Hope Presbyterian Church has now been in its new location at 333 Princess St, in Kingston for three months, and I felt the need to share my most common conversation with inquirers thus far - "Why did you locate in this place next door to St. Andrew's Presbyterian?" In fact this conversation always takes two threads - location and ministry.
On Location: HOPE's desire was to be in the heart of Kingston's vibrant downtown market place, in order to meet as many people as possible. We also needed space at an affordable price, and those two criteria limited our options. There really was no other location affordable and spacious in the core of the city. The fact we are located next to another presbyterian church is providence, and not our design. We pray others will receive us with the same spirit of Jesus in Mark 9:40 "He who is not against us is on our side." We are for Christ, his gospel, his word, and truth. There are so many who do not go to church, and of the dozens of people we have connected with thus far, very few have been church-goers. Most people assume we are part of St Andrews; most have no understanding of Reformed Presbyterian doctrine; many struggle to see the differences. However, the need of a gospel, confessional, and presbyterian church is great, and HOPE is here to serve the kingdom of God.
On ministry: as well, many assume our chief ministry will be a mercy ministry directed to the poor, homeless and street people. Our location does see a significant number of both homeless and street people; it is not uncommon to have a homeless person sleep in our doorway over night. [NOTE: we are not able to act as a shelter or soup kitchen due to building, safety, tenant and insurance codes. As well, almost everyday, there is a soup kitchen ministry open and a number of places to get clothing.] When I say, "Our ministry is primarily a preaching teaching ministry of the gospel to everyone." the reactions are varied. My personal opinion is that most are not accustomed to a gospel centred ministry to the city. Our doors are open most days of the week for 3-5 hours, and people can drop in for coffee, warmth, and conversation. Hardly a person leaves without hearing about the Lord Jesus, or a tract. Hardly a Sunday has gone by where someone hasn't stopped in during or after our services. Relationships are being developed with those who have become regular visitors. There are many people to meet, who need to hear the gospel.
I do not mind this thread of conversation, rather I use it to direct people to Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour, and King and Head of his church. We are salt and light for his kingdom.