As Wycliffe Canada celebrates its 50th anniversary, some big changes are underway for staff based in the Toronto area.
For more than 20 years, Wycliffe Canada’s office in Etobicoke, Ont., has served as the organization’s eastern hub for church relations in the area, as well as for recruitment, mobilization and care of new staff in that region. But this past January, Wycliffe Canada’s board of directors decided to sell the 2,200-sq.-ft. building. It’s hoped the move will result in better stewardship of resources, while fostering collaboration and increasing capacity to offer training and hospitality services.
So what’s next? Following the sale of the building in February, Wycliffe began leasing space in Scarborough in an office building (pictured below) owned by SIM Canada, a missionary-sending organization active in more than 65 countries. Since early April, Wycliffe staff members have been sharing space on the building’s third floor with SIM and another well-known mission organization, OMF Canada. The ministries share a receptionist, as well as staff providing mail services and computer support. The ministries have also discussed ways to collaborate in recruiting new staff and strengthening relationships with area churches.
“Today, Christian nonprofits are experiencing a squeeze,” says Wycliffe Canada President Roy Eyre. “Not only are pressures rising against all things Christian, but the non-profit sector is facing new challenges as organizations proliferate and the generosity of Canadians decreases. The solution is collaboration; reducing redundancy to use kingdom resources more effectively.”
The Scarborough-based Wycliffe team will be led by former Wycliffe Canada board member Susanna Muntz, who now serves as vice-president of engagement.
“Susanna will help strengthen our presence and the vision of the organization in the eastern provinces,” says Eyre.
Wycliffe teams in the Toronto area have partnered with other ministries before. Prior to moving to Etobicoke in 1995, Wycliffe opened an office on Victoria Park Avenue in Toronto, in a building owned by Africa Inland Mission (AIM) Canada. And as early as 1971, Wycliffe pioneers Herb and Hilda Whealy rented office space from The People’s Church, on Sheppard Avenue in North York.
Then from 1995 to 2004, Garland Hoel, a former director of Wycliffe Canada’s eastern region, and his wife Mavis managed the Etobicoke office. At one time, up to 10 full-time and several part-time staff occupied seven offices. Under Hoel’s leadership, Wycliffe Canada established significant and lasting ties with Korean and Chinese church leaders in the Greater Toronto Area.
Others on staff in those early years included Jean Smith, Paul and Libby Hooper, Larry Seguin, Doug and Sandra Lindsay, and Jerry and Brenda Long of Wycliffe Associates (WA), a former lay affiliate of Wycliffe Bible Translators.
Eyre believes the move to a new office in Scarborough will result in benefits that transcend economics.
“God has given believers some specific promises regarding working together in unity,” he says. “They are promises of blessing and being a testimony to the world.”