Grace Anglican Church in Waterdown has much to be thankful for! Bobby’s Place, a new community gathering space, is about to open officially on October 1, 2022. Bobby’s Place is a bright, inclusionary public gathering space centred around a café staffed with persons with disabilities, that is open and accessible to all. It is a place where all can feel welcome and meet for coffee and conversation. It will be available for community gatherings, meetings, classes, and more. Our vision is to build and strengthen community.
Bobby’s Place is named in honour of Bobby Smiley, a vibrant ten-year-old member of the Grace Church congregation who died suddenly from influenza shortly after Grace Church began their fundraising campaign. Bobby’s parents, Rob and Sabrina, and sister Makayla, graciously allowed Grace Church to name the centre after Bobby in honour of his memory and his free and loving spirit.
The opening of Bobby’s Place builds on parish efforts to establish Grace Church as a Resilience Hub for the local community. Grace Church will provide a safe space to meet for warmth, cooling, and other assistance in the event of an extended power failure caused by a serious weather event or other disaster. New solar panels will provide clean energy while reducing the carbon footprint of the parish. It will also be a place with access to extra food courtesy of our Food with Grace Waterdown Food Bank that Grace Church operates every Tuesday from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
In conjunction with the opening of Bobby’s Place, Grace Church has hired a community project liaison, Paulene Jodry, to meet with community members wishing to set up programs, services, events, and meetings, using this new space.
This project has been a labour of love for the last five years, and has been made possible through generous donations from parishioners and people of the Waterdown community, as well as grants from the Diocese of Niagara, the Anglican Foundation of Canada, and the Government of Canada’s Enabling Accessibility Fund. Our goal was $1 million and Grace Church is only $26,000 shy of that goal.
Another reason Grace Church has to be thankful is for the reinstatement of the church bell in the new bell tower. The Thomas Flintoft Memorial Bell was first erected at Grace Church in 1918. It was commissioned in memory of Lance Corporal Thomas Flintoft, a member of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, who died on the battlefield in WW1. He died at the age of 33 and his family commissioned the bell in his honour. It was Grace Church’s honour to reinstate the bell in the new tower, named after Flintoft’s regiment, and hear it joyously ring again for the first time in years on Easter Sunday morning!
Please join Grace Church in Celebration on Saturday, October 1 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. for this free event. Grace Church will be celebrating with live music, food, games, speeches, tours of Bobby’s Place, and a grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony. Grace Church will be offering bricks for sale to memorialize your family, friends, and special occasions in the new walkway.
Grace Anglican Church, 157 Mill St. N., Waterdown, is the place to be on October 1, 2022. We look forward to seeing you and sharing with you the many blessings for which we are thankful.