News / Ottawa

Presbyterian church offering sanctuary, prayer to stressed civil servants

A Presbyterian church is opening its doors to civil servants of any creed and anyone who's suffering from the stress of public sector layoffs.

St. Andrew's Church is hosting a noon-hour service of reflection and hope on Wednesday for anyone of any faith who drops by over their lunch hour. Members of the congregation will be on hand after work, from 4 to 5:30 p.m., to offer individual support and prayer.

The idea for the service came as church leadership became aware of "palpable sense of stress" over the layoffs in the congregation and the city at large, said church elder Micah Clark.

"I think a lot of people in the congregation and the church leadership sensed it in their workplaces and just walking down the street sometimes it seems like there's tension in the city," said Clark.

The church, located on Wellington Street across from Parliament Hill, is the only non-government building on Wellington and the only respite from work for some people, said Rev. Dr. Andrew Johnston.

"Anxiety and anger can so easily overwhelm human lives and rob us of joy and humanity," said Johnston. "It's nice to be able to offer an opportunity for folks to remember the larger frameworks of life, to step into a place that's an oasis of beauty and truth."

The service will be based around music, said Clark.

"There also will be short readings, some from the Christian scriptures and some generally about the human experience of doubt and uncertainty, quiet and comfort. Then there will be light refreshments," Clark said. "The idea is that people can come and go. Pop in, have a deep breath or two, have cookie."

Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified St. Andrew's as an Anglican church. Metro apologizes for the error.

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