St. Pete’s has been a huge part of my life over the past five years. In many ways, my wife Casey and I have “grown up” in this community. Most of our closest friends are here. We got married as a part of this community. We’ve celebrated the marriages of our friends and the birth of their children here too. And soon we are going to have our first child as a part of this community.
St. Pete’s has been home.
But as much as we’ve had a ton to celebrate as part of this community, we’ve also had a lot to mourn. The church that we knew in 2016 has seen a lot of people come and go. The transience of a church in downtown Vancouver is hard. Our original community group—once our closest group of friends—eventually disbanded as each of the couples moved away from Vancouver. What once felt like home started to feel foreign; and what was supposed to feel comfortable began to feel hard and scary. Casey and I felt lost and wondered whether we should stay at St. Pete’s or look for something more stable.
Things started to change in 2018. It was a breakthrough. We joined a new community group and we began to build meaningful friendships. We started to feel a sense of community again. We felt energized and excited to be a part of the church again. We felt like we had found what we had lost, and we were grateful to God for guiding us. Yet just as quickly as we’d started to feel hope again the floor fell out. People in our group who had become close friends started moving, whether for opportunities across the country or new homes outside of the city. In a short span, our group lost our leaders, our hosts, and our friends. We became so small I openly wondered whether we should just disband the group altogether.
But God had different plans for us.
As quickly as we lost people, we started adding new people too. In what felt like an instant, we had gone from being whittled down to a group of 3 people to a regular group of 10 people. Our friendships are still new and our rhythms will take time to form, but I have been so grateful that God has a vision for renewal in our community that we never could have imagined. Where we saw only despair and thought of giving up, God saw an opportunity for renewal and the chance to bring a group of strangers together to become friends. God is faithful to his people. He builds meaningful relationships even in our transient city. It takes endurance. It isn’t easy. But he is faithful. All I can say is, “Glory be to God.”