At the end of December 2009, we still owned a beautiful old building to worship in. But we were receiving legal letters from our former Diocese threatening us. And we did not have any idea about what was going to happen in the years to come.
I should pause here to fill in some blanks. Church of the Messiah used to be called St. Albans. We were founded in 1865 and land was bought and our building completed in 1867.
In the late spring of 2007 the Anglican Church of Canada, at an official level, seriously departed from the Christian faith. Our former Diocese (Ottawa) followed the same path at their Fall Synod in 2007. So on February 16, 2008, we voted overwhelmingly to separate from the Diocese of Ottawa and connect to a Biblically faithful international Anglican body – “The Anglican Church of the Southern Cone”.
This is not because we are an “anti” or “negative” church. Far from it! We treasure the Gospel and the Bible (which is God’s word written). We know that we are sinners saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. We desire to be led by the Holy Spirit, share the Gospel, preach and teach the Bible, lift Jesus high as Saviour and Lord, and as missionaries in this rich mission field seek the true good of this city to the glory of God.
Our desire to grow and grow in that direction meant we had to separate from a Diocese going in the opposite direction – even when it meant leaving our building. So, at the end of that decade, we were both in our building and in “limbo”. We did not know what would happen, but we trusted that the Lord was faithful.
The Lord has been faithful as this decade comes to a close. We, and the one other church in our Diocese who “left” for the same reasons we did, were able to settle out of court. A key condition of that settlement was that we would walk away from our property, but the other church would be able to keep its building. We saw this as a “win” for the Kingdom, and so we voted 100% to walk away.
At the end of 2009, we did not know where we would go if we left the building. But God is faithful. He provided the Ottawa Little Theatre (and other ministry space) and on July 1st, 2011 we began Sunday morning worship in the Ottawa Little Theatre. The Lord is faithful, He has always provided a place for us to worship on a Sunday morning.
The Lord is faithful. We had a period where some left (not to go to the Diocese of Ottawa) but to evangelical churches with buildings. But Jesus was lifted high and the bills were paid. We began to learn how to exist without a building, as a church “re-plant”. People left the church to become missionaries. The Lord has led people to the church to become ministry interns – and in some cases be ordained. We continued our outreach of evangelism to the University of Ottawa.
Full of grace
The Lord used us to be the funding source for an orphanage which was successfully launched in Uganda. We started a seminary – and we have graduates who have been ordained. Local evangelical churches here called us to see if we have students they can hire. We believe God will use us to plant a church in Kanata, and then other churches after that. We have been a key “player” in starting two annual Apologetics Conferences. Our church hosted the inaugural meeting of The Gospel Coalition Canada. The Lord is faithful.
So, on the dawn of a new decade, please pray that we will be a church which seeks to know the Lord’s will for us and will do His will His way for His glory, trusting in His supply. Pray that we will grow in numbers, and in the conviction that the Lord is faithful! He is always faithful. Praise God!