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The latest news about the project

Christmas Season
The Christmas season in 2020 will live in our memories for a long time, whether we are celebrating it in a traditional Christian context or just enjoying the tranquility of the holiday period. For nearly a year now, the COVID-19 virus and subsequent public health restrictions have kept us apart and isolated in our own homes. Many are alone at this time of year and unable to visit friends and family. So many of our daily tasks are affected by the presence of the virus in our community. Nearly all of our project meetings have been conducted by Zoom, for example. And now the arrival of a vaccine signals that 2021 could be a better year.
The beautiful sanctuary at Knox Presbyterian Church decorated for Christmas
Our project team would like to extend our hope that you and your families find a way to connect and focus on what really matters at this time of the year. And we share our hope that 2021 is a much better year!
Progress Report
Since our last report, the Trinity Centres Foundation (TCF) has been busy looking at a range of planning issues and is preparing technical briefs for the project team and the City. This is the nitty gritty part of the hoped-for conversion of our beautiful church building and surrounding property into a new entity that will provide services to multiple community stakeholders.
 
TCF is also working up concepts, with costing, for renovations to the sanctuary of the church so it can become a performance space. The concepts will differ in how the space is configured and the technical infrastructure required. They will give us a chance to see how the sanctuary can realistically serve both faith and arts purposes.
Christmas at Knox
The Community Christmas Eve services at Knox are going virtual this year in order to keep everyone safe.
 
You are invited to tune in to the Knox Presbyterian Church YouTube channel to join us live for our Service of Readings and Carols on December 24 - and afterwards as well. Our Interim Minister, Rev. Linda Robinson, and our Music Director, Suzanne Strahan, will be joined by members of the congregation, our virtual choir and special guests, the Blyth Festival Orchestra, and Loreena McKennitt.
 
We will miss seeing all of you in person, however, we do look forward to having you worship with us online. You'll have to enjoy your own punch (with or without champagne) and shortbread and other treats this year.
 
Also, during the Advent Season, you will be able to hear the Knox Carillon daily between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. to spark Christmas memories during the month of December. 
 
We wish you all a Merry Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. 
 
May we all have a safe and healthy New Year.
What Does it Mean?
The Knox Next Stage project team has come to use the term “socially responsible housing” when referring to the potential to develop some kind of housing option behind the church. In these early days of the project, we don’t have a clear picture of what might happen there or who we might partner with. But, we do agree that we want the housing component of this project to be aligned with the real needs of the Stratford community. Environmental considerations are a priority too. Our future consultations will help us learn more about housing requirements in Stratford so we can align our plans in a socially responsible way.
Local Member of Parliament, John Nater, took a tour of the church in early November and was briefed about the Knox Next Stage Project and its goals. Pictured with MP Nater are project team members: Allan Rothwell, Shirley Weitzel and Chris Leberg.
Presbytery Approval
The Knox Next Stage project recently gained Presbytery approval to proceed with a plan of redevelopment in conjunction with TCF and SACC. Presbytery is the decision-making body of the Presbyterian Church in Canada.
SACC Fundraiser
Normally, SACC would be selling tickets now for its “First Saturday in January” event to raise funds for the new performance space at Knox. Top-flight Canadian comedy by Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood (2019), and Ron James (2020) were incredibly popular and raised thousands of dollars. For obvious reasons, while SACC would love to host the comedy act that was booked months ago....that can’t happen.
 
Laughing with a Canadian artist while fundraising is still our goal, so here’s hoping it can happen later in the year when it’s safe to be back together. Trust us. It will be worth the wait!! Stay tuned for more news and stay safe.
Stay Connected
The Knox project team want to keep you plugged in as this initiative progresses. They welcome you to visit the project website at KnoxNextStage.com for regular updates and Frequently Asked Questions about the project. You can also send your questions and comments to us at KnoxNextStage@gmail.com.
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