Ashia Lennon is a pastoral intern at the Oakridge Adventist Church(OAC) as well as the assistant director of the OAC Kids' Day Camp. A sense of community and a love of children is what she finds exciting about OAC.
"Vancouver can be a lonely city,” Ashia says. “There are lots of things to do here, but if you're new to the city, you may not have anyone to do things with. Our Church community is welcoming and supportive."
OAC is also very relaxed: there is no dress code, and no requirement to join in the singing with the band. Yes, services typically start with live, upbeat music featuring singers and a band. The audience is invited to sing along, but if that isn't your thing, just sit and enjoy the music. All the lyrics are displayed on a large screen at the front.
"At the end of each Sabbath service," Ashia explains, "we have something called 'Seven Minutes or Less,' which is a brief informational session. You will receive a gift and members of our Church family will make a note of your contact information and during the week, we'll contact you, check on you, and make sure you feel welcome and not alone. It's a great community; you get the feeling that people really care about you."
The OAC prides itself on being multigenerational and multicultural.
"Just about every ethnicity is represented in our Church family," Ashia says. "And our community includes little children, older adults, and lots of young adults. Every so often we have a multicultural Sabbath, where we set up booths with all types of different ethnic food. You wander round the booths and have a sample. At the last one, I only made it to about three booths, because I was so full! The food is amazing."
The OAC also offers programs for children or for families with children.
"We call our children VIP members of our Church," says Ashia "We are a Church community that wants to contribute in a positive way to our Vancouver community. And that starts with the children—and programs like the OAC Kids' Day Camp, which offer affordable daycare to parents."
For more information on the Oakridge Adventist Church or the OAC Kids' Camp visit the website,call 604.266.6727, or send them an email. The Church can also be found on Facebook and is located at 5350 Bailie Street in Vancouver.