The office of Whitefields Calvary Church, located at the Airdrie Town and Country building. PHOTO: MARTIN GRIESEL

Despite growing up in a Christian home in Kentucky, Garret Mourn did not think that highly of church. When Mourn was 14, he remembers barely following along with a sermon and thinking to himself, “Oh Lord, it would be the worst job ever to be a pastor.” 

As Mourn grew older however, he believes he grew closer with God on a spiritual level, causing him to change his attitude. 

“Between the age of 18 and 20, my heart became so full of the things of God that by the age of 22 I didn’t know what else I would do with my life other than tell people about Jesus and what He’s done for me,” said Mourn.

Mourn is the founder and head pastor of White Fields Calvary Church, one of the fastest-growing churches in Airdrie. But, due to the COVID-19 shutdown, his church lost its venue and he was forced to pursue alternate forms of church services for several months.

“We’ll do video church, if we have to, we’ll do whatever we have to do, to get the word of God out to people, and to keep people in a place of worship instead of worrying over this whole thing.”

Garrett Mourn, Pastor at White fields Calvary Church

At 14, when Mourn was against the job of being a pastor, he says his heart was not with God.

“I think at the age of 18, that’s when I came to the realization that, not only did I need God, but that my heart was full of all kinds of junk that was anti-God,” said Mourn, “And as I just began to surrender, and say yes to God, instead of rebelling against Him and He started changing my heart.”

His change of heart came after re-evaluating his attitude towards God.

Knowing he wanted to become a pastor and with no opportunities opening up for him in Kentucky, Mourn moved to Airdrie with the intent of starting a new church there. 

“We started out Bible study in a home with just one other couple and there wasn’t much to it. We didn’t have any signs; we didn’t have any advertising and we felt like that’s how the Lord wanted us to do it,” said Mourn.

Garrett Mourn, from the White Fields website. PHOTO COURTESY: GARRETT MOURN.

Through word of mouth, the number of people coming to his Bible study grew from two families to over 50 people.   

“People started showing up and pretty soon the crowd became too big for the house,” said Mourn. “So, we moved into the Nose Creek Museum. It was the only thing we could find in all of Airdrie that had enough space for us, and that we could also afford.” 

This new venue gave the growing church more space in a prominent part of Airdrie, but holding a service in a museum had its own challenges.

“As you walk into the museum, there’s this stuffed mountain lion that some farmer caught however many years ago, and that’s kind of like the greeter when you walk into the church,” said Mourn. “The room we met in had all these antique dolls, and they had little eyeballs that kind of followed you around, no matter where you went. That was creepy! We put a blanket over that doll case.” 

A museum wouldn’t always be the best spot for a church, discouraging Mourn from continuing as a pastor.

“Finally, I just laid it all down and said, ‘Lord, okay, we’ll do whatever we have to do.’ It was on the next day that the Catholic School District called me and said that a church had been meeting in St. Martin de Porres’ gymnasium, but that they were shutting their doors, and that we were next on their list. I had no idea how our names even made it on their list. I never called them. But we somehow got on their list. We’ve been meeting ever since.”

In 2020, a new challenge struck Mourn’s church. The government regulations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic forced St. Martin’s to stop Mourn’s congregation from meeting in the gymnasium. 

“The Lord kind of reassured me and we just kind of moved forward with confidence,” said Mourn. “We’ll do video church, if we have to, we’ll do whatever we have to do, to get the word of God out to people, and to keep people in a place of worship instead of worrying over this whole thing.”

The video church was a blessing in disguise for Mourn, as streaming their service gained a regular 1,000+ views every week. This growth made Mourn excited to try other new forms of church services.

“Then stage two opened up and the next steps that we were able to make as a church were moving to a drive-in service,” said Mourn. 

Drive-in services, much like old-school drive-in movies, see the pastor preach from a stage to a congregation sitting in their cars. But, since the schools were still shut down, White Fields Church did not have anywhere to host these drive-in services. 

“That was difficult because we called malls, we called every place we could think of with a parking lot, and nobody wanted the liability of us using it.” said Mourn. “Finally, one of the churches in town, who wasn’t using their church building, or their parking lot said, ‘Hey, we’re okay, if you use our parking lot, so long as you follow our guidelines.’ Their guidelines, by the way, were even stricter than the province’s.”

With government restrictions partially lifting during the summer, the church could meet again. Though they’re not allowed back at St. Martin’s, they’ve found a new venue: the Airdrie Town and Country building.

Mourn and his team never lost hope during the pandemic despite its difficulties.

“We were just very much dependent on God to open up doors for us through this whole time.” said Mourn. 

Places of worship are currently allowed open at up to one third capacity. Going forward, the church will have two services: one in the early morning and one closer to noon, to follow the rules allow for the congregation to maintain social distancing.