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Evangelism, discipleship, service and community: these core values of Calgary's Glenmore Temple are what Major Genevera Vincent, corps officer, calls its “tagline.” “But what good,” she asks, “is a tagline with nothing to back it up?” With this question in mind, Glenmore has increased its community outreach to include three new programs: Emergency Disaster Services (EDS), a vibrant Spanish ministry and a youth internship project.
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Glenmore's new team of 25 EDS volunteers from the church and the surrounding neighbourhood is officially on call for Calgary-area emergencies, with their canteen van equipped to serve disaster victims. The EDS team recently took part in a mock disaster training, which included courses to cover different aspects of emergency response, such as food handling and emotional and spiritual care. As well, the canteen provides meals every Thursday night to the downtown homeless and working poor, an effort that will include Saturday breakfasts beginning this fall.
Edgardo Lacera, a former pastor from Colombia who had just immigrated to Calgary, found that a group of Spanish-speaking Christians was forming around him. Soon, he was leading an entire church—but they had nowhere to worship. Lacera approached Major Eddie Vincent, corps officer, and asked to hold services in Glenmore Temple. Now, the Spanish church has afternoon services three Sundays a month, joining with the Army congregation for the other. “The Spanish-speaking Christians don't want to be segregated from other believers into a separate church,” says Major Vincent. “They can sense the support of being part of a larger congregation.” As for the congregation of Glenmore, this influx of eager participants has infused them with new life.
PAIS, a Greek word meaning servant of the king, is an international program which sends college-age interns to partner with churches around the world. During the year-long program, interns connect with high schools of the area, serving in whatever capacity the school requires—tutoring, leading extracurricular activities or aiding teachers in the classroom—with the goal of bridging the gap between the church environment and youth from a non-Christian background. Two interns joined Glenmore this August. “It's about connecting our church to the community,” Major Genevera Vincent affirms.
With these initiatives, the corps feels that God has led them in the best direction to act on their values. “The Lord opened doors for us and told us to walk through them,” says Major Eddie Vincent, “so that's what we're doing.”
Photo: The Spanish-speaking congregation at Glenmore Temple joins with the Army services once a month