Collier St. United is another of our larger downtown churches, steps away from the bar and shopping district on Dunlop street.
Unlike Painswick United, a small congregation meeting in a strip-mall, Collier Street has a large facility that it uses to the max. The main sanctuary on Sunday was packed, and the balcony was mostly full too.
Collier Street strikes me as a very ‘involved’ church. During the service, an ‘Installation of Officials’ was held; a recognition and commissioning of those serving the church in various capacities this year. 25 or 30 people came to the front for this part of the service. In fact, there’s clearly tons of activity going on here. There were 60 or so events listed for this week alone on the handout sheet, and judging by the announcements, the church website, and the various bulletin boards around the building, Collier Street should win the award for ‘Church in Barrie with the Most Programs.’
The service itself followed a typical format; songs, announcements, performances by two different choirs, and a sermon. Interestingly, although the topic of the sermon was Christ’s passion, the Rev. Dennis Posno chose to talk about Jesus’ life, not death, about Jesus’ passion for peace, for hope, for justice and for healing.
Collier Street is clearly a tight knit community, and like some other similar churches, it can be very easy for a visitor to be aware of their status as an outsider. At First Christian Reformed, 4 or 5 people introduced themselves to me and welcomed me to the service before it had even started. At Collier Street no-one really noticed my presence, despite the convivial atmosphere at coffee hour. This is a tricky balance for any church to strike, between nurturing its existing community and being open and welcoming to outsiders. But that said, I think if someone did take the time and effort to get involved, they would find it a warm and accepting community.