Community Voices Concerning Future of St. Peter's Church
Eestlased Kanadas, EWR Online - 11 August 2022
In order to hear from members of St. Peter's and the community, an ongoing survey is being conducted to ascertain the concerns, ideas, and suggestions regarding the future of the church. If you have not yet completed the survey, you can still share your thoughts through our website at : friends-of-st-peters.com. The survey is ongoing with results coming in on a daily basis. We look forward to hearing what our community wants for St. Peter's in the future.
We thank those who have already taken the survey, and would like to share with you the trends that are emerging.
You Spoke - We listened
How do you feel about the church and current activities?
The church facility - 70 % satisfied or very satisfied.
The minister and sermons - 22 % very satisfied or satisfied, 34% neutral, 44% unsatisfied or very unsatisfied.
What would you value most going forward?
Keeping the church at 817 Mt. Pleasant Road - 84% strongly agree or agree.
Having church services in Estonian - 74% strongly agree or agree.
Having Estonian community activities - 72% strongly agree or agree.
Fostering friendships within our congregation – 82% strongly agree or agree.
Having inclusive local community activities - 68% strongly agree or agree.
Providing a Sunday School – 74% strongly agree or agree.
Future community activities envisioned at St. Peter’s:
- Open the building and services to our entire community.
- Guides and scouts should return to the church facility.
- We need an active choir and music ensembles.
- We should establish children’s play groups and day care throughout the week.
- We should organize social events; concerts; art shows; movie nights with Estonian movies; youth, adult and seniors’ groups; lectures; guest speakers; Bible study; confirmand reunions; lotteries; and garage sales.
- Pensioner afternoon get-togethers on a regular basis.
- Rental income from groups using the church would contribute to our financial well-being.
Church Ministry and Leadership:
- They wanted to feel welcomed and included when attending church.
- The current sermons were not relevant nor interesting, and often political.
- Need more uplifting services with time for socializing and music.
- Want a minister that is friendly with a non-confrontational attitude.
- Invite other ordained or lay ministers to bring some newness.
- Communion does not need to be offered every Sunday.
Why haven’t you participated in services recently?
- No longer live in the area.
- Services every Sunday are far too often.
- Do not speak or understand Estonian.
- Travelling to church took too big a chunk out of their day.
What would make you want to come to St. Peter’s more often?
- New leadership with open ideas to embrace the community.
- A new pastor whose sermons are enlightening and motivational.
- Bring back a church choir.
- Sunday School for children.
- Grow the church and integrate it into the surrounding community.
- Need to organize more interesting activities and social events that foster friendships within our community.
- The church needs to continue its role as a centre or home base for the community.
Saving the building and columbarium
- The church should not be sold. It is an icon of architecture and Estonian perseverance and heritage abroad.
- People having family resting in the columbarium felt that it would be an insult to move it.
- St. Peter’s should return to its roots and become more than a church, a community hub for both Estonians and the broader community to enjoy.
- The church should be showcased on Doors Open Toronto so all can experience Mihkel Bach’s architectural jewel.
- We need to share our expenses with other congregations.
- Decide whether the role of the church is to embrace the Estonian community interdenominationally; or to bring in more Christians speaking any language.
- Many young Estonians marry outside the community and/or do not speak Estonian within their family. We should not turn them away but welcome them as part of our future.
Friends of St Peter's Church