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Building the Future

When Forest Hill United Church (FH) was built in 1960, it was a centre in a community of young families. At that time about 5.7%* of the Canadian population were members of the United Church of Canada and most attended church weekly. FH responded with an overflowing Sunday School with classes arranged by grades. There was a well-resourced music programme and plenty of midweek activities. The church grew, the building was added on to, and the place was alive and thriving.
As the community around the church and the wider culture shifted, FH felt the impact in declining numbers and resources. Nationally by 2013, the most recent figure available, United Church members were 1.3%* of the Canadian population, and even most of the regular attenders weren’t coming weekly.
Yet, there is still an established community around the church. FH’s goal is to reach out to that community as it now is. And you have! From backpacks and barbeques at Chandler Mowat to Food Truck Frenzy to connecting with Muslim neighbours, relationships will continue to broaden and deepen from these initiatives.
That’s the vision. When you give to FH, you give to build that vision. While a new roof, staff, building maintenance and utilities are all necessary expenses, they aren’t terribly exciting in and of themselves. What’s exciting is what having a well-resourced church makes possible. That’s FH again being a centre for the community, developing connections and fostering caring. You know that’s happening when Food Truck patrons are donating backpacks, and money toward Syrian refugee sponsorship!
As a new year begins in church life, I invite you to consider your spending priorities. How much do you spend on coffee or eating out, on entertainment and vacations, on ‘stuff’? Where does FH rate on your list of expenses? Is it an essential to which you give generously, or an extra that gets money when you’re here?
Jesus says “Where your money goes shows where your heart is.” Does what you donate to FH reflect the priority you want the church and your faith to have? Many people give because they know the church needs money to operate. While that’s true, it’s not very inspiring. If your heart is in FH’s future and vision, give because you believe!
* Statistics from the Rev. David Ewart, Vancouver
Way to go! Way to give! Way to grow