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Making Connections at
Grace, Calgary
  Filming worship at Grace Presbyterian Church in Calgary, Alta.
What does it look like in a pandem- ic? What are people’s experiences of the pandemic?
The project involves volunteers— kids, youth, families and a variety of Grace church family members—and is a way to create something mean- ingful to share at Christmas no mat- ter what Christmas brings. Since the video will be released online, it can be shared with the Grace congrega- tion, as well as others. The project embraces stewardship—time, talent and treasure.
Stay tuned! The video is slated for release in December at gracechurch-
The Gift of Third Space
While the parking lot is typically a place for parking during Sunday morning worship, it has become far more than that in the past two years, before and during the pandemic. To the Rev. Maren, the parking lot is “a third space—it’s not the church (which can appear imposing with its hard sandstone walls) and it’s not people’s houses, but a place to host all kinds of gatherings—faith-based, congregation-based and community- based... It’s a comfortable place for the community to visit and a com- fortable way for the congregation to come out of the church.”
Events in the past two years have included a Stampede community breakfast for more than 700 Grace and Calgary Beltline community resi- dents, as well as Trunk N Treat Hal- loween events (2019 generated do- nations of more than 12,000 pieces of candy, dozens of volunteers and more than 200 neighbourhood kids).
Parking lot events such as Trunk N Treat for Halloween “are a fun and playful opportunity. A delightful and easy way to build relationships and
get to know people,” said the Rev. Maren. “It is a starting point, in the centre of the neighbourhood, for the church to get out of the door—to get outside of yourself and meet your neighbours.”
This, to the Rev. Maren, is impor- tant for Grace, as a missional church seeking to “be in the community and effect social change... You can’t do that until you know who is around you, get to know them, build relation- ships and earn trust.”
Celebrating Halloween is a way to show that the community can en- gage with Grace beyond a stereotypi- cal church experience. The celebra- tion is a part of people’s lives, and while many people have strong feel- ings about Halloween, we wanted to make it as fun and safe as possible.
The neighbourhood around Grace has many commercial areas and apartment buildings and is not built well for traditional trick-or-treating. Many families who attend are new to Canada and have never experienced Halloween before. “Isn’t it great that the church can facilitate trick-
or-treating for these new families in Canada? The church has to work on finding opportunities for connection that other organizations don’t fill,” the Rev. Maren concluded.
The 2020 Halloween event was COVID-friendly and was the second successful year of Trunk N Treat, which takes place every Halloween night.
By Amy Dunn Moscoso, Communications Coordinator, Grace Presbyterian Church in Calgary, Alta.
Christmas Pageant Video
Christmas pageants at Grace Pres- byterian Church in Calgary, Alta., are so celebrated that the congregation doesn’t just hold one, but four: there is a pageant every Sunday in Advent before the worship service.
For December 2020, Grace is cre- ating a Christmas pageant video to share the experiences of children, youth, families and a variety of other members of the Grace church fam- ily. The Rev. Maren McLean Persaud, Associate Minister of Children and Youth, said the video is “a chance for families and people at Grace to ex- plore what Christmas, hope and light mean to them when our lives have changed.”
This year’s pageant involves new opportunities. Interested youth are being invited to join the videographer, Justin Machnik of Uplift Media, who has filmed 30+ episodes of Grace’s “3 in 1” online worship videos, to get behind the camera and join in the filming process.
Mentoring youth in the art of film- making and videography has been a dream of Justin’s for some time. In- dustry expertise spanning 20-some years is what he described as a “gift I have to share.” The video is both an opportunity for people to share gifts—from music to compositions to talents—as well as discover a knack for filmmaking. “A spiritual gift is a muscle that gets stronger and stronger the more you use it,” said Justin. Developing them is important as “God uses them in bigger ways.”
The video looks like a variety show and a narrative on the pan- demic: What does Christmas mean?
The Rev. Maren McLean Persaud, Associate Minister of Children and Youth, decorates her car for Trunk N Treat.
 Presbyterians Sharing equips congregations in evangelism, Christian education, worship, stewardship, communications, youth ministry, justice work and more.
   Supporting Kenora Fellowship Centre
 By Valerie Starr, participant in the 2019 Healing and Reconciliation Tour and member of St. James Presbyterian Church in Stouffville, Ont.
It was in June 2019, while visiting the Anamiewigummig Kenora Fel- lowship Centre in Kenora, Ont., with The Presbyterian Church in Cana- da’s second Healing and Reconcili- ation trip, that my life took on a new direction.
I’ve always had an appreciation for Indigenous culture and spir- ituality, but I never knew about the history of residential schools and how it affects Indigenous youth to- day—the ongoing intergenerational trauma.
Anamiewigummig Kenora Fellow- ship Centre is a place that exists to clothe, help, feed, love and guide people in Kenora, Ont. The Centre provides a home and necessities for many elders and young people
who have endured the realities of the Indian Residential School System or have aged out of the child welfare system. Offering practical care and support, the Centre journeys along- side Indigenous people who have been displaced or ravaged by addic- tion and mental health issues.
While on the trip, Executive Direc- tor, Yvonne Bearbull, asked me to stand behind the counter while she attended to an issue in another area of the water front centre in down-
town Kenora. I helped two men who needed aspirin, a young woman asking for soap and shampoo, and a young man needing a pair of socks.
Another young man asked if he could have a pair of women’s un- derwear because his girlfriend was too embarrassed to ask. Searching through the boxes under the coun- ter, there was nothing for women. I finally found a pair of men’s briefs in size small. He said they would do.
The need for this basic item of
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