This webpage is for the people of the Toronto Conference for story sharing and networking.

 A Story of

 

North Bramalea United Church

 Dufferin and Peel Presbytery

 

 Norm Greene said that Brampton has over 300,000 people, and their congregation has one lawyer, no doctor, but lots of truck drivers and school teachers...

 

 

Norm Greene said that Brampton has over 300,000 people, and their congregation has one lawyer, no doctor, but lots of truck drivers and school teachers.  Norm arrived in 1983 and the building was constructed in 1987.  The people who attend came from other United Churches, or were people who had fallen away from the church, but arrived and stayed.  He described a number of individuals: A retired person arrived feeling broken because of death and a marriage break up.  One person spent much of his life in front of the television.  Another wanted stability within her life.  One person has never grown up but has a spiritual hunger.  These are the people the church serves.

 

He described a spirituality hungry people who are looking for good news and transformation in Christ.  Five to 10 people changing makes a change in the congregation, Norm said.  The congregation is very heavily Christocentric in all its ways.

 

The worship service has about 40 percent music, and sing “We are One” at every service....

The worship service has about 40 percent music, and all of it’s done on overheads.  They sing “We are One” at every service.  The songs are chosen to link “to” God not to be “about” God.  They almost never use the organ, but have a variety of musical talents and instruments. 

The choir is there and a couple of voices are miked because of the kind of music they do.

 

They use symbols like rocks and velveteen to help remind people during the week of what they heard on Sunday.  In preparing for worship they ask, “What is the felt need of the congregation and what is the desired outcome? What is the key word or image you want to offer to people?” 

 

The mission of the congregation is to receive and live the life of Christ. There are about 60 small groups, e.g. a book group, men’s groups, Alpha studies.  The people of Brampton matter to God, Norm said, so they matter to us.  One on one talking with people is the best method of growth, but they also use occasional advertising or handing out tickets. 

 

They have a lot of people up front during worship to allow for a variety of expression of faith.  People tell their stories during worship.  They are trying to build the governance structure around the spiritual gifts people have.  In stewardship they use a discipleship growth mentality.  We want you to grow as a disciple of Christ.  As a result of the program they had a 28-38 percent increase in envelope givings.    They added a second service a couple of years ago, and have had a five percent increase in attendance.

 

Questions/comments: 

They have emphasized small groups for three or four years; some were already there, but others are new.  The intention is to encourage people to be in the groups.  Some of the groups are only social, but they hope to have them move to consider service, prayer, study and spiritual life in all of their groups.

They have emphasized small groups for three or four years...

Alpha is a 13 week program with lectures on video followed by study groups. They’ve had outreach days to the community, e.g. working with the homeless, visiting extended care  facilities.

 

 

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