On the Sabbath of Sept. 7, 2019, Really Living Centre kick-started
its grand opening with hundreds of members and visitors from across North
America. The 25,000 square-foot facility is Ontario Conference’s
first centre of influence, serving as both a worship space for Really Living
Seventh-day Adventist Church and a community centre, open several days a week.
The newly established centre will allow for the expansion of
existing programs, like a plant-based cooking school, free oil changes for
single parents, boot camp, summer camps, and drop-in sports nights, as well as
new programs, such as sewing classes, a smoothie bar, and indoor rock climbing.
“We tried to
think of everything—how we can meet not only our needs but also the needs of
the community. That’s why we’re here,” said Brenda De Medeiros, elder and
influence like Really Living address the reality that, in today’s secular
society, traditional outreach methods like evangelistic series or going
door-to-door are insufficient. Rather, ministering to people’s needs, then
sharing the gospel—Christ’s method—will make the biggest impact, particularly
in urban centres like Hamilton.
Linrud, the midday service speaker, expressed joy at seeing the seeds he had planted
for such a centre 19 years ago as the founder of Living Word Church (now Really
Living), come into full bloom. He described the church’s humble beginnings
meeting as a small group of roughly 25 transplanted members from the mother
church, Hamilton Mountain, in the basement of church members.
“That small group
of believers wanted to make a difference by being salt and light in the world,”
he noted. Thus, they followed the Acts 2 model of studying the Word and praying
together in different homes, building relationships, and reaching out to the
community. Linrud urged all present to likewise allow Jesus to transform them
so they could transform and illuminate their communities.
praised the church’s current leadership for making his blueprint, sketched out
on napkins at Tim Hortons, a reality. “Pastor Francis and Tina Douville took on
the baton of leadership when I left this church, and they are the ones, along
with this membership, through whom God has accomplished this amazing vision.
I’m just so proud of what God has done through them.”
turn, praised Linrud as a “man of vision” while also giving credit to the
church members. “I’m surrounded by selfless people who are teaching me how to
put God first. The people in this church are absolutely phenomenal.”
his wife, Verlaine, made the trek from Oregon, where Linrud currently serves as
Oregon Conference president. Also present were former Living Word associate
pastor Juan Fresse, also coming from Oregon; Ontario Conference president
Mansfield Edwards, who participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony; and
Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada president Mark Johnson.
In his opening
remarks that Sabbath, Johnson lauded Really Living as a model for other Ontario
churches. “We are not saved to be hermits in a cave. We need to be where God’s
As he closed,
Linrud noted that Really Living Centre was “meant to be a beacon of light [in]
a community that is overrun by darkness.” However, he said, “As beautiful and
amazing as this building is, as comfortable as the seats are, this is not our
final destination. This is not our home.”
Let us support Really Living and future centres of influence in Ontario in pointing a troubled world to the hope, healing, and wholeness found only in Jesus Christ and our eternal home.
–Christelle Agboka, Ontario Conference