Rev. Dr. Anthony D. Bailey, Parkdale United Church
By Matt Harrison
On the third Sunday of every January, Parkdale United Church is literally bursting with upwards of 600 people there to hear Bailey speak about Martin Luther King Jr. during a special service. Those numbers are not just representative of that particular Sunday either. Parkdale is one of Ottawa’s busiest, most active churches, and because of that, it’s also one of the best-known congregations in the city. While regular Sundays don’t bring out 600 people, attendance averages around 250 people — one-third of those being youth, a number that is practically unheard of in most mainstream Christian churches. That makes Parkdale somewhat of a mystery. Certainly the secret to its success lies with its 58-year-old likeable, hard-working, caring, and charismatic reverend, but as Bailey points out, Parkdale’s brick-and-stone walls have come to symbolize something to its congregation as well as the greater community. What do you think Parkdale is doing that attracts regular attendees? Remembering what our main focus is: the importance of helping people grow in their faith, which is lively, active, and an organic expression of something that is incorporated into their lives … and our commitment to outreach — it’s a question of how do we make a difference in our community and in the world.