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Welcome to Friends Church

We don’t all fit traditional church, do we?

Our goal is to help you find your unique spirituality

that changes your world

 

If this is what you are looking for, click below to learn more

 

Learn More

WHO WE ARE

Jeff Jarvis

Co-Lead Pastor

Vince Klassen

Co-Lead Pastor

Carmen Kokot

Switch/Kids/Water Pastor

April Van Winkle

Operations Manager

Yvette Jordaan

Bookkeeper

Taking Water

As we find our unique spirituality, and our lives become more and more healthy and whole, good things tend to spill out of us to the people around us. We have energy to help a friend or be present with a family member. We develop the resources to support a cause we believe in. We call this Taking Water, and it seems to be different for everyone: a product of our unique spirituality.  We love Taking Water!

Click Here to find how you can take Water to your world

Think we make a good match? Listen to one of our Messages! Messages

You may have grown up with a complex religious experience, or maybe no experience. But the world of spirituality is changing, and our kids are going to be the first generation raised in this new reality.

Where they learn to be honest about their faith, and still engage in the modern world.

They’ll learn to be honest about their faith and still engage in the modern world.  They’ll make their faith practical – meaning it’s not about holding a certain set of beliefs, but how our beliefs shape and mould our lives.

This program includes age-appropriate training in learning one’s unique spirituality and how it manifests in our actions.  Since kids don’t want to sit through a lecture, we teach through play, activities, crafts and videos.

All kids from age 1 to grade 5 are welcome.

You think you are the only one who doesn’t fit church? Teens, probably more than ever, don’t fit traditional church. With issues like social media, sexuality, ethics and everything in between, teens are in a tough world.

But we can help them navigate their world, connect to their unique spirituality, and start making their world a little better – something we call Taking Water.

This is a program designed specifically for teens in grades 6-12. It happens every second week on Sunday at the same time as the adult meeting time (they just have slurpees, donuts and ice cream instead of coffee). Usually they have an activity after they get together (often from 1-3pm in the afternoon), such as putting on a BBQ for the homeless in Calgary, Amazing Race, or even a week in Mexico helping locals build houses for people who have never experienced the safety of their own home.

All teens in grades 6-12 are welcome.

FAQ’s

You have questions. We have answers.

Questions About Sunday Meetings

What is it like at your Sunday Morning Meetings?

We rent space from Temple B’nai Tikvah, a beautiful, newly renovated space that will be our Friends Church home. Our main meeting space is the sanctuary.  Our student program meets in the social hall, and children’s program meets in various classrooms downstairs.  Temple B’nai Tikvah is situated in a residential area easily accessible from Elbow Drive.  We try to make the environment as comfortable as possible.  When you walk in you will find fresh 15 Kilo coffee, hot chocolate or tea to enjoy  We use stage lighting to make the environment inviting.  We want to ensure that all of our guests feel welcome.

What time is your Sunday Morning Meeting?

Our regular Sunday Morning Meeting time is at 10:30am.

Where is your Sunday Morning Meeting?

900 47th Ave. SW Calgary, AB in the Temple B’nai Tikvah

How long is your Sunday Morning Meeting?

Our meeting is one hour long, or as close to an hour as we can get.

What happens at the Sunday Morning Meeting?

Guests begin to arrive any time after 10:00am for the meeting.  They grab a Phil & Sebastien coffee or hot chocolate or tea and spend time catching up with friends,  slowly making their way to their seats.  The meeting begins at 10:30am, it starts  with some non-mandatory singing (you won’t be asked to perform a solo; in fact, joining in is optional).  This is usually followed by some announcements about what’s happening in the church, and then either a member of our teaching team will deliver a message on any one of a wide range of relevant, everyday themes.  After the meeting is over the building  usually clears out by 12:00pm.

How many people attend on a Sunday morning?

We average about 250 people each Sunday morning, including kids and teens.

Are sermons those same boring Latin things that I remember?

People often describe our “sermons” as like TED talks. That’s high praise:) But we do see the similarities in style.  We focus on presenting messages that are applicable and helpful; you will hear us speak about spirituality, biblical narratives, and all aspects of our lives – including sex, money relationships – with the intent of helping you on your spiritual journey. We use stories, music, movies, videos and anything else in our everyday lives that can help us. Our box of what we think is spiritual is very broad, we think almost everything in our lives can be spiritual. And we think almost everything in our lives can be used to challenge our spirituality.

What should I wear? 

People wear pretty much whatever they like, although the trend is casual.  We’re not going to ostracize you for dressing the way that you like; if you’re comfortable wearing an outfit out in public, then you will be comfortable wearing it here.

Will I get hounded by people trying to convert me to something? 

No, absolutely not.  Each person is on their own spiritual journey and we respect that.  We’re here to answer your questions and to help you on your spiritual journey in any way that we can, but you are in control of each step.

Will I have to say anything, sign anything, or be singled out in any way as a guest? 

Definitely not.  Come and visit.  Stand and sing, or sit and listen…your choice.

Questions about Friends Church

Who can participate in your church?

Anyone is welcome. And let me say that again so you hear what we are saying, ANYONE IS WELCOME. Just as you are right now. We don’t discriminate based on age, race, sex, sexual orientation, current or past life choices, beliefs or background. We don’t demand you fit into some box in order to be fully involved. (It’s sad that people have had such bad experiences with church, but they have, so to save you an email let me say, if you are part of the queer community, that’s great. So are we:) We don’t really care about your sexual orientation, identity, expression or anything else. And you can participate at every level of our community without changing anything. Really! We mean that! That said, if you still don’t believe us, send us an email and we will show you that we really don’t care about your sexual orientation, we just want to create a safe place for everyone to work on their spirituality).

Do you have community or connections events?

Yes. We have a number of events, including pub brunches, volunteering opportunities, small groups, and more.  For more info, please contact jeff@friendschurch.ca

Do I have to believe in God or Jesus Christ, or do I have to confess certain beliefs before I can attend Friends Church?

No.  Many people who start attending Friends Church don’t believe in God or Jesus Christ, nor do they believe in the Bible.  That’s ok with us; wherever you are on your spiritual journey, you are welcome at Friends Church.

Do I have to pay for this or will I be asked for money? 

Our Sunday Morning Meeting is free.  We do take an offering during the service, but it is only for our regular attendees, not our guests.  This money covers the costs of the morning including the facility, the supplies for the programs and the staff.

Is Friends Church a Christian Church?

Yes, we are! That said, there is a fairly broad definition out there of what it means to be a Christian church. We say we are an honest Christian approach to God for people who don’t fit church. I don’t think anyone would describe us as fundamentalist or traditional and that’s fine because we don’t see ourselves as that at all. If you are looking for conservative church, we can definitely help you find another church, because you probably won’t love us. But if you are looking for something that’s more inclusive, and is open to helping you on your spiritual journey, no matter where you have been or where you are going, you will probably fit right in.

Do I need to come to a Sunday Morning Meeting to be a part of Friends Church? 

No.  It’s entirely up to you.  We believe it will help you on your spiritual journey but the choice is yours.  If you want to hear a message before you come, check out the Sunday Messages section to hear podcasts of past services.

How important is community at Friends Church? 

We believe that the health of our relational lives greatly impacts our ability to make a positive impact in our world.  When our relationships are healthy they are a great place to make a positive impact and can support us making a positive impact in the rest of our worlds.  But when our relationships are unhealthy they seem to cause us to pull inwards and reduce our positive impact in our world.  We believe in leading the adult community in creating sufficient, healthy relationships within our community, and between our community members and the people in their lives so that we can all make the greatest positive impact in our worlds.

What denomination are you?

We are a non-denominational church. What does that mean?  Well, it means we are not affiliated with any denominational church (i.e.  Baptist, Lutheran, Pentecostal etc.). At Friends Church – we consider ourselves Theological Minimalists.  By that we mean, we don’t prescribe a set of theologies – a model(s) of God that everyone must hold.  Instead we encourage every person to study and explore the theologies (models of God) that will help you connect with God. We are here to guide and help you along…but ultimately , this is your journey!

What is a pastor? 

Think of a pastor as someone who helps you on your spiritual journey – a guide of sorts.  Often pastors are called ministers, priests or teachers. We like to think of a pastor like a personal trainer – someone to help you, and challenge you in your Spiritual Gym.

Who do I talk to if I have a question?

That depends on the type of question.   If you have a general question about the church, you can ask our hospitality team who are in the lobby before the service each sunday.  If it’s a question about the Sunday Morning Message, you can contact the teacher from that morning via our Contact Us tab below. If you have a general question, feel free to email us.

Questions about Temple B'nai Tikvah

How does sharing space with the Jewish community work?

Bnai Tikvah holds services on Friday nights and Saturday mornings. Friends Church holds services on Sunday mornings. Both communities have offices onsite for daily use.

What are the cloths that are hung along the West wall? What are they used for? 

The cloths are called “Tallit.”  They are prayer shawls. Jews over the age of thirteen wear a prayer shawl during daytime services to symbolize wrapping themselves in God’s commandments. There are 613 commandments, and each Tallit has 613 knots in its corner fringes. By wearing a Tallit, Jews show that they accept the responsibility of following God’s commandments. There are also large Tallit used to decorate the sanctuary that are hung from the ceiling. Out of respect, we ask that you please not wear the Tallit.

What are the books along the South wall in the Sanctuary used for? Can I touch them?

The books are used in the Jewish services or “liturgies” and outline prayers and blessings that will be used during a service. There are different books for use at different times of the year. You are welcome to read the books, as long as they are not taken out of the sanctuary, and returned where you found them when you leave.

What are the little hats that some Jews wear? 

Kipah (plural: kipot, also called Yarmulkes or Skull caps) are worn to remind Jews that there is something above them, and to act accordingly. It is a reminder of the value of acting with civility and holiness toward other people.

What are the umbrella-like things hanging from the ceiling in the Sanctuary? 

Also called Kipot, each of the six small kipot symbolize a day of creation, as recoded in the book of Genesis. The seventh, large Kipah represents Shabbat, (Sabbath) which is the key to everything in Judaism. The light hanging from the large Kipah is the “Ner Tamid” or Eternal Light.

What do Reform Jews from Temple Bnai Tikvah believe?

Reform Judaism affirms the central tenets of Judaism – God, Torah and Israel – even as it acknowledges the diversity of beliefs and practices. They believe that all human beings are created in the image of God, and that humans are God’s partners in improving the world. Tikkun olam — repairing the world — is a hallmark of Reform Judaism as they strive to bring peace, freedom and justice to all people.  They accept the Torah as the foundation of Jewish life containing God’s ongoing revelation to people and the record of people’s ongoing relationship with God. They see the Torah as God inspired, a living document that enables them to confront the timeless and timely challenges of our everyday lives.

What is that big cabinet along the East wall and the table in front of it? What is it used for? 

The cabinet is called an “Ark.” The Ark hold three Torah scrolls, which are used during Jewish services. Whenever the ark is open, the congregation will stand as a gesture of reverence for the Torah. The table is called a “Bimah” and is used to place the Torah scrolls on for reading. Out of respect, we ask that you please not touch the Bimah or the Ark.

What is the Torah?

The Torah is the first five books of the Bible: Genesis,  Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Christians will sometimes refer to these books collectively as the “Pentateuch.”

What is the wall with all the names on it? Why are only some of its lights lit up?

The Memorial Wall is a remembrance of Jewish ancestors that have passed. Each week, on Shabbat (Sabbath) the names are read of the people who passed away during that week in previous years. The light next to that person’s name will be lit during that week. This anniversary of death is called a “Yahrzeit” and is a way for Jews to remember the past through their ancestors.

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