When the General Council office moves to downtown Toronto from its current west-end location in early 2026, the Anglican and Presbyterian churches will be taking occupancy along with them.
United Church general secretary Rev. Michael Blair notes that the office merger does not equal church union.
Bloor Street United is redeveloping its property, and the General Council will lease four floors as well as a nearby house, owned by Bloor Street.
The three denominations made the commitment after years of conversations exploring cost-sharing possibilities, joint or shared programming and a smaller collective carbon footprint.
Blair says there will be some cost savings, including sharing IT systems.
“But I think, overwhelmingly, and there is a sense both from the Anglicans and the Presbyterians, that this gives us an opportunity to work together collaboratively in an ecumenical space,” he says.
Interested in more stories like this? Subscribe to Broadview’s weekly newsletter.
The General Council office began seeking proposals for a new location in 2011 to save money. More than a decade later, the plan to move to Bloor Street United still made sense, says Erik Mathiesen, the church’s executive officer of finance. “One of the selection criteria was to be connected with a church and be paying rent to ourselves, as opposed to a commercial entity,” he says.
More on Broadview:
- United Church camps forced to cancel summer 2023 programs due to staff shortages
- New stats show 2022 bump in United Church amalgamations
- How lay-led leadership could save rural churches
As part of Bloor Street United’s redevelopment, a 29-storey condominium tower is currently being constructed above the space designated for the General Council office, says Bloor Street redevelopment committee chair Michael Hilliard. A redesigned sanctuary will be situated at ground level, featuring a higher ceiling and more compact space.
The new facility will also include an assembly hall, a kitchen, staff offices and meeting rooms.
When not in use, these meeting rooms will be available for community rentals.
Avil Beckford is the founder of The Invisible Mentor, The Art of Learning Leadership Academy and The One Problem podcast. She’s the author of Leadership Reading: Spilling the Tea on How Top Leaders Read. Beckford lives in Toronto.
This article first appeared in Broadview’s September 2023 issue with the title “National Office to Share Downtown Space with Anglicans, Presbyterians.”
We hope you found this Broadview article engaging.
Our team is working hard to bring you more independent, award-winning journalism. But Broadview is a nonprofit and these are tough times for magazines. Please consider supporting our work. There are a number of ways to do so:
- Subscribe to our magazine and you’ll receive intelligent, timely stories and perspectives delivered to your home 8 times a year.
- Donate to our Friends Fund.
- Give the gift of Broadview to someone special in your life and make a difference!
Thank you for being such wonderful readers.