The Carmel New Church is located in Kitchener Ontario, Canada. For this spotlight, we interviewed both the Head Pastor, Brad Heinrichs and the assistant Pastor, Nathan Cole.
How long have you been in Kitchener?
Rev. Heinrichs: I have been at the Carmel New Church since 1999. From 1999-2002 I was the Assistant to the Pastor (Michael Cowley). For the last 15 years from 2002-2017 I have been the Pastor. I have had Matt Genzlinger, Ethan McCardell, Fred Chapin, and Nathan Cole as Assistants.
Rev. Cole: I started July 2008, and was ordained into the 2nd degree here in 2010. I will be starting my 9th year this July.
What’s the history of the congregation?
Our New Church School was established in 1888. The school institution predates the church congregation which started in 1891 with the official split from Convention and began operating as part of the General Church in 1892. The current location in Caryndale was set up in 1962 when the congregation moved from a downtown location out to the suburbs, starting a new church community in the neighborhood. The church has gone through major renovations in 2002 which expanded the school, and then in 2007 when another addition was added for the new high school program.
What sorts of programs do you run on a regular basis?
The Carmel New Church has a variety of programs including Friday supper and weekly Sunday school classes. There is also a weekly doctrinal study, as well as an annual marriage retreat and men’s retreat. “Horseplay” is a monthly discussion group for all ages. It’s goal is to discuss current events and relevant topics in the light of the Word. Living Waters Family Camp is our latest venture and is now in it’s fifth year. Having started with 48 attendees the first year, we are now up to 87 camp attendees. Twice a year we hold the New Church teen weekends, in conjunction with the GCIC and Olivet. The Carmel New Church school holds classes for children in junior kindergarten through 8th grade, and grades 9 and 10 in the high school.
What are you currently focusing on as a congregation?
We are blessed with quite a number of young families and children which give us hope for the future. However, we do anticipate a gap a few years down the road based on our demographics so we are actively looking to implement a significant marketing and outreach program to try and ensure that we can keep a flow of wonderful young children coming into our school.
Community service and volunteer work is also important to the Carmel New Church. There is no end of uses that can be filled by the congregation members whether it is ushering at a church service or hosting a small group.
What are some things that are unique or different about the Carmel New Church?
Rev. Heinrichs: I have been impressed by the willingness of our Board, Pastor’s Council, and School committee to stay focused on remaining distinctively New Church. There is so much pressure from the culture around us to want to embrace things the Lord tells us not to embrace, and we are far from perfect, but I do sense that there is a commitment to try and do our best to hold fast to what the Lord actually teaches.
Rev. Cole: We are a small but thriving New Church community. Our school has 34 students and we are actively advertising to find more affirmative students. We are running grades 9 and 10 in a joint program with the local high school, providing core courses at Carmel, and electives and sports at the public school.