The following poetic version of our Guiding Values
is used in our gatherings.
Here because of grace.
Because God acted.
Because God loves.
Because God is about redemption.
Because God pursues us. Always.
He loves humanity.
He loves creation.
He is good.
Here because of Jesus.
Because in him all things are being redeemed.
Because of his life.
Because of his death.
Because of his resurrection.
Because he is with us. Always.
He is our pastor.
Here because we are a church.
Because together in the Spirit we are united as one.
Because together we are able to listen to the Spirit’s leading.
Because together the Spirit is making us whole.
Because together we are the body of Jesus,
with all our diversity and gifts.
Because together in our brokenness we find life.
Because together in our weakness we find strength.
Because together we embrace mystery.
Because together we walk in God's
faithfulness and trustworthiness.
Because together we submit to the Holy Scriptures.
Because together at the Table we find Jesus.
We are becoming a people who are
learning to love Jesus more fully.
Becoming a people who love others.
Becoming a people who live on mission.
Becoming a people who share our stories.
Becoming a people who live God's kingdom.
Becoming a people of ridiculous generosity.
Becoming a people who serve locally and globally.
Becoming a people who value simplicity.
Becoming a people who laugh, play, cry, and live life together.
Here because we love this city.
Because we believe there's a better way.
Because we have so much to learn.
In early 2012 a small group of people in Ancaster began to work towards the start of a new church community. Our early days were spent gathering at the Coach & Lantern Pub in Ancaster Village. Our desire to love and serve the community of Ancaster was birthed in those early days, and led us to put down our roots in the Village. These days we gather intentionally once a week at the old Parish Hall at 37 Halson Street and are aptly named, Ancaster Village Church. We continue to try and figure out ways to serve this great community.
In the beginning, God set creation in motion, blessed it, and made it good. Humanity is made with the mark of this goodness, capable of incredible beauty, creativity, and kindness. However, as sometimes reflected in our choices, and as can be seen in looking around our world, violence, greed, abuse, selfishness, and brokenness are real. Things are not as they should be.
We believe in a full story of redemption. That God is gracious, loving, and good; that he loves humanity and creation; and that in and through his Son, and by the power of the Spirit, there is an unstoppable trajectory of love and redemption.
We believe God extends to us relationship and intimacy, and that in our unique way at Ancaster Village Church, the following Guiding Values help us discover this within our ongoing journey of faith. These values flow in and out of each other; they do not stand alone. They help us evaluate what we’re doing and they point us towards an ideal that we believe God has given our church for our time and place.
1. Jesus is our pastor
Value: Jesus showed us how to live a life to the fullest. We think the world would be a better place if everyone imitated his life. But he’s more than a model. We believe he’s alive and that he wants us to live our lives with him, in him, and through him.
Practice: We know he hears and sees us and that he speaks, so we intentionally listen. When we hurt, we ask him to heal. When we have questions, we ask him for guidance. We ask him to show us how to live and to live through us. We believe he’s in the room with us and capable of amazing things. We have a desire to see and experience the mystery of him doing signs and wonders in our midst. We intentionally gather once a week to participate in these things together, to worship, give thanks, discuss the Scriptures, and partake in the Communion table.
2. We practise faith together
We believe that intellectual integrity, honesty, open conversation, vulnerability, doubt, and discussion is invaluable and helpful in our faith formation. We celebrate that at AVC you do not have to put on a facade; you can be yourself. We want to be a space for people to belong as they reflect on their faith and the church. AVC is a place for those who are tired, have been wounded, and looking for something fresh.
Practice: We create space for discussion and asking questions. We talk about current issues in our world that matter. Our weekly approach to the Bible is that it offers us stories and insights into this great project called life. We share our lives with each other, submitting our circumstances to ask each other for help, to listen, and to walk with us in faith. We’re not afraid of admitting that we may not always have the answer.
3. Following Spirit’s voice
Value: We believe that consensus is possible as we discern the voice of the Spirit together in community. We believe that the Spirit speaks, guides, and is always interested in seeing her church work for the goodness of God’s plan of redemption.
Practice: Our decision-making structure and governance model is completely based on Spirit-led processes of discernment. We take the necessary time to practice listening prayer together as a community. We teach the practice of listening prayer. We encourage everyone at AVC to participate in this humbling and exciting experience.
4. A safe place
Value: Those who feel marginalized, pushed aside, or unheard should feel safe at AVC. In God’s love there is justice, compassion, equity, equality, intrinsic worth, and dignity for all. The ground before the Table of bread and cup is level for all, and all are welcome there.
Practice: We do our best to meet all people with love and inclusion, wanting to hear their story, share in their journey, and learn from them. People are given space to share and join in service together as they are comfortable.
5. Our faith shapes our practices and priorities
Value: We believe words need action. Our faith shapes our daily practices in ourselves, at home, in the church, in our community, and around the world.
Practice: We attempt to connect our faith, discussions, teaching, and spiritual practices with how we live. We intentionally create experiences and places to practice our beliefs, show mercy, fight for justice, and to pursue reconciliation. We consistently remind each other that God is asking us to be faithful. While this can be difficult and require risk, we support each other in the journey, finding that doing so is good for us.
6. We’re here to serve our community
Value: We want to generously serve and care for our community, encouraging and helping it to be a great place to live, work, and play. We believe that no matter our circumstances, we each have something to give.
Practice: We choose to purposefully invest our time, talents, and resources in projects, events, and organizations that serve our community before creating our own versions of those things.
7. We like to eat
Value: Everybody eats, and food brings people together. Our relationships go deeper, laughter and stories are shared, and we become better listeners when we meet around a table to eat and drink together.
Practice: From our first days meeting in Ancaster’s Coach & Lantern Pub, food has been a part of our gatherings. We eat together. Once a month we potluck. We encourage the practice of hospitality in our homes. When life overwhelms someone, we take them food.
8. We practise simplicity
Value: We pursue conscious simplicity, finding beauty and freedom and grace over guilt within our gatherings.
Practice: As we do things purposefully and to the best of our ability, we laugh at mistakes and move on. We say “no” to adding things that increase complexity.
9. We do this together
Value: Being a church means that everyone plays a part. Young, old, and in-between, we want everyone lending a hand.
Practice: Everyone gets involved in something. Our weekly gathering, work in the community, and care for each happens because everyone participates.
10. It takes a village
Value: We believe we need to pray for, bless, and delight in our children. To help children grow up in faith they need to be involved, heard, and considered.
Practice: Our kids run around and they’re loud. Sometimes kids interrupt things. Sometimes in the middle of a serious moment, kids make noises of all sorts. We intentionally create times for kids to be kids, to learn with other kids, and to learn alongside adults.
11. We Know Your Name
Value: We value knowing each other’s names, stories, and supporting each other in relationships. You can’t hide here, and we’re okay with that; we think you have something that makes us better. We want to be quick to adjust, change, and adapt our life together; we are unencumbered by big budgets, big buildings, and big numbers.
Practice: We share our stories, highs and lows with each other, in structured service times and in informal conversations. We take time to pray for one another. We make conscious decisions that allow us to remain responsive to changes within our community, and we designate part of our giving towards the potential of beginning new churches in our surrounding neighbourhoods.