Drummond Hill Newsletter, June 15, 2022
Wednesday Meditation (Luke 8:16,17)
‘No one after lighting a lamp hides it under a jar, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, nor is anything secret that will not become known and come to light.’
We are used to hearing about a “beacon” on a hill. In the 19th and early 20th century novels we see many scenes of ships travelling in the dark nights, ultimately saved by lights from lighthouses especially in stormy nights when nothing can be seen. Lighthouses dotted dangerous shores to warn sailors in darkness. Light in darkness was a metaphor that was real and universal. Everyone could relate and understand immediately what it meant to find light in darkness.
Today’s generation grew up in this electrically driven technological world. They have never experienced darkness and dangers of darkness as universally as the people of earlier centuries. To them, dark nights do not mean the kind of primaeval fear of the earlier people. I point this out to explain the difficulty for today’s people to understand the depths of this passage. People have different understanding, because they live in natural and artificial light day and night.
Drummond Hill may be described as a light in darkness. The trouble is there are far brighter lights than Drummond Hill all around the people. Some are so bright that people will not locate Drummond Hill because it is so dim in comparison to those other lights. In this sense, Drummond Hill as a dim light is not seen by anyone. Only those who know where it is and those who need to find it will find us. If you drive on Lundy’s Lane at any given night, you will see that our church is the darkness spot on Lundy’s Lane apart from the cemetery. The glitz and bling of electric signs leave us dark and unseen. This, I think, is a very apt metaphor for us today.
The challenge, then, is to figure out what it means to be the light that shines in the darkness when no one seems to be aware of darkness. In other words, when we are the dimmest of lights, how can we be the light that reflects the Light which is Christ? We are constantly seeking a way, but obviously in the past century, we learned that it is very difficult, almost impossible, to stand out as the light that people ought to see. Perhaps, the time has come that finally we ought to realise that we are not the light that the world needs to see, but only tools that hold up the true light which is Jesus Christ.
Drummond Hill 3.0
A new faith community: Hot and Spicy
Creating a new faith community is a noble vision. How do we go about taking part in this God’s mission here? How do we know what our tasks are?
Usually, when we want to make something, we plan and follow our plan. A good plan would include what we want, who will, how we are going to, how much it will cost, when we will finish as well as a contingency plan with a contingency cost. We do our best to cover any unexpected challenges as we follow the well laid out plan. If we are building a shed, this is a fairly clear process. Starting a new faith community? This is very different.
The first and most important difference is that we understand that we are serving and are asked to participate in God’s plan. The goal of adding this new community of faith is God’s. We need to know this. If not, we end up building a new community of faith in ways that meet our requirements, not God’s.
Once we know that this is God’s plan, then, we do our best to figure out what God is trying to do. Is God trying to help us continue as a church here? Probably that would be a side effect, but is not the main goal. If we understand the Scripture correctly, adding a new community of faith is God’s way of calling people who have never been part of God’s people to receive the good news of God, revealed in Christ Jesus. “Hot and Spicy” is a way God is intending to call God’s own people to be shaped as God’s new creation. This new group of people are called to share in the very life of following Christ. To call people to God-self, “Hot and Spicy” becomes a very presence of Christ’s voice. As Christ’s servants, we bring to those who will hear the invitation to take part in God’s new creation. We become Christ’s voice.
New Direction: A congregational meeting, June 26
The session has been wrestling to find ways to figure out how to ensure the future of Drummond Hill Church for a long term. Major challenges are rising cost of maintenance, age of the buildings requiring major renovations, decline in membership, and redundant amount of unutilized spaces. If we continue, eventually, the cost of maintenance alone will overtake the financial resources.
After four years of thinking, the session has called the meeting to ask the congregation to approve the direction of the future of Drummond Hill Church. Once approved, the session will start implementing the downsizing plans which are included below. The goal of the meeting is to determine whether to downsize or not.
The session’s proposal comes after looking at the feasibility of (1) staying as we are, of (2) selling the entire church campus including the sanctuary and moving, and of (3) downsizing. The first two choices are no longer our options. This is why the session is asking the congregation to downsize.
Motion: That the congregation of Drummond Hill approve the decision to downsize in order to ensure the future of the congregation.
The Implications of Downsizing
Approving the motion from the session launches us into the following direction.
Once the motion is approved, the session will form a small committee to figure out the ways to down size. The current idea is to keep the building that houses the sanctuary. The committee will engage an engineering firm to work on the cost and means to separate the sanctuary from the hall and education wing. The sanctuary building will become a stand alone building.
Separating the sanctuary building from the rest of the facilities helps us to manage the cost of maintenance in a more reasonable manner. Also it will help us from overstretching our financial resources. We need to remember that having a full time minister costs more than $70,000 per year. Confining the cost of running the church to sanctuary building will certainly sustain the Drummond Hill ministry with a full time minister longer.
Expectations in Phase 1
- Finding out the cost for separating the sanctuary building from the rest of the facilities,
- Planning the best ways to lay out the separation including ways and means to finance the separation,
- Planning ways to carry on the ministry while we work to separate the building.
Our hope is that this work will begin as soon as possible. By the end of the year, the congregation will be able to see a plan of separating the sanctuary building from the rest of the facilities including the bids from companies that will carry out the work, the actual cost, and a financial plan to implement the phase 1, as well as the timeline. The session will review the plan and bring the best possible solution to the congregation for its approval.
July 1: Special Committee begins its work
September 30: Special Committee brings a progress report to the session
October 31: Special Committee finalizes the information gathering
November 30: Session brings the way forward to the congregation
Once the congregation approves a plan brought forward by the session in early December, the session will form two committees. One committee will oversee the implementation of the approved plan of separating the sanctuary building, work on the finances to pay for the separation as well as the ways to carry out God’s work without hindrance.
The other committee will begin working on the next part of formulating the ways to deal with the rest of the facilities. At this juncture, the session’s suggestion is that the committee will work on demolishing the hall, education wing, and the manse in a safe and the least disrupting manner. This committee will address the cost and a financial plan as well as bids to do the work.
We expect that this will be completed by the end of April, 2023. Once completed, the session will call a congregational meeting to discuss and approve the plan.
The session in the meantime will work on a plan to continue the ministry in an innovative way that deals with the new reality of our future. That means we will take a look and see whether a new all purpose building will be necessary or there are other ways to do ministry that will fit our needs. At this stage, our hope is that a smaller and up to date all purpose building will be very helpful. However, whether to build or not will depend on the needs of the ministry as we plan for the coming decade. The session will explore the best way possible for Drummond Hill to move forward.
In the meantime, we are excited about the possibility of doing a ministry with this new way of thinking about who we will be. We are especially excited regarding the project to add a new faith community, Hot and Spicy, for younger people in our city.
The meeting on Sunday, June 26 will allow Drummond Hill to move forward with a new way of being. We will be smaller, but more nimble, yet realistic in what we can do in God’s work. With less financial burden, it is our hope to spend more resources in growing Drummond Hill Church as a faith community that contains many smaller faith communities.
More Highlights from the 147th General Assembly
For those congregations who wish to leave The Presbyterian Church in Canada because they do disagree with ordaining LGBTQI people and making it possible for those congregations wishing to perform LGBTQI weddings, a process of how to leave The PCC is outlined in the Assembly Council’s Report. In terms of assets, when a congregation follows through all required procedures, then, the congregation may leave with 50% of its assets.
As we continue to hear about the graves of indigenous children at the sites of the Residential Schools, the church has set up “Honouring the Children Fund” and transferred 1 million dollars recognising many more graves will be found.
The Principal Clerk of Assembly, Rev. Stephen Kendall, retired and Rev. Victor Kim was appointed as the new Principal Clerk of Assembly.
Hot and Spice: Friday, June 24 at 5:30 pm
and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.