By Shannon Youell
Nestled in a community of approximately 300 people 40ish miles southwest of Calgary, Longview Bible Fellowship has long been a fixture of being God’s presence in a neighbourhood. If you ever have a chance to visit with Pastors Gil and Andrea Kidd, you will find yourself captured by their joy, passion, vision and seemingly boundless energy—they are truly a delight and being with them is like sitting in a field of flowers on a wonderfully sunny day.
“In a small community like Longview, the more people who contribute to the village social life, the richer the village will be.” Pastor Gil
Gil and Andrea, in seeking to rebuild relationship and trust, have invested themselves in re-engaging the community around them and it truly is a labour of love—love for God and love for others. LBF is in the process of affiliating with our CBWC family.
Pastor Gil gives us some insight into their steps for re-engagement. They began with first doing a good exegesis of the community they live within, and joining with the community stakeholders who care for and have a passion for seeing the whole village flourish.
“LBF was one of the thinktanks from which the Seniors Club emerged, and LBF keeps coming up with new ideas as to how to engage the village.”
The Seniors Club, of which Andrea is the secretary and members of LBF are a part, has created a regular place to visit with others and have some fun: sip tea with old friends, share food with new friends, and meet the realized needs of those who are struggling. They also created a meals-on-wheels program. These two initiatives are building relational equity and a new trust in this small town where mistrust of church from past hurts has been heavy.
They have held Alpha and quarterly hymn sings (outdoors in finer weather), all the while being intentional about investing in relationships and friendships that are not dependent on someone coming to their Sunday service but inter-dependent as they, too, are a part of the community.
“As these engagements continue, the influence of the church is spreading.”
As LBF continues to influence their community, they are also seeing people expressing interest in the Sunday service. They have seen many visitors come and join them for hymn sings and some have re-engaged with the LBF community at worship.
LBF’s heart is to be the people of Christ present in a place, where people drop in for whatever reasons—to chat, to ask questions, to contribute, to receive and sometimes, or perhaps, often, just have a cup of coffee and a conversation about the weather, while also being the people who are equally present and engaged in the places and priorities of the town itself.