HAMILTON – On Palm Sunday, Bishop Susan Bell did something that hasn’t happened in the Diocese of Niagara in nearly a quarter of a century. She consecrated a new church space, setting it apart for worship and ministry.
More than 70 people gathered at the new All Saints Mission, located at the corner of King and Queen streets in Hamilton. The mission is in a newly constructed, 24-storey condominium building.
“You are the best news we’ve had in years,” said Bishop Bell during the service.
Canon Mike Deed, All Saints’ missioner, is working to build partnerships in the local community and exploring ways to open the mission’s doors to new ways of being God’s church. The mission’s mandate is shaped by three priorities: to deepen relationships with God, to walk with its neighbours and to work for justice. “The new building, with its huge windows looking out onto the busyness of King Street, is another constant reminder to seek and meet God in the world and to be invitational,” he says.
Two stained glass windows and the century-old baptismal font from the former All Saints church have been incorporated into the new worship space and are visible from the street.
The people of All Saints Mission have been waiting for a permanent worship space to call their own since 2009, when their church, which dated back to the 1870s, was deemed structurally unsound due to a rare earthquake in 1998. Restoration costs were estimated at more than $6 million, so the congregation voted to leave the building and build a new church to continue ministry in the neighbourhood. The damaged church and other buildings were demolished in 2016.
Since that time, the congregation has worshipped in a nursing home, a local Presbyterian church and with their Anglican siblings at St. Paul, Westdale. The Good Shepherd community in Hamilton also exhibited generous hospitality towards them.
“I hope that you, All Saints, have inaugurated a moment, a movement and a season, and that there will be plenty more new churches to come,” said Bishop Bell.