A Saint John Christian congregation is preparing for Christmas services in its new home.
The Anglican Parish of Millidgeville in Saint John recently moved several kilometres from its former church — to a new space which is also home to a men’s homeless shelter.
The church community held its first service at the Outflow Ministry and Men’s Shelter on Thanksgiving weekend. Earlier this year, parish leaders realized its facility was too big for its small congregation.
“The wish of the people was either to close or to believe we still have a ministry,” said Father Stuart Allan, the interim priest in charge. That belief was strong enough to bring them to Outflow.
Taking this leap of faith didn’t come without its doubts.
“I was worried about the people we were going to leave behind,” said senior parish warden Ada McNamara. “But they have come with us and it’s working out very well”.
The parish rents the space with a desire to contribute much more.
“To the degree that’s possible, we’ll be working in partnership with the members of Outflow ministry to be part of what’s happening in this part of the city.”
The building is located in one of Saint John’s five priority neighbourhoods.
Outflow is very pleased with the arrangement so far.
“We’re a Christian group but we’re not formally a church and now we’re joining into a partnership with a church and it’s exciting for us because we’re starting to see how a formal relationship like that works,” said Outflow spokesperson Tony Dickinson.
It also brings this church back to it’s own roots, that of mission.
“Of ministry to the homeless, ministry to those who are in any kind of need and providing a worship space where people can feel free to come,” explained Father Allan.
Parish leaders hope people who use the men’s shelter will eventually join the congregation at their services