In response to the critical need of rethinking ministry in today’s environment, the Eastern Synod partnered with Lutheran Homes Kitchener Waterloo (LHKW) to help congregations identify a vision for the ongoing mission, and how to use property assets to fund that mission.
We learned that simply selling a property to an affordable housing partner is a great way to leave a legacy, but it does not provide sufficient funding for the congregation’s sustainable growth into the future. Hence, we are developing new partnerships to allow for that possibility
- Lutheran Homes Kitchener Waterloo’s (LHKW) Strategic Initiatives Committee partnered with the Eastern Synod to design, develop and test a new initiative to help struggling congregations (within the KW area) rethink the use of their property assets to renew ministry and serve their community.
- LHKW worked with 13 congregations to facilitate missional re-evaluation, asset valuations, property design briefs, identification of real estate and community service partners, reviewing governance plans, drafting financial models and completing risk assessments
- Examples: One congregation partnered with an affordable housing charity to build 45 affordable housing units and a new worship/community meeting area within the new building. Another merged with a sister congregation and the church building has become a hub facility for a community service group.
- 8 out of 10 engaged churches said they would recommend LHKW’s services to other congregations.
With this kind of success in the KW area, the Synod made the decision to adopt and expand the LHKW congregational redevelopment model to all congregations in the Eastern Synod. To ensure continuity of service and continued learning, the staff, volunteer team and the experience they brought with them, were transferred intact from LHKW to the Synod.
2019 to 2022:
Now called Congregation Redevelopment Services, the work birthed through the LHKW initiative continues to grow. We learned that simply selling a property to an affordable housing partner is a great way to leave a legacy, but it does not provide sufficient funding for the congregation’s sustainable growth into the future. Hence, we are developing a new partnership with UPRC. UPRC are the property development experts who, through their experience in the United Church, have figured out how to help congregations use their property assets to build much needed housing, continue to grow ministry and create an income stream.