Proximity: A Community Sharing Their Gifts in West Ottawa


In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul insists that a spiritual gift is given to each person in the church so we can help each other (1 Cor. 12:7).

This is among the core convictions of Jay and Heather Williamson, as they aim to lead a budding community of faith in West Ottawa.

The community, named Proximity, was launched in January of this year and currently gathers in St. Stephens Catholic School in West Ottawa on Sunday mornings. The name serves as a reminder of the value of abiding in Christ and of pursuing relationships with others both inside and outside the church family,

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Out of the mouths of 10-year-olds

After a teaching on baptism this summer, a 10-year-old girl approached Jay and asked to be baptized. This led to a wider announcement for the church family – and ultimately prompted 3 others to be baptized that Sunday. Her initiative is an exact picture of what Jay is trying to accomplish at Proximity – people growing closer to God but also to each other, and everyone using their gifts to bless one another.

A few Sundays ago, this same young girl approached Jay. They had just finished worship and were greeting one another. The young girl said: “Pastor Jay, God wants people to know that confessing and believing is salvation.” Jay shared this aloud and this led to several others sharing their testimonies in the church. “This is what we’re all about!” recounts Jay excitedly. 

Gifts for the sake of others

Sharing gifts is a common theme at Proximity, and for Jay, this has been a fun journey. He has been in ministry 25 years and has learned that he is best in a pastoral role, spending time with people who are using their gifts. He loves the stories of the long-term fruit of being relationally connected.

Among other people sharing their gifts, there is now a baking team who are sharing baked goods on Sunday mornings. Additionally there is the story of a woman who came to Proximity four Sundays into launch and offered to lead worship – but she only knew three chords. Jay offered her the space to learn and now there is a team of six people who are leading worship.

Jay acknowledges the tension of welcoming all gifts, but insists that we’re all part of the body: “When we start denying gifts we’re going to miss out.” He points to the worship leader’s story as an example. “She may have never revealed the larger gifts within the congregation had she not felt able to step up.”

Of all places, the church is certainly at its best when it offers a safe space to offer what you have to others.

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Exciting news!

This past week, the Advisory Team at Proximity signed the resolutions to become a “developing assembly,” the next step in becoming an official church of the Christian & Missionary Alliance. At 42 Sundays into launch, this is an exciting milestone and an affirmation of God at work in their community.


Excited by what God is doing through Jay and Heather and the community at Proximity?

You can help!

Pray for them.

  • For clarity of vision for the next couple of years, especially as they are gathered over a prayer retreat.

  • For more people to step up and being willing to serve, especially among their kids program.

  • For continued momentum as they take the next steps to become a developing church.

Consider a financial gift.

Give securely online today. All funds will be directed to Proximity.

Learn more.

Visit Proximity’s website.