Our story so far
It all began (or so the story will be told) with Colin McTaggart saying, “Let’s do church on the beach”. So through the month of August in 2014 we made Hollydene Beach in Arbutus Cove our home. Our liturgy was very simple: a call to worship, community prayer, teaching, group discussion and a benediction. Clearly the beauty was not even in the sum or the parts, but in something deeper.
As the weather got colder, we moved into the basement of Gordon Head United Church, but our simple beach liturgy stayed the same: no bells, few whistles … little in terms of performance value. The strength and the substance of this community was being found in the simple experience of being together and declaring the Kingdom of God (for what else could it be?).
As with many new things, there was a certain buzz surrounding Hollydene in these early days. But something genuine was taking root here. This conviction was affirmed by Vision Ministries Canada in their blessing and commissioning of our church in October 2014.
Sadly, due to dwindling numbers, Gordon Head United church held their very last service in December of 2015. But they handed us their building keys (and the baton of faith). So, along with meeting through the week in various contexts, we continue to meet on Sundays in the beautiful church sanctuary that they built out of devotion to God.
Over the years, certain things about our community culture and ethos have surfaced.
• Our three ‘core values’ (hospitality, formation, and mission) are more about adopting gritty practices than ascribing to certain lofty ideals.
• Theologically, we have ‘pitched a large tent’ to leave room for diversity on non-essentials (our statement of faith is the Apostles Creed). We want to listen and learn from one another, and sometimes that requires us to navigating into tension where we may be ‘breaking bread’ with people that we don’t always necessarily agree with.
• We are about leadership development. Thus we have a ‘messy’ culture where people are liberated to explore their gifting for the first time.
• We love the arts!
• We love to try new things, but …
• We also love the ancient church calendar (and observe Advent and Lent)!
• We are deeply concerned about restorative justice issues.
• Partnering with other missional organizations (whether it be Young Life, the Mustard Seed, Justice Ministry, or the Noah Logan Society) has been celebrated as deeply as when we have launched initiatives on our own.
We are growing, learning, and laughing. What does the Kingdom of Heaven look like, if not this?
May we continue to dream and have the audacity to ask, “God, what are you up to? How are you doing it? And how might we get in on it?