Although none of us is perfect,
we are all welcomed into God’s
Congregants, both young and old, serve up a community
dinner scheduled near the end of each month. It’s advertised
through flyers, the local food bank, word of mouth and on the
church sign, and it draws about 60 adult guests. Some come for
economic reasons and others for fellowship. Young families
enjoy relaxing over a meal they don’t have to prepare. Congrega-
achurch to come home to” is how Rev. Joel Sherbino describes his parish in the small riverside town of Paris, Ont., (about halfway
between Hamilton and London). Sherbino came
home there himself in 2006 from Malawi, Africa,
where he served three years as an associate pastor.
“People move to Paris because they love the town,”
a growing community of 11,000, says Sherbino.
The 200 households attending Paris Presbyterian Church take their cue from the parable of the
prodigal son, recognizing we are all welcomed into
God’s family even though we are all far from perfect.
Members are encouraged to be intentionally and
explicitly welcoming at worship services or whenever they speak with neighbours, helping to break
down barriers, encourage prodigals and welcome
individuals and families at every stage of life into
Services at Paris Presbyterian blend traditional
and contemporary in a historic building alive with
spirit and new technology, merging Scripture reading and sermons with choir anthems accompanied
by pipe organ, alongside the guitars and keyboards
of praise teams. Worship aims to engage the whole
body in thinking about God and His mission.
Sherbino wants the congregation to be a place of
learning, celebration and encouragement. He aims
to lead its members into one purpose: a deep desire
to love God and serve the world.
Love God – Serve the World
Evidence of God’s fingerprints is obvious in the
church’s neighbourhood programs. Four teams rotate weekly ministry at Telfer Place retirement home,
leading worship and fellowshipping over coffee.
pHOtO: KeN NOLSON
Sports camps are paris presbyterian’s largest outreach to more
than 100 kids.
tion members sometimes invite and bring guests, introducing
community members to the short devotional and worship time.
Sherbino emphasizes a core value to integrate the community
and church to “do life together.”
A young man named Evan had only been attending a few
months before he got involved in the men’s ministry and com-