TrueCity Hamilton

July-December 2016

Lauren+ Date Archive, July-December 2016, TrueCity Hamilton

Overview

TrueCity is a network of congregations working together for the good of Hamilton. We share a calling to authentic involvement in our neighbourhoods and across the city, and cultivate cooperation and collaboration between churches on specific projects to be a blessing to Hamilton.

TrueCity aims to share tangible congregation-based models of involvement in neighbourhoods and the city as a whole. We facilitate shared learning and collaborative projects so that our churches participate more fully and effectively in God’s mission together.

For the past ten years the TrueCity network has pursued a vision of “churches together for the good of our city.”  This movement grew out of a shared conviction and a shared dream that churches have a unique role to play in enabling transformation in their neighbourhoods and city. The dream included churches connecting in ways that allowed them to learn from each other and collaborate in order to grow stronger as local congregations while they bless their neighbourhoods and city.

Detailed Implementation Plan

Over the last six months, the local churches are constantly learning from themselves, from each other, and from their neighbourhoods. The focus has been on continuing to strengthen the TrueCity identity and network relations between congregations across Hamilton, and the TrueCity Festival (taking place on March 3-4, 2017) will be an opportunity to celebrate and share stories of how God has been working across the city.

In September 2016 TrueCity began sharing office space with EduDeo Ministries and A Rocha with space for the potential development of a Community Kitchen at “Campus 621” on Barton Street in Hamilton. Our vision for this place is to be a collaborative hub of activity, a space where people work together for local and global renewal.

The Refugee Engagement Project started a year ago with a vision of seeing the lives of refugees and churches in Hamilton transformed through the experience of shared life journeys. The original focus was to be on private sponsorship and equipping churches, but the focus over time came to include the 1,300 government sponsored refugees that were landing in Hamilton. In the fall, the New Neighbourhood initiative was started to connect interested Syrian families to Canadian families, aiming to address the issue of isolation and lack of belonging that many newcomers felt. At the end of the year, 15 families in total had been connected.

Two Refugee Roundtables were held in the last six months where a total of 26 churches intersected, sharing stories and learnings. Speakers came in to talk about cultural intelligence, as well as addressing expectations and reality while working with refugees.

The Connections Project has continued to equip and train church connectors, giving them tools and strategies that can be used to strengthen the relational bridges between congregations. They met in September and December and have another meeting scheduled in January with the Core Church leaders and again in April. They will continue to work to strengthen how their churches communicate and share relevant information within churches and between churches, while also looking at how their congregations are engaging in mission.

As part of the Discipleship Project, Andrew Zantingh has come alongside churches over the past three years who wanted to dive deeper into discipleship rhythms and formed discipleship huddles. After being huddled and empowered, this year we saw a third huddle begin with some leaders moving on to lead their own huddles. This growth and development of discipleship between churches is exciting!

This fall our annual collaborative events (Backpacks, the Ride for Refuge and Christmas Hampers) happened between churches  within the TrueCity Network.

Looking Forward

A big focus during the next few months is the TrueCity Festival. This year it is being held on March 3-4, 2017. On Friday evening the Festival will start by welcoming Dr. John M. Perkins. Dr. Perkins is an author, mentor, activist, and pastor who founded the Christian Community Development Association. He has inspired many of us and is the man the Perkins Centre is named for. The rest of the Festival will be spent sharing stories and celebrating what God is doing in our city.

Stories of Transformation

Over the past three years, seven churches that are a part the TrueCity Hamilton network have been launched into rhythms of missional discipleship. Rev. Leanne Friesen, Lead Pastor, Mount Hamilton Baptist, shared this with us:

Learning about missional discipleship has not always been easy. I have been challenged and stretched in ways I never expected. It is not always easy to take a hard look at one’s current patterns of leadership and acknowledge their downside. Yet I have been encouraged and re-energized to see hope for a new way of discipleship that aligns with the way of Jesus. In just a few short months, I have already seen the tangible results of growing disciples using the strategies we have learned in our huddle. A few days ago, I got an email from a woman with whom I had huddled last year. She was looking for materials for a new Christian she is now mentoring. This particular woman was someone I can honestly say I never would have expected to step into leadership in this way. She has been motivated and empowered. In a few weeks I will begin a second huddle group and already have a group of eleven eager participants. I am most grateful for the time Andrew has invested in my life.”

Partnership Community

In the past six months we have started a Neighbourhood Listening Project, an asset-based community development initiative. Two volunteers are spending time in the Sherman neighbourhood, taking the opportunity for TrueCity to get to know the Sherman area and the churches involved in it. Through interviews, focus groups, and conversations we have explored how God is at work in a specific time and place. We hope it will spark further conversation around how churches engage in their communities.

Financial Information

Total Income 2016 $149,224
Total Expenses 2016 $110,336
Overall 2016 Budget $128,628