Board Update – March 2019

I came across this quote in recent readings: “I believe in process. I believe in four seasons. I believe that winter’s tough, but spring’s coming. I believe that there’s a growing season. And I think that you realize that in life, you grow. You get better.”  I like this and the rhythm it suggests. There are times and seasons in life, but ultimately we grow and we get better. This sums up our rhythm and reality as a church; gaining an understanding of where we are at, and what season we are in.  

At the bridge, the church Board governs and partners with the staff in the management of our finances, our facilities, and for the most part, our hiring of staff.  These are three key resources.  I very much appreciate our Board and their partnership in these and other matters that affect our future.

We are close to seeing the land sale being finalized. Over three years ago, we sensed God leading us to maximize the value of our property: four undeveloped acres, and the six we currently use. This sale will help optimize ministries, eradicate debt, and designate a significant sum towards a satellite ministry site. I appreciate the staff, Kevin Aide (Board member), and the Building Committee for their efforts as these objectives become a reality.  Your continued prayers are appreciated.

In the spirit of “growing and getting better”, I am happy to report our recent staff adjustments are working out very well. Pastor Samuel Mills brings his abilities and gifts to the coordination of our church’s ministries. Pastor Karen Heppner continues to bring growth to our LifeGroups. She will also be working with me to ensure that we are growing leaders and preserving our culture. Pastor Emily James now oversees all aspects of assimilation/connection and volunteer engagement, Pastor Anna Anandarajan brings heart and intentionality to our care ministry, Pastor Earl James is all in for Communications, Pastor Jeff Boadway brings inspiration and leadership towards Worship & Creative Arts, and Pastor Sam Chung has evolved into an amazing Young Adults and Family Ministries leader. (Note: Pastor Sam will be on sabbatical from May 17 to August 17). Pastor Rod Cohen brings great energy and purposefulness to our Youth Ministries, and Pastors Shauna Weir and Ruth Crawford are stewarding over the transition of Children’s Ministry. Pastor Shauna is fitting in very well and we are thankful that God has led her to us. We will miss Ruth dearly as she retires, and we are so grateful for her vigilance and support during this transition.  Join us on March 31st in expressing our appreciation for her 15 years of ministry to our children and families.  If you’d like to send a personal message you can email pastorruthsendoff@gmail.com or upload a video to thebridgemarkham.com/pastorruth.

In Operations, Cynthia Yoon continues to give conscientious and focused leadership. It’s amazing how many moving parts there are to consider and manage in a church with our size and impact. Deb Childs, Giselle Albi, and Taryn Henry-Prospere also bring their talents to the administratio and communications teams.  Recently Mark Raymer left our employ (thanks for all your efforts Mark!), and we hired Keith Jones as our Facilities Coordinator.

We continue to make an impact in our community through events such as the recent Family Luau, with approximately 500 people attending, many of whom were visiting the bridge for the first time.  Our families continue to be strengthened and resourced through events like the Generation Bridge Conference from this past weekend. We have so much to be thankful for and many more exciting things to come.  Be sure to join us for our Good Friday and Easter services

I would like to conclude with thanks to a great leadership team at the bridge…the Board, the staff, and an amazing volunteer team. Thanks all!

Brian Childs – Lead Pastor

 

Financial Update

Wow, time flies fast.  It’s incredible to realize we are half way through the 2018/2019 fiscal year.  This is the perfect time to pause and reflect on God’s provision and your generosity in partnering with us in expanding the message of God’s love and truth throughout Markham and around the world.

As a Board we were so encouraged to see the congregation come together over the Christmas season to support our four local community partners.  Over $27,000 was raised through the Christmas Partner Offering and was distributed equally to the Markham Food Bank, Markham Stouffville Crisis Pregnancy Centre, Centre for Dreams, and Mosaic Interfaith (Out of the Cold).

We are also so thankful for how the church rallied together to financially support and love on the Childs family after their devastating house fire a few months ago.

As we look at our financial results at the six month mark, our actual giving is at 52% of our annual target. Thank you for your continued faithfulness!  Since Pastor Brian’s message on Financial Health in January, we have seen an increase in giving and people signing up for recurring giving through pre-authorized debit and online giving.  We have an operational deficit of approximately $143,800.  The completion of the land sale has been delayed from the date that we were anticipating from a budget perspective.  This has led to additional loan and interest payments that were not budgeted for.  We are thankful to the staff as they continue to manage their budgets well and spend as required.

Please continue to partner with us in prayer and financially in the next half of the fiscal year.   There are many exciting programs and initiatives planned as we enter into the spring and summer season.  As a reminder, we have several giving options available including pre-authorized debit, Pushpay (online & text), debit machine, donation of stocks and bonds, cash and cheque. You may also submit post-dated cheques if that is more convenient.  Check out these options at thebridgemarkham.com/give.

Thank you for your continued partnership and support of the mission and vision of the bridge.  

Tim Jenkins, Board Member

Property Development Update

As we move from the winter freeze to the spring thaw, it’s hard not to be excited about the change that is coming. It might not look like anything has been happening with our building project, but I can assure you that we are making progress.  It’s taking longer than we had hoped, but it’s better to do it right. 

Property Sale:  This is nearly complete and may even be soon after you read this. There were some delays while the lawyers and City worked out details regarding easements and closing requirements. As this deal comes to a close, I am reminded of the sacrifice that our congregation made years ago to purchase additional property when it became available, even though it wasn’t needed at the time.  As it turns out, this was a very wise decision, which now benefits all of us greatly.

Building Project:  We are preparing to submit the next set of drawings for the Site Plan Application.  They incorporate City feedback from the initial submission and a next level of detail. A second parking study, that incorporates greater detail and a comparative study with a similar church, was also completed.  Our Planners have been working with the City to address parking needs, helping them understand how we “do church” and how our space will be utilized.  All of this work will culminate in a Parking Minor Variance application, which we hope the City will support. Please pray for a successful conclusion as this will put our project into high gear. 

Our staff have started to make the transition as we will soon lose access to the office pavilion.  The church office has been relocated to the Reflection Room and our staff will be using various other parts of the building until their new office space is completed – which could be 18-24 months from now. Please keep them in your prayers as they “endure” the change this project will bring to them each and every day. 

There is still a lot of work that needs to be done before the shovel hits the ground so I ask that you keep the staff, Building Committee and Board in your prayers as we work through towards this major renovation and expansion.  It’s truly exciting to envision how our new facility will service the purpose and programs of the church, impacting the lives of those in our community.

Kevin Aide, Chair of the Building Committee & Board Member

the bridge