In early March 2020, after months of planning, prayer, and occasional opportunities to spend time together, the EMCC congregations from Evangel Community, Kitchener, and Lincoln Heights, Waterloo met for the first time as the new church plant called Verity Community Church.
Immediately following this first week of celebration together, COVID-19 forced an end to in-person services. Despite this challenge to forming closer relationships, and becoming known in their neighbourhood, this new congregation has worked hard this summer to get to know one another, and to show the love of Jesus in their community.
They began to consider how they could serve during COVID. “It’s important to get people out of their own heads during the situation we’re in,” says new Associate Pastor, Nathan Weber. ”We wanted to provide opportunities for the community of Verity to bond, to learn how to serve others together, and to raise our profile in the neighbourhood.” Several creative ideas rose to the surface.
The first goal for the new church was simple: Buy KD. One of the hot ticket items that fly off the shelf at food banks happens to be Kraft Dinner. So, Verity supported the Salvation Army’s food drive by collecting and donating over 1,100 boxes of Kraft Dinner!
Gift Cards for Front-line Workers
A few members already serve as Chaplains and leaders at a local retirement residence. In an effort to bless and thank the 50 residence staff, Verity leadership sent the word out, asking the congregation for donations for $5 Tim Horton’s gift cards. The gift cards would be accompanied by a hand-written thank you letter from Verity. The cards kept on coming, and they raised enough for every staff member to get 3 gift cards each, with more than enough left over to give to their own Front-Line workers in their congregation. Standing outside the building because of the lockdown, Verity delivered the gifts to the manager, along with some key staff representatives, who received them with heartfelt gratitude.
Canada Day Jazz
Verity’s church building is the building that used to be Lincoln Heights. It has a great location, where many people walk and drive by. It also has a large parking lot, an ideal space for an outdoor celebration of Canada Day. Being careful to follow safety guidelines, Verity decorated their space and prepared to meet the neighborhood. They set up a drive-through area and handed out free sparklers to all the kids, and a card that introduced the church and asked the question, “How can we serve you?” A man in the congregation is part of “Uptown Sound”, a jazz band, and it was great to have the band performing in the parking lot. People brought lawn chairs, and some in nearby buildings were seen to open their windows to enjoy the music during this 3-hour free jazz concert.
In mid-August, Verity once again opened their doors for in-person worship services. This new church plant is already off to a good start and they are excited about serving the Lord and their community together. Pastor Nathan puts this forward: “We want the community to know that we love them and want to serve them with the love of Jesus. If they are attracted by our love, they will be open to the truth of the gospel.”
This article is featured in the Fall 2020 edition of the EMCC Together Newsletter.
Download a PDF copy of this and previous EMCC Together publications here: https://emcctogether.ca/emcc-together-back-issues/