Packed crowd for Fort City Church’s first Sunday service

Written by Crystal Laderas

Published by 660 News on Sunday, June 5, 2016

It's the loudest joint on a Sunday morning in Fort McMurray. Fort City Church held its first Sunday service since roughly 80,000 people escaped the flames threatening the region.

This is the busiest week the church has ever seen, and on Sunday the building in the Thickwood neighbourhood was full.  Lead Pastor Doug Doyle welcomed church-goers who don’t have a place to worship yet, and those who’ve never stepped foot in the building but need support.

“One of the things we realized is that this is an awesome opportunity to serve our city. But we are actually at our weakest, personally. So how do you serve a city? Well you work with partners that want to help,” he says.

That help rolled in the big trucks and they’re parked at the church. Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team have  power tools, electricity generators and hands for pushing out fridges gone bad. Chaplains are also assisting those in distress.

Stephen Joudry with Samaritan’s Purse says the organization will be there for as long as their needed. “Until the job is done. There’s no time limit. We watch our work orders and then when we see it start dropping off, then we work on our exit strategy,” says Joudry.

Fort City Church’s  message to people is don’t try to make sense of what happened, and rely on your faith. Doyle is also spending time with firefighters and Mounties, some who are still working in the community and others who are on stress leave. He sat down with a first responder for about an hour on Saturday.

“Story after story of his dreams. You know, he had also served in Afghanistan and just said, ‘well I know have my choice of PTSD’ and he says it all combines into one mega-dream,” says Doyle.

He knows that he’s not just serving his small church family anymore, there are 80,000 people that may need help.