Profile: Cheyne Presbyterian Church

Bill Harrison

We are an intergenerational community of believers seeking after the transformative power of Christ to live out the purpose and plan of His calling on our life.

Since 1844, the congregation of Cheyne has been serving its community on the outskirts of Hamilton, Ontario. In 1960, the current building was opened in the centre of downtown Stoney Creek, but with congregational growth continuing, the building was expanded in the 1980s, along with an increase in paid staff.

THEN, AND NOW. These three words capture the essence of life since COVID-19 hit. We are now just beginning to navigate our way through this new normal to establish means of continuing to build God’s kingdom in the midst of new restrictions and opportunities. As such, leadership then is essential in this endeavour.

Cheyne logo
Cheyne logo

Cheyne’s Vision

To lead people to grow as devoted followers of Christ who live out God’s 5 W-I-F-E-S purposes:

Worship – Wholeheartedly loving the God who loves us.
Instruction For Discipleship – Loving God by obeying God.
Fellowship – Loving God by loving God’s family.
Evangelism – Loving God by introducing others to Christ.
Service – Loving God by serving God and people.

Cheyne’s Mission

A Christ-centred church family building Christ-centred families.

Using Cheyne’s Vision as a template, here are some observations and questions that have been useful in shaping our culture at Cheyne.

Leadership is key in any congregation in exercising the giftedness and passion each member and adherent brings to our communities of faith, for the working out of the Great Commission in all of our lives as devoted followers of Christ. In worship, is wholeheartedly loving the God who loves us leading us to servant leadership? Who has the Lord brought to Cheyne to work out His purposes at a time such as this? Let me introduce some. Today, Cheyne is led by seven paid staff in primary roles. Rev. Steve Lindsay is Lead Pastor since 1997 and has a passion for seeing people come to Christ and grow in a vibrant relationship with Him through Life groups. Significantly, Steve prepares daily devotions the year round, in hard copy and online, to help us work out God’s purposes in our lives and communities. Robin Burley, raised in Cheyne, is our Children and Youth Pastor who spent 11 years in the Maritimes serving in a similar role. Marc Johnson, likewise raised in Cheyne, is our Family and Young Adult Pastor. Joshua Gardner, Worship Leader for our contemporary service, has rich experience as a youth pastor and worship minister that enables him to passionately craft a worship experience, both in person and online. Lynda Smith is Worship Leader for our traditional service for the past 10 years and leads our sanctuary choir. Philip Lee, Organist, was hired in 1969 while a teenager. For many years he has played the organ/piano each Sunday morning at three neighbouring churches (first Anglican, then United, then Presbyterian). Rod Harron is our current Church Administrator, coming to Cheyne in 1998 with an extensive IT background that is particularly helpful with our transition to an online presence. All roles of paid staff are changing in light of the COVID challenges, with an increasing emphasis on the demands of social media and website issues. We are discovering some amazing and helpful online resources.

Relationship is foundational to an authentic Christian community of faith. First of all, relationship with our gracious triune God of grace: Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. (John 17:3) The importance of a personal relationship with our living God and loving God by introducing others to Christ, evangelism, was emphasized in the 1970s and 80s through many scores of home visitations at Cheyne with the Evangelism Explosion program, keying in on the questions “If you were to die tonight, do you have confidence that you would go to heaven, and if so, why would God invite you in?” Many, many lives were transformed by this building of relationships and the sharing of the gospel, all done with earnest and expectant prayer. Loving God by obeying and responding to God, instruction for discipleship is experienced as we face these and similar crucial questions of life and death in the context of Scripture. Thus, our support of an online Alpha program which began on Sundays and Tuesdays in September.

The leadership focus on instruction for discipleship led to the expansion of life groups, eventually to include more than half of the congregation, Further, the role of small groups in discipleship and fellowship and pastoral care highlights the second area of relational importance – loving God by loving God’s family, fellowship. Life groups are now starting up either online, in person at homes and at the church, or as a hybrid. Online Divorce Care is offered on Mondays. Prayer is crucial in fellowship. Prayer Cheyne —by phone and email — connects prayer warriors with confidential prayer requests of need and praise. Each week Pastor Steve hosts a Zoom prayer meeting. Besides offering online support for youth, adults and young families on YouTube and Zoom weekly, we are initiating worship service DVD delivery to those unable to access the internet.

Loving God by serving God and people, service, is exemplified in our support of Living Rock (at risk youth), Micah House (safe home for asylum seekers), Men’s Street Ministry (food provision along with preaching), and benevolence to families in poverty. We also support PWS&D and equally, a Cheyne Missions fund. Many have entered Christian ministry in response to the Holy Spirit’s call. Currently, three members are supported in ministry: Julie Burley, a missionary teacher at a Christian school in Lima, Peru; and Jessica Lindsay and Cathy Horvath at Galcom International in Hamilton which produces radios and installs gospel radio stations across the world.

Giving thanks to the King and Head of the Church who alone makes all of this possible.

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