Revamping Space to Save Revenue

Reconfiguring portions of its parish hall building is creating new opportunities for ministries at Trinity, North Scituate.

“For the past two years, our vestry has been working to address sustainability,” explained the Rev. Johanna Marcure, rector. “In an effort to reduce our dependence on two annual fundraisers and with the hope of using those events to fund outreach instead of our budget, we’ve been exploring ways in which our buildings might help to supplement our income.”

Last fall, the vestry voted to move the church’s thrift shop from a location in the village of Scituate, and move a food ministry which serves about 60 families regularly, from the lower level of Graham Hall.

They’ll be housed upstairs in Graham Hall, above the parish hall. Sunday School and youth group rooms also are being reconfigured. The church library will move from Graham Hall to the first floor of the church, which will provide more space for study and meetings.

“It is our vestry’s fervent belief that the moves will strengthen these important outreach ministries, better utilize our buildings and help in our meeting our finance needs,” Marcure said.

Volunteers have been working with leaders of both ministries to plan and implement the changes. With the Rev. Susan Carpenter and her husband Brian recently joining Trinity’s community, Marcure invited Susan to help facilitate the transition of the outreach ministries into their new space by heading up the Task Force. “With Susan’s leadership as a congregational development consultant along with her extensive retail experience, it seemed like the perfect ministry for her to step into at Trinity,” said Marcure.

“We have been meeting regularly via Zoom, and subcommittees are moving forward, identifying new ways these long-standing ministries could function. We are focused on broadening the base of volunteer workers,” Carpenter noted. “To do that, we home in on peoples’ spiritual gifts to help them find the best match for their ministry.”

New possibilities might include training members of the congregation to be part of a pastoral care team that will be available during hours that the facilities are open. Or opening the shop and food pantry more often and at varying times to better accommodate the people Trinity serves. Families and young people might find new ways to participate in these ministries.

Church members are doing much of the construction, and Trinity has donated all the merchandise from the existing thrift shop to allow a totally fresh re-opening — scheduled for August 22, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“We’re acquiring new displays, racks and shelving, and the diocesan Congregational Development Commission approved a grant we are using for a washer and dryer; shelving and shopping carriages for the food closet; and a computer and printer for inventory for both ministries,” Carpenter added. “Every item donated for sale will be washed or dry cleaned. Elevating the cleanliness and being selective with donations will help attract more customers.”

Marcure said the project is helping the congregation learn a lot about change, noting that “adaptive change is not instantaneous, and it requires restraint and a lot of Holy patience, especially during a pandemic!” Marcure also noted that Trinity is hoping to repurpose and incorporate items that have been sitting idle: “For example, recognizing that our thrift shop ministry is sacred and holy work, we decided to refinish a deconsecrated altar no longer in use as our sales counter in the shop.”