Church Parsonage Repurposed for Ministry

Bethel Christian Reformed Church  in Waterdown, Ont., has donated the use of its vacant parsonage to Eagles Nest Association of Waterdown; the former pastor’s home will become the agency's new H.O.P.E. Centre, a Home of Practical Education. Aligning with Eagles Nest’s mission of refuge, restoration, and resources, H.O.P.E. Centre will offer programs to educate, coach, and counsel families in need. 

The partnership will allow Eagles Nest to reach a wider population in Ontario’s Greater Hamilton Area. To date, the agency has operated Drummond House, established in 2005 as a home for women and children who need temporary housing, and “Rescued and Restored,” a store that sells upcycled furniture and other home essentials to generate revenue to run the ministry’s programs and services.

In determining the best way to help more people, Eagles Nest conducted a feasibility study with World Vision last year.

“That report showed the need for faith-based support services in Waterdown, especially for children,” said Debra Tigchelaar, executive director of Eagles Nest Association. At the same time, Bethel CRC was seeking a way to use its vacant parsonage to serve God. The home had been rented out as a residence for many years, and as that lease had completed, church members wanted to repurpose the space to further God’s kingdom. 

When Joanne Adema, a member at Bethel CRC read in a Fall 2016 newsletter that Eagles Nest needed space, she emailed Tigchelaar and encouraged her to submit a proposal to their church committee. After reading the proposal, the committee decided that this would be a good step for both groups. 

Last month, Eagles Nest held an open house at the renovated parsonage to give the public an opportunity to tour the space. Bedrooms have been converted to a prayer room and individual counseling rooms. The larger spaces will be used for support group meetings and children’s programs. The basement workshop will be used to teach tool basics and minor home repairs. The kitchen will be a space to offer cooking classes. As yet mostly unfurnished, the agency hopes to equip the learning center through donations from the community. They plan to begin offering programs this fall. 

Eagles Nest Association is thankful to have use of the parsonage and is excited to continue developing this partnership with Bethel CRC as well as other area churches. 

“We know the need is there,” said Tigchelaar.  “With the ongoing support of churches and community we can continue to change lives.”

About the Author

Krista Dam-Vandekuyt is the Banner’s regional news correspondent for classis Hamilton.