(Above) From left, Cpts Stefan and Laura Van Schaick, COs; Commissioners Debbie and Lee Graves; Lisa MacLeod, member of Parliament; Arya Chandra, member of Parliament; Wilson Lo, city councillor for Barrhaven East; David Hill, city councillor for Barrhaven West; Lt-Cols Shawn and Brenda Critch, then DC and divisional secretary for spiritual life development, Ontario Div (Photo: Lennard Johnston)

After nearly 15 years of anticipation, The Salvation Army’s Barrhaven Church and Community Centre in Ottawa has opened its doors to the public. A grand opening and ribbon-cutting event invited the community and congregation to celebrate the milestone.

As Captain Laura Van Schaick, corps officer, notes, the corps had operated out of a school gymnasium and other rented space for several years. “It was amazing for those who have been longtime members of the church to see it all come to fruition.”

In April 2022, Barrhaven officially broke ground on the new facility and finished construction in January 2024, marking the completion of the first of a three-phase project. While the first phase focuses on the construction of multi-use program space and offices, the following phases will add both a gymnasium and an auditorium.

Every space within the centre is multipurpose, designed intentionally to serve the diverse needs of the community. A main goal of Barrhaven is to address the chronic loneliness in its community and the prominent underlying need for connection. Current programs, such as the Sunshine Club, a seniors’ outreach program, and Piecemakers, a creative drop-in program, work to bring people together and connect them with The Salvation Army.

The grand opening event saw an impressive turnout despite rainy weather, with more than 300 people in attendance. City councillors and provincial and federal representatives expressed their support and admiration for The Salvation Army’s commitment to the community.

The worship service on Sunday was attended by Commissioners Lee and Debbie Graves, territorial commander and territorial president of women’s ministries, who led the ceremony and presented a plaque dedicating the building to the glory of God. The service, attended by approximately 170 individuals, featured performances by the senior band, including two new pieces written specifically for the grand opening, Joyful Light by Ty Watson and Send Forth by Marcus Venables.

The event also provided an opportunity for past and present members of the congregation to come together, honouring the many individuals who had a hand in planning the new facility, including former corps officers Majors Jim and Michelle Mercer, Majors Chris and Tina Rideout, and Stephen Vincent, who played in the band and represented parents Colonels Eddie and Genevera Vincent.

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On Tuesday, July 2, 2024, Verna McDonald said:

To God be the Glory!

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