By Ed Hird
Raising funds to buy a church building during a global pandemic seems like a crazy idea. But then again, so does crossing the Red Sea and surviving life in the desert for forty years as the nation of Israel did 3,500 years ago. Or walking on water; healing the sick; or being resurrected as Jesus did 2,000 years ago. The history of the people of God is filled with stories of faith and the miraculous. Project Oikos is one of those stories.
One of the meanings for the word oikos in New Testament Greek is “a house” or “dwelling place.” The people of All Saints Community Church have called this proposal Project Oikos because they believe it is time for them as a community to have a home base. A place where they can worship God, provide a Christian world view for the community and serve their neighbours.
The community of All Saints Church believe God is calling them to make the Holy Cross Church in Crescent Beach their home. In order to do that, they need to raise $3 million: just over $2 million to buy the building and parking lot and just under $1 million to refurbish the inside of the building and parking lot.
The opportunity for a Christian community to purchase a church property for the purpose of serving the wider community is a once-in-a-lifetime privilege. For that to happen in the neighbourhood of Crescent Beach, borders on the miraculous. The vision for purchasing this historic church is threefold:
The first priority is to maintain a sacred space. The historic tradition of Holy Cross Church is that people have prayed in that church since 1946. Keeping a sacred space will honour the historical integrity of the congregations who have gone before. It also means that the wider community will have access to the sanctuary during the day for prayer, reflection and rest.
The second imperative for purchasing this church is to ensure that a ministry centre will complement the sacred space. A ministry centre will provide the Church community a place to serve the wider community.
Ministry opportunities include:
- caring for senior citizens
- ministry for youth and children
- welcome and care for new immigrants (especially those who are experiencing immigration abuse)
- providing English as a second language
- collecting food and goods for the food bank
- a day care and nursery centre
- supporting local restaurants and coffee shops
- help and support for refugee families
- providing a place for lonely people (one of the greatest needs in our communities)
- providing a memorial garden
- hosting an annual summer festival (as we have done in the past)
The third priority for buying this building is to entrust it to the next generation of church leaders – debt free. The success of the church and its ministry is largely dependent on the fact that the future church community will not have to pay off a previous debt. Rather than paying debts, the church community should be engaged in serving the local community.
This may be one of the most important investments a person could make to uphold a Christian presence and serve the community for generations to come. Project Oikos will have an eternal significance.
Should you be interested in supporting this vision, saving an historic church, and investing in the Kingdom of God, please contact The Right Reverend Peter Klenner, pastor at All Saints Community Church (604-209-5570).
Ed Hird is a regular contributor to the Light Magazine and a member of All Saints Community Church.
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