How we became West Ottawa Community Church......
West Ottawa Community Church began as a seed in 1965 at Queensway West Baptist Church (QWBC), located at 1311 Pinecrest Road, when Ken Hall came to be pastor there with his new wife Lois. The interior walls had been removed and about 80 people could pack in to sit on recycled church pews. That building was sold in 1972 to help fund a new building at 51 Greenbank Road, which is now the home of Ottawa Vineyard.
The “seed” was watered in 1972 when Jim and Candace Finnigan came to Ottawa from Florida and were evangelizing on the Sparks St. mall. Jim and Candace had each been part of a community of “Jesus People” before they married. (That movement was the subject of the recent film “The Jesus Revolution”.) At that time, Alan and Catherine Younger were leading the youth group at QWBC. The Youngers invited the Finnigans to speak to the youth group; when the Finnigans prayed for the youth, the Holy Spirit touched many of them. Thus began a time of great stress.
In 1973, the elders at QWBC forced many of the congregation to choose between their convictions and experience of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the Baptist Church position statement denying His gifts. As a result, many left to form a new community called Church of the Way and asked Ken and Lois Hall to pastor them. The name derived from the youth group that called itself The Way People. Eventually, Church of the Way changed its name to West Ottawa Christian Community (WOCC), and finally to its present name, West Ottawa Community Church.
In a strange act of providence, in 1991 after 20 years, WOCC bought the original 1311 Pinecrest property to use as a church office and meeting place. It was sold in 2000 to purchase a warehouse at 3123 Carp Rd, near Carp. Many upgrades have produced the current meeting place with a beautiful auditorium/sanctuary, offices, teaching rooms, fireplace lounge, kitchen servery, and dance studio.
In another of those strange providences, QWBC was forced in 2005 to leave the denomination because its new leadership had experienced the power of the Holy Spirit and incorporated that in its statement of faith and practice. They also changed the name to Greenbank Community Church.
In 2005, the Greenbank CC leadership came to recognize that WOCC as their daughter church had left without a blessing and as a result, disunity had come between the two Churches. They proposed a joint service of reconciliation and blessing, concluding with communion where elders of both churches served communion to the people of both churches. In a further providential work of God, Ken was invited in 2011 to return to Greenbank CC as interim teaching elder. WOCC released him and covered his salary. Ken and Lois remained at Greenbank CC until 2014 when the Ottawa Vineyard team took up the ministry. The transition was so smooth that no one in the congregation left.
WOCC was one of the first independent charismatic churches in Ottawa and one of the few to survive. This type of congregation came to be called “Third Wave”, similar to Ottawa Vineyard. The term identifies churches that have sprung out of evangelical roots that recognize the gifts of the Holy Spirit but do not identify as Pentecostal. WOCC has remained non-denominational, led by elders, in close relationship with local and extra local ministries with a calling to serve the city. It is an evangelical church that seeks to live out the teachings of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.
If you have ever been part of our community or its extended family, please come to our 50th anniversary Jubilee Homecoming at 3123 Carp Road on July 2nd. Come to meet old friends and give thanks for the grace of God in our lives.
Join us for prayer and coffee at 9:30 Sunday morning. Worship starts at 10:30 with a band composed of past and present members from throughout the years and Jim Finnigan as a special guest. We will lunch together and enjoy a relaxed afternoon of fellowship, including pictures, videos, memories, and informal sharing.