by Jule Koch Brison | Apr 28, 2005
If you could create a place of worship that you would attend, what would it look like?
Over the last few years Bruce Kellar has been putting this question to anyone who would answer. Bruce is the pastor of Pineview Free Methodist Church in Cloyne, and for years he has been frustrated because he saw a large number of people who needed a sense of community, but who just didnt fit the church scene.
Never one to stay inside a box, Bruce went out and surveyed 100 people to find out what kept them away from churches. He found that unworthiness was the most common answer. He then asked 100 more people, some of whom had been in the first survey, what sort of church they would feel comfortable attending.
The answer to that question birthed Through the Roof, a coffeehouse type Ministry Centre, which opened on April 17 in an abandoned grocery store in Flinton.
Through the Roof is completely separate from any church organization. The only thing it has in common with Pineview Free Methodist Church is Bruce, who emphasizes that there is no dress code or higher structure at the centre; everyone is equal and there are no hoops they have to jump through.
It took three years of hard work to turn the vision of a place where people could come as they are and enjoy a friendly and relaxed, but nonetheless spiritual atmosphere, into a reality. The old store, which had been empty since 1999, had to be gutted, cleaned and painted; drywall had to be replaced, and a kitchen and nursery put in. The result is an airy, inviting space decorated with handmade quilts, and sporting exercise machines and coffee tables.
The core values of the centre are: Body, Spirit, Family and Community.
Meeting the physical needs of individuals, a ladies' exercise program will start this week, and a mens aerobic health group is in the works.
The Family and Community aspects of Through the Roof Ministry will be addressed in a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) program with a making a meal out of nothing component that starts next week, as well as a program for youth and a drop-in centre.
And the Spirit aspect comes from a story in the Bible in which four friends, trying to bring a paralyzed man to Jesus for healing, were confronted by a huge crowd blocking their way. Undaunted, they tore up the roof and lowered their friend down through it; hence the name of the centre.
Last Sunday nights service started and ended with a variety of lively music, ranging from Four Strong Winds to When the Saints Go Marching In to contemporary worship songs, played by Rick and Anja Cameron of A&R Heartcafts, and Jonathan and Alexandra Rasenberg. Bruce also gave a short, parable-style message, stressing the intimacy and forgiveness of a relationship with God. If you dont agree with me, he urges people, just say, Hey, wait a minute, Bruce, what are you talking about?
The Centre is supported by donations, and Bruce and the volunteers are totally open to suggestions as to its use and the format of the services. In addition to Sunday night get-togethers, which start at 6:30 PM, Bruce is considering a Saturday Night Live Christian Karaoke event.
Our motto is 'Friends helping Friends, says Bruce, and he and all the volunteers who have worked hard to create Through the Roof Ministry Centre hope that it will offer a variety of options to meet the spiritual, social and physical needs of their growing community.