Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9 (NIV)
Église Communautaire de la Rivière Rouge (ECRR) was launched in 2000. Founding pastoral couple Sonia Blanchette and Mario Buscio answered God’s call to leave Quebec and plant a church in St. Boniface, their goal was to establish a lasting evangelical church presence for the French-speaking people of Winnipeg.
Sharing space with Crossroads MB Church, ECRR holds worship every Sunday at 6pm. ECRR is positioned to be a meeting place not only for Winnipeg’s French-speaking community but also for new Canadians. Many of their current membership has emigrated from La Francophonie.
Attendance is small (20–30 per week), though growing slowly. But to current leadership, numbers are not the focus. “We seek to grow spiritually more so than in numbers” says council member Katherina Caby, “ECRR has to be a strong presence in the community of St.Boniface first and foremost.
In this pursuit, ECRR isn’t content with the status quo: “We no longer wish to operate in ‘survival mode’ – we look for a fresh movement of the Holy Spirit in our church. But what does that look like?” says Caby.
“We seek to grow spiritually more so than in numbers.”
In early 2016, church leaders will participate in Focused Ministry, an assessment and strategy development workshop facilitated by MBCM. They have already begun the first step, a two-month period of individual and collective prayer titled Hearing God. Here they will follow a guided process of listening, praying and responding to the Spirit.
Finding a new pastor is critical to ECRR’s long-term plans. Arisnel Mesidor has been serving as transitional pastor since Blanchette and Buscio departed in 2012. Church members have made this a matter of prayer and ask that fellow Mennonite Brethren support them by praying as well.
Written by Carson Samson
Carson Samson (CGD) is the Director of Church Relations for Mennonite Brethren Church of Manitoba. He has been a creative communications professional since 1999. Carson is married to Donna Lee, who works in healthcare management. They have two fun-loving kids (a boy and a girl) and an English Mastiff.