© 2011 Samwise Pastor Harold

Week 10 of 52: VCC

Wow, have 10 weeks gone by in 2011 already? It seems like only yesterday that I was writing about Verafin (my first post) and my co-workers… ah, memories.

Anyways, today I’m talking about VCC – Victory Christian Centre (we’re working on a website!).

For those of you who know me, you probably know that I’m pretty active in my church and that I’ve been in church (and a Christian) pretty much my whole life. I play in the band (electric guitar) pretty much every week and I hang out with peeps from church pretty regularly. The church that I go to is made up of all sorts of people – we’re a ‘non-denominational church’ which just means we’re not associated with any of the major Christian denominational streams (Anglican, Catholic, Pentecostal …etc) although our basic beliefs are generally pretty close. People come from all sorts of backgrounds, which is good! Our pastor is Harold Andrews and he used to be a school teacher at Vaters back in the days when there was still a non-unified school system. 15 years ago (or a bit more) Harold felt called to start something new (church-wise) in St. John’s and Victory Christian Centre is what came out of that.

VCC didn’t always have a permanent location. For many years we had to move around from place to place and tear down all of the chairs and musical equipment every Sunday (it was gross). But thankfully those days are behind us and for the past couple years we’ve been at 10 Pearl place just off Brookfield Road. We own a big warehouse that we refinished such that we have one wing for the church and the rest we rent out to businesses. Frontline paintball has their indoor location in our building! We also have some storage and other businesses there too. Works out well – our rent gets paid by the tenants and we have a super nice building to hang out in together.

I’ve been going to VCC for over 10 years now. When I came in to university in 2000 my roommate, Keith, was going and I tagged along with him – I think I liked it right away, it was right up my alley. Our church is not really traditional in any sense. We have a pretty rocking band (no organs or brass instruments). We focus a lot on relationship and family. We try to build each other up and help each other when and where we can. And we try to understand God’s love (as best we can) in a way that doesn’t require us to carry a big load of guilt and shame (if you didn’t grow up in the church you might not have this issue, but a lot of people/us do). I won’t get into any theological stuff here but if anyone ever wants to chat about it let me know.

One thing that’s immediately obvious about our church is that no one uses contraception – there are kids EVERYWHERE! Dean and Sue have 6 kids, most everyone else has 3 except for the newly-married ones who are just popping out kid #1. Our church gets cut in half when the kids go out to their kids church program. When I can, I like to run around with a kid on my shoulders and get them riled up… their parents love it! :)

So anyways, we often get together at church for breakfasts and baby dedications and family fun night (our Halloween event) and I generally bring my camera at these times. So I figured I would share some pictures from those events, maybe talk about the people a little and anything else that comes to mind.

Pastor Harold is a great man. He’s super humble and loves to be with people and walk with them through the ‘stuff’ that comes up in their lives. When he’s not around things definitely aren’t the same. You might be able to say that for a lot of people but it’s especially true for him. Pastor Harold is like a big teddy bear of a man – he’ll tell you to your face that he loves you and appreciates what you do (that’s pretty rare). He loves to see people become who they’re meant to be and tries to lead the church in a manner where that can happen. He’s super!

Dean Boland is a machine. The guy can sing like the dickens, play most every instrument (way better than anyone else) and he has a family with 6 kids in it! Where does he find the time!??! I’ve only known Dean for a couple years now but I enjoy it any time I get to hang out with him. He know’s his stuff when it comes to music and his family is also great. All the kids are really smart, well-adjusted people (some people can’t get 1 kid right!) and his wife is great too. Dean has a fun sense of humour and is a super mellow dude. I love playing in a band with him – he really gets you to kick things up a notch.

This is Douglas Kearley. He’s one of the ‘elders’ of the church. Doug is a funny guy too. My wife, Jennifer, works with him in kids church some Sundays and I think they have a good time since Doug is just a big kid. Doug is a business man and family man. In the picture above you can see him with one of his grand-daughters, Julia, who you’ll see running around the church most Sundays but not as much as she used to (did I mention there are kids everywhere!!). Doug has a passion for business and giving (to others) and for flying. He’s got a plane (or two), I should try to get a ride sometime (hint, hint).

Family fun night

This is Jenna and her son Ethan (dressed as a monkey) for Family Fun Night – our Halloween alternative. It’s not really a stellar picture but it kinds shows what’s going on. Jenna is originally from ‘the south’ in the USA. She married Jeff, who is Pastor Harold’s oldest son – Jenna and Jeff have 3 kids! Jenna is a super good singer and worship leader and she has that lovely southern accent (y’all). She’s also a really good mom and she likes my jokes so she gets special mention for that!

If you’re not aware, this is inside of the church building. We have clowns, kids running around dressed up and a BOUNCY CASTLE!!! Since our church is in a warehouse we have high ceilings which allows for a bunch of cool stuff – like acrobatics! You probably won’t get this at the Basilica!

Yeah so this is the same night – the bouncy castle has been removed and one of the girls from our church who has been involved in the circus and related training did this cool show. Pastor Harold is really big on people being who they are – you don’t need to be a pastor to impact people – being excellent at something and using that talent as a form of worship is just as important. Also on this night, Grant rode a uni-cycle and there was juggling and games and all sorts of craziness – good times.

This is my good friend Peter Laing (and his wife Bethany) holding his new baby, Aubrey. This was a few weeks ago and it’s what we call a baby dedication. The basic premise is that the parents, and the church, dedicate themselves to protecting the baby/child/teenager and help to develop them into God-loving people. Easy to say, harder to do but I think Pete and Bethany have a good chance of being successful. It’s tough to see, but the whole church is basically gathered around them. There’s lots of family nearby and lots of love and prayers in the atmosphere. These are the kinds of moments where you can tear up a little at times – these are the things that are really important. That little baby will have all kinds of people around her willing to help her through the stuff that comes up in life and cheer her on when she gets it right and pick her up when she gets it wrong. It’s a good thing.

So this is far from a full history of VCC or the people therein, but it’s a start. I might do another one of these sometime in the future – who knows? Anyways I figured I’d leave with one of Pastor Harold’s favorite verses from the Bible.

May the Lord bless you and keep you: May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24

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