ReInvention: Stories from an Urban Church

· Wood Lake Publishing Inc.

About this ebook

In these days of declining membership in mainline congregations, a new church plant is a rarity. Even more so, perhaps, when the church plant involves an existing 145-year-old building, and a focus on ministry to college and university students, young adults living in the neighbourhood, and those experiencing homelessness and dealing with poverty.

In ReInvention: Stories from an Urban Church, Mark Whittall shares the insights and wisdom he and a small-but-dedicated team gained as they worked to establish a new congregation in St. Albans Church, the second oldest Anglican parish in Ottawa.

The challenges the team faced were not small: the renovation of the original building, negative reaction from the community to the placement of a day program for the homeless, creating new liturgies and a new kind of church experience, and learning how best to reach out to and involve people with little or no prior church involvement. The result of all these efforts, however, has been the transformation of St. Albans into a vibrant centre for worship, a beautiful venue for the arts, and place of shelter and safety for many of the city’s most vulnerable inhabitants.

About the author

The Rev. Mark Whittall is the pastor of St. Albans Church and a priest of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa.  He is an engineer by training, and obtained graduate degrees in Theoretical Physics and in Development Economics from Oxford University.  His first career was as an engineer and executive in the high-tech sector, rising to the position of CEO and earning recognition as Ottawa’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2000.  Soon afterwards he left his business career and turned to the study of theology. He served as Professor, History of Science at Augustine College in Ottawa from 2002 to 2007 and was ordained as an Anglican Priest in 2008.  After a brief stay in a rural parish, he was tasked with building a new congregation at St. Albans Church in downtown Ottawa in 2011, where he currently serves as pastor.

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