Thursday, July 31, 2008

TO Ministry: Church of the Redeemer

As I reflect on Toronto and the ministries here, I begin to think about the book of Ephesians and diversity. In chapter 4 of Ephesians, Paul describes believers as the body of Christ (Eph. 4:4). There are different parts to the body and each part has a specific purpose (Eph. 4:11-13). One part is not more important or better than the other. That’s what I think about when I go through the ministries here in Toronto. They are all so different from each other but they are all doing great things for Christ and they are exactly where they need to be. Take, for example, the Church of the Redeemer.
Church of the Redeemer is located on Bloor St, one of the busiest streets in Toronto. It is a small church surrounded by skyscrapers and fancy hotels. Just south is the University of Toronto. Our CSM groups that serve there get to help make and serve meals to guest from the drop-in. We also encourage them to venture outside of the kitchen and visit with the guests. The majority of people in the drop-in would be people from the streets - but not exclusively. Occasionally, they serve university students who can’t afford groceries for that week or people who have homes but not enough income for groceries. The community around them knows who they are and respect what they do. They’re right where they need to be.
Let me share a brief history about how their ministry started. “In the early 1990's, the Church secretary provided sandwiches for street guests who came to the Church looking for a bite to eat. By the mid-1990's, the Outreach committee developed a lunch program to help feed the downtown poor who live in our neighbourhood. Today the program serves approximately 75 meals a day, five days a week. A core of Church volunteers and a roster of 90 University student volunteers help coordinate meal preparation and service. A nurse provides a basic health care clinic two days per week. Haircuts are also offered and referrals are arranged to agencies (detox, mental health etc.) around the city. A part-time outreach worker helps to keep the volunteers coordinated, the meals served and the guests welcomed.”
This is only one ministry here in Toronto and when I think of all of them working together, in harmony, for the same cause, I get goose bumps. It is such an honour to serve our Lord! “From him the whole body, joined and help together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Eph. 4:16
I will leave you with this quote about the Church of the Redeemer from a student from Newmarket, Ontario, “The love shown for these people that need the support and care and food on a daily basis is a perfect way to be God’s hands & feet. The program is designed in such a way to see people on the streets as friends not projects. Us being impacted by them and them being impacted by us. We are all brothers and sisters in need of God’s perfect love.”

-Holly Fledderjohann, CSM Toronto Co-City Director

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