They took the cross off the church wall.
That’s the detail that caught my attention when I heard about the Millbourne Community Life Centre, a church that reinvented itself as a neighbourhood meeting space, open to anyone, and a drop-in centre for youth in what is sometimes a rough neighbourhood.
These days, the world can seem so polarized. To see the centre take down such a significant religious symbol to ensure Muslim and Sikh neighbours feel welcome is a beautiful gesture.
Today, the building at 2101 Millbourne Road West, in Mill Woods, hosts a long list of activities run by different partners. The mix includes English as a second language classes, a Chinese women’s dance group, a food bank pickup location, various sports camps during the summer, a drop-in program for youth, a medical clinic, a quilting club, a collective kitchen and more. The soccer team formed by nurses from the nearby Grey Nuns Hospital have practices in the gym. Youth Unlimited took over the basement, renovating it to create a concert venue, a video game nook and a recording studio.