Redwood Park Church meets on Sunday mornings at Emma King School. Check it out if you live in Letitia heights – the people are friendly, coffee is served before, during and after the service, and the snacks they serve with it are to die for!
This is a small, informal group, there were more kids than adults when I attended, and I got a friendly welcome from nearly everyone in the building. Before the service had even started I’d had a long chat with one member about the church’s mission, and with the pastor about youth ministry, the role of liturgy in worship, and the links between the emergent movement and Anglicanism. I love a good theological discussion, so this was a good start.
The service itself I’ll call ‘classic school gymnasium church-plant’. This style has its ups and downs regardless of the specific church. School gyms are not built with acoustics in mind, and no matter how talented the musical leadership is, any sound system in an echoing gym will easily drown out unamplified voices. From where I was sitting at the back, I couldn’t hear a single voice that wasn’t part of the music team. I worry that we tend to see worship as something that we observe, rather than something that we do. There is a big challenge for our churches to figure out how to create spaces that progressively draw people into active encounters with the divine.
The questions I’m asking as I undertake this journey are “why are you here” and “what is God doing?”
Redwood Park exists, I was told, for a couple of reasons: To provide a space for those that would otherwise not be able to find a church home, both ‘outsiders’ and those ‘heading out’. It also wants to serve the less privileged areas around Anne St/Letitia Heights.
As to what God is doing in the city in general: answers I heard include churches in Barrie becoming less insular, and more outwardly focused, with a greater emphasis on serving the local community.
So, one down, seventy-two or so to go.