Pa­cific Com­mu­nity Church

The Province - - News - 5337 180 St., Sur­rey • paci­fic­com­mu­nity.ca Kent spencer SUN­DAY REPORTER [email protected]­p­rovince.com twit­ter.com/kentspence­r2

Pas­tor Jim Heuving re­mem­bers sto­ries of the hunger his par­ents en­dured in oc­cu­pied Hol­land dur­ing the Sec­ond World War.

“We heard the sto­ries. Mom grew up in Am­s­ter­dam, where food was hard to come by,” he says. “Luck­ily, dad was on a farm. He was OK as long as he could hide pota­toes.”

The Cana­dian Army is gen­er­ally credited with help­ing to res­cue the Dutch peo­ple from star­va­tion in 1945. It was a les­son about do­ing the right thing that Heuving has never for­got­ten.

“There is a strong bond be­tween the Dutch peo­ple and Canada,” says Heuving, 49, a mar­ried fa­ther of two. “The sol­diers made it pos­si­ble for us to live this way.”

Buoyed by feel­ings of grat­i­tude, Heuving’s par­ents em­i­grated to Canada. His mother moved to On­tario in 1950 and his fa­ther in 1953. They mar­ried in 1962 and Heuving was born in Ottawa.

To­day, Heuving is pas­tor of Pa­cific Com­mu­nity Church in fast-grow­ing Cloverdale. The area is as com­plete a mix of ur­ban and ru­ral, old and new, as can be found in Metro Van­cou­ver. Mod­ern sub­di­vi­sions spring up near farmer’s fields. Fancy shop­ping malls are lo­cated next to the 1950s-era town cen­tre.

Heuving doesn’t have to look far to see both the wealthy and the poor in his com­mu­nity. Five min­utes from Pa­cific Com­mu­nity Church, a mod­ern shop­ping mall caters to cus­tomers seek­ing spiced lat­tes.

Even closer, right out­side the church doors in the 5300 block of 180 St., home­less peo­ple erect tents in the bushes. It is a con­ve­nient lo­ca­tion be­cause of a set of rail­way tracks that make it easy for the home­less to get back and forth, away from pry­ing eyes. Heuving calls the route the “home­less high­way.”

“It is trav­elled quite a bit. There are prob­a­bly a cou­ple of peo­ple in the bushes right now,” he says.

Heurv­ing re­calls dis­cov­er­ing one bereft fel­low who had been sleep­ing un­der the church’s eaves.

“It was a typ­i­cal story of hard knocks, los­ing his job and his fam­ily due to al­co­hol,” he says. “Our ini­tial re­sponse was fear­ful and then it be­came, ‘What can we do to help?’”

Heuving’s evan­gel­i­cal con­gre­ga­tion, which num­bers 350, de­cided to fill the void left by a Cloverdale soup kitchen that closed sev­eral years ago.

Church mem­bers voted to raise $400,000 to build a large-scale com­mer­cial kitchen in the church. The plan was made pos­si­ble by a sub­stan­tial con­tri­bu­tion from an un­named Van­cou­ver donor.

Church di­rec­tor Alan Cad­well has begged and bor­rowed thou­sands of dol­lars worth of stain­less steel ta­bles and stoves. The new kitchen is also equipped with a 70-litre soup ket­tle, 66-sec­ond com­mer­cial dish­washer and walk-in cooler. Heuving, a baker’s son, plans to use a big au­to­matic mixer to make bread.

He says the kitchen is not about pro­mot­ing the church as much as do­ing the right thing.

“This is not a means to­wards an end and we’re not look­ing to grow the church,” says Heuving.

“This is a kitchen for the sake of the com­mu­nity.

“This is a kitchen for the sake of the com­mu­nity. This is about em­brac­ing one another in dig­ni­fied ways.”

— JIM HEUVING PAS­TOR, PA­CIFIC COM­MU­NITY CHURCH

This is about em­brac­ing one another in dig­ni­fied ways. I grew up in a bak­ery and I know what a kitchen can do.”

Cad­well is find­ing that the need for a help­ing hand ex­tends well be­yond the home­less. He says sin­gle moms, the dis­abled and cash­strapped se­niors are also in need.

“Peo­ple are liv­ing cheque to cheque more and more,” says Cad­well.

He notes that new town­houses in the area, al­though con­sid­ered “af­ford­able” by Metro Van­cou­ver stan­dards, cost $350,000.

“What are [peo­ple] sup­posed to do?” he asks.

Heuving sees the kitchen as an op­por­tu­nity to serve peo­ple in nu­mer­ous ways.

“I want to es­tab­lish the kitchen as a net­work hub of so­cial re­sources in the com­mu­nity.

“Peo­ple have dis­missed the church as an ir­rel­e­vant part of so­ci­ety. I lament that but I have to live as the Chris­tian faith de­mands. This is ex­actly what the church should be do­ing,” he says.

The kitchen will be­gin serv­ing meals next month but the grand open­ing, in­clud­ing a fundraiser and a walk, is planned for Feb. 22, a date of­ten billed as the cold­est night of the year.

GERRY KAHRMANN/PNG

Pas­tor Jim Heuving stands on the rail­way tracks near Pa­cific Com­mu­nity Church. He calls the tracks the ‘home­less high­way’ be­cause im­pov­er­ished peo­ple in the area use them to get back and forth.

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