Leases signed for joint national office space with United, Presbyterian churches

L-R: The Rev. Douglas duCharme, minister at Bloor Street United Church (BSUC); the Rev. Victor Kim, principal clerk at the Presbyterian Church in Canada; the Rev. Michael Blair, general secretary of the United Church of Canada; Archdeacon Alan Perry, general secretary of the General Synod; and BSUC trustee Bob Hilliard stand in front of the construction for the renovated BSUC site that will serve as the new shared national office of the Anglican, United and Presbyterian churches. Photo: Patrick James Boyd/United Church of Canada
Published May 10, 2024

Construction ‘well underway’ on new facility, general secretary says

It’s official; the national office of the Anglican Church of Canada and those of the United and Presbyterian churches will be moving in together after signing leases to share space at a redeveloped church site in downtown Toronto.

General Secretary of General Synod Archdeacon Alan Perry said in a May 7 staff email, followed by a public news release the following day, that all three churches had signed leases to share national office space at the renovated site of Bloor Street United Church, located at 300 Bloor Street West in the Annex-University of Toronto neighbourhood. Construction on the new facility is “well underway,” he added, with a target to move in by spring 2026.

“The agreement reflects the churches’ ongoing commitment to nurturing ecumenical relationships and cooperation, to reducing costs and to lessening their carbon footprint,” Perry said. An attached information sheet said the move would save money for the Anglican Church of Canada by reducing its under-used space, such as that taken up by a bookstore it used to run and various meeting rooms.

Perry told the Anglican Journal that General Synod management does not currently have concrete numbers for operations costs at the new building or a firm plan for the property it owns at 80 Hayden Street, current location of the Anglican Church of Canada’s national office.

“We’ll be communicating with staff regularly now that this is becoming more public and will share information as it becomes available,” Perry said.

L-R: Kim, Blair and Perry visit the construction site at 300 Bloor Street West to see progress on the new facility. Photo: Patrick James Boyd/United Church of Canada

The information sheet said combining the three offices under one roof will reduce space requirements and energy use. The new building, it said, will feature a high-performance thermal envelope—the exterior structure that separates inside air from outside—and LED lighting to help save energy. It will also incorporate recycled materials such as exterior stonework removed during demolition of the old site.

The new facility will include a renovated Bloor Street United Church as well as office, community, commercial and worship spaces. All three denominations provided input in drafting the floor plans, which an Anglican Church of Canada news release said “provide for a more efficient and flexible use of physical space for the new offices.” Anglican, United and Presbyterian church archives will be moved to the new building and share space, while meeting and video production spaces will also be shared.

Perry recently met at the construction site with the Rev. Michael Blair, general secretary of the United Church of Canada, and the Rev. Victor Kim, principal clerk at the Presbyterian Church in Canada, to see progress on the facility. They offered prayers of blessing for the safety and well-being of the construction workers.

Kim called reaching a formal agreement between the Anglican, United and Presbyterian churches to share the facility “a happy day for all of us.”

“I’m very excited about the possibilities of what this partnership will produce in the years to come,” Kim said.

Though the three churches will share office space, church leaders said administrative structures will remain separate and there are no plans for an organic union.

Author

  • Matthew Puddister

    Matthew Puddister is a staff writer for the Anglican Journal. Most recently, Puddister worked as corporate communicator for the Anglican Church of Canada, a position he held since Dec. 1, 2014. He previously served as a city reporter for the Prince Albert Daily Herald. A former resident of Kingston, Ont., Puddister has a degree in English literature from Queen’s University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario. He also supports General Synod's corporate communications.

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