Putting Our Space to Use
If you drive by St. Brendan’s on a Tuesday morning or on a Saturday, chances are, you’ll see the lights on and cars in the parking lot. While many of us, myself included, are only able to make it St. Brendan’s for a church service on Sunday, there is usually something going on at St. Brendan’s every day of the week! St. Brendan’s hosts numerous ministries, worship services, support groups, meetings, dance classes, language and cultural classes, and countless other events that take place outside of Sunday mornings. For instance, just this past week there were more than a dozen things scheduled at St. Brendan’s.
Many of these meetings and events are connected to the various ministries that take place at St. Brendan’s, but there are several other groups who also use our space as renters. We currently have four to five regular renters--including dance classes, a Hindu language class, and another Christian organization who rents our space for three days in December. In the past, we have hosted choirs, musical instrument classes, and robotics classes. (As of July 2015, all adults working with children in our space, whether church-related or not, must have current clearances on file.) St. Brendan’s has a great location. Centered in Franklin Park, we are easily accessible from Route 19, McKnight Road, Interstate 279, and Interstate 79 and we are close to many surrounding townships and boroughs--Ross, McCandless, Cranberry, Bradford Woods, and Sewickley, to name a few. St. Brendan’s is a uniquely versatile space with a diverse range of rooms available. If you’ve been to the yard sale or the holiday craft fair you’ve seen how our space can transform to fit multiple needs. We also offer great rental rates and availability. You can see more, or inquire about renting one of our spaces, here.
As Regis mentioned at our annual meeting, we have recently received a grant to upgrade our audiovisual systems in the social hall, which will play a significant role in securing and retaining renters who need access to these types of systems.
Members can also arrange to use St. Brendan’s spaces for their own personal events--birthday parties, baby showers, small weddings, etc. In most cases, members may use St. Brenan’s for free, with a request that the $80 deposit be donated if possible. So, when you can’t fit everyone in your own living room, remember that St. Brendan’s is your home too!
As with any rental property, it takes time to answer inquiries and meet with potential renters, advertise the space, coordinate with the renters, manage schedules, be familiar with our sound systems and janitorial services, and oversee the use and care of our space. We have had numerous St. Brendan members step up to fill these rolls over the years. Currently, Mark Shoemaker serves as our rental supervisor, with the assistance of Fr. Regis and our Administrative Assistant, Katie. This August, Mark graciously took on the position, which was previously filled by Rob, with frequent help from Ellen, Jim, and Alan.
Rental income is a vital source of income for St. Brendan’s. Currently, rentals are our third largest category of income, following member contributions and fundraisers. Even though rental income is only 5% of our total income, it is an important source for the health of our parish because it comes from outside of our own members.
Renting out our space is also a way for St. Brendan’s be a part of our larger North Hills community. It is an act of good stewardship of our resources. We can enable a variety of groups, for whom it would not be feasible to own their own space, to continue their work by using our space. And thus, our church, which might otherwise sit idly for parts of the week, is put to good use.
Here is what Mark has to say about St. Brendan’s rental program, “Our renters and their students are great people to work with. It’s a win-win all around. More people need to visit our little church in the valley to see that we are here for them. We are a community here for everyone!!”
Grace and peace,
Annemarie, with special thanks this week to Mark and Rob
A member of St. Brendan's since 2014, I enjoy being a part of this welcoming and giving community of faith. However, I am not a theologian, biblical scholar, or official spokesperson for The Episcopal Church. If you read anything on this blog that is inaccurate or contrary to the teachings of The Episcopal Church, please consider it my error and let me know! If you have any questions, comments, or ideas for future blog posts, please email me at email@example.com.