It was an honour to join in worship and prayer on the evening of Canada Day 2018 in one of the most beautiful historic churches in Saskatoon. Although a season has ended there, a new season begins. This was the first event held in the newly acquired building by new ownership who seek to bless the city somehow in a new way through the building. I am among many who often dream of what will it be like in the future?
I've watched the news the last few years and had a keen sense of the grieving hearts of the church members of the 3rd Avenue United Church needing to put the bldg up for sale. After 113 years since the church was built, June 24th was their last official service in the building.
The Church isn't a "Building"
I've also heard the fears of some community members this last year, afraid it would be knocked down and turned into condos. Thankfully, the Saskatoon Heritage Foundation was instrumental for helping to preserve its status as a "Heritage Site" (January 27th, 2017 Interview, heritage site announcement, April 2018 church closure confirmation), newly purchased plans and future vision of the church building by the owners TBA.
Revisioning the use of the church building is yet to unfold. The closure of what was known as the 3rd Avenue United Church brings sadness to many individuals and families with a rich history in this beautiful city. But I hear a gentle whisper speak to my soul-When God closes a door, He will open a window. It is my prayer though that what lies ahead will bring great joy and new life to the masses.
A churches designation is not relegated to a building, nor even a denominational stance or preference. A churches true identity lies in the people of faith who have put their trust in God who follow the Jesus way to experience the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. It's not a religion, it's a relationship. God's love extends to all people which extends to all cultures, languages and demographics who are all created in His image:)
The Church is God's People
Personal or corporate ministry assignments may last for a season, (and some for over a century,) but the Churches eternal assignment is calling all men, women and children to trust the Creator and be willing vessels of His love, grace and power to pour out in a world in depserate need of truth and grace.
Although the evening was led by many, the primary leader of the evening's praise and worship was my friend in ministry Kelly Wiens. His team led in songs from both conservative and contemporary genres while interspersing words of vision, prayers and intentions from a variety of people. From Indigenous voices sharing love, peace and joy who are crying out for revival alongside young immigrant voices and elders serving together that night as a beacon of hope for the future united in prayer.
Towards the end of the evening, Kelly invited me up to the front to share for a few minutes of our unified passion for 24/7 prayer and worship to guard the gates of each city, interceding for the many needs of a region. I felt some resounding AMEN's in the sanctuary as we shared yet at the same time sensing some who might have felt like we were speaking a foreign language! (I totally get it).
YET, It is the Church who is called to be the watchmen of a city, praying for God's kingdom to come and his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
What an honour to end the evening by singing “O Canada” 🇨🇦
To me, singing Canada's national anthem is more than a call to mere earthly patriotism, it is a call to stand on guard for God's will to be done in this city, this province, this nation.