Rev. Dr. An­thony D. Bai­ley, Park­dale United Church

By Matt Harrison

Ottawa Magazine - - THIS CITY -

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.

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