What is Kitchissippi?
The word Kitchissippi is the First Nations’ Algonquin Anishinaabe name for the Ottawa River, meaning ‘Great River’. In 1994 the Kitchissippi Ward (Ward 15) was created in Ottawa. Learn more- go to: https://kitchissippiward.ca/About-Kitchissippi
Kitchissippi United Church was formed in 2008 by the amalgamation of three local congregations: Kingsway, Northwestern and Westboro United Churches. The amalgamation repurposed two of its properties as important venues for community services and spawned new programs from the proceeds.
Following extensive community consultation, the Westboro property was sold in 2013 and redeveloped as Festival House and low rise condominiums. Festival House is now a centre for arts and culture organizations and home to the Bluesfest School of Music and Art (BSOMA).
The Carlington Arts Initiative was launched with funds from the Westboro sale, to create community connections and arts programs in the Carlington area, together with the City of Ottawa, Carlington Community Association, and other organizations in Carlington.
The Westboro sale also enabled Kitchissippi to increase its long term support for the Carlington Community Chaplaincy, which has provided social and creative arts programs and counselling on Caldwell Avenue for many years.
In 2016 Northwestern’s building was sold and became the Ottawa Muslim Association’s Hall of Peace, providing space for programs dedicated to social, educational and humanitarian services, particularly for youth and new immigrants in the Islamic community. The Mosque had its first meetings in the basement of the Northwestern church in the late 1960s.
As part of its Northwestern legacy in the community, Kitchissippi is making a three-year grant to Ottawa West Community Support (OWCS). Kitchissippi members are active in the organization and its board.
The Kitchissippi congregation now calls 630 Island Park Drive home, with rental spaces that serve a large number of community uses and programs, as well as worship and performance space.
The Ottawa Children’s Montessori Centre has been sharing space at Kitchissippi for over 15 years, and has more than 80 students.
The Main Hall at Kitchissippi is used by many community groups, including dedicated time for the Freedom Group AA, which has met here for more than 20 years. Musical groups including CAMMAC, the Ottawa Choral Society, Pitch Imperfect Singers, the Ottawa SAVOY Society, the Canadian Chorus Association Choir and the Ramisha Drummers, use the hall and the Sanctuary for rehearsals, lessons and concerts.
Arts groups such as Out Of The Box fibre artists, a variety of meditation and Qigong groups, CPR training, the Ottawa-Carleton Master Gardeners, and the Civic Hospital Community Association all make use of Kitchissippi’s large and smaller rooms. The Bel-Air Football League has held its annual banquet here for over 20 years!
Kitchissippi’s own programs recognize our needs as a society to create community, to care for each other, and to care for all creation.
Besides the major initiatives described in Our History, above, our local outreach includes Christmas hampers for community people, food collection, funding and volunteer support for the Parkdale Food Centre, and school supplies for Minwaashin Lodge.
A Pastoral Care group and a Family Emergency fund give social and financial support for individuals and families who need long term care or temporary help. Together with community supporters, the congregation sponsored one of Ottawa’s first Syrian refugee families in 2017. It is currently working on sponsoring two more families from Africa, and contributes to international development projects.
Socially, Kitchissippi provides opportunities to get together to discuss issues and act on our beliefs. Two women’s groups meet during the day and in the evening. A men’s group meets for breakfast and has expanded its activities to a book club, biking and catering brunches. Ecological Christianity and Right Relations circles study and support society-wide measures and local projects, such as climate change, indigenous water and lands, and the work of the Ottawa River Keeper.
At the core of its activities are the congregation’s interest in Christian faith, spirituality, and worship. Music is a key element of its Sunday services. It provides education for adults and youth: book and film studies, Godly Play, a Sunday morning bible teaching program for younger children (based on the Montessori approach), and programs for older children on Sundays, and at summer camp.
Kitchissippi also organizes seasonal outings and gatherings such as retreats, golfing, curling and skiing.
Come make a difference!