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Jul19ThuNorthridge Community Church is serving and growing. July 19, 2018 Text by Giselle Randall, photos by Steve Nelson
Photo: Mjrs Glenda and Brian Bishop, corps officers at The Salvation Army’s Northridge Community Church in Aurora, Ont.
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In 2016, The Salvation Army’s Northridge Community Church in Aurora, Ont., moved into a new building, designed with the community in mind, embracing their motto “A place to begin, belong and become.” “The design was so intentional that we decided to postpone building the sanctuary so we could have a full-sized high school gym, which also serves as our current worship space,” says Major Brian Bishop, corps officer. The sanctuary will be phase two of the development project, with construction anticipated to begin in 2020.
“Whether or not it’s things that occur at the church or offsite—such as inviting students to our basketball league on Saturday mornings, or our Red Cap and Mercy Street youth mobile outreach in local schools—we want those community elements to take priority,” says Major Bishop. “To impact our community with God’s love, our vision has been to integrate our church and community ministries.”
Ray Varkki, Northridge’s community capacity development co-ordinator, agrees. “A lot of people who walk in the doors looking for assistance don’t know that The Salvation Army is a church,” he says. “What we’re doing in community and family services is about planting seeds, inviting people to explore. We’re trying to connect people in the community with what we’re doing as a church. If I was going to use one word, it would be bridge.”
And it’s working. Since 2015, Sunday attendance has increased more than 100 per cent. This past January, Northridge celebrated as close to 30 people enrolled as members. The following photos are a window into this thriving corps.