When building a church there is a myriad of details to consider.
The liturgical choices and design can be fun and interesting to any clergy, but the rest of the program space is where the rubber meets the roads.
All Saints was very intentional about its building design for the community centre space in the new build. To ensure that the space would meet the needs of the mission field, we engaged in extensive consultations with community partners and the neighbourhood. We allowed outside groups and fellow not-for-profits to help guide our decisions.
We interviewed dozens of organizations and hundreds of neighbours about what was needed in the neighbourhoods of Lakeshore North and South. We allowed those needs to drive the design of the community centre, to build the church that was needed.
In the end, the design of the overall envelope of the building emerged with a church (sanctuary) and a community centre wrapped around it.
Standing in the middle of what will become the sanctuary, we can see the gym walls coming to life. This multi-use flexible space will eventually host Friday Night Open Gym Nights for the youth of the neighbourhood, and pickleball, volleyball and basketball. It can flex as an events space for weddings and other banquets and when complete in the fall of 2023 will be the only gym in all of Waterloo that is not pay-to-play.
Through our needs assessment analysis, we discovered that the City of Waterloo does not build or maintain any community centres in the city. All gym space in Waterloo, whether at a public school or at the YMCA comes at a cost and creates an economic barrier for those seeking to access facilities that can address the social determinants of overall health.
The Sunnydale Community Center, operated by House of Friendship, exists in a townhome provided by the Region of Waterloo. Sunnydale, along with Lutherwood and Adventure for Change are excited to see this new piece of infrastructure coming to life that they have been advocating for the city to provide for years. We are looking forward to working closely with these community partners in providing safe, open and accessible gym space in North Waterloo.
This approach to building design follows the Mission Serving Track, Listen - Serve - Come into Relationship - Worship. We have listened, and soon we will be able to serve in our new building and look forward to all the new relationships and the ways in which we will make Jesus Christ know to world desperate for love.
Rev. Marty Levesque