In 2017-2018 I found myself available to consider new ministry opportunities, and so when "a friend of a friend" invited me into a project in Kitchener, I joined in. St. Paul's Lutheran Church/Bridgeport was looking at alternatives to closing their doors. Together with the minister (at the time) and the church council we began imagining "outside the box" possibilities. The church wanted to find a way to maintain their almost 150 year presence in this community along the Grand River. Out of their core values of faith, service and fellowship we identified what that might look like in the present moment. Through some "dream sessions" and a call for partners, a partnership emerged with MennoHomes and Parents for Community Living.
St Paul's Lutheran/Bridgeport has merged their 2.5 acres of high-value/high visibility property into the project, with MennoHomes now taking the lead in developing the building and property. As you can imagine a partnership like this takes a substantial commitment of time, trust, relationship building, and mind-boggling budgeting exercises. The St Paul's congregation just recently moved out of their building which will be demolished in March as construction gets underway. A recent article in The Record (K/W paper) tells some of the story.
The link here takes you to MennoHomes site with some background on the need for affordable housing in the region and more info about the financial model required to bring it to pass, including substantial grant funding (millions $) from levels of government.