In 2016 and 2017 there was a serious look at the possibility of amalgamation with other area churches under the “Phoenix” project, which involved extensive discussions, consultation meetings with the congregation, and a lot of hard work on a draft amalgamation proposal document . This process generated a lot of ideas and new energy for returning to a path of growth , rather than decline, and also a renewed appreciation of Bloordale. The feeling emerged that we should try and make a go of things on our own, and the pursuit of amalgamation was set aside in Spring of 2017.
At the June 2017 church council meeting, a BUC Revitalization Task Group , headed by past council chair Julia Stavreff, was named, to look at options for our growth and our success, including having more people come to Bloordale worship services, having healthier finances, and having more volunteers. The work of the task group has been regularly reported in Bloordale’s monthly “Bloorbeat” newsletter
In the initial meetings of this task group, there was a lot of wide ranging discussion on why we want more people to come to church, why one should be going to church, and things that we do well and things that we do less well, and so on. One of the things that emerged from these discussion was that we do well in caring for each other : our members, our seniors, visitors , and the many other users of our facilities and the wider community. Another was that there is a growing demographic of seniors and also of young adults with young children in our surrounding area who have needs to be met that we should be able to help with.
Two main subgroups of the Task Group were formed:
(1) The Community Engagement Subgroup, which has thus far organized an Expanded Children’s Craft night ( 10 Friday nights instead of 4 ) , organized Bloordale participation in the 2018 Toronto Doors Open Programme, and organized upcoming community events , such as “The Power of the Pen” event and “a Dickens of an Evening”
(2) The Property Options Subgroup , which, with assistance from the UCC Edge group, is developing property development/ rebuilding/repurposing options such as adding more office space or adding affordable housing and pursuing the possibility for Bloordale to become an NGO sponsored Community Hub satellite services centre . These would be in addition to continuing to provide worship and meeting space for the congregation and other existing users of Bloordale facilities such as the 401st Scouts, and the Terry Tan Day Care centre. A Presentation on Property Options was made at the Nov 4, 2018, semi-annual congregational meeting. A copy of the Powerpoint slides used at this meeting can be downloaded here, in PDF format
In addition to, and complementing the work of the Revitalization Task Group , a 60th Anniversary fundraising campaign was launched in 2018, to help meet the immediate financial needs of the church and to help bridge several “gap year” that would be needed before Property Options have been settled upon and implemented .