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Letter: Everyone’s welcome at Bowen Island United Church

'Our trademark qualities are hospitality and community connection. If you are looking for a spiritual home, you are welcome to join us'
Bowen Island United Church and food bank
The antechamber of the Bowen Island United Church also acts as the island's food bank.


As the summer months draw to a close, I want to reach out to our wonderful community and say hello. 

I am the minister at Bowen Island United Church, also affectionately known as The Little Red Church. We are located at 1122 Miller Road where we have been since…. 

Next to us is Collins Hall, a space used by many Community members for meeting, singing, dancing, celebrating, mourning and more.

Every Sunday I stand before our congregation and visitors and say, “We are an open hearted, open minded Faith Community. No matter who you love, no matter the colour of your skin; no matter where you are on your faith journey-you are welcome here.” We are inclusive and progressive. We follow the teachings of Jesus Christ because we feel that by doing this, we contribute to the healing of the world. As the worship leader at Bowen Island United Church, I am influenced by teachings from the Jewish tradition, the Buddhist tradition, Indigenous Spirituality and more.

Our trademark qualities are hospitality and community connection. If you are looking for a spiritual home, you are welcome to join us.

We have programming for children during worship so parents come for an hour of sacred, quiet time and know that your children are in good hands. We have a playground that is getting “spiffed up” this fall to make it even more inviting for young families. New children’s books are on order for our library on relevant topics such anti racism, death and grieving, Indian Residential Schools, who is God, why do we pray?, and more. 

We have a book club, a prayer circle, a choir and many opportunities to volunteer in the community as we host both the Fall Supper in October and the Strawberry Tea in the spring.

We have just begun to offer alternative services once a month. To date, we have gathered for both Jazz Vespers and Folk Vespers on a Sunday afternoon in the churchyard and there will be more of this to come.

So often people ask me, “Why would I come to church in this day and age. Isn’t it an old idea?” My answer is always the same. You come to find a place of belonging. You come to be told that you matter and that you are a valued human being. You come to laugh and to cry in a safe, sacred space. You come to give your spirit a home. You come to remember who you are and whose you are. You come to explore your questions, your doubts, your fears about faith and Spirit. You come to be reminded that you are loved.

I invite you to join us any Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. I hope, through this short piece, I have made it crystal clear that all are welcome – and your dogs are too.

If you have any questions about who we are and what we do, please don’t hesitate to reach me at 778-688-2061 or at

Hoping to see you in the near future,

Rev. Lorraine Ashdown

Bowen Island United Church