Immediately following lunch today in the hall, the Provisional Board of the proposed preschool will be making a presentation on all aspects of the preschool proposal.  All members of the parish are encouraged to come and take part, to listen and ask questions, to learn about the vision and purpose of the proposed preschool, in preparation for taking part in a final parish-wide vote on whether or not to proceed. Voting (by paper ballot) will open after the meeting and remain open until the end of lunch next Sunday the 4th of June. Ballots may also be cast during the week by emailing the administrator.

A quick reminder of the background of this proposal: last year it became clear that we needed to start to be creative about finding ways to fund the many ministries of our parish.  Parish Council thought about how we might create a ministry through which we could reach out to the community and at the same time create a stream of revenue for our parish.  A preschool sounded like a promising idea, since there is need for preschools in Victoria and we would be able to build upon relationships already established through The River drop-in program (and because St. Barnabas began as a Sunday School in 1891!).

Consequently, in July 2016 a small committee put together a business plan for a proposed preschool.  With this business plan, we were able to secure a Diocesan Vison Fund grant of $25,000, payable over the next three years.  Then, last November we held an initial parish-wide consultation regarding the proposal.  We heard from several members of the parish on aspects such as budget, governance, licensing, and vision.  Parish Council received written and verbal feedback on the proposal, all of which we took careful account of, and Parish Council was encouraged to develop the proposal further through the formation of a provisional board and the drafting of a constitution and bylaws.  Finally, in January 2017 a provisional Board was formed consisting of seven members, including St. Barnabas parishioners, members of the community, and experts in the field.  This board has worked hard to prepare a more precise budget, the constitution and bylaws of a preschool society (a different legal entity than the parish), a governance structure, and ‘vision,’ ‘purpose’ and ‘values’ statements for the preschool. All of which they will present today.

After the presentation this afternoon, we should have all that we need to make an informed and prayerful decision about whether we are confident that this proposal will bear good fruit for our parish and for the community to which we minister.  If approved, the preschool will open in September 2018. We need to make a final go-ahead decision now in order to allow time enough to prepare.  Registrations would open by January 2018 at the latest!

I believe that this is an exciting opportunity for St. Barnabas in many ways, and I look forward to this afternoon’s presentation and discussion; and will be grateful for your presence and your prayers!

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