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Bringing people in



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But the church is much more than an experiment. For many it is the soul of the community.

Hershey understands that and is striving to meet the needs of those who attend church. Some want the service to include communion, others do not; the role music plays is different for different people, and so on.

Then there are the unique segments of society the church has to cater to. It is not just a matter of coming up with a service for your local community; the church has to reach out to temporary workers and even visitors.

With a hearty laugh, more reminiscent of an innkeeper than a minister, Hershey ponders his relationship with Tourism Whistler.

"What is the nature of my relationship with them," he said smiling a smile that reaches all the way to his eyes.

"I’ve never had to worry about that sort of thing before."

While still trying to get around what kind of service he would hold for visitors he knows one thing for sure.

"They are taking a break and what I need to rattle around in my head is what does it mean," he said.

"So that might mean building a service around something that is quite different. It might be jazz, or gospel music-style oriented.

"Services are high energy. I put such a huge amount of preparation into them because it is the only chance I have got. It’s the chance I have to reach folks checking us out from the community and folks coming from other churches, those who are visiting with us.

"I have to make a sufficient impact that they are going to go home and tell their friends that if they come to visit make sure you go to the church."

For temporary residents Hershey wants to offer a place of calm to balance the often-hectic life they experience while living and working in the resort.

For locals, its time for a jolt.

Hershey wants to "take them out of their traditional understandings and their usual experiences of church and say, ‘it can be a whole lot more.’

"The only way that this church is going to grow is that from my side what I put together is recognized as being authentic and relevant.

"You have to be prepared to put your yeast into the bowl. If you hold onto it, it is not going to do anything."

He is intrigued with the idea of the church being inside a community centre but is anxious for some of the traditional trappings to mark it as a place of worship.