Churches, fairly or unfairly, are often considered part of the older generation’s domain.
But a new church sprouting in Burnaby is driven by young people.
Although 3410 Boundary doesn’t sound like a Christian church name, it was chosen on purpose to give a more inclusive feel to the community at large, according to its 30-year-old pastor, Brett Donald.
The site was formerly home to Boundary Road Assembly, which started in the early 1950s but shut down when membership dwindled.
“There has been a struggle in the Christian churches in Burnaby, which within a couple of years of each other, two local churches actually closed down,” Donald said about the Boundary Road area where his church sits. “One reopened as a temple – a different religion purchased it. Ours, well, basically we were given the church building to start over again.”
Church membership has struggled over the years across many faiths, but Donald’s congregation is different.
“It’s not just specific to our church, or to the church down the street, as well, but churches in this area and the region have been struggling at times,” he said. “With us restarting it, it’s mostly young people. Typically, it’s older people who are interested and young people aren’t, or they’re not super-serious about it. The group working to restart this is a group of young people for the most part.”
Donald not only wanted to start a church, but also a spot in the community where groups of different faiths congregate. Right now, 3410 Boundary also runs a daycare out of its space, and a few other religions hold services there on various days.
“Our hope would be that this isn’t just a community or church for people that are religious, or have a Christian past,” Donald told the NOW. “We hope it will be a community for people who are skeptical or on a journey with that – and we have seen some of that.”
Donald’s group calls itself CityLights, which is an Evangelical Christian church that is part of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, and the C2C network – a church-planting network that starts new ones across the country.
“Our intention will definitely be to encourage and be a benefit to our neighbourhood and our community,” he said. “Both as an official church out of our building, but also for people connected here. We’re encouraging our people to go out and love the city, make the city better.”
Donald said he encourages his group members, which is around 40 to 50 at the moment, to get involved in their community by volunteering, organizing social events or connecting with their neighbours by helping out.
On Sept. 22, CityLights is hosting a pancake breakfast with face painting, inflatable castles, games and crafts
The grand opening gathering is on Sept. 29 at 10 a.m. for CityLights.
For more information, visit www.citylightschurch.ca.
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