As you may know, we offer membership to the many businesses that reside in Oliver. I’ll be sharing some insights from time to time on these members – this time, Grace Lutheran Church.
As many of you may (or may not) know, the Oliver Community League had to demolish our hall this year due to extensive wood rot. This left our league without a permanent space to call our own – donations to a new space accepted! The show must go on however, and Grace Lutheran Church, right smack dab in the heart of Oliver has been a wonderful support for the league. The have provided an administrative office, meeting place for our Board, space for our activities to continue and even our Canada Day pancake breakfast! To put it simply, we are grateful to have neighbours who were ready and willing to lend a hand when we needed it the most.
I spoke with Curtis Boehm, Pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, about his thoughts on living, working and breathing Oliver. Here is what he had to say.
Grace Lutheran Church has been in Oliver since 1954. Fun fact; the congregation bought the property on the corner of 99 Avenue and 114 Street for $27,300 in 1954! Before that, the church met in a building on 107 Street, where the Matrix hotel now stands.
The church chose this neighbourhood in order to be central and connected to Edmonton’s downtown. There was controversy in the early 1950’s that moving west of 109 Street would be ‘too suburban’, but as the city has grown up around the building we find ourselves at home in the core. I personally chose this neighbourhood because I believe in living where I work. In fact I live in the parsonage, on the same property as the church, and when it’s really cold outside I don’t have to go outside to get to work! It’s really important for our family to be part of this community. Our kids walk to Grandin School, just three blocks away, we bike to get groceries and we love to meet our neighbours and their dogs. I like to know the faces of the people who walk on our street and am learning more names all the time.
The culture of Oliver is full of potential. I would love to see more street life in the Grandin neighbourhood, south of Jasper, especially. We have lots of walkers and lots of great puppies, but there are very few street level businesses- I’d love to see some public spaces developed. The condos surrounding us do not foster relational connection among the neighbours and people walk with earbuds in, avoiding eye contact.
I like to meet people on the street. I love the Imagine Jasper Avenue initiative and look forward to a more pedestrian friendly Jasper Avenue.
Grace joined the Oliver Community League as an Institutional Associate Member because we believe in what the league stands for and seek connection with people in Oliver. We like to contribute to a sense of community in Oliver.
Personally, I like all of the people. If i want solitude, then I go to the mountains. In Oliver, there is always someone to meet and get to know better.
May God bless you with peace! I look forward to meeting you in the neighbourhood.
See you next time!
Lauren Veroni, Communications & Engagement Director