Flatlanders Inn by Alanna Watton
Flatlanders Inn is a transitional housing community serving many people who have found themselves in hard times and on the street in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It also happens to share a beautiful old building with the Winnipeg Central Vineyard church. HtH had the amazing opportunity to be shown some of the Flatlander space as well as spend some time learning about the people that live in the Flatlander community. Flatlanders is set up so that there are several different rooming situations. Families or individuals from the Vineyard church volunteer for 2 years to live in the Flatlanders community to provide a stable, loving and supportive presence as more vulnerable peoples live in the transitional housing units. These volunteers pay rent, do chores, are friends and counselors in time of need, and they also go about living their own daily lives in the work place and raising kids.
I was so blessed by the beauty of this model. I love the idea of living life with others in a very tangible way to walk alongside them amidst their struggles. I saw a picture of the church caring for the ‘widows and orphans’ of our society and living out their callings. As we walked through the facility, the beauty that surrounded me encouraged me. The artwork on the walls, the quality of the furniture, the craftsmanship of the architecture, and the wonderful stories surrounded me. It felt like a sacred place, a raw place, a place where transformation and authenticity met and the love of Jesus was known.
My takeaway from our experience at Flatlanders is how am I going to respond to me calling to live out redemptive community in my own city? How am I going to walk alongside people who are hurting? How am I going to continually humble myself to learn from other’s whose life experience is so different from my own?
As an HtH community, it was really neat to see how the Winnipeg Central Vineyard Church was actually being the church in its downtown community. It made me wonder…how are we being the church in our own Calgary communities?