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In March, Parish Council met in person for the second time since before Covid to get to know each other better, address items on our agenda, and enjoy a meal together. There was a lot of gratitude expressed for our church, our priest, and how we’ve survived Covid. Among other items on our agenda, we discussed three questions: What are our top three goals? What would we like to be known for? What ideas do we have for possible next steps?

Before you read on, take a moment and think about St. Stephen’s. How would you answer those questions?

What are the top three goals for our church?  

Parish Council’s goals:

  1. Financial Stability, increase congregation and maintain our building
  2. Loving and welcoming community
  3. Increase our presence in the community  

Pastor Ruth’s goals:

  1. Best worship possible (for who we are)
  2. Learn and practice our Christianity—especially in intrapersonal relationships within the congregation, how we deal with fear, how we fail and/or let each other down and how we might communicate and support each other better.
  3. Stability of finances—that we understand where we are and what we need.    

What would we like to be known for? 

  • We want to be known for hospitality, open door, intentional outreach.
  • We want to be known for our diversity- many racial and ethnic groups, welcoming of all, including LGBTQ2S. Hospitality- help the ‘least, lost and lonely’.
  • We want to improve our visibility/presence in the neighbourhood. 

 What ideas do we have for possible next steps?

  • Improve visibility, by painting the church and maintaining general upkeep, having more activities outside and improving our signage.
  • Improve the garden
  • Continue with Open Church on Tuesdays/Thursdays
  • Outdoor Markets
  • Wear our St. Stephen T-shirts and get more hoodies
  • More vertical banners (feather flags)
  • Enlarge our seasonal decorations outside
  • Start up the Community Meal again
  • Improve our visibility online.
  • Encourage those with special interests to offer community events e.g. stand-up comedy
  • Community Days- access Burnaby small grants
  • Promote New to You Market
  • Reconnect with Cameron Elementary School

These suggestions will be reviewed by Pastor Ruth and Wardens. Please consider how you might like to be involved putting one or two into action. Do you have other ideas of how our church might engage our community? Please pass them on to Pastor Ruth or one of the wardens.

Parish Council is happy to report that we have already taken some of these next steps.

  • We received a large grant from the Diocese and probably another that will pay for more than half of the $86,000 needed to paint the church and replace the eaves. We also received a large gift from St. Catherine’s, Port Coquitlam and revenue from the filming of a portion of a Netflix episode so all we need to raise is another $13,000.
  • The Wednesday Lunch Club is scheduled to reopen on June 22 and the Community Meal will begin again on Wednesday, September 21 at 5:30pm and will continue monthly on the third Wednesday of the month.    
  • We are having an outdoor market on June 4, 10 am-3 pm. 
  • Thanks to our amazing volunteers, the worship space continues to open the church for prayer on Tuesdays and Thursdays 1:30-3:30