Ralph Connor Memorial United Church

The Little White Church on Main Street, Canmore, Alberta

BANFF

RALPH CONNOR and RUNDLE

A bit about Rundle Memorial United Church, Banff

Rundle Memorial  is located at the corner of Banff Avenue and Buffalo Street in Banff, AB; a map is here and a parking map of Banff is here.

A church has stood on the present building’s location since 1886, the first to be built in Banff.  It was originally a Methodist congregation; the present building was constructed in 1927, following the 1925 formation of the United Church of Canada.  The Church was renamed in 1941 after Rev. Robert T. Rundle, the first Christian missionary to arrive in Banff, from Cornwall, England from 1840-1848. The Rundle Memorial sanctuary has a seating capacity of nearly 200, and features stained glass windows which commemorate Canada’s Centennial in 1967.

To learn more about Rundle Memorial, click here .  The congregation is very involved in local outreach, through its Thrift Shop, hosting the local playschool, and utilizing its Manse in creative ways to address current needs.  To learn more about the Rundle United Thrift Store, which could use additional volunteers, click here!  The entrance to the Thrift Shop is on Banff Avenue.  At present it is open on Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00-5:00 PM, and on Wednesday and Friday from 5:00-8:00 PM.

Ralph Connor and Rundle: proposed amalgamation

Early in 2021, Rundle Memorial United Church in Banff approached Ralph Connor Memorial United Church in Canmore, to consider what a shared journey might look like.   “Ralph Connor and Rundle” (“R&R”) working groups were set up, and have continued to meet regularly.

The Ralph Connor and Rundle congregations started worshipping together in March 2021.  Services were mostly held online, or outdoors.  As of March 20, 2022 we have resumed in-person services, check the ralphconnor.ca home page for date and location.  Services generally begin at 10:00 AM.

Both of our communities of faith celebrate that they are both Affirming Ministries.   The Ralph Connor and Rundle congregations have together formed a Wedding Ministry that is affirming and equitable, a place where ALL couples coming to be married will have their wedding and their marriage truly celebrated.

An RCMUC congregational meeting has been proposed for Sunday, October 2nd, 2022 after Worship, to vote on the amalgamation.  More information and official notifications will be made available closer to that date.  In the meantime, here is a narrative “progress report” on our R&R deliberations for the past year-and-a-half:

R & R progress in 2021

The R&R meetings produced the following motion, adopted in November/December 2021 by both the Ralph Connor Council and Rundle governance group; this motion also has the support of Chinook Winds Region of the United Church of Canada.   The “whereas” clauses describe the progress made to date, and the “be it resolved” motion sets the course for our next work together:

WHEREAS Rundle Memorial United Church, Banff, has voted in favour of pursuing amalgamation with Ralph Connor Memorial United Church, Canmore, at a duly-called congregational meeting in December 2020;

AND WHEREAS subsequent to the amalgamation vote by the Rundle Memorial congregation, leaseholds and business arrangements for the Preschool, Manse residences, Thrift Shop and other operations at Rundle Memorial United Church have been reviewed and updated to the satisfaction of Chinook Winds Region;

AND WHEREAS revenue analysis at Rundle Memorial has indicated that revenue stabilization and net positive cash flow will be achieved by end 2021;

AND WHEREAS the Rundle Memorial United Church Board has authorized an initial cash transfer to Ralph Connor Memorial United Church to assist with Ralph Connor’s 2021 operating costs;

AND WHEREAS a facility study conducted by Pinchin of Calgary has yielded a thorough understanding of predicted facility maintenance expenditures at Rundle Memorial, which can be supported with appropriate revenue planning from Rundle’s own operations without burdening Ralph Connor Memorial finances;

AND WHEREAS Rundle Memorial United Church, Banff, and Ralph Connor Memorial United Church, Canmore, have the opportunity to deepen their ministry and mission engagement throughout the Bow Valley by continuing to work together;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Ralph Connor Memorial United Church and Rundle Memorial United Church establish a joint financial management group, comprised of equal representation from each community of faith under the oversight of Chinook Winds Region Community of Faith Strategy Group effective 1 January 2022.

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the joint financial management group consider financial operations at both locations, making recommendations as appropriate to each congregational governing body, with the goal to develop a business plan including projected revenues and anticipated major expenditures for shared congregational operations beginning in late 2022. A review of overall financial operations will be undertaken under the auspices of Chinook Winds Region not later than 30 April 2022;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that should joint financial planning yield a suitable business plan for both communities of faith in light of the aforementioned evaluation, the congregations be invited to pursue next steps in amalgamation by 30 June 2022, subject to approval by Chinook Winds Region”.

Ongoing R & R connections

Throughout 2021-2022, Rundle members have been actively engaged with the Committees of RCMUC; the TWION refugee initiative from Rundle is working closely with RCMUC’s Bow Valley Refugee Project to prepare for the arrival of a family of four from Pakistan in the coming months; volunteers from RCMUC have been among those helping at the Rundle Thrift Shop.   When it was time to take the first tentative steps toward in-person worship, late in 2021, the much larger sanctuary at Rundle (with openable windows!) made it possible for us to come together in-person much sooner than if we’d had the RCMUC Sanctuary alone.  Add to all of this: a number of sites within Banff National Park are sacred sites of our Stoney Nakoda hosts, so our efforts toward a walk of Right Relations is enhanced by a connection with Rundle/Banff.

Joint Financial Planning group – 2022

As reported in the July 1, 2022 RCMUC Newsletter:

“You may have been wondering how the plans for a vote on the amalgamation with Rundle Memorial United Church are developing. We have good news.
“It turns out that the congregations fit together in a way that is not common. We each have what the other needs. Ralph Connor has a strong congregation deeply involved with outreach ministries in Canmore, but little in the way of social enterprise income. Rundle Memorial has a tiny congregation but expresses its Mission through social enterprises which generate significant income. We complement each other, rather than compete with each other.
“The joint Finance Working Group has developed a sound analysis of the finances of the two congregations.  Those working on the R&R deliberation are convinced that we will be stronger together. RCMUC continues to have a strong base of congregational givings. RMUC has a reliable cash flow from its rentals and Thrift Store, enough to care for their properties and make a significant contribution to our joint endeavours”.

To see a harmonized 2022 budget for Ralph Connor & Rundle, click here. .

‘Get to know your neighbours’ activities, summer 2022

Two opportunities have been jointly planned, for each church to have a social gathering where we can get to know one another in a more casual setting.
The first will be at Rundle Memorial on Thursday, July 28 and we are calling it THRIFT THURSDAY! This will be an opportunity for Rundle folks to introduce everyone to the Thrift Shop which has become their very important community outreach initiative in Banff.
Following seeing the Thrift Shop in action any time between 2 and 5 o’clock, there will be a potluck dinner and social gathering upstairs in the lounge. You are invited to bring a salad or dessert – barbequed chicken will be provided.
Feel free to bring donations of clothing and household items!
The second event will be at Ralph Connor on Sunday, August 28 and we are calling it SOCIAL SUNDAY! Let’s gather in the sanctuary before the 10 o’clock service to enjoy some intermingling. Following the service there will be a luncheon and a further opportunity to get to know your church neighbours.
Please put both these dates on your calendar; it would be great to see you at both events!  Details on the August event will follow later, via the Friday RCMUC Newsletter.

Questions?

If you have questions, hopes, wonderings, ongoing concerns… please do not hesitate to send them to office@ralphconnor.ca and they will be forwarded appropriately.  Worship will be at Rundle on August 21 and September 18, and the hope is to have some time after the September 18th service for R&R discussion.