October was a busy and exciting month for the Russell RP Church! Not only did we celebrate the 25th anniversary of our first worship services being held in Russell, but by God’s grace we also were able to witness the grand opening and dedication of our new church building.

Russell RP new church building

The Russell RP Church began as a church plant from the Ottawa RPC in October 1997. Since that time, we have been meeting together for worship in a variety of locations, including in local school gymnasiums up until March 2020. When COVID-19 hit and we lost our worship location, the need for a church building of our own became even more urgent and apparent. While this had been a desire and prayer of our congregation for many years, few suitable locations had ever become available and several promising doors had been providentially shut. However, in God’s faithfulness, we were able to purchase an old grocery store in the heart of our small town in late 2021 and the renovations began a few months later.

For those of us who have lived in Russell for decades, we would have never imagined that the old Foodland building would become our new place of worship, but in God’s providence and with the help of a tireless building committee, and a skilled architect and construction team, the building was transformed into a beautiful and functional space.

The old Foodland building, mid-construction.

On October 15th, we were excited to open our doors to the community during a Grand Opening Open House. At this event, we gave tours of the building, enjoyed lunch, pumpkin carving, cotton candy, and other activities with our friends and neighbours, and had the opportunity to share about God’s faithfulness to our congregation. We were blessed to have a strong team of volunteers from our church to run this event, and are glad to report that it was well received by the community.

That evening, we joined together as a congregation for a special dedication service in which we publicly dedicated both the building and ourselves to the service of Christ and the spreading of the gospel. Our hearts were encouraged by preaching from Pastor Matt Dyck of the Hillside RPC and we were grateful to have many visitors from other local reformed churches join us for the service.

We give thanks to God for his faithfulness to us as a congregation. Just a few short days following our Grand Opening, we had the privilege of hosting our first wedding at our new church building. In God’s providence, the groom at this wedding was the first baby to ever be baptized in our congregation, back in 1998. Our pastor, Matt Kingswood, had the joy of performing both that baptism, and this wedding.

We are also thankful to the many individuals, families, and churches who have prayed for our congregation over the past 25 years. We could not be more grateful for your partnership in the gospel, and we are humbled by the outpouring of support and rejoicing that we have received and witnessed as we celebrate this milestone. We look forward to seeing how God uses this building for his glory and the good of our church and community. To God be the Glory!

Thanks to Mrs. Elia Vedder for writing this account of the Grand Opening. Elia is a daughter of Pastor Matt Kingswood and grew up in Russell. Along with her husband, Joel and their two children they are active members in the Russell congregation.

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