Church: Gateway Community Church
Co-Pastors: Paul Francis and Kathy Francis
Location: Lower Sackville, NS (a suburb of Halifax)
What does your congregation’s name mean?
A gateway is a computer device or program that enables two dissimilar programs to communicate. We desire our church to communicate the gospel clearly to those who do not know Jesus.
How would you describe your congregation?
Sixty percent is under the age of 40. It’s a very active group – there are few who just sit in the pews. Average Sunday attendance is 175 people; our membership is 153.
What does it mean for your church to be evangelical Anabaptist?
We take MB theology and work it into the fabric of what we do. For us, to be evangelical Anabaptists means we place our emphasis on Jesus and on community – we encourage people to live lives in interdependence. We are involved in peace and social justice activities. One of our hallmarks is bringing unity to the body of Christ in the Halifax region.
What makes your church unique?
Physically, our facility is a former fire hall. Our building houses a food bank, a room for emergency shelter, an animation studio, and counselling offices. Program-wise, Sunday mornings are planned but our worship style is contemporary and open to expression. We have artists and dancers in our congregation whom we invite to express themselves creatively throughout the service. During the service, a team discerns which passages, ideas, and pictures are shared with the congregation. Our God is a living God who communicates with us, and our worshippers are given freedom to openly respond to that.
What would your neighbours miss about your church if it were gone?
They would miss the way we are involved and encourage others to be involved in the community: we have a food bank that serves around 100 families; we reserve one room as an emergency shelter; we provide office space for 2 part-time counsellors from a Christian counselling ministry out of Truro; we have a float in our annual Canada Day parade; and we help facilitate Love Sackville.