CARLETON PLACE - It may have been Saturday night, but it sounded like Sunday morning.
While any number of restaurants and bars were jumping Jan. 12, the new Divinity Centre at 161 Bridge St. in Carleton Place was alive with music, song and praise as the “street church” celebrated its official grand opening.
“God has made good and he has supplied what we have needed,” said Pastor Jamie Robertson. “I feel a need for a street ministry. The majority of the miracles of Jesus were (performed) on the street, not in the four walls of a church. We had a vision to do a street church.”
The idea for the church was partly inspired by a Montreal-based friend of Robertson named Monique, and “God gave her a vision of the Town of Carleton Place, (that) we would go on the streets and work together.”
The vision came to life this past October when the doors opened.
Robertson believes in divine guidance, something he says directs him towards the people most in need of not only his religious care, but also in more down-to-earth care as well. He once approached a man on the street because “I felt the spirit of the Lord telling me that this person was struggling with addictions.”
Mayor Wendy LeBlanc was joined by town Coun. Jerry Flynn in officially opening the church and welcoming them to town.
LeBlanc commended the churchgoers for their work in helping local people.
“What a great and supportive community you have been for him,” she said. “We have many faiths in our community (but) this is the first time we have had a street ministry. I congratulate and welcome all of you and wish you God’s blessings.”
“I had no doubt that this would come to fruition,” said Flynn. “It (the church) is a real benefit to Carleton Place.”
Outside, the new church was already attracting attention. Two gallants made their way up the road, but stopped at the lit-up church, as people held up their hands, eyes closed in contemplation, swaying to the music.
“Looks like a new religion,” said one, peering in.
“Yep, rock n’ roll,” said the other as they took in the scene.