Dear RUC member,
This week the leadership of the Church have made the immensely difficult decision to cease the operation of our Hospitality Company, which will unfortunately result in the retrenchment of the hospitality staff.
This company has been at the heart of our events management and catering operation, hosting events for Church ministry, community organisations as well as external corporate events.
An operation of this scale has necessarily required its own contingent of staff, of which we currently have six full-time staff and two part-time staff. This contingent of staff manage events and catering on a spectrum from small church functions, the Street Cafe, right through to large corporate events.
Whilst our Church has been proud to offer a quality service across this spectrum, it has come at a cost.
In 2019 RUC subsidised the work of the Hospitality Company to the value of R124 000. Indeed the history of this operation indicates that the scale of activities is insufficient to cover the personnel and other costs. While external corporate event bookings do go a long way to covering costs, these external bookings will always be limited, due to the priority of competing internal ministry needs.
The cost is not only financial: the complexity of this kind of operation has made it very challenging for our staff. An inordinate amount of time has been spent with staff, Deacons and Church Council in trying to adequately manage this service.
We commend our hospitality staff for their perseverance and hard work in sustaining this operation despite its various challenges. Our decision to close the operation has no bearing on the work ethic of our staff. Our hospitality staff, from top to bottom, work long hours, seven days a week.
Ultimately though, the model is unsustainable, both from an economic and operational point of view.
This has been brought into blunt focus this year, due to the Coronavirus. As you are all aware there have not been any gatherings, whether religious or corporate, since March. As a result, the Hospitality Company has suffered a loss of over R600 000 to date.
There is little optimism that this will change for the remainder of 2020, which means that RUC could end up funding a loss of over R1 million by the end of the year.
At our Townhall Meeting on 1 July this year I spoke about the ‘Clarifying & Catalysing’ effect of the Coronavirus. It has become apparent that indeed this season has clarified for us as a Church leadership that we have to cease this operation and focus on our core ministries.
Whilst the mechanics of this decision are clear to us, the burden of the decision rests heavily on us as the beloved staff have served us so well over the years.
We are all so grateful to Yvette and her professional team for serving us so excellently, and representing a true spirit of hospitality to our Church and all the clients of the Hospitality Company.
The staff will of course be receiving appropriate remuneration as part of the separation package, but we would like to open a channel for you to donate towards an additional gift for this group. Should you wish to contribute towards a farewell gift you can make an EFT into our bank account with the reference ‘Hospitality’ (or by using the online donation form below)
I urge you all to be in prayer for these staff members. As a Church we are seeking to help find alternative employment for them, so please pray for these opportunities to open. If you have employment opportunities for them please contact us.
Richard van Lieshout