It all began the first week of August 1999…
… as thirteen people with a vision for a community church met for prayer in an Orillia home. Two weeks later, the fledgling church rented the Rugby Community Hall, set out fifty chairs, and trusted God.
By week four, about fifty people had gathered at Rugby Community Hall for Sunday worship and sitting in the congregation was Pastor Lawson Murray who had been called by God to serve this congregation as Lead Pastor. Several weeks later, Brenda Scriver joined the staff as Church Administrator and Murray Rodger as Youth Pastor.
By October 1999, OCC was outgrowing Rugby Hall. Sunday School was held on the lawns and latecomers couldn’t find standing room. It was obvious larger facilities were needed. So, for the third time, the church moved. This time to rented facilities at the Highwayman Inn.
Growth continued. People referred to OCC as the “church on the move.” It was, and continues to be, a contemporary, Bible-believing, community-oriented, nondenominational, evangelical church. A church composed of people from Anglican, Alliance, Baptist, Brethren, Catholic, Charismatic, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Missionary, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Christian Reformed, United Church, and other religious or secular backgrounds. A church where people lived by a simple dictum: In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, and in all things love.
From the outset, the worship was joyful, the congregation friendly, the message of God alive and the power of God obvious.
On June 16, 2000 the official charter service was held. The church affiliated with Vision Ministries for accountability and support and the constitution was formally adopted.
In 2002, a fire at the Highwayman Inn gutted the area OCC had been renting. The church found new accommodations at the Orillia Christian School and for the next few years OCC went through a time of consolidation and steady growth. People came to know Jesus and were encouraged in their walk with Him. Leadership development and active involvement in local, national and international missions were pursued. As we’ve grown we’ve tried to make the main thing the main thing. Church is first and foremost about relationship – with Jesus and with each other. In creative and fresh ways we seek to help people become more like Christ.
In August 2007, Pastor Lawson accepted a ministry position with Scripture Gift Mission and OCC began its search for a new Pastor. In September 2008, OCC welcomed Pastor Michael Bells as Lead Pastor.
In 2009, God miraculously opened the door for OCC to purchase the downtown Cinema 4 facility for use as a ministry centre and a new chapter in the story began. We are excited about being a community church that now has a home in the centre of the Orillia community and we look forward to seeing what God has in mind for this facility.
Someone once said, “Find out what God is doing and join Him.” That’s what we want to do at OCC. Authenticity, transparency, accountability, and integrity are deeply held values. We love to celebrate and we laugh a lot. A lady in the congregation once said that OCC stands for “Our Crazy Church!” That’s one way of describing us. We’re “crazy” (passionate) about Jesus and we want to share His love with others!