Fernie’s Mountainside Church is getting ready to open a second location in Sparwood. Holding the first service on Easter Sunday, Mountainside will take over the former Sparwood Fellowship Baptist Church in the Sparwood Heights.
“We’re going to be one church in two locations,” said Pastor Shawn Barden. “We’ve started with around 50 people who will be part of the core group at the church in Sparwood. It’s pretty exciting.”
He went on to explain, “We’ve been a really quickly growing church and we have a lot of people who drive all the way in from the [Crowsnest] Pass, Elkford, and Sparwood. What those people were coming to [in Fernie], it would be really great if we can reproduce that [in Sparwood], and so that’s what our aim is to do.”
Barden will serve as the lead pastor in Fernie and Sparwood, holding two services on Sundays – a 9 am in Sparwood and a 10:30 am in Fernie.
“I think it’s a huge opportunity and kind of a hole in the community. I think the community is under-churched,” commented Barden. “Hopefully what has led us to grow really quickly [in Fernie] will allow us to grow quickly in Sparwood as well.”
Mountainside has hired Sparwood local Ryan Kehn to serve as the campus pastor.
“Ryan is a heavy duty mechanic who actually used to work at Finning in Sparwood and then just made a humongous career change,” said Barden. “He’s a blue collar guy, he’s a family guy; people and the culture in Sparwood are really going to resonate and connect with him. He’s going to be really great for the community.”
Barden was happy to see Mountainside Church goers contribute to the expansion.
“The church here in Fernie has put up a significant amount of money to go and do this. They have given money that would be spent on this work here in Fernie in order to get something started in Sparwood,” he said. “They sacrificed thousands and thousands of dollars to make this happen. I really love that there’s a heart in our church family here to have a bigger impact up the Elk Valley. I’m really proud of that.”
The first Sunday service at Mountainside Church’s Sparwood location will be on Easter Sunday, April 20 at 9 am.