Captain Jim Mercer talks proudly about the Salvation Army and it’s open-door policy for people.
And with a newer, much bigger location now opened in Spryfield, that door could be welcoming even more.
“There’s an open door welcome for the community regardless of what background you come from — regardless of what socio-economic status you fall into, or ethical background,” Mercer, pastor of the Spryfield Salvation Army Church, said yesterday. “It doesn’t matter.”
Mercer is actually saying goodbye to the community. Next week he moves to Orillia, Ont. with his family to work at another church.
He’s worked in Spryfield for the past seven years and has seen the local Salvation Army go from a small church location on a hill to the brand new and much larger Spryfield Family Resource Centre on the Herring Cove Road.
The new building is a “one stop shop”, Mercer said. Besides a church the facility has a kitchen, playrooms for children and rooms for different classes. Mercer said classes would include cooking, anger management, literacy, skill training and budgeting, to name a few.
He said there has been a big response from the community about the new location that opened June 10.”
“People say that’s what Spryfield needs,” Mercer said.
They are certainly seeing recognition for their work. Yesterday the Spryfield division of the Salvation Army received a certificate of commendation from the Halifax Regional Municipality for their work during the forest fire in the Spryfield area this spring.
The award was given at a celebration inside the neighbouring RBC, which is one of the many local companies that donated money to help build the new facility, as yesterday they presented the group with a $40,000 cheque.
Spryfield resident Wendy Liggins saw the efforts of the Salvation Army first hand. She was evacuated from her house during the devastating forest fire, and spent some time at a shelter at the Captain William Spry Community Centre, which the Salvation Army helped run.
“This community just cannot do without them. They really can’t,” she said. “They more than had our backs.”