Jesus, but who may not have community. Some of them have
Jesus, but also mental illness or addictions or some other
Which means that life at House Blend poses many chal-
“This is why our regular worship gathering is the way it
is. We started it as a Bible study, but that doesn’t work well
when someone has FASD [fetal alcohol spectrum disorder]
and another person has a PhD.” Now they focus on what they
can do together – a weekly potluck where the worship focus
is prayer. “Everyone can pray,” says Twigg Boyce.
“We experienced at least one miracle, prayed with a diverse
group of strangers who are becoming friends, gave away some
Bibles and laughed a lot. And that folks is what House Blend is
all about,” she blogged after a prayer gathering last fall.
Two short blocks from House Blend, a sprawling, century-old
limestone cathedral houses Westminster Church, a congregation of the United Church of Canada. The historic building
is renowned for excellent acoustics and the organ peals that
permeate the neighbourhood from a commanding bell tower.
It also houses a plant in a very old pot. It is an unlikely
posting for Greg Glatz, a skilled guitarist who hosts a rather
unpredictable radio talk show and has cultivated a persona as
the rock ’n’ roll preacher. He now works alongside the more
staid Robert Campbell, who has been the primary worship
leader and preacher at Westminster for 25 years.
A few months ago Glatz completed his DMin dissertation
on missional church, under the direction of missional guru
Leonard Sweet. Glatz is an advocate of what he calls GOOD
church, a “Get-Out-Of-Doors” church where the work of the
church is everyone’s business and ministry occurs in many
places beyond the sanctuary.
This is a plant based on fellowship, food and service, including the Bell Tower Community Café. And the Bell Tower Community Garden. And the Bell Tower Community Walk. And,
perhaps as early as this fall, the Bell Tower Community Clinic.
The church is becoming the connection for a web of community relationships that aim to bring people from all walks of
life together to disrupt poverty by making good things together.
Every second Friday night volunteers gather to help distribute food hampers to nearly 50 families, enjoy free high-quality food supplied by area businesses, live music, and
engage in conversation around the table.
“My vision for the Bell Tower Community Café is threefold
– to invite, create and share,” says Meaghan Pauls, co-ordinator.
“The invitation should be intentional and open to include and
welcome all people into the space. I believe we should actively
be creating connections and community, while at the same
time experiencing the good food, coffee and music people have
Glatz describes what is happening as an expression of “kin-
dom,” in which “our kinship with each other becomes visible,
becomes tangible.” This is what he believes the Church will
“The idea of worship is important and remains important in
our 21st-century postmodern context. I’m also hoping that we
can reclaim a 1st-century premodern concept of worship,” he
says, noting that the Apostle Paul appealed to Christ followers
Both are keen to go and make disciples. Both are eager to
recognize the work God is already doing within and among
people around them, and to participate in that experience.
Two plants. One big garden.
Planting in Calgary
by Richelle Wiseman
An Iranian church plant in Calgary blooms
in hard soil.
Twenty people filter into a rented church space at 4: 30 p.m. on a Sunday in Calgary. All of them are Iranian Christians here to witness a baptism. The church’s
name, Shaban Niku, means “Good Shepherd” in Farsi, the
language of Iran. This is a church that points to the face of
Canada’s changing population and what the team believes is
a New Testament model of church planting.
The Shaban Niku-Iranian Church of Canada usually
meets in an office building in northeast Calgary in a room
that fits 50 above a restaurant. But on this particular Sunday
the community meets in a rented sanctuary, a more worshipful setting for a baptism.
Music director nathan Poole helps plant tomatoes
in the garden connected to the Bell Tower Community Café.