Highland Community Church was founded in September 1975 under the name Neighbourhood Bible Fellowship. The original organization of this new congregation was facilitated by representatives of several local Mennonite Brethren churches. The church initially met at Columbia Bible College until the current sanctuary was built in 1980, at which time the name was changed to Highland Community Church.
Upon moving into the present building, the membership was committed to making the facility available to the surrounding community. Groups that have used the building include day-care services, a private school, community clubs such as Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, AA meetings, other church congregations, and many others. Throughout our history, our church has valued “traditioned creativity.” By that we mean that traditions do not exist for us to serve them; rather, traditions are resources intended to support us as we seek to live faith-fully. As a result, you’ll find that our worship gatherings, for example, remain rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition while drawing from the practices of Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, and Vineyard churches.
Similarly, another long-standing value is that we prioritize relationships ahead of programs. We have many people in our community who are educators (teaching in the public and university systems – secular and Christian), social activists (working with Mennonite Central Committee, Food Bank, Crisis Help Line, in the prison systems), and care givers (counselors, helping sick family members, helping single moms, chaplains). Because of people's paid and volunteer involvements in the community, we run very few programs here at the church. The programs we organize (such as small care groups) are designed to facilitate learning so that we are equipped to love and serve our neighbours at home, at school, and at work.
Another deeply-held value worth noting is that our community believes that we are all ministers. In that sense, we are congregationally-led. We do not expect our paid staff to “do the work for us.” Rather, we seek to share the responsibilities of leadership, pastoral care, and faith formation as a community. At the same time, we look to our leaders to facilitate the work and life of our community through prayerful listening, gentle communication, and collaborative goal-setting.
Over the years, Highlanders have pursued
simplicity and authenticity over clichés, hype or simplistic answers;
relationship over polished performance;
hospitality to young and old, to sick and wounded, to doubters (you don’t have to have it all together, we’re okay with mistakes and “loose ends”);
thoughtful reflection in silence and in honest, loving discussion;
holistic worship, teaching and prayer that wrestles with the challenges of following Jesus in the complexities of everyday life
As a result, many people who have felt marginalized, disenfranchised, and wounded have found a safe place at Highland. Frequently, the care and acceptance has resulted in people being nurtured and healed. We are thankful that through the years, God’s great grace has been upon us all (Acts 4:33).