Update & Next Steps

Jun 28, 2023

An important update from the Community Outreach and Engagement Ministry Task Group, Runnymede United Church.

Dear Stone Soup Community,

Hello from the Runnymede United Church Task Group! Back in May an important update was shared with you on changes to Windermere United Church and its Stone Soup Network (SSN) program. We are writing today to provide you with a progress update and next steps.

To recap, on June 1st, Windermere United Church formally amalgamated with Runnymede United Church. We are excited by the vision and promise of our merger! And we are busy with the work needed to successfully bring together two vibrant communities into one. As a result, the operations of the neighbourhood SSN program were paused as we work through the implementation of the amalgamation.

At the core of our amalgamation vision is a shared commitment to social justice and outreach in west Toronto. Currently, we are exploring the development of a new vision for community outreach and engagement inspired by past accomplishments and identified community needs. Partnerships with local organizations and with the neighbourhood Stone Soup Network program are an important part of this exploration.

To help lead this exploration, a Task Group (composed of the members listed below) has been formed of leaders from both Windermere and Runnymede. This Task Group reports to the Runnymede United Church Board.

As a next step, we are selecting an external consultant to work over the summer months to help us investigate the needs and service gaps in our community, and effective approaches and strategies to meet those needs and gaps. Our approach will be consultative, engaging church leaders and members, SSN stakeholders and volunteers, as well as the community where possible. A key part of the study includes an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities of Stone Soup Network as it has operated over the past six years. Our plan is to present a report on the outcomes of this engagement to the Runnymede United Church Board in September, after which next steps will be defined for growing a new vision of community outreach and engagement, including recommendations on how Stone Soup Network can help us in our mission.

This is an exciting and important time as we work through the details of our broader amalgamation process, and work to define a new vision for our community outreach in west Toronto. Don’t be shy to reach out to us if you have questions. You can contact Robin Pilkey, Runnymede United Church Board Chair, at boardchair@runnymedeunited.org.

On behalf of the Runnymede United Church Task Group,

Robin Pilkey (Chair)
Alex Cruickshank
Anna MacDonald
Brian Traquair
David Allen
Doug Blackburn
Ian Gilmour
Laura Gallagher-Doucette
Ted Grady