Westside Gathering started with 5 people in David and Franca Manafo’s home in the Spring of 2003. (David grew up in Montreal from the age of 8. Franca was born and raised here). With a love for God, people, and Montreal this small group continued to grow as they gathered for prayer and planned to build a new church in the West Island. In October 2003 they had their first gathering in a community center in Kirkland. Over the course of 14 months the church continued to grow spiritually, build community, serve its community, and eventually started public gatherings in Dollard Des Ormeux in December 2004.
Westside’s journey since has been filled with both celebrations and difficult learning. Here are some highlights.
2004-2006 was categorized with slow and steady growth, always persevering, believing we were doing the right thing even when the results weren’t as noticeable. Our core and volunteers were incredibly faithful in giving, service, and time.
2006-2007 was a season of recalibration. After near burn out Westside discovered a new phrase: there’s no rhythm without rest, and no rest without rhythm. We rediscovered the biblical practice of Sabbath and took a whole month off from everything except home groups. After a short retreat we served the whole year at a slower pace, keeping only the essentials and one large event a year.
2007-2009 was a step-by-step discovery of who we really wanted to be. We’re we going to build a Sunday church, an attending church, or a missional church. Through trial and error, a renewed vision process, and some painful losses along the way we increasingly saw the clearer picture of becoming the kind of church God was shaping us into (not necessarily a better or bigger church, but the right kind of church). Success for us would be defined into actively reflecting God’s living and local presence. Transformation, Community, and Mission took their rightful places as our top 3 values.
(2010 and beyond) Since then more people and pieces have come together to help us grow and impact our city. We’re serving the city in more tangible ways with strategic partnerships. Sunday’s have grown to a larger degree. Community Groups – a key environment we started with – continue to grow and multiply into different neighborhoods. Mission and spiritual growth takes priority.
We’re still early in our journey and trust God has a purposeful future in store for us as we partner with him in His mission and activity.