Sometimes, all it takes is a project to have a lightbulb moment, and working on the new website of Beach United is what did it for me. What started as a journey to understand what needs to be part of the website and what doesn’t turned out to be much more than that. In fact, during a brainstorming session with Minister, Karen Dale, I realized that we are not what you call a conventional charity or even a church for that matter.
Our repertoire has expanded, and we have taken on many new projects over a few years. These include our environmental initiatives such as the Solar Energy for Beach Cooperative Inc. (a not-for-profit renewable energy co-operative, incorporated for the purpose of generating and selling renewable energy in order to support Beach United Church ministries.), Gardening Group and a fully accessible green parking lot which helps reduce flooding and sewage back-ups after heavy rainfalls, a significant breakthrough with regard to sustainability.
These initiatives in addition to existing projects such as The Beach Cares, Knitting for Shivering Children Group, Interfaith Lunch Program and Out of the Cold Program have helped us raise the bar in terms of giving back to the community.
Now, this may not seem like a big deal, but for those who have read up on the state of churches in Canada, BUC’s involvement in the community is like a breath of fresh air. Recently the National Trust of Canada estimated that 9,000 religious spaces in Canada would be lost in the next decade. The reasons for this are mainly rising maintenance costs and shrinking membership in congregations.
However, our story is different. Not only have we grown our community of faith due to constant engagement especially with the younger demographic through our Young Adults Program, but also we have successfully raised funds through a variety of initiatives such as the Christmas Market and Fair Trade Fayre, where we partnered with Fair Trade Vendors to sell organic products.
We have thus gone beyond the conventional understanding of a church and truly gone beyond the script.
-Vivek Vijayapalan, Communications Coordinator