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Transplanted but still transforming

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Pastor Kevin Carruthers lugged the trappings, books, and equipment of his church and office to a new site. He’s excited for the strategic change in the life of New Hope Community Church in Calgary. The congregation in the Bridlewood neighbourhood had grown from a few pioneers to more than 200 attendees. The Alberta church plant started with a question, then the Mission Calgary Key Cities Initiative built momentum.

Carruthers remembers his emphatic answer to SunWest Christian Fellowship founder Willy Reimer’s question, “Are you interested in being a church planter?” “NO!”

Carruthers thought of church planting as a short-term appointment, and thought of himself as a long-haul person. But when he realized he could establish a church and grow it, Kevin and Teresa Carruthers answered Reimer with a “yes,” after all.

Reimer remained as coach and mentor. Carruthers gathered three other couples to pray and plan. They in turn gathered two dozen others “who wanted to be part of a new church thing.” The group would meet, listen to Carruthers’ teaching and vision, then discuss, pray, and problem solve. Actual services started in January 2003 at Monsignor J.J. O’Brien School, the facility they have just left after eight years of “a great relationship.”

The move was occasioned by the realization the church’s biggest problem was the drain service setups and takedowns exacted on church life. There was also a need to integrate New Hope’s office and worship facilities.

The new site in Millrise is shared with Covenant: A Christian Reformed Community. Summer services will be on Wednesdays at 6:45 p.m., leaving families free to go camping on weekends. The rest of the year, they’ll meet on Saturdays at 6:00 p.m., “a good time for families.”

“Doing church is a journey,” says Carruthers. He’s thankful Mennonite Brethren theology gives flexibility to “different expressions of what church can look like.” New Hope is one of those expressions.

—Barrie McMaster

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