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Brick by Brick Community Fundraiser in Halifax
   Renovations underway at the Presbyterian Church of Saint David in Halifax, N.S.
New Beginnings in Kingston
By the Rev. Iona MacLean, the Presbyterian Church of Saint David in Halifax, N.S.
The Presbyterian Church of Saint Da- vid is a welcoming, worshipping and sharing community in the heart of downtown Halifax, N.S. As a congre- gation, we have a deep appreciation for the art of hosting, thriving on our role as host for Sunday worship, for community collaboration, a gather- ing place for those who need safe- haven (David’s Place) and a venue for music and the arts. In choosing to remain in the 1869 sanctuary at this location, we collectively see our mission and presence as an impor- tant contribution to the well-being of those on the margins in the inner city.
Our major renovation project at the Presbyterian Church of Saint David this year is to replace the bricks and restore the six stained-glass win- dows on the south wall. This was deemed to be urgent repair to make
our church secure so that it may con- tinue to provide safe haven. Time has been truly pressing on us as we near completion of the south wall project before the depths of winter. The work that had begun in the summer is go- ing well and is projected to be com- pleted in early 2022.
At the beginning of the project, the congregation had 70% of the neces- sary funds (thanks in large part to loans from the Presbyterian Church Building Corporation), but still needed to raise an additional $250,000. We embarked on a fundraising campaign in the summer, knowing that “many hands make light work” and that the project would not be possible without the support of our community.
Throughout the fall, we have hosted the “Brick by Brick Concert Series” to raise funds, but also, and equally as important, to raise aware- ness of Saint David’s in the wider community, especially among musi- cians and supporters of the arts. It
has been a wonderful experience of diversity in musical styles with mu- sicians enthusiastically endorsing Saint David’s as a great place to play and sing.
We have reached out to our con- gregation, but also beyond to people in the community and those with past connections to Saint David’s, for as- sistance and support in the Brick by Brick Campaign. We are very grateful for the generous support we have re- ceived. We would gladly and humbly welcome contributions from anyone in our wider Presbyterian family in our continuing effort to provide a safe, secure and beautiful meeting place in our neighbourhood.
 The Presbyterian Church Building Corporation (PCBC) enables congregations to obtain the funds necessary to build or expand their facilities at favourable rates of interest by providing guarantees for loans. PCBC is evolving with the changing needs of congregations and is open to considering all building proposals. The goal is to work with congregations by using all available resources to develop a plan and provide guidance in exploring possibilities to generate revenues and become financially viable. This includes examining available opportunities to repurpose buildings.
    By St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Kingston, Ont.
Back in 1840, as Kingston was pre- paring to become the capital of the new province of Canada, the con- gregation of St. Andrew’s Presbyte- rian Church committed to building a manse. It was to be placed adjacent to the church and provide housing for its minister. To design the large family home, they employed George Browne, the architect who also de- signed the city hall, and in 1842, the structure was completed.
It is a stately, two-storey house, in the Regency style, built of local lime- stone, with the front door facing the church. At one time there was even a tunnel connecting the house directly to the minister’s study! Although the tunnel is now sealed off, adults who grew up in this congregation remi- nisce about daring each other to go
into it as children.
The manse was used for a long
time, and has been kept in excellent, and unaltered condition—except of course for modern upgrades to the heating, plumbing and electrical sys- tem.
Eventually living so close to the downtown church became less ap- propriate, and the congregation shifted the use of the manse to sup- port students who wished to live in an intentional Christian community. The fact that the Presbyterians had received a royal charter to begin Queen’s University in 1841 made this use of the manse ideal!
During a year of vacancy due to Covid, a committee of the congrega- tion decided to review the use of the house. A full range of options were investigated, including even selling the property. Upon reflection, the congregation expressed the desire
Photos of the manse at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Kingston, Ont. PHOTO CREDITS: JORDAN SIMONS
to dedicate the manse to be of as- sistance in some way with respect to the affordable housing crisis faced by many in the city. (Did you know that an individual on Ontario Works receives only $390 a month to cover rent and utilities?)
After a great deal of work, St. An- drew’s has formed a partnership with Ryandale Transitional Housing. The manse will provide a home for seven individuals at a time who are leaving the correctional system or rehabilita- tion programs as they transition into independent living. St. Andrew’s will provide the manse, itself receiving only the government housing allow- ances to cover maintenance of the
building, and Ryandale will provide the expertise of support.
The initiative has received financial support (from the City of Kingston, Sleep Country and various individual donors in the congregation and com- munity) to equip the manse for this change of use, and will be receiving an annual grant to provide the neces- sary personal support and supervi- sion (from the United Way). There is a real need for an initiative like this, and many have responded with com- mitment.
Two teams will accompany the project as it moves forward. One is tasked with maintaining the physi- cal building, while the other will cre-
ate relationships of support with the tenants. Each team is composed of people from both the congregation and Ryandale.
The first group of residents moved in on January 10 and we are excited to encourage these men on their the name of Christ! As I write this, my mind and heart return to the passage we heard at a recent service at St. Andrew’s: “Let mu- tual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers... Re- member those who are in prison... Keep your lives free from the love of money... Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever” (Hebrews 13).

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