Community first: how a downtown church puts people before religion
It’s a church that was in need of a major change.
The former St. James the Apostle Church on Sainte-Catherine Street is now operating under a new model, and a new name.
The goal was to transform the 150-year-old space into much more than just a place of worship – the space now acts as a community center.
“The idea was reopening these churches as multiple use spaces with a more modern vibe,” explained Graham Singh, the minister at now-named St. Jax.
The church closed for about nine months before it reopened with its new name.
The space was also fitted with new lights and a sound system – and most of the pews removed.
Churches, community groups, and companies are now renting out the space.
“What we’re trying to do here is realize actually the community center vocation of this building,” Singh explained. “Which is, in some ways, more important than what we’re doing as a church.”
Singh sometimes tours groups of pastors areound the space, to show them what the church has to offer.
With more upgrades on the way, interest will likely continue to grow.
First up, fixing the roof, then figuring out how to use the basement space.
“We’re going to be renovating this building until the Lord comes back,” Singh said.