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Summerside Community Church “Love the people in your community”
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"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4

East of Highbury on Commissioners Road there was a little country church. When Pastor Mark Cuthbert arrived, the church was struggling. Its future was bleak. The congregation had declined and it was virtually impossible to cover the basic expenses.

But then a rumour — something would be happing to the Jackson property, a large plot of land bordered by Highbury Road to the west, Jackson Road to the east, Commissioners Road to the north and Bradley Avenue to the south. But what? There were a variety of rumours with the most exciting rumour was that a new large residential development was in the works. Then the announcement: the land would be transformed into a large, very large housing development that would become the ideal setting for families and would become well known as Summerside. The community would be home to young families, well established families as well as new immigrants to our country.

All of a sudden the small country church was no longer in the country. Now it was the gateway to this new fast growing vibrant community, a community that represented a new beginning for every family that came and a new beginning for the church. The prayers of Pastor Mark and his team were answered.

The name of the church was changed to Summerside Community Church and one blessing led to another and another. The days of an uncertain future for the church were over and Summerside Community Church flourished. Their mission was cast, "Building a loving community of Christ followers who worship God, serve others, and grow together".

Today Summerside Community Church exemplifies the core of the "Simple Church", the 3 activities that express what it means to be related to God, Others, and One another. The three principles are witnessed in every ministry and every activity inside and outside of the walls of Summerside: Worshipping, Serving, and Growing.

Actually, one of the challenges that Pastor Mark grapples with is the rapid growth, a "problem" many other churches wish they would have! Back when their little country church was in jeopardy of closing, there were well under a hundred regular members. Now they share the gospel with 325 every Sunday, mostly Summerside residents but also many from Dorchester after the Baptist church in their community closed. There are actually 450 Summerside Community Church members and, as Pastor Mark says, "If they all came to the same Sunday service, many would be standing".

Pastor Mark sincerely believes in working closely with any and all like-minded groups. Summerside works closely with the City, service organizations such as the Optimists, community groups, government agencies and all other churches. They share resources and offer joint programs with Compass Community Church. The latest exciting news is more expansion! Some time ago, Victory Heights Baptist Church in Glen Cairn closed down. Glen Cairn needs its own church as many of the people in the area have no means to travel to Summerside or Compass. It is the hope that, in conjunction The Fellowship Baptist's Association of Churches, Summerside and Compass will start a new church in Glen Cairn. It will minster to that unique community. If all goes according to the plan, the new pastor, and the church will be ready to welcome the community in early 2013.

The churches that thrive today are specialists in outreach. "Being focused inward with new ministries will lead to the failure of the ministries. With our vibrant community including so many young people and young families, outreach is key as we had the chance to challenge our family to get involved and be a participant not just an audience. In a recent fun fair we had over 100 willing volunteers. That’s more than the total size of our congregation when we started!"

If you visit the Summerside Community Church website(www.summersidechurch.ca), you can enjoy photo galleries of dozens of pictures of all of the ministries. Do these pictures support their outreach philosophy? There is not a single picture of inside the church.

Connections is an example of sharing the Gospel with the young families while providing them support. These young parents meet others, many first time parents with more questions than answers. Connection is a ministry that provides care for babies and offers Bible based learning, sharing and fun for the whole family. It’s all about relationships!!

Play & Grow is a drop-in program for infants to preschool children and their caregivers. This program is a partnership with the team at the Ontario Early Years Centre. There are structured activities, circle time and play activities that the parents can enjoy alongside their child while making some new friends.

The UG (Underground Youth Ministry) The UG exists to reach students with the Good News of Jesus Christ encouraging students to grow in their faith while using their God given talents and abilities to serve each other and their community.

YA GROUP (Young Adults) This is a dynamic mix of young adults, 4th year high school, college, university, workplace young adults, who are at various stages in their lives and in their relationship with Jesus. It's all about relationship building, Bible study, group discussion and surprise activities.

Armour Hockey. Maybe our Southern Baptist brothers and sisters would not understand the relationship between ice, skates and a puck to the gospel but it's a perfect fit for Christians in London. Summerside’s Associate Pastor Kevin Furtney has launched an interesting way to combine his love for Jesus Christ and his love for hockey. Armour Hockey — the Armour of God, is the opportunity to build on the kids' passion for the game while building their connection to God. Armour Hockey is an affordable option to the high cost — highly demanding city leagues and Armour Hockey also gives the family a life outside of hockey.

This first year will be a learning year for Kevin and his team of volunteers and they will adjust on the fly. This year there are two age categories: 7, 8 and 9 and the older group from 10 to 12 with a total of 32 kids taking part. Each week the teams will meet starting with some practice time, followed by a centre ice circle of bible time — pray, reflection and discussion. Then it's game time! The first puck is set to drop at the Dorchester Community Centre on September 29th!

If you are a hockey fanatic or someone that would be ready to help out, please contact Pastor Kevin by phone at 519.680.3541 or by email at kevin@summersidechurch.ca. He would welcome your support especially if you can donate equipment or would consider a team sponsorship by supplying jerseys.

Good luck to all participants of Armour Hockey, another great ministry engaging the youth. When Pastor Mark is asked if more ministries or more programs are needed, his answer is clear: "God wants and expects us to grow with him but that does not automatically mean more programs and more ministries. If I were to believe that more programs would lead to more followers it would be wrong, very wrong. What we need to have are the best programs that help and properly bring the Gospel to the people. We work very hard to make sure that we do have the best programs — programs that are clarifying what it means to be Christ in the community. It is our greatest challenge yet it is the reason for the journey". kevin@summersidechurch.ca When the church is successful in engaging the congregation, especially the teens, the young parents and their children, the church has become a family, a family with similar goals, similar priorities and similar passions all centred around God. kevin@summersidechurch.ca Congratulations to the Pastor Mark Cuthbert and the family of Summerside Community Church — the growing community of immersed believers.