In these times when we hear news of uncertainty and challenge Islington United Church has something to celebrate.
Since 2013 the Stewart East Hall Kitchen has needed major repairs and upgrades to meet current fire, building and health safety regulations. At the same time, our ministry of Hospitality has been developing deeper roots and blossoming into a new future. The Stewart East Hall Kitchen has become the centre not only of our traditional Christian hospitality but also programs for youth and young adults and community outreach as we prepare food together and share table fellowship.
For the Kitchen Renovation Coordinating Team – co-leads Isla Grady and Meredith Whipp, Elsa van Vliet, Catherine Locke and our Hospitality teams – planning for the new kitchen meant learning and listening – to other churches, community groups, professionals and the next generation of users including the Resonance Project Hospitality Team. Islington’s Hospitality Team spent countless hours dreaming, planning, de-cluttering, sorting and packing to get ready for construction.
The team was encouraged and supported by amazing and generous donors, our Church Council and Board of Trustees. The congregation also affirmed its support to enter the major construction phase with Chris Henderson Project Advisors and JOVA Construction. We knew from the start that there would be a gap between our existing funds and the budget proposed, but you, the congregation, said “get it done.”
After 18 weeks of hard work, despite a pandemic, the kitchen is within days of completion. It has been a monumental task and involved every aspect of our building from roof to basement. Chris Henderson and JOVA Construction have been amazing professionals paying careful attention to detail while optimizing every dollar spent. There were no costly surprises; all the anticipated trouble spots were identified in advance and accounted for in the $450,000 budget.
When we return to our building it will be to a health and safety-rated kitchen, prepared to serve the congregation and community with the food trust and safety that are the cornerstone of Hospitality. The Gospel story of Jesus and the feeding of the 5,000 tells us that with God all things are possible. The Stewart East Hall Kitchen is a testament to that.