combine key responsibilities for communication management and fundraising.  This position is posted on the Association of Fundraising Professionals website (AFP) with an application deadline of November 22, 2018.  If you know of anyone who may be interested, please encourage them to send their resume to