My name is Terry Harrison. Among many other things, I’m a 54-year old white lesbian feminist, who lives in Vancouver and is married with three young-adult kids and a golden retriever. I’m on Sabbatical and spending some of that time thinking big thoughts and writing this blog.
My professional background is in Communications. I am currently the Property Resource Team Lead for the BC Conference of The United Church of Canada, where I provide leadership to congregations on matters related to church property. In this role, I function largely as a communications and process manager. I often describe myself as a translator, interpreting and explaining information to variously located groups and individuals who have vastly different perspectives. I help consultants and other professionals understand the ministry priorities, values, culture, polity and policies of the United Church. In turn, I help church leaders understand and have confidence in the economic, technical, legal and methodological aspects of the property projects that I’m leading on their behalf.
For several years now, I’ve been moving between the church and the world. I’ve found myself in a unique position where I represent the church as an institution – its culture, its values, its decision-making practices, its authorities – in the marketplace. I regularly exchange my United Church “business” card with a wide range of industry experts – architects, government agents, lawyers, property brokers, engineers, social service providers, economists, Social Impact entrepreneurs, bankers, city planners, developers, etc. At the same time, I meet regularly with groups of faithful but aging congregants who, as volunteers, are running deficit budgets and struggling to keep their aging church buildings from falling apart; along with their Ministers who did not go to seminary to learn how to leverage the church’s capital assets to access much needed equity.
Whether I’m any good at this or not is a subject for someone else’s blog. What’s relevant to this blog is that my job makes me privy to a variety of conversations that comprise a fascinating mashup of secular, religious, rational, economic, sacred, risky, creative, temporal, innovative, conservative, pragmatic and fear- and hope-filled thoughts and ideas. The intersections are many and, I think, rather interesting and I’d like to tell you about them…