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    From the Ground Up

    Getting involved is second nature at Heritage Park Temple in Winnipeg. January 6, 2017 Photos by Carson Samson; Text by Giselle Randall
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    Feature
    In the west end of Winnipeg, Heritage Park Temple is a vibrant community of faith, where members of the corps are stepping up to meet needs in their neighbourhood and around the world. Here's a look at the programs—and people—making a difference.

    Mikaela Sagness When a friend asked Mikaela Sagness to attend church with her, she agreed out of politeness. Although Sagness grew up in a Christian home, she fell away from her faith after the death of her grandfather. “I was angry and sad and wasn't sure how to cope with that loss,” she says. “I turned my back on God.” But as she sat in the pew that Sunday, she prayed and asked God to show her that he was real. “The sermon that day was by a cadet. He said that no matter how far we have strayed, God's love never fails,” she recalls. “I knew that was God speaking to me.” She started attending regularly, then took soldiership classes and was enrolled as an adherent on May 29, 2016. “I feel a sense of community and family at Heritage Park Temple that I haven't felt before,” she says. “I finally found a piece of myself that had been missing for a long time.”


    Kaitlin vanDeursen Kaitlin vanDeursen is a student at Booth University College. She played in the band at her home corps in Orillia, Ont., and when she moved to Winnipeg, “I attended the band practice at Heritage Park Temple before I even attended the church, and it instantly felt like home,” she says. “Coming from a small band, it was encouraging to be welcomed in and feel valued as a player in such a big band. Everyone is not only committed and talented, but their love of God shines through their playing.”


    Kids Klub Every Thursday, Heritage Park Temple runs an after-school program called Kids Klub, providing a hot meal, games and activities for 20-30 children from the surrounding community. A bus provides pick up and drop off at several nearby low-income housing complexes. Madison Johnston, family services co-ordinator, does home visits to stay in touch and see how the corps can help.


    Laura Hepditch clowns around at Kids Klub. Laura Hepditch clowns around at Kids Klub.


    Wally Clarke prepares a meal for Kids Klub. Wally Clarke prepares a meal for Kids Klub.


    Heritage Park Temple Family Group At a potluck after church, Levi Deacon fills a plate as Michelle Rasmussen and her daughter, Hadley, look on. Nettie Deacon started the potlucks, which happen every other month, as a wayfor families to connect with each other. “We tried a few different things: board games for the adults, a coffee and dessert event, and a potluck after the service on Sundays,” she says. “That's what ended up working best. After we finish eating, the kids can run and play while the adults get to know each other better.”


    Claire Samson For the past two years, junior soldier Claire Samson has organized a tea party to raise funds for the Partners in Mission campaign, which she learned about in Sunday school and at home. “It's about raising money for people who need it in different parts of the world,” she says. “It's a good thing to do.” When asked where the feeling of wanting to help came from, she says, “In my heart.”


    Partners in Mission tea party “There's tea and biscuits and teapots. And you give a donation,” Claire says. “It was like a big ball!” Claire was eight when she held the first tea party, and hopes to make it an annual tradition.


    Justin Russell Justin Russell, a student at Booth University College, plays percussion in Heritage Park Temple's band. Russell has been involved with Salvation Army banding since childhood, and attended music camp at Scotian Glen Camp in the Maritime Division for 15 years. “Music has played a major role in my faith. Whenever I play or listen to Salvation Army music, I experience a closer connection with God,” he says. “For me, banding is more than just playing music on a Sunday or at a concert. It is a way to bring glory and worship to God, which is why I get up on the platform every Sunday.”


    Lt Bethany Dueck Lieutenant Bethany Dueck, assistant corps officer, chats with a young member of the corps. Heritage Park Temple offers programs year-round, including emergency food assistance, housing aid, a backpack program, and Adopt-a-Family and Toy Mountain at Christmas. But for Lieutenant Dueck, the highlight of the year is the summer Kids Kamp, which runs from Monday to Friday in July and August. “Almost every week we were at full capacity,” she says. “The days were full, with crafts, games and activities, field trips and special guests. The children and the staff had a blast together learning about God, dancing and singing at the top of their lungs, playing fun and messy games, and making new friends.”


    Karalyn Boermann Heritage Park Temple is responding to the refugee crisis in Syria by raising funds to sponsor a family. Throughout June, July and August, corps members were asked to pledge their financial support, and, once the family arrives, their time in helping them integrate into life in Canada. Karalyn Boermann, who is leading the outreach, was pregnant when the Syrian refugee crisis made headlines around the world. “I couldn't even imagine myself in those mothers' shoes. I just couldn't,” she reflects. “I couldn't make it through the day without a nap, let alone carry a small child while being cold, hungry and terrified of the uncertainty that lies ahead and the sadness of what we left behind. So I was driven to help with that in mind.”


    Mom and tots group After Emily MacFarlane had her son, Ryan, she found it hard to participate in a small group. So she invited some other new moms to join her for a casual get-together each week. “It has been a way for us to ask questions and talk about our little ones in a comfortable, trusting setting,” says MacFarlane. Lauren Binne agrees. “This program means a lot to me—knowing I'm not alone on the journey of parenthood,” she says. From left, Lauren Binne and Lucas, Michelle Rasmussen and Hadley, Emily MacFarlane and Ryan, and Crystal Ritson and Grace.

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