The Canadian band Rush introduced me to the saying Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose – the more things change, the more they stay the same. While this saying is usually meant as a truism, it has become something as a mission statement for Peace House Community.
By now, I’m sure you’re aware that PHC is hosting more community members than ever before. We hosted just over 24,200 community member visits in 2022, but we are on track to host over 28,500 community visits this year. Many organizations would be excited by this growth. The thinking goes:
· “If we’re growing that much, we must be doing things well.”
· “Our community members obviously want to be here.”
· “Think of how good this will make us look to the foundations we are asking for funding.”
At PHC, we can’t afford to think that way, because growth can actually be dangerous for us. Right from the start, PHC has always focused on building relationships and valuing our members as individuals. Rose Tillemans said that her vision for PHC was “a place to be with others seeking spirituality, friendship, and affirmation.” There are only so many friendships one person can have, and only so many people we can affirm in a day before we lose the personal touch. Telling a community member we’re glad they are here, when we don’t remember their name or even realize that they visited us before, undercuts Rose’s values of community and treating each community member as a sacred individual.
And so, Plus ca change … We won’t turn anyone away, but we work hard to make sure we are not overwhelmed by the number of members who come to us. We still try to learn names. We want everyone to feel like a guest, not a burden or a number.
For you, our supporters who empower us to meet the growing needs, we have eternal gratitude. Without you, there would be no friendly welcome, no calm space, no neighborhood coffee shop for our members. Thank-you for keeping PHC going, and for supporting Rose’s vision and our work, through all the changes we experience.