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Oxford Church Grows Through Community
Larry Duchesne
/ Categories: News

Oxford Church Grows Through Community

Church numbers are in decline everywhere, right? Not quite! The Oxford Church of the Nazarene is an exception. Here's what's happening.

Mark Collins came to Oxford as pastor in 2010, when there were 85 church members. Now average attendance has reached 135 and membership stands at 190 and rising.

“There has been a steady upward growth,” says Pastor Collins, “And there are a number of reasons for it.”

Parts of it have to do with a philosophical approach, lots of church-related activity, and an open and active relationship with the community.

It starts with the philosophy.

“I had been out of the ministry for five or six years and I said I can't do regular church. I'm not a religious person. I'm a faith person.”

Traditionally, churches are built around music, sermons or a pastor, says Collins. “We made an intentional decision not to build around any of these things. We made a decision to build around the presence of God. You have to come to a service on Sunday morning to understand it...most people are not familiar with what the presence of God is like”

People say, “ This feels like home!”

Prayer meetings are held almost every day. Full-time Youth Pastor Brad Silliker keeps young people in the congregation busy with bible studies, meetings, camping and other activities.

The Nazarene has opened it's doors to the community in a big way! Collins says the church cleaners have a hard time finding an hour when the church is empty so they can clean.

The church operates a soup kitchen on Wednesdays at noon. About 100 people a week, of which half are children who come for lunch. The soup kitchen is open to all.

Community groups use the church facilities freely (except for maybe a voluntary donation). The VON has programs, a large multi-congregational seniors group meets there, AA meets weekly, Maggie's Place meets twice a week. 

There are men's ministries, women's ministries, mission nights. And, the church has entered the real world with a website and facebook page.

“The church is not outside the social sense of the community,” says Collins.

Administrative Pastor Paula Rideout keeps the schedule in balance.

Ruth Collins, the pastor’s wife, plays a very active role in the community.

Growing Future Pastors

At a time of priest and minister shortages, the Nazarene has eight people moving through ministry training, including four who are licensed by the church as local or district pastors.

The church is on the lookout for empty or closing churches, within 20-30 minutes drive, where these developing pastors can learn what being a pastor is like.

Of historical note Pastor Bert Collins, father of Pastor Mark, was pastor in Oxford for 21 years starting in 1967.  Pastor Mark was raised in Oxford. 

The church was founded in 1902. It is the oldest Nazarene church in Canada in continuous use.”

In the not-too-distant future the Nazarene will have to come to terms with the church's capacity if it keeps growing it's congregation.

The church seats 200. Pastor Collins thinks the church will have to start thinking next summer about what do do. He noted, “They say 80% capacity is the point at which we can't grow anymore.”

The photo shows the pastoral staff, including: Youth Pastor Brad Silliker (left), Administrative Pastor Paula Rideout, and Pastor Mark Collins at the Oxford Church of the Nazarene.

 

 

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Radio This Week

Event List
Tuesday, July 5, 2022 12:00 AM

Listen to Morning Talk Replay. Click HERE to listen to a recent show from our archive.

Friday, December 2, 2022 9:45 AM

Ryan Reynolds, coach of the Springhill Coal Miners will be on Morning Talk to chat about the maiden season in the Beausejour Senior Hockey League. Listen at 9:45.

Saturday, December 3, 2022 8:00 PM

Saturday Night in a Harbour Town, featuring traditional East Coast music, airs every Saturday at 8 pm on Six Rivers All Hit Radio and Six Rivers Country.

Sunday, December 4, 2022 9:00 AM

Sunday Wrap, the week in review, is aired on the Six Rivers Radio Network every Sunday morning. Listen at 9:00.

Sunday, December 4, 2022 2:00 PM

A special replay of Saturday Night in a Harbour Town with host Eric MacEwen is heard every Sunday at 2 pm on Six Rivers All Hit Music and Six Rivers Country.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022 9:05 AM

Tory Rushton, Minister of Natural Resources, is on Morning Talk each Wednesday at 9:05.

Thursday, December 8, 2022 9:05 AM

Cumberland Mayor Murray Scott is on Morning Talk every Thursday. Listen at 9:05.

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Events This Week

Saturday, December 3, 2022 10:00 AM

Pickle Ball is played every Saturday from 10 am to noon at the Wentworth Recreation Centre.

Saturday, December 3, 2022 10:00 AM

The Oxford Area Lionettes are holding Christmas at the Park, a Quiche & Dessert Cafe & Craft Sale at Trinity United Church.

Saturday, December 3, 2022 3:00 PM

The Peace Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion in Pugwash is hosting Chase the Ace every Saturday afternoon at 3 pm. Click HERE for details.

Sunday, December 4, 2022 2:00 PM

Hope Centre Online is a worship service every Sunday at 2:15 pm. Click HERE to join on Zoom. The room opens at 2 pm.

Sunday, December 4, 2022 3:00 PM

Yoga is held every Sunday at 3 pm at the Wentworth Recreation Centre.

Monday, December 5, 2022 10:00 AM

Pickle Ball is played every Monday from 10 am to noon at the Wentworth Recreation Centre.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022 1:00 PM

Walk and Talk is held every Tuesday at 1 pm at the Wentworth Recreation Centre.

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