The old order changeth and bringeth forth the new. Clearly, increasing secularism is challenging the United Church, indeed all mainstream churches. Shrinking congregations and revenues must be addressed. They must bring forth the new.
In the absence of a hard proposal, I cannot comment on the specific project. But my concern lies with the process or lack of process and the effect is could well have, not only on the neighbours, but on the community as a whole.
I was raised in the United Church and remember Jesus’ Second Commandment ,”Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” If this were to be honoured, financial implications would not be allowed to pre-empt consideration of the neighbourhood and thereby give inadequate voice to the neighbours. As long as anyone can remember churches have enjoyed tax-free status. Having received this substantial accommodation, I believe it behooves the United Church to be much more considerate of the neighbours and the community and not attempt to frustrate the bylaws and norms by fast-tracking, before the Mayor’s Task Force can propose a consultation process. To do otherwise will appear cynical.