We instantly noticed him sitting at the back of the congregation, but had no frame of reference as to where he had come from or what was his background. Throughout the service, however, it was obvious this visitor from our community was connecting with all that was being expressed and shared in our worship. At the end of the service, we shook his hand and asked his name. He quickly volunteered some startling information.
“I was here about a year ago,” he said. “Since then, I take my daily walk around this neighborhood. Every morning I come and stand on your front steps and I pray for your congregation. After this morning’s worship, I know that God is answering my prayers!”
What a powerful God moment this was! This stranger on our doorstep was giving voice to something the congregation of Heritage Park Temple already knew to be true. God is doing a new work among his people! Just as it was in the upper room of Acts 2 so many years ago, tornado like winds of the Spirit have been blowing! It is a new day for mission and ministry in the west end of Winnipeg and God is empowering his people toward this reality!
As further evidence of this truth, Heritage Park Temple launched its new fall season, hosting a neighborhood block party that included many carnival-like attractions and games, face-painting, clowns, prizes, a giant garage sale, live outdoor music from a community jazz band and a free community barbecue. It is estimated that between 500-600 neighborhood contacts were made as a result of this event. The efforts of corps visitation teams blitzing the surrounding area with word of this happening certainly paid off.
After the block party an official launching of the Heritage Park fall year took place and this was followed by an evening homecoming dinner. Guests to this event sat elbow to elbow in Shier Hall as over 220 people shared in this celebration. A special feature of this night was the induction of 38 children from our summer day camp ministries into the Heritage Park Temple Hall of Fame. Kids excitedly came to the red carpet to receive their certificates.
Saturday events were followed with a meaningful time of worship Sunday morning, where nine senior local officers were commissioned. As the challenge was given to “wait on the Spirit for power to go into all of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth,” the congregation of Heritage Park Temple reaffirmed its desire to live as the first-century church in a twenty-first century world. As new program and outreach initiatives continue to evolve, it is the winds of the Spirit that continue to propel this congregation forward. Building on the strength of past foundation, the promises of the present and the hope of the future, God’s people go forward to make a difference where they are!
Top photo: Local officers enrolled by Majors Brian and Julie Slous, COs; bottom: Major Julie Slous recognizes the achievement of one of the children from day camp.