Red Deer Lake United Church, Calgary

Red Deer Lake has worked very hard to spread a message of welcome and acceptance. They recently became Affirming and have prioritized gender and sexuality, diversity and ethnicity, mental health and accessibility.

This church lies on the outskirts of Calgary and calls itself both city and country, old and new. It added a significant addition to an old, country church and attracts people from all over. They have identified the uniqueness of their location and take advantage of it. In their case, their building is in a field, just off a main highway to Rockies. They noticed a number of nearby parking lots full of cars for those who were car-pooling to the Rockies. Hence their sign…

Red Deer Lake UC received national coverage for their innovative outdoor crèche that was modernized and racially diverse. Astronaut Roberta Bondar, Grand Chief Perry Bellegarde and singer Michael Franti were depicted as the magi by artist in residence Larry Stilwell.

One congregant told us that the key to their ministry is congregational care. Vi Sharpe, their Congregational Care Coordinator, has excelled in organizing a bereavement support group, a lay visitors team, congregational workshops and funeral hospitality. Another congregant points to Nick Coates, their minister, for his enthusiasm and deep spiritual knowledge. Nick’s informal style of worship invites the congregation to sit, stand, wander, get coffee and even visit throughout the worship service. It’s one example of being a permission-giving church.

Next Sunday we make our way to Vancouver, where we will visit Eagle Ridge United Church. https://www.eruc.ca

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