On Sunday, September 11th, 2022 members of Jubilee United Church and the Pacific Mountain Regional Council were joined by friends and colleagues to have a premier worship and Grand Opening Celebration and Blessing of the Building at 6000 Sussex Ave.
The Rev. Graham Brownmiller made the following 2 statements at Worship on September 4th (at Rumble) and September 11th (at Sussex).
September 4th, 2022
We have heard with excitement about the Grand Opening of Sussex. Mixed in with that excitement there has been some resignation and some sadness – I want to acknowledge the sadness that you might be feeling. Transitions are hard, no matter how hard we have spent preparing for it, or how much work there has been done.
For over ten years there have been conversations about the building at the corner of Sussex and Grange.
It remained a point of interest throughout all of the amalgamation conversations and on January 1, 2017 it became an asset of Jubilee United Church. Because there was nothing that we could do with the building, we didn’t have much conversation about it.
Until the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 when we spent a lot of time talking, surveying, writing, revising, and preparing a plan for our “Future of Ministry.” In that document which passed with very few “nay” votes we agreed that the Sussex site would be the site where our Sunday morning worship would take place. However, recognizing the importance of maintaining a presence here at Rumble & Gray, we agreed that we would have occasional worship here – not necessarily Sunday mornings, but other times or days which would work with our calendar. We have two evening worship services booked here already. We agreed that would be ONE church with TWO sites for ministry – including worship, service, belonging and outreach.
The leadership of the congregation made the decision to do our Sussex grand opening in September, which proved to be fortuitous since I ended up having to have surgery and be off work for a number of months.
The time has now come – not to LEAVE this building, but to TRANSITION to becoming a two site church. We have spoken about this for years, and this week it becomes a reality! We take time to recognize that the ministry that has been in this place will continue and that we – as a community – are excited about the possibilities that it offers us. We are fortunate to be in a position that we are able to gracious with our assets and generous with our ministry.
Our ancestors prepared for this. At one point this church building was the “new church” and the older ones closed. At one point this church building was “new” and the old church was moved to make room for it – and lo and behold we have a hall! They didn’t know what would happen, but they prepared us for ministry that would come – because they knew that they needed to prepare for future generations, not just themselves.
I invite you into a moment of silence, as we give thanks for the ministry that has taken place here t the corner of Rumble and Gray in the South Slope. Take a moment to just breathe in the heaviness of holy that exists here – right where you sit!
Now, we pray: God of unknown plans, we give thanks for all of the memories of this building – worship services, Christmas eves, baptisms, weddings, funerals – the joys and sorrows of our lives. We give thanks that we will have the opportunity to create new memories here, too; though they may be and feel different.
We are grateful for our ancestors who have provided for us in order that we are now able to offer ministry in multiple locations – planning, as they did, for future generations to create memories.
We recognize and acknowledge the privilege and the abundance that we have that we might do good things – to say yes to the right things and to say no to the right things.
We know that a life of faith is not always safe, but held in Your Love, and the friendship and example of Jesus, the life of faith is good.
With thanks for what has been, with joy for what is, and in eager anticipation of what is to come, we say Thank you, God! Amen.
September 11th, 2022
As we were preparing to transition from our Rumble site, I acknowledged the loss that some were feeling. I reminded folks that we are not leaving the Rumble site, but becoming what we have said for years we wanted to be: one church with 2 sites.
I spoke about the history of that building and reminded folks that the church at the corner of Rumble & Gray had not always been there; in fact they started at Gilley & Marine until “it became evident that the little church needed to move uphill and west, closer to the inter-urban tram line”. So they moved to Clinton & Curragh in 1928, had Sunday School at Joffre and Rumble, built one building and Rumble & Gray and then moved it across the lane and built a new church on its site.
The same is to be said for the founding congregation of Jubilee who found themselves here at the corner of Sussex and Grange.
It originally started as a Sunday School at Kingsway & Dow and then two congregations were founded at Marlborough & Kingsway and Sussex & Kingsway – that was before church Union, so they were a Presbyterian and a Methodist. In 1936 they amalgamated and in 1948 the former building that was on this site was built. At that time the previous church was converted to a church hall which was replaced in 1956.
We have always been a people on the move – both of our founding congregations had plans for future generations, not just themselves.
A decade ago, conversations began about the property here where we find ourselves today, at Sussex & Grange. In those conversations, the founding congregations of Jubilee United Church began to think about the future and what it would look like to build anew on the same space but to think about how ministry will look different in the future. As we amalgamated, it continued to be part of the call and purpose for this congregation.
We as a church community could not have done what we’ve done without support from so many. We truly began a partnership with the Regional Church, then called BC Conference, at that time. They provided upfront funding for the feasibility study and for staff who helped lead the process. Now, the Pacific Mountain Regional Council is an anchor partner in the building and we figure out together how to use it to the best of its capability.
Those early conversations and assistance from the Conference connected us with Townline Developers; in 2015 Dave English joined the team and has stayed with us through countless meetings to develop this site; it’s almost unreal to say that we’re here today – finally opening the building.
We are also grateful for the City of Burnaby and all those who have helped us achieve this vision and goal.And, maybe most importantly, for members of Jubilee United Church and the founding congregations: Dundonald Methodist & United Church, Henderson Presbyterian Church, Jubilee Methodist Church, South Burnaby United Church, and West Burnaby United Church. It is only because of the vision of those in the past that we are able to do what we do today, reminded of that which we need to take into consideration for future generations.
History of Development Along with Townline Developers, Jubilee United Church (through its founding congregation of West Burnaby United Church and with support from its founding congregation of South Burnaby United Church) entered into a Development Project in the fall of 2014.
The current timeline puts the new building opening in 2021 and the images below are some rendering of what we might expect the new building to look like (this is a work in progress and some of these will change). The congregation of Jubilee United Church will make decisions together in late 2020 to early 2021 about how both the Rumble and Sussex sites will be used for ministry and mission in the Metrotown and South Slopes areas of Burnaby.