Since 2004, we have made our home at BIS, sharing space with this generous Jewish community. Over the years our relationship has evolved, and we continue to be in dialogue about what our future together might look like. This page is a website home for that ongoing work.

Our Budget Meeting on Dec. 8 Will Be Much More Than That — Plan to Be There!

This week we received the disappointing news that our application for a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to make the downstairs more accessible was not awarded. Only about one in three grant applications is successful, so we are not unprepared for this news. If you attended the informational meeting on September 15 you heard a bit about ‘Plan B.’

Mark the December 8th budget meeting on your calendar. The meeting will certainly be interesting since it will include discussion of Plan B, progress on redefining our relationship with Beth Israel, progress on our Planned Giving Campaign, and how all this fits together with our Long Range Financial Planning.

If you have questions or comments on these topics you are welcome to talk to me or any of our Board members.

— Guy Hanchet, on behalf of the Board of Directors

Finding Our Way Home — Accessibility, Our Relationship With Beth Israel, and This Building

An Update from our September 15th Special Meeting

On September 15th the Board called a special meeting to report on and explore the accessibility challenges we have faced since the stairlift failed a year ago.

As background — we are waiting for word on a major Trillium grant application we submitted in June (with Beth Israel) for an elevator and other accessibility improvements. In the meantime, we expected to propose a small renovation of the study (off the foyer, at the top of the stairs), to open it up quickly into a mini-kitchen and casual meeting space, so we can host coffee hour and more small gatherings upstairs.

But the quotes for that work came in higher than we and Beth Israel were comfortable with moving on quickly — so we have put that idea on hold. The September 15th meeting became more of an update presentation, with Q&A and small group discussions.

Our work on accessibility is, of course, deeply entwined with our ongoing explorations with Beth Israel about whether this building will be our “forever home,” under a new co-management arrangement. One of the most important things we want to hear is what values and priorities this community wants to keep constantly in mind as we navigate these choices.

Here’s a video of what was said about that in our closing circle. What would you add?

Expect more updates soon! There is a new home for this work on our website, in the “Sharing Our Space” item under the News menu.

Our Sept. 15 closing circle: What do you most want the Board to remember as we continue this work?

— Ben Wolfe, on behalf of the Board

Past Stories on Our Shared Space

September 15: A Congregational Information Meeting on Accessibility

This Sunday, following the service Accessibility is an important value for us. The Board has called a meeting to consider possible steps and financial commitments we might make to improve accessibility. We have been exploring a renovation project that would create a more welcoming main floor as we continue to work with Beth Israel toward…

Catch up on our ‘BIG QUESTIONS’ at next week’s AGM

The Fellowship Annual General Meeting is after next Sunday’s service, May 26, with a simple lunch provided. It’s more than a meeting this year. The Board and Co-Visioning Task Force are taking it as an opportunity to connect and catch up in community around some of our “big questions.” You probably know we’ve been working…

Building Bridges Between UFP and Beth Israel

As far back as 2004, when UFP first signed a lease arrangement with Beth Israel, people were imagining possibilities between our two communities. The intention was that sharing space created an invitation to get to know one another and swap stories about our religious traditions. Our relationship, it was imagined, could be enriching as much…

CoVisioning With BIS, and Long Range Financial Planning

I’m excited about two recent initiatives at UFP which have the power and promise to shift things within our community. What’s really brilliant is the interconnections between them and that they are happening concurrently, which gives them all the more capacity to affect change. Both endeavours have been on the drawing board for a long…