Several years ago, the St. Thomas Parish Council made the decision to pursue a partnership with a Daycare/Preschool to:
1) bolster parish revenue,
2) build partnerships in the community, and
3) show the surrounding neighbourhood that St. Thomas is an active community striving to provide meaningful, practical infrastructure for Chilliwack.
This plan has been part of our overall redevelopment of our parish as we seek to become a community in which we seek to become a multi-generational spiritual home for our neighbourhood and for those inclined to our way of understanding the Great Christian Tradition and Faith.
To this end the Council tasked a Rental Committee (Debbie Alford and Deb Edwards) to work with our Wardens and Fr. Allen to search for a partner and negotiate an agreeable contract for the use of the hall and adjoining rooms for a 5-day a week operation. Today we can announce that we've signed a contract with Fraser River CEC (Centre of Early Childhood Development and Family Services Inc.) to run a daycare in these spaces. The agreement that we have signed allows the Church to use the hall on weekends but during the Monday-Friday period the daycare will have exclusive use of it.
Those of us on the Parish Council are grateful to Debbie and Deb for doing the long work of showing spaces, negotiating contracts, and building trust with our new partners. The Daycare will be making improvements to the hall entrance, the main bathroom, and several other spaces, including building a fence for a playground. Our hall will be a bustling hive of activity during the week and our larger community will benefit in various ways.
This is the right move for a small parish to make; a parish that wants to survive and thrive in the future. It is a change and sometimes change is hard but we're confident that our new partners will prove a joy to work with and will bring life, laughter, (and some crying no doubt!) into the weekly warp and woof of St. Thomas.
Fr. Allen Doerksen