Places of faith have anchored and shaped our communities for generations, and remain social and physical landmarks, whether in urban or rural settings. Many congregations are at risk as they face declining attendance and insufficient funding to maintain and operate their buildings.
Recognizing that congregations and communities are struggling with these issues, the National Trust for Canada and Faith & the Common Good, two national not-for-profit organizations, have come together to provide expertise, training, advisory and custom coaching services under the banner Regeneration Works: Places of Faith.
Whether the goal is to keep the doors open, or make strategic real estate decisions that serve the faith group and the community, the National Trust and Faith & the Common Good offer hope, inspiration and solutions based on our work from across the country. Our approach is national, non-sectarian, interfaith, and interdisciplinary. We bring made-in-Canada strategies that unlock challenging situations and sites, with the ultimate goal of enhancing the social, spiritual and cultural health of the community.
Working with faith organizations, congregations, property managers, community groups, heritage specialists, or local governments, our multidisciplinary team of experienced practitioners brings proven methodologies for faith property regeneration – all tailored to address the unique challenges faced by faith groups and their communities.
Saturday, March 11, 2017 — Exploring Sacred Space: Regenerating Places of Faith
University of Toronto Multi-faith Centre
Faith & the Common Good, Green Awakening Network, and the Multi-faith Centre of the University of Toronto collaborated on this 2017 Annual Forum. Highlights included:
- Keynotes on Sacred Space in religious thought and measuring the social impact and value of faith communities by Dr. Stephen Scharper (School of the Environment and Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto), and Dr. Mike Wood Daly (The Halo Project),
- Workshops on 4 diverse case studies of Toronto faith communities who have regenerated their buildings,
- Interactive presentations, designed to help in finding winning ideas for re-purposing and regenerating faith buildings.
Saturday, February 25, 2017 — Regenerating Places of Faith: A workshop for south-central Ontario communities
Trinity United Church, Peterborough, ON
The City of Peterborough held a one-day workshop on Regenerating Places of Faith, in partnership with the National Trust for Canada and Faith & the Common Good. Participants in this workshop heard inspirational stories from across Canada and from the Peterborough area, and learned how to tackle key issues threatening places of faith through community engagement strategies, cost reduction techniques, innovative space sharing models, and approaches to successfully re-use a former place of faith.
October 19-22, 2016 — National Trust Conference: Heritage Rising
Hamilton Conference Centre
The first session of this national conference was entitled “Building Strength: Regenerating Places of Faith”. National Trust for Canada Project Leader, Robert Pajot, and Faith & the Common Good Advisor, Kendry Fry, led this half-day workshop, sharing inspiring examples from faith communities across the country and proven regeneration strategies and tools. A follow-up workshop was also held later in the conference.
Saturday, May 14, 2016 — Regenerating Places of Faith: A Workshop For Ottawa’s Communities
All Saints Church, Ottawa
The National Trust for Canada and Faith & the Common Good partnered to offer this one-day workshop, sharing inspiring examples and proven regeneration strategies from across the country and from the Ottawa area. Local faith groups, heritage and community organizations shared their experience, concerns and creative solutions to the challenges confronting places of faith.
Tuesday, May 10, 2016 — Re-capturing Faith Vitality: How to maximize rental space and revenue
Faith & the Common Good’s Board Chair, Randal Goodfellow, and Mission per Square Foot Advisor, Kendra Fry, shared:
1. Best Practices for marketing to and retaining long term tenants.
2. A few things that you should know about public health, insurance and fire safety.
3. St. Luke’s Anglican (Ottawa) case study; re-purposing of sanctuary into multi-purpose space.
Helping communities rejuvenate and repurpose faith buildings — where many faith buildings are more than 100 years old, facing dwindling congregations and increasing operating costs — to meet community needs in a sustainable manner is a pressing matter.
The program supports faith groups to help create partnerships within the community (such as with social enterprise centers), to amortize embodied energy and operating energy and other environmental costs over more use, and to evaluate the service capacity of the congregation to meet its mission goals.
We are piloting this new program in Ottawa & Toronto with financial support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Participating congregations will develop a “Mission per Square Foot” action plan tailored to their needs, ensuring that their faith buildings become a true blessing to the neighborhood.
- We started this exploration of Mission per Square Foot in the fall of 2013 at the Regenerating Faith Property for Mission forum in Ottawa. The Forum explored how faith communities could regenerate buildings and facilities to meet community needs, and do so in an economic and environmentally-friendly manner with community organizations, social service agencies, development companies, environmental groups, municipal governments and cultural bodies as partners.
- Our Ottawa chapter has also identified 10 local case studies from diverse faith communities who are fully and sustainably utilizing their buildings in service to their mission and the larger community.
- Check out the video below from St Luke’s Anglican Parish in Ottawa to see an example of how congregations can build upon sustainability retrofits in order to improve their mission per square foot.