Grace United Church, Brampton Ontario

A decade ago, Grace United was talking about shutting its doors. It was losing people and the ability to maintain a 25,000 square foot building. That was when the visionary leaders began to dream. They incorporated the church hall as a non-profit community resource centre called Grace Place. It rents space to community organizations, including addiction recovery groups, and Regeneration, a ministry that serves the homeless and disenfranchised with meals 365 days a year, washing machines, housing advocacy and programs. The General Manager, Lucy Kristan, has brought in 2 million dollars of grants to renovate the building.

high school students volunteering at Grace Place
Lorne McKay, artist and guest at Regeneration. His grandfather told him that if he can put his shadows down on paper, they will not be able to get to him.

In the meantime, the congregation of Grace United began trying different experiments to attract new people. Some of these didn’t work, but others did! They have learned to risk change to worship, music, and programs. Most recently, they called Rev. Lawrence Nyarko, who has brought energy, dynamic faith and prayer, and connections with the multicultural neighbourhood.

Rev. Lawrence Nyarko with tambourine after children’s time

The connection team welcomes newcomers with welcome packages and introductions, helping them feel part of the church family as soon as they arrive. Young families are attracted to the relaxed and flexible atmosphere of worship. They are living into their motto of being a church with a heart in the heart of the city.

Keziah, Matthew, Micah and Shalom ringing the church bell

Next Sunday: St. Martin’s United Church, Saskatoon http://www.stmartinsuc.com

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