As part of the Seventh Day Adventist faith, the Oakridge Adventist Church(OAC) holds dear its four core values: Growth, service, unity, and children and youth. The Church also wants to reach out and be a contributing part of the larger Vancouver community.
"We want to be able to impact our world," says Ashia Lennon, a pastoral intern and assistant director of the OAC Kids' Day Camp, "We live here, so we want to contribute positively and help Vancouver grow.”
Part of its sense of community is portrayed through some of OAC's programs, such as the Think Green supper.
"Every month," Ashia explains, "we host Think Green. It's a vegan supper and it gives our Church family the opportunity to experience community by sharing a meal while learning how to make healthy vegan dishes."
The program has proved so popular that the 75 seats fill up quickly with a waiting list of more than 50 people.
"Each month has a different theme," Ashia says. "One month it was vegan pizza, another had a Mexican theme and so on. We make the food, we go through the ingredients and we teach you how to remake the meal at home. Then you have the amazing opportunity to eat it all!"
Another community building program is the Deeper Roots Community Garden. Located right at the front of the building, the Deeper Roots Community Garden was initiated by a pastor on the recommendation of a Church member.
"A member of our Church family had set up a garden in front of his home," Ashia explains, "He was able to connect with so many people in his community. We applied for some government funds along with donations from our Church family and we built ten plant boxes. It looks amazing – all green and lush. We have benches out there on which people can sit and check out what other people are growing."
Relaxing on the benches isn't limited to Church members.
"We have lots of non-Church members stop by,” says Ashia. “We have some older people in our local community come by and sit, for example—it helps them feel less isolated and more a part of what's going on.”
At OAC, it’s about being a viable part of the local community.
“And things like the community garden and offering affordable daycare through the OAC Kids' Day Camp help us do that," says Ashia.
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.