The Fairfield United Church was built in 1926 and is showing its age; the structure has deteriorated beyond what is financially feasible to retain. The Church is not on the City of Victoria heritage registry and can be dismantled.
Over a period of three years, Fairfield United Church sought input from the Fairfield community regarding the future of the church structure and the future of the congregation. They considered the following options:
Amalgamate or merge with another Church
Sell the property and close the Church
Sell the property and rent space elsewhere
Sell the property and engage in redevelopment with a like-minded partner
The decision was made to sell and undertake a redevelopment project that would enable the congregation to remain actively engaged in the neighbourhood, helping to improve the lives of others as it has done for the past century.
The “Vision Criteria” for the redevelopment of Fairfield United asked proponents to consider the following:
a) To be the “Spirited Heart of Fairfield”.
b) Provide a financially sustainable presence at the corner of Fairfield and Moss, operating as a mid-sized congregation.
c) Provide an easily identifiable ground level presence.
d) Partner with social minded and community users.
e) Consideration for affordable (versus luxury) housing for the residential component of the project.
Unity Urban Properties was chosen not only on the merits of their proposal but also for their recognition of the important role that Fairfield United plays in building community. The inclusion of a purpose-built Sanctuary space reflects a new vision of being a Christian community – one that extends beyond Sunday mornings – where worship is inclusive, welcoming and takes place in and with the community.
Fairfield United is inclusive of all people regardless of cultural background, sexual orientation or religious experiences. It seeks to act with intention and care helping to address the challenges and opportunities within the Fairfield neighbourhood.
The Sanctuary will be a space of welcome and inclusion. It will be available for multi-faith worship, cultural activities and opportunities that foster social connection and well-being.
Unity Commons is an innovative response to the needs of the community. It will enliven the public realm, provide much needed rental housing in perpetuity, and create a beautiful Sanctuary space that serves as a Commons for the Fairfield neighbourhood while ensuring the Fairfield United congregation remains active and engaged in the community.
In January 2018, the congregation of Fairfield United moved out of the church as parts of the deteriorating structure are no longer safe and do not meet the City of Victoria’s fire and safety code requirements. The congregation now meets in the Oak Room at the Fairfield Gonzales Community Association.