Ottawa Mennonite Church History
In the 1950s a number of Mennonite professionals moved to the nation’s capital for work and began meeting together for worship. They supported each other much like a family. This group grew and became more formally organized. It received assistance from the larger Mennonite network and was initially served by part-time ministers. Early gatherings were held in homes and schools. Since that time many people have come and gone, each sharing in the joy and struggle of following Jesus here in Ottawa.
In the fall of 1960 a piece of land was purchased on the outskirts of the city and five years later a building was put up. Things have changed since then. We have needed to expand the building several times since then and it is now surrounded by a bustling neighbourhood. However, the basic instincts of being a supportive community, gathering regularly for worship and living a practical faith engaged with the world remain the same.
Who Are Mennonites?
Not sure what a Mennonite is? Wondering if we have hitching posts out back or if we all share the same last name? This short video by 3rd Way Media will answer some common questions.
Our Broader Network
Our congregation is a member of Mennonite Church Canada, a unifying body of Mennonite congregations across the country. It contains roughly 31,000 members and 225 congregations that are organized in five area churches. Our ‘area church’ is Mennonite Church Eastern Canada. These connections link us to other Anabaptist Christians and provide us with useful resources and accountability.
Ottawa Mennonite Church is blessed to have several paid staff persons who maintain our building, help us communicate with each other and provide pastoral leadership. Our pastors are Carrie Lehn and Anthony Siegrist. Carrie’s ministry focuses on youth and young adults, while Anthony’s relates more directly to worship and congregational life.
Carrie Lehn – Youth and Young Adult Minister
Originally from southern Ontario, Carrie graduated from Canadian Mennonite University with a degree in theology. Before moving to Ottawa and taking her current position, Carrie worked with at-risk youth in Winnipeg. Carrie is an avid paddler and when she isn’t riding her scooter around the city, she usually has a kayak atop her car.
Anthony Siegrist – Lead Minister
Anthony began serving our congregation in 2015. He and his family moved to Ottawa from a small college town in Alberta where he taught theology. Anthony has received advanced degrees from Wycliffe College, University of Toronto and from Eastern Mennonite University. Anthony and his wife have three young sons and so he has no hobbies. He does make some time to write, and occasionally blogs at Sanctorum Communio.
What we Believe
Those who gather to worship at OMC on any given Sunday probably believe a host of things . . . and we’re okay with that. However, two documents describe some important things we generally believe and value.
The first is the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective. Even though none of us are expected to affirm every detail of this rather long statement, the confession does serve as a guideline for our belief and practice. It helps us understand what it means to be a Mennonite Christian in our time and it allows us to share that with others.
The second document is our church covenant. This was developed specifically by our congregation and it gives a sense of what our community is all about.
We believe that the Church of Jesus Christ is identified more accurately by the life of its people than by any creed or statement of faith. The church must be observed in action to discover what its real purpose is and where it is heading. At the same time, we commit ourselves to our Congregational Covenant:
Believing that God’s love and forgiveness extends to all who will receive them,
and that Jesus calls us to repentance and faith in him as Saviour and Lord,
We covenant to confess our sin,
to strive to live in holiness,
and to share our faith.
Believing that the new life in Christ brings us into a new relationship with God and humanity,
We covenant to pray for grace to love,
to make peace, and to forgive.
Believing that Jesus calls us to follow him and to be a part of his living body, the Church,
We covenant to follow Jesus Christ in common faith
and to be in fellowship with all believers everywhere.
Believing that to gain spiritual maturity we must will to do what the Scriptures teach concerning the will of God,
We covenant to discern the will of God,
to live by it in the strength of God’s Spirit,
to read the Scriptures,
to listen to the Spirit and each other,
to exhort and correct each other in love and prayer,
and to undertake for each other’s needs.
Believing that God has given gifts to each one of us,
and that our gifts are to be used to build up the body of Christ
and to equip us for the service of God,
We covenant to build our congregation by accepting tasks according to our respective gifts,
and by assisting each other.
Believing that God is worthy of our adoration and praise,
We covenant to meet in regular worship,
and to be in prayer and worship in our private lives.
Believing that God’s will is revealed to us,
that this revelation has been recorded by people throughout the ages,
and that this revelation is for our inspiration, understanding, guidance and correction,
We covenant to study the Scriptures,
the history of the Christian Church,
and to discern in contemporary life and events the revelation of God.
Believing that all the things that we have belong to God,
that we are stewards of them,
that the Scriptures warn against selfishness, greed, and materialism,
and instruct us to use our time, talents, and money to support and build up the Church and to serve Christ,
We covenant to give generously of our resources,
so that it is of sacrifice to ourselves,
an expression of devotion to God,
and a sharing with those in need.
Believing that we are called to make manifest God’s love and mercy
through both proclamation and demonstration,
to make known through our words and deeds the good news of forgiveness and restoration,
We covenant to participate in the mission of the Church,
and to share through acts of evangelism and service
the good news of God’s love, mercy and will for all humanity to live peaceably and justly.
May our covenant be acceptable to God,
and may we fulfill it in the service of God.
May God grant us the grace to do so.
Welcoming and Affirming
On March 26, 2017 members and adherents of OMC approved the following statement: We are committed to the transformative and ongoing work of nurturing a church where God’s love transcends all barriers. We believe that every human being is created and gifted by God. As people of diverse gender identities and sexual orientations, we affirm LGBTQ+ persons in church membership, baptism, marriage, congregational leadership and pastoral ministry. We seek to love all as Christ first loved us.