In my first few posts, I talked a bit about the vision for this new community of faith that I and a few others are working towards here in north Oshawa, Ontario, but I haven’t said much about it since. As I’ve been talking with folks here, it’s been interesting to hear what people have understood about the vision so far, and how it connects (or doesn’t) with what God is placing on my heart as I move forward in leading this movement.
Our vision is to build a new community of faith in and with and for and among north Oshawa. And that includes all of north Oshawa, from the suburban-feeling new growth that’s expanding the boundaries of Oshawa by the day, to the pocket of poverty around Nonquon Road, as well as the large shared campus that houses both the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Durham College.
Perhaps the most common misconception of this vision that I’ve encountered is that we’re seeking to create a new campus ministry for UOIT & Durham College. There is already a beautiful campus ministry there called Campus Church that has lots of incredible stories to share, and I’m not convinced that a new, competing campus ministry is needed (or wanted, for that matter).
We want to be a church that loves north Oshawa well, and that means loving all the diversity present here. Suburban families with commuter jobs, families living in economic difficulty, students experiencing all the change and growth that comes with college and university, men and women and students and children.
In all honesty, I’ve felt pretty disconnected from the campus these first few months. Some have asked if I have an office on campus or if my schedule is filling up with student-related school year things - and the answer to all those things is no. Perhaps it’s just because I arrived as summer began and school ended, but I really have had little to do with life on the campus - except for meeting a few incredible people who are on staff there.
So, I was starting to wonder if maybe we had it wrong, with this whole trying to connect a new church with life at UOIT/Durham College. And then that all changed when I and a few others spent some time walking around the campus and praying for what God is doing and will do there. Five of us (well, 6 - can’t forget about the little 3-year-old in his stroller who joined us!) spent our morning strolling the sidewalks of campus, stopping to hear stories of both difficulty and joy, and praying that God would move powerfully there. And it reminded me that, while it may have been quiet as far as I’m concerned over the summer, the campus and all who work, study, and play there are hugely important to the life and rhythms of north Oshawa, and God has beautiful things for us to do and speak and pray and dream there.
So - thanks to those who joined me in praying that morning a couple weeks ago. And I’d love all of you reading this to join us in continuing to pray for what God has been, is, and will be doing both on campus and around it in north Oshawa.