C3

Toronto Life - - Holy Hipsters -

WHERE:

Cen­tral Tech­ni­cal School at Bloor and Bathurst

CON­GRE­GANTS:

1,500

Phil and Chris Pringle met as pre­teens and later lived in a hip­pie com­mune in New Zealand. In 1980, they say God called on them to start a Pen­te­costal church in Syd­ney. Forty-odd years later, Chris­tian City Church—now re­branded as C3—has some 500 chap­ters and 112,000 mem­bers around the world. It came to Toronto five years ago, when Sam and Jess Picken, two C3 Bible col­lege alumni from Aus­tralia, set up shop here. They had never been to Toronto and only vis­ited once be­fore launch­ing the church. The con­gre­ga­tion started with six mem­bers. The Pick­ens pay a levy to the moth­er­ship in Syd­ney to li­cense the name and brand and oth­er­wise sup­port them­selves with do­na­tions and tithes. Church ser­vices fea­ture coloured lights, craft cof­fee and a live band per­form­ing catchy folk-pop with pi­ous lyrics— some con­gre­gants de­scribe it as a Cold­play con­cert with­out Chris Martin. In ad­di­tion to Sun­day ser­vices, C3 of­fers com­mu­nion and bap­tism, which are per­formed on the steps of the school. And for kids, there’s a free Sun­day min­istry, led by a mas­cot named Rocco the Rac­coon.

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