Harc Creative


St. Andrew’s-Wesley

Opening the Doors to LGBTQ Spiritual Health.

St. Andrew’s-Wesley United is an LGBTQ-affirming church located in the heart of Vancouver’s West End. After several consecutive years decline in its membership, a massive renovation project that lasted two years, and a global pandemic made in-person gathering untenable, the church’s leadership knew they needed some fresh perspective. With a central location and a huge cathedral to boot, St. Andrew’s-Wesley came to Harc with the question: How can we engage outside communities in more meaningfully connective ways?

From the outset, both Jarren and Parker were drawn to this project having grown up in churches. That said, their lived experiences getting sidelined by the communities they grew up within brought some understandable sensitivity into the mix. While most agencies would skip quickly past the discomfort to get into design grandstanding, we intuitively knew that our most powerful creative work could only occur if we leaned into the questions our hearts were asking. And so we directly engaged some queer congregants around what their journeys into St. Andrew’s-Wesley’s community had been like. As it turned out, each and every one of the folks we spoke with was inspired to make this church home by the minister team’s weekly invitation: “No matter who you are, no matter who you love, all of you is welcome here.”

With newfound appreciation for the gentle leadership of this LGBTQ-affirming church, we began our broader community engagement work in earnest. Over the span of three months, we interviewed over a dozen individual congregants, facilitated six community dialogue sessions, engaged six outside organizations for their perspective, and sat side-by-side with church leadership for several creative development sessions. Next, we began an ongoing coaching relationship with St. Andrew’s-Wesley’s leadership team to support them in developing the skills needed to enact their vision. We’re honoured to continue this engagement, now in its third year.

Often times we knew we needed to change something in the way we worked together as a team, but we were too close to the situation to see the big picture. Harc was able to listen to everything we were saying and customize exercises for our team to work through, leading us to discover our sticking points and what we needed to change.

–Diane Mitchell, Executive Director

Our hearts are moved by the communities we serve with our creative work, so St. Andrew’s-Wesley has been monumental for us as people. After our initial bout of engagement, we set to work developing a custom brand identity for the church that drew influences from the church’s stained glass windows and 1960s era typography. Next, we dissolved the perceived boundary between Burrard Street and the church’s main portico by wrapping their stairwell in a technicolour rainbow. Shifting our efforts to digital spaces (remember pandemic?) we strategized a full communications strategy for their team, and built a bespoke WordPress-based website to facilitate easy dissemination of church activities to inside and external communities.

Three years after our collaboration, it’s clear that our openhearted approach activated some of our strongest creative work within this project. By shifting our weight from “creator” to “listener”, we found the centrepoint of the organization, its voice, and what would eventually become its brand. Since we worked together, St. Andrew’s-Wesley has seen its numbers grow, its programs pack, and its community deepen. These days, when we’re walking down Burrard street on the way to Harc’s studio, we pinch ourselves each and every time we pass the cathedral– in our hearts, we know how much impact a similar organization would have made in our lives long ago, and are grateful to be part of this church’s story.

What We Did

  • Community Engagement
  • Executive Coaching
  • Group Leadership Training
  • Brand Strategy
  • Communications Strategy
  • Visual Identity
  • Event Design
  • Interior Design
  • Brand Activation Design
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Our church has loved working with Harc. They have come back with unique, creative, made-for-us solutions that have been game changers.

Diane Mitchell
  • Executive Director
  • St. Andrew’s-Wesley United

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