Over the past six months, we’ve been reflecting on the impact we’ve had in our downtown core over the last ten years. It’s been a decade of faithful presence that has led to an intricate web of relationships and collaboration. As churches everywhere are shutting down their weekly services and moving to alternative methods of streaming and virtual presence, one thing has come into focus: the model of church in the west is heavily dependent on this one day of gathering together. Without it, people easily feel lost and disconnected.
I know for myself, my weekly floor hockey has been a place of connection and belonging, and it is suspended until further notice. As Sunday services cease and a myriad of our networks shutdown in the midst of this pandemic, what kind of relational connections are left? It’s been stated by politicians and leaders that now is the time for us to care for our neighbours, but if now is the only time we step forward to invest in those relationships rooted in the neighbourhood, what is the foundation of those relationships?
While the DWCC is officially suspending many of our programs including sports, the Glengarry Lighthouse, Finding Freedom, and many other activities that bring neighbours together, we realize that the sum total of our efforts from this past decade is a dynamic web of neighbours who know their neighbours and have relationships built on trust and mutual love and care. We aren’t suddenly investing in these neighbourhood relationships because of a pandemic; we are able to love God and love our neighbours in tangible and practical ways because we’ve already done the work of cultivating meaningful friendships in the particular places we live, work, play, and pray.
This next decade of the DWCC is the ongoing cultivation of those neighbourhood relationships. It’s taking the words of Jeremiah to those in exile to build gardens, have kids, and seek the welfare of the city. It’s taking the words of Zechariah that we pray for God to dwell in our city in tangible ways, and the outcome of that is that it would be a good place to grow up and a good place to grow old. It’s taking the words of Jesus that the two great commandments that sum up the law and the prophets are love of God and love of neighbours.