From the Surrey (BC) Now:
Pastor Kevin Cavanaugh (left) from Cedar Grove Baptist and Pastor Philip Bryant (right) are at the forefront of starting Surrey’s newest church to be housed in Strawberry Hill Theater starting September 9. (Marten Youssef Photo)
Sending message of hope out to Newton
New church will be multicultural and hold Sunday services in movie theatre
Published: Friday, August 17, 2007
In three weeks, about 350 people will pack theater 11 in Strawberry Hills Cinema searching for hope.
This will not be a Hollywood-inspired event or a movie night, as September 9 will mark the opening of Surrey’s new church – Community of Hope Church. In the midst of the most multicultural and multi-faith community in Surrey, Newton will be the home of the new church dedicated to explore that message of hope with the community.
“In the age of war, global warming, poverty, family dysfunction, brokenness, purposelessness we are looking for answers. We are looking for hope and most people don’t know where to get answers to these questions,” says Philip Bryant, the pastor who will be leading the church along with his wife Beth and three daughters.
“Hope is the energy necessary for life. We look for hope and security in cars, jobs, money but none of these things seem to satisfy us,” says the 39-year-old Bryant.
To attract more people who want to ask questions about God and Christianity, the theater was seen as the best place.
“People are asking about God and what he is to them. People are looking for community and relationships and we wanted to pick a neutral place where people can feel safe to come and ask tough questions,” he says.
Hope Community Church has launched a massive campaign aimed at getting people in the Newton area to think about hope. Tens of thousands of brochures, some even with popcorn bags, are being distributed in the community and buses are carrying advertisements urging people to give hope a chance.
But the biggest help has come from the churches of Surrey. “I am amazed with the response we have received from the churches in Surrey. I don’t think we would be where we are today if it weren’t for these churches,” Bryant says.
Cedar Grove Baptist is at the forefront of assisting the new church. “Forty people from our congregation are leaving Cedar Grove to help in the build up of the new church. That includes our worship leader and team. Forty others have committed to being there for sometime as well,” says Kevin Cavanaugh, senior pastor at Cedar Grove.
“The most remarkable thing here is that Cedar Grove and Hope Community Church are not the same denomination, but they are still so supportive,” says Bryant.
Despite the resounding response Bryant and the leadership team have received from the churches in Surrey, he is very aware of the challenges ahead.
“This is not going to be easy. I think some people might see us as a cult. Second, we are trying to start a multicultural church with mostly white people. But we have been really doing our homework in understanding the people we are wanting to serve,” Bryant says.
Bryant and his family moved to Surrey from Ontario in 2005 with the hopes of starting a new church for the Grace Brethren denomination.
“Our goal is to contribute to creating a health community where people feel safe and free to take on the tough issues in their lives,” Bryant says.