As we come to Jesus, we like living stones are being built up into a spiritual house where God dwells. This is for the sake of the world.1 Peter 2:4-6 & Ephesians 2:20-22
To be people defined by this: God for us, God in us, God through us.
We want these realities to be like the ground we stand on. We find ourselves anchored in them as we come together around Scripture and the sacraments (Communion and Baptism), and as we worship, pray, connect, serve, and participate in our communities. God is For every single person. God dwells in and with us by the Spirit. God moves through us to love the world.
To be present and involved in our neighbourhoods and city.
We orient our lives to the ways and teaching of Jesus. In the gospels we see him present and active in the lives of people throughout Galilee. He did acts of justice and mercy, taught and recontextualized Scripture, called people to follow him, and gathered a diverse community to be with him and carry out his mission. This shapes our call; we want to follow him.
To be known as a church with our doors wide open.
We want to be known as a church where anyone can come and find a place to belong, one that values authenticity and community, that works to break down barriers, and that prioritizes grace and creates space to be who we are wherever we’re at.
None of us has it all together or all figured out; we’re unapologetically in process. So if you find yourself there, you’ll be in good company.
Stonehouse started because some paths converged at just the right time: a new pastor and a small group of people met up in the summer of 2018 with a call to live into a Covenant expression of the Church in Steinbach. We’ve been gathering for worship since September 2018.
We are part of the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC), a multi-ethnic movement of 875 congregations in Canada and the United States with ministries on five continents of the world. The ECC values the Bible as the word of God, the gift of God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ, the call to extend God’s love to a hurting world, and the strength that comes from unity within diversity.
Those of us who call Stonehouse home recognize that church is part of what keeps us grounded and gives us purpose. We all need community and consistent reminders of who God is and who we are as we go through life. So, we gather around the Word (Scripture) and Table (Communion) every week, we hang out, we eat together, we support each other, and we serve together.
We join with the historic and present-day Church throughout the world in affirming the Nicene Creed (325 AD).
As a church in the Covenant tradition, we hold 6 affirmations as central to our identity and practice:
We affirm the Word of God as central to who we are and what we do. It’s a lens through which we see God, ourselves, and the world. We know and hear God speaking to us through it. We study the Scriptures, we think theologically alongside the historic Church, we ask good questions.
We affirm that people are born again through their belief that Jesus’ death saves them from sin. New birth is about God’s Spirit making a home in us. It’s about being transformed by a relationship with God, the One who created us and loves us. This process shapes our identity, our perceptions, the way we live, and how we think about life after death.
We affirm that the Church is a fellowship of believers. We see the New Testament affirming the Church as a family of equals; all of us are gifted and called to participate in the life and mission of the Church. This means we affirm the gifts and calling of both women and men for vocational and lay leadership in our churches and consider all believers, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, and culture, part of the family.
We affirm that the Church’s mission is to tell our Story, introduce people to Jesus, and work toward the good of all God has made. We are called to follow Jesus, loving God with all that we are and loving all people and creation. We think of love as action. As we live this out, we invite others to learn, grow, and follow Jesus in community with us.
We affirm a conscious dependence on the Holy Spirit. The Spirit works within and among us to teach us, comfort us, and transform us into those who reflect God’s image. The Bible teaches that the Spirit also works through us to bring healing and restoration to what is broken and hurting in our world. The Spirit is actively working to draw all people to God.
We affirm the reality of freedom in Christ. United in Christ, we offer freedom to one another to differ on issues of belief or practice where the Bible seems to allow for more than one interpretation of God’s will and purposes. This means we uphold a posture of generosity and grace. Some of the ways we live this out are by practicing both infant and believer baptism, creating space for honest conversation, and welcoming all people into community with us.
Shannon Johnson Friesen is the pastor and church planter of Stonehouse. She’s lived in Steinbach most of her life and loves being part of this city. She’s an Enneagram 2 so she legit loves almost everyone. She lives with Tim, Piper, Dexter, Jasper, and their dog Raven. Some of her favourite things include coffee, running, music, hiking, being with family and friends, and watching her kids play sports. Shannon loves the Bible for its complexity and simplicity, and for how God speaks through it even though it’s ancient.
Our church is currently in its early stages of formation, so for the moment Shannon is our only staff member. In time, hopefully others will lead alongside her. Stay tuned!