It’s hard to believe that this man was once a little boy who (accidentally) walked all over my mom’s freshly baked banana cake.

You see, my mom used to babysit this guy when he was a preschooler. I have weird disjointed memories of events like the cake stomp.  

I also remember how heavy he was.  He wanted my brother and I to give him piggy-back rides and we couldn’t.  He was like a tiny four-year-old solid brick wall, impossible to move.

He’s grown much taller since then but I think it’s quite likely that he weighs the same amount.

Andrew grew up as the oldest of three children, with a bunch of aunts and uncles and cousins on each side.  His family loved to go skiing and biking and swimming and camping and all kind of exciting outdoor adventures.  From what I recall, they were always doing something active and just hearing about it made me tired.

After high school, Andrew attended Lakehead University and earned himself an honours degree in French and English.

A couple years ago, Andrew began working on a big project with a group of people who are really making a difference in this city.

The big First Baptist Church building on Red River Road was gifted (by the congregants) to a husband and wife team and they, together with Andrew and a few other people, began extensive renovations on the old building; it became known as The Urban Abbey.  It is now not simply a church but so much more.

Andrew’s title at the Abbey is officially, The Project Assistant. Beginning with the biggest project of all, the renovations, the Abbey is incredibly active with all kinds of different programs.

Smaller ongoing projects include a mom and tot group, weekly dinners for the community, evenings of song and prayer, holiday feasts, community gatherings, musical concerts, small bible study groups, church services, and transitional housing.  

The mission of the abbey, taken from their website is as follows:

We nurture a contemplative life where we can be transformed in the “face presence” of Jesus and we pursue an active life where that can be reflected to the outside community.

It’s clear that the Urban Abbey is doing a lot for the betterment of the community.  The staff are tireless workers who want to make a difference.  

Over this past year the Abbey has become a shining beacon in the neighbourhood.  The love radiates from the windows and stretches out across the city.  Thank you Andrew for your love and your hard work. 

We wish you and your new wife all the best as you continue to follow your hearts and your faith.  Truly inspiring.

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