If you’ve been attending our outdoor worship services or participating online you may have noticed a change in how we describe our congregation. Of course, we’re still Rosedale United Church, but we’ve also started to call ourselves a “Centre for Human Flourishing.” Thinking of ourselves as a Centre for Human Flourishing was the outcome of the strategic work in which our congregation engaged during the 2020/2021 season.
The big question we were asking ourselves with all those strategic conversations was this:
What is our “why” as Rosedale United Church? What is our purpose as a church in the 21st century in Toronto?
Answering this question involved a lot of close listening to you, the members of the Rosedale United Church, and also to a whole bunch of other people in the neighbourhood and beyond.
We were asking ourselves about our “why” because we want to stay relevant as a church in a neighbourhood that has changed a whole lot since 1915 when our building was constructed. We wanted to keep on “being there” for our neighbourhood and figuring out our “why” (we thought) would help us to do this. Getting in touch again with our vision and purpose would help us think about how to make our church sustainable for generations to come.
It turns out that this shift in how we conceive of ourselves is actually organic to who we already are. Our strategic conversations were clear: Rosedale United Church’s “why,” our purpose as a Christian church, is to nurture community, extend comfort, and call people to meaningful contribution so that human life flourishes in our neighbourhood and city. In fact, that’s what the way of Jesus is all about – working for abundant life for all. We started to wonder: what if, in addition to supporting the flourishing of our membership, we opened ourselves more intentionally and conceived of ourselves more deliberately as a centre for flourishing for everyone?
We are only in the beginning stages of figuring out what this expanded sense of identity means. We hope it will lead to creative partnerships and new rental income but, most importantly, we hope it will expand our role as a community hub, supporting things like mental health, the environment, and racial justice. As disciples of Jesus the people of Rosedale United Church have always supported human flourishing. So, we are calling ourselves what we are – a Centre for Human Flourishing – and committing to opening our doors and our hearts even wider.
If you'd like to read more about how we got here download the Strategic Planning Committee's report here.