Tuesday, April 1, 2008

At Long Last!!

Regular blogging has been somewhat sporadic here recently, and for that I truly apologize. We've been very busy since returning from Mexico, and there's been a lot of stuff happening behind the scenes that we couldn't talk about. But now, we have reached a point where we can make this exciting announcement:

Brother Maynard and his incredible family, along with the Clan McAlpine, will be joining forces once again, neither in Winnipeg nor Kelowna, but (insert drum roll here) -- Medicine Hat, Alberta!

Bro. Maynard and I have been talking and dreaming for months about the possibility of planting a missional community, and the timing seems right, and the location also seems to be a diamond in the rough.

Medicine Hat is a small city of just under 60,000 people about 3 hours southeast of Calgary. It has a surprisingly active arts community for a city its size - Medicine Hat Folk Club and the Medicine Hat JazzFest are two of their music festivals, and they also have a one-act play festival annually in June and a musical theatre each November.

This was critical in our selection of locations, as was a good relationship with the local churches. So far, St. Barnabas Anglican has offered space if we need it, and we have been welcomed to become involved in the drama program at River Park Church (EMCC). Both understand our missional aims and that we are not intending to become part of their communities, but to plant a missional community of our own. We're still looking to connect with some of the other churches in the area before we launch.

The community will be in a neo-monastic vein centered around a missional order. Since the cost of housing in Alberta is quite significant, we are initially looking for a large home that could house two or three families living communally in an older/established neighbourhood. It remains to be seen if we'll stick with that since it's such a big adjustment for all of us, but it's a good way for us to be able to focus all of our resources as we start out. Each of us will be working part-time and giving ourselves to missional endeavours the rest of the time.

We are excited to be able to announce that we've found a couple of investors who will be funding our setup of a coffee house, which has some significant startup costs; their investment should cover the startup and first year until it becomes self-sustaining.

St. Barnabas has offered space if we can't find anything right away, but we'll probably want to secure a lease someplace and get it going there rather than having to move it later. This is a big deal for us, because the investors understand what we're about and are putting up the money at very lenient terms... no interest for five years, and partly forgivable if it flops! I can't disclose who the investors are of course, but this is obviously pretty huge.

At the moment we're hoping to find two more couples who would be able to pitch in with us at the outset, and are planning to be established there five months from today, on September 1st. After living in larger cities for so long, it's going to be a delight to settle into the slower pace of a small-ish city and make our homes there.

If you are interested in exploring this adventure with us (hint, hint, Grace), feel free to email me or Brother Maynard. We'd love to dream with you!

Update: 12:01 PM