St. Jax Church – Montreal, Canada
Church Plant Profile
Planter: Graham and Céline Singh
Church: St. James
Location: Montreal, Canada
Graham Singh isn’t your typical church planter. Graham seeks to restore the heart of cities by replanting churches in historic, yet abandoned church buildings. Graham says, “An empty building in a city is to the city like the empty palace of a long-forgotten king.”1 With more than one thousand churches likely closing in the next five years, Graham has a heart for the buildings and the hope their restoration symbolizes, not only to the brick-and-mortar structures but also to the communities.
In 2016, Graham and Celine Singh and a growing team of volunteers reopened doors of the historic 150-plus-year-old Church of St. James the Apostle on rue Sainte-Catherine in the heart of downtown Montreal, which is one of the most unchurched cities in the Western Hemisphere.
The church had died and closed its doors, but now breathes with new life! After spending months reaching out to the community, Graham and his teams reopened the doors of the historic St. James on Easter Sunday 2016 with nearly one hundred people at their opening service. Their services are in both English and French so they are able to reach across ethnic boundaries.
Graham has drawn his inspiration for discipleship from the Alpha Course. Alpha is an evangelistic program that is a ten-week course including a meal, short talk, and time for questions that is designed to bring unchurched people into the church. By employing the Alpha model in both French and English, St. James is able to continuously reach out to those in the diverse area of Montreal.
Graham describes the vision of the church in the following way: “Imagine an exciting, new community of faith in Jesus Christ, right in the heart of downtown Montréal; a church with vibrant worship in English and French where bilingual families and individuals can celebrate God’s love, together; a church home where children are an integral part of every gathering, inspired by their parents and grandparents to grow in their faith.”2 St. James is an example of how dying churches can be resurrected and bring new life into old buildings. For more information about Graham and Céline Singh and St. James, visit http://stjax.org.