Important things will be happening soon in the front part of our Parish House, and they will combine continuity and change.
Our Shop has had a great 20-year history of producing net proceeds that funded much of the parish’s mission and outreach budget. In recent years, however, revenues have declined to the point where the Shop is dangerously close to actually costing the parish money to operate. The Shop Committee wrestled with that new reality and developed a plan that, instead of simply closing the shop, will give it a new lease on life as part of a larger concept that combines a gift shop with what will be called the Bruton Heritage Center.
The Center will be a new resource for welcoming visitors and telling the story of both our history and our current life as a strong and vibrant church. One particularly interesting aspect will be easy access to digitized versions of our historic records, so anyone with family connections or other interest in the names in our long history of births and marriages and burials will be able to add to their genealogical story. Meanwhile, the Shop will be refreshed and made more efficient, with the flexibility to be transformed into a Christmas shop each year.
A Transition Task Force has been hard at work — with the support of the Vestry — developing the detailed plans to make this idea a reality, and we have been blessed with some very generous funding from individuals with a special interest in this project. Work will begin on transforming the space in mid-January, and we hope to have the shop reopened in April and the Heritage Center opening soon after that.
Two things will not change — dedicated volunteers will remain central to fulfilling our mission, and we will always need new volunteers. Many thanks to all who have contributed to making the shop so important to the parish and to all those who are working to create the Bruton Heritage Center and Gift Shop that will serve the parish well for decades to come.