Open Doors

Open Doors I & II

Led by a vision to make our church more accessible to the wider community and understanding that the modern world increasingly feels the movement of the Spirit through the arts, St. Stephen’s completed the Open Doors I project in 2015. The project included a complete renovation of the Sanctuary building to enhance the worship space, take advantage of excellent acoustics, and strengthen already strong ties with the performing arts community. This was done in part by: creating an inlaid labyrinth in the new flooring, replacing pews with chairs to allow for myriad re-configurations of the seating: and, installing theatre lighting. Worship has been enhanced and the space has become a popular venue for small scale theatre productions and a wide variety of concerts.

The Open Doors I project serves as an example of the resourcefulness of the parish: costing $1.8 million, it was funded by donations, pledges, heritage grants, memorial gifts and planned gifts arranged by St. Stephen’s members. The renovations were completed without incurring any debt. A highlight of the funding was a project undertaken by 45 volunteers to remove the pews carefully, adjust them to various sizes and sell them to church members and others for home and office use. The sale of the pews raised $45,000 rather than having them end up as construction waste.

The Open Doors II initiative currently underway seeks to discern the best path forward for the parish with respect to development and use of the church’s property and buildings – namely the Memorial Hall, Educational Link and Rectory buildings. In November of 2023, the Open Doors II Committee and Members of the Corporation presented an update to the congregation. A followup discussion was held in January of 2024. Stay tuned for next steps.