Mountainview Christian Reformed Church in Grimsby, Ont., is developing relationships with its local community through recreational activities on the church property. Pastor Erick Schuringa said, “We are really beginning to see the church property as a community center.”
In January 2021, a few neighbors asked Mountainview CRC staff if the church would allow a skating rink to be built on its grounds. Schuringa said there was no hesitation from the church, so the community built a rink. The rink lasted for the winter 2021 season and created an opportunity for deeper relationships.
In 2022 instead of community members essentially operating the rink, church leaders met with locals to discuss how the church could be more involved. The church managed the schedule, maintained the ice, and worked with the community to keep the rink in operation. Members of the congregation, staff, and people from the community volunteered to flood the rink.
Now as winter turns to spring a new project will offer another opportunity for recreation on the church grounds. Mountainview CRC received a community project grant from the town of Grimsby for $2,500 to install a basketball net on their parking lot. This is the first time they have received this grant, and it aligns with how Schuringa is “trying to get people to think of their mission as where they live.” The church realized that people were using their property as a park with the skating rink and to walk dogs. Schuringa said, “we’re making it more of a park with a basketball net.”
The congregation is also excited to be painting a four-square court on the parking lot as another opportunity for people to enjoy spending time at the church. Schuringa said, “We have a reasonably large property with lots of open space, so if the community wants something and we can work on it, that’s a win-win in my world. … Ministry is better done when you do it in your neighborhood so you can have longer conversations and friendships.”