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Photo: Ken Bosveld
Photo by Ken Bosveld

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Photo: Ken Bosveld
Photo by Ken Bosveld

A crowd of guests and staff gathered in the new lobby of the Christian Reformed Church in North America’s Canadian office in Burlington, Ont., Nov. 6, 2018, to celebrate the reopening of the newly renovated facility.

Among those present for a ceremonial ribbon cutting were representatives of municipal, provincial, and federal levels of government; past and present denominational and agency leaders from both the U.S. and Canadian offices of the CRCNA; artists whose work adorns the renovated space; ecumenical partners; a member of the Canada Corporation of the CRCNA; and staff.

The office, located at 3475 Mainway since 1986, has grown from 9,000 square feet in 1986, to 16,000 square feet in 2000, to 23,357 square feet with this year’s renovations, which included reassignment and refurbishing of existing space as well as the addition of new space.

Prior to the building of the first office at 3475 Mainway, the CRC’s Canadian office was housed for two years in the basement of the home of Rev. Arie Van Eek, who served as the executive secretary of what was then the Council of Christian Reformed Churches in Canada. The office then relocated to rented space for several years before moving to its current site.

As the first leader of Canadian Ministries, Van Eek spoke briefly at the dedication about the history of ministries like Citizens for Public Justice, Aboriginal Ministries, ministry with refugees, and various interfaith committees.

“It’s certainly a great time to be alive and to see what the Lord has wrought, and to be aware that this is not about a building to be filled, but about a community to worship the Lord in their various ministries,” said Van Eek. “I’m so proud to say to anyone who will listen, ‘We have a team down on Mainway, and you ought to pray for them, support them, work with them ….”

The focus of the ceremony, and the theme of Canadian Ministries director Rev. Darren Roorda’s reflection, was Ephesians 4:11-12. Looking at the work of staff in the Canadian office and at the broader Christian community, Roorda affirmed that the different giftedness of people, the various personalities and callings, are all given “so that the body of Christ may be built up.” The goal of the people working in and connected to this office, he said, is to equip and encourage others for work in local settings here in Canada or across the world, who collectively form the body of Christ.

Rev. Marijke Strong, executive secretary of the Regional Synod of Canada of the Reformed Church in America, presented a print of a painting by Joel Schoon Tanis to Roorda in appreciation of collegiality and hospitality.

The staff members of the RCA's Regional Synod of Canada now use office space in the Canadian CRCNA office building, creating another bond between the denominations.

 A quilt created  by contributors from over 65 communities across North America that was sewn together and quilted by Sheila Van Der Linden of Edmonton, Alta., was also highlighted. It now hangs in the main meeting room of the building.

Remarks and greetings were brought by other representatives, and a formal ribbon cutting marked the official reopening of the office. Rev. Chris DeWinter, representing the Canada Corporation of the CRCNA as well as local church leaders, cut the ribbon. Next, all those present participated in a short litany of dedication.

"We are a community of Christ's servants, a home for God's children, and a prism for God's light in all life. We are called to build a reconciling community in Christ, one that proclaims the good news of salvation, celebrates God's healing grace, nurtures the growth and gifts of God's people, and restores the joy of God's reign in communities of Canada and throughout the world," they recited.

Cake, fellowship, and tours of the building followed the dedication service. The service was livestreamed on Facebook; a recording of it can be viewed here.