MacNeill is a Baptist Church, which means
- we uphold Biblical authority through a practice of critical study,
- we stand for the autonomy of the local church,
- we uphold the priesthood of all believers,
- we acknowledge two ordinances (Baptism and Communion) amongst a longer list of sacraments,
- we defend individual soul liberty,
- we admit baptized resolute seekers into membership,
- we recognize two offices (pastor and deacon) in our leadership, and
- we uphold the separation of church and state.
MacNeill is also a welcoming and affirming community, which means there are no barriers to membership, sacrament and leadership by people across the spectrums of human ‘identity’ and ‘orientation’.
A Welcoming and Affirming Community
MacNeill has been active in Westdale since 1930. Deep in our heart and history is a concern for the Westdale community, and ministry with students.
Many of us are involved in organizations and endeavours which seek peace and justice and which demonstrate concern for the environment and our diverse community.
We recognize that the religious experience of each member of our congregation enriches the life of the whole. We welcome open discussion of ideas, and encourage each person to take part fully in the life of the congregation.
MacNeill is a spiritual anchor and an inspiration for our daily work and witness. We are committed to our autonomy as an open, inclusive church welcoming and affirming all who wish to follow Jesus Christ.
Our Sunday morning worship consists of a unique form of shared ministry. We have a number of our congregation who are willing and able to preach and they share their talents with us.
We also have lay persons who act as worship leaders, leading prayers and making announcements.
Our Coordinator of Worship and Pastoral Care, Susan St John, organizes the worship leaders and preachers for any given Sunday.
Our preachers (pictured below) include Susan St John (M.Div.), Paula Papky (B.A., B.Ed, M.Div), Bob Bond (B.Sc., M.Div., Specialist in Pastoral Care C.A.S.C) and Jennifer Nettleton (B.A, M.A). They help to ensure a tremendous variety in our weekly worship!!
In September, 2013, the Deacons put in place a team of people to look after the pastoral care needs of MacNeill’s congregants. The Deacons Board unanimously endorsed this team approach, and agreed that, as with the Worship/Preaching team, the Pastoral Care team now reflects the shared ministry model MacNeill has adopted since 2010.
Our Coordinator of Worship and Pastoral Care is Susan St John.
In addition to Susan, our Pastoral Care Team (pictured below) include Olga Jenkins, Heather Hobbs, Feli Toledo, Bruce Papky, and Beverly Woods.
Music at MacNeill
Martin Luther said that music “is an endowment and a gift of God. I place it next to theology and give it the highest praise.”
At MacNeill, we strive to make music and integral part of our worship in a meaningful, appropriate and joyful manner. Our music program, led by Juanita Moldonado, is provided by a dynamic group of singers and instrumentalists whose talents allow for great flexibility in the presentation of a variety of music. These include the Choir, the Band, and various solo and small groups who perform on an occasional basis.
Our style would be described as “traditional” but perhaps “traditionally eclectic” might be more accurate, delving into many sounds from throughout the long and rich history of Christian music.
Our repertoire includes Shaker tunes, a Mozart Kyrie, American folk hymns, anthems by John Rutter and Edward Elgar, psalms from the Genevan Psalter, gospel songs, contemporary anthems, Tudor anthems, music from the Iona and Taize communities and more.
We are always looking for eager musicians to join us.
Peace is a major interest in the ministry and church life of MacNeill. As a member congregation of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, we seek to deal with diversity within the congregation through acceptance, tolerance, listening and respect for one another so that when there is a difference, there is not destructive behaviour, but it is resolved through Christian love.
Women of MacNeill
The primary purpose of this friendly group, which is open to all women of MacNeill, is to support foreign and home missions through givings and practical work. Monthly meetings, which are held on Saturday afternoons, except for the June Pot-Luck Supper, allow opportunities for Bible study, hearing invited speakers, or watching CBM Videos on Baptist work. We always include time for refreshments and socializing. Come join us!
Our annual givings in recent years to CBWOQ have reached a little over $3750 with amounts designated for such projects as Guardians of Hope in India, and counseling and medical help for women in the Congo who have suffered abuse. Knitters in the group (and friends) knit many adults’ toques and scarves to be distributed by Wesley Urban Ministries, as well as tiny blankets, booties, and hats for preterm babies in the McMaster University Hospital Neonatal Unit. The women also contribute separately to resupply the MacNeill kitchen as needed with utensils, linens and equipment for church potluck meals and, in return for a donation toward the work of the group, cater wedding, funeral and other church receptions.
All women are cordially invited to each meeting.