In the ashes of the Mustard Seed, the church and food bank moves on.
“You might say we even owe it to the community to keep this going and to show as much as we can that we’re keeping going,” says in-term congregational pastor Drew Snider.
The Good Friday mass continued in the face of a fire that devastated the building last month. The cause is still under investigation, but it’s left the facility with smoke damage that’s forced the closure of the kitchen and food bank.
“We had a lot of damage that was done. We’re not able to do our usual operations, both the church services and some of the food bank and some of the food services that we have too,” says Snider.
“But in the mean time we’re still moving ahead with our services. Nothing’s going to stop us from doing that.”
In the days since the fire, the Mustard Seed has been overwhelmed by the support from the community, with various groups and businesses stepping up to help carry on vital services.
“We have actually been so fortunate in that other churches have reached out to us and offered us a place so that we can have our services there,” says hospitality manager Jennifer Sharlow.
“People have been stepping up with food, with donations and we are just feeling so fortunate and blessed for all the community support.”
The Good Friday service started outside of the Mustard Seed before moving to the Centennial United Church. Throughout the weekend, the Mustard Seed will continue to host community members for various Easter-related events.
“Tomorrow we have a hot meal being served here between 11 am and 1 pm,” says hospitality pastor Melanie Ihmels.
“We actually have some community members who are making the meal because we still don’t have access to fridges or power or anything and then on Sunday we have our Sunday Easter service again at Centennial at 1:30 pm.”
Even with an effort to rebuild the church ongoing, staff say that there’s still no timeframe for reopening.
“Certainly through the month of April and then beyond that we just don’t know exactly when we’ll be able to go back to our normal operations,” says Snider.
Until then, the work will continue.
RELATED: ‘It’s pretty disheartening’: Mustard Seed forced to close, throw out food after fire