On April 1st, Palm Sunday, Harmony Community Church began their “satellite” services in Williamsburg at Timothy Christian School.
In addition to providing closer access to those congregants who live in South Dundas, the move is also an invitation to those who might be interested in experiencing Harmony Community Church first hand.
According to their website, Harmony was first built during the years 1884 and 1885 by neighbours of different faiths, including Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians and Catholics. Baptist Alexander Wood donated the land for the church.
While Harmony started out as Harmony Methodist Church, it became Harmony United Church in 1925 and then Harmony Community Church in 1976. Today the church, still named Harmony Community Church, is affiliated with the Evangelical Missionary Church of Canada.
According to Harmony’s pastor, D. Bruce North, Harmony Community Church “is more of a non-denominational church” in terms of the church’s “flavour” or “focus and style” of worship. “Our style is a mix; Pentecostal would be what people identified us with.”
North explained that as an affiliate of the Evangelical Missionary Church of Canada, Harmony Community Church is not independent.
He pointed to the merits of being an affiliate, saying “we’re part of a group that has a national voice and missions overseas.” In addition, “they’re not intrusive.”
He also said that Harmony “still values being accountable. I have a bishop that I have to report to. It’s good to have accountability.”
As for the church itself, the ‘old’ church is now “the lobby of the new church.” According to North, Harmony has a congregation of about 110 to 120 people. The church’s actual capacity is 150.
Harmony Community Church’s history of being very welcoming and inclusive is being borne out here in South Dundas with “satellite” services at Timothy Christian School.
According to North, the prevalence of South Dundas families in the church’s congregation led to the idea for the “satellite” services.
Having a service in Williamsburg makes things easier for those congregants who faithfully and loyally travel the distance to Winchester each Sunday, explained North. It will also give those who are unable to travel to Harmony the opportunity to experience Harmony’s worship close to home.
And, “we’re always doing neat stuff,” added North.
The “satellite” services give assistant pastor Daniel Wallace “an opportunity to preach without the senior pastor hovering.”
Wallace “is leaving this summer to take on his own church in Toronto,” said North.
Wallace conducted services at the Harmony Community Church location in Winchester on April 1st and will do so for the remainder of the “satellite” services.
Considering that the Timothy Christian School location is “the outreach oriented” service, North felt it was important that he be there in Williamsburg for each of the Sunday “satellite” services.
As for the “satellite” location, Timothy Christian School, North said it’s “a good partnership with them as well. Through us, it does publicize that they exist. We are an evangelical group of Christians who tend to think more about home schooling and Christian schooling.”
In addition, “the facility is sitting there, they have a sound system, and they’re being very fair.”
As for whether “satellite” services might turn into an ongoing thing, North said, “it certainly is a test. The elders of the church will look at it. There’s certainly a possibility of resuming in the fall.”
North emphasized that there are “no plans to form a new church in South Dundas. We don’t plan on starting a new church; we want to use resources better.”
“This is a different way of getting personal with people.” Instead of two services at one church, there are two separate services in two separate locations, making for smaller pastor to congregant ratio.
“Rural folk,” said North, “we like to see each other, connect with our neighbours and friends who have a common experience.”
“Our people are rural. There are very few families we get from north of the church,” he said. “We go all the way to Iroquois.”
There are two more planned spring “satellite” services to be held at Timothy Christian School in Williamsburg. The 10:30 a.m. services will take place on the first Sunday in May and the first Sunday in June.