Connecting you to what God is doing through Connect City.
CONNECT CITY SUMMER CAMP FOR REFUGEE CHILDREN A SUCCESS
Through the wonderful help of donors we were able to run our very first summer camp for refugee children. As many of you are aware we have been partnering with a government organization that house overflow refugee families in local hotels. During the school year we have been able to work with area churches and volunteers doing all we can to serve these valuable children and families. I am so blessed to have wonderful leaders like Brittany McGowan who joined us to lead this initiative along with a friend of mine named Steve Norton. After a school year of serving these children we were asked by the organization overseeing the housing crisis to provide a summer camp for the children who were stuck in the hotels with nothing to do. I sent out emails, phone calls and sat down with people over coffee to raise funds for us to run a summer day camp for these children. Praise God - He provided the funding through donors like you reading this email newsletter and voila - Welcome to Camp Unity!!!
I am so thankful for all of you that helped provide the funds for us so we could hire staff to give refugee children the summer of their lives. God provided wonderful trips for our campers to experience. Some of the places they visited were the ROM, Science Centre, Circus, Aquarium and Rouge Park. As refugees pretty well all of the children had never been to any of these places in their lives! Not only that but simple things like craft making, cooking, silly camp games, etc were all new experiences to many of these children and they loved it!
I am also grateful for our terrific staff who did a great job. This was our first summer camp experience and our staff are to be applauded for their hard work and the great love they gave to the children they served. I am thankful for these young pioneers who laboured through the many challenges we faced as a start - up camp. Through their experiences we learned a lot that we can now implement to make our camp next summer even better. All and all children were blessed, our staff grew in their leadership skills and God was honoured in all we did.
As an adventurous, faith - based, pioneering ministry we need your prayers and ongoing support as we build on what has happened this summer. We just seek God and try our best to fulfill his will for our lives and for our city. One thing I ask you for is to join me in prayer for this ministry. Ask God to provide funding so we can hire Brittany on for more hours to allow her more time to develop her work at the hotel and grow the ministry there. Also pray that we will be able to bring in a church planter who can start a church for refugees right here in the hotel. We have big dreams and we ask you to join us as we pray them into reality.
PICTURES SPEAK A THOUSAND WORDS:
CAMP UNITY FOR DISPLACED CHILDREN
CONNECT CITY SUMMER IN THE CITY ALSO A SUCCESS
Camp Unity, our refugee camp for children wasn't the only thing we did this summer. Once again God provided funding from donors like you to allow us to hire local youth in Scarborough government housing to run summer programs in their own neighbourhood. Headed up by our staff who are leading our church plant - the Warden Underground (Jordan Thoms and Jon Folkeringa) - we were able to hire 4 youth from the community to plan and lead community BBQ's movie nights, sports games, church services, outings, etc during the crucial hours when violence can flare up in the summer nights from 4:00 - 9:00 PM. We intentionally ran our programs at this time because, as Sociologists have warned us - the main reason for gang activity and other sorts of criminal behaviour is due to something as simple as boredom. Lacking positive things to do often leads youth to find trouble especially in the late afternoon and into the evening hours. Being able to hire local youth and get them involved in positive action that blesses their neighbourhood at these crucial hours where nothing usually happens was vital to our plans. This not only helped develop our young people's leadership skills through apprenticing and training but it also opened the door for us to deepen our relationships in the neighbourhood and build community there by what we planned.
Jon Folkeringa did an excellent job planning and overseeing this summer program we called Summer Nights and with Judith McCartney's help, he hopes to build on the leadership development that took place on his team. His gifts and experience through working at Muskoka Woods Sports Resort was such a blessing in making this program so effective. With Jon making sure the program was running smoothly Jordan Thoms was freed up to do what he does best as well - be a street pastor and building relationships with people in his community. It's great to support Jordan, a local leader from the neighbourhood, as his experiences and relationships with people living in the community are vital for our church's health and outreach. Together, Jordan and Jon are a dream team.
The summer started off with a bang through a trip to a couple of cottages for staff training. One of our team had never been to a lake before so he was in for a tremendous treat! Special thanks to our friends in Bancroft for blessing us with their cottages. We then did all sorts of community focused events built to bring God's peace to the summer nights in the neighbourhood. These programs went really well but to me the highlight of the summer was being able to do neighbourhood baptisms right there in the community. What a great idea and I credit our baptism candidates for this as they were the ones who asked that they get baptized in front of their whole neighbourhood present there. We celebrated with a community BBQ and then performed the baptisms in a portable tank full of freezing cold water. What a summer to remember!
Please keep us in prayer as we have lots of follow up to accomplish after such a successful summer. One thing we need prayer for is how we can take the team we had this summer to higher levels of leadership development. We also want to deepen the spiritual lives of those who attend our Warden Underground Church that has become the hub for the neighbourhood. Please remember both Jon and Jordan in your prayers as well as they need to raise their financial support as missionaries.
PICTURES SPEAK A THOUSAND WORDS: SUMMER NIGHTS IN THE CITY
Judith McCartney With Some Young Leaders From Warden Underground
As we enter the Fall season SoulHouse Church comes to life. During the years we have met as a church family we have come to understand that the Spirit has made this church a safe place for many people. This house church seems to attract many wonderful adults who have been hurt by organized religion or have never been interested in traditional church. At the same time this group have been a joy to come to know as they really care for one another. Their compassion has also bubbled into a desire to partner with the Warden Underground church and help out with them in any way possible. This is a good thing as many of the people at SoulHouse are older adults that can bring humble wisdom gained through the struggles of life to the young crowd at the Warden Underground. SoulHouse is also nearby since we meet in Scarborough as well so its part of our community.
We only want to follow the Holy Spirit's lead in all we do so as we begin another year at SoulHouse we ask that you please join us in praying about the following things:
1. Join us as we seek God in ways that we can serve / partner with the young adults in Warden Underground.
2. Pray with us as we seek God's wisdom concerning the young families we do have that we have built strong relationships with at SoulHouse. We desperately want to incorporate them into our church family but space for a children's program is limiting to us since we meet in a house.
3. Pray for our people that are hurting. We have had many sicknesses and other struggles to contend with.
4. We also hope to invite our friends to our house church gatherings. Pray that our invitations will result in people coming to our weekly dinner gatherings and seeing how good our God really is.
Thanks for your prayers and ongoing support!
WE CAN'T DO ALL WE DO WITHOUT YOU
Help us build leaders in our city who will lead simple churches to be beacons of light in the darkness of our urban neighbourhoods.
Jesus said he is the light of the world and told us to shine brightly for him through him living in us;
"Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." - Matthew 5:16
With your help we seek to shine the light of Jesus in our city by being the body of Christ planted throughout neighbourhoods in simple, "New Testament" type churches through hospitality, kindness & Spirit - filled love for Jesus & others.
We don't have high tech programs or expensive buildings to maintain but focus on people through loving mission & nurturing relationships meeting in homes, community centers or any other place that is welcoming to people. We envision that one day we will see hundreds of simple churches spreading throughout our city as beacons of light amidst the darkness & despair that is present in far too many neighbourhoods. This is why we are serious about building young leaders to build simple inner - city churches that participate in the progress of the Gospel in government housing projects & beyond.
Please consider how you can be part of our simple church movement through supporting us financially or in prayer or even volunteering. We depend on God's people to provide the support our pastors / missionaries need so they can be freed up to serve their communities & the people they reach among the poor & hurting. To support our staff, interns & ministries please click on the button below & it will lead you to our on-line giving via CanadaHelps. You can pick a specific Church of ours to support or designate your gift to a specific staff person in that church as follows:
* SoulHouse (Judith McCartney)
* Warden Underground (Jordan Thoms)
* Connect City Ministry Fund to support our season round programs
* Jon Folkeringa - new staff
* Brittany MacGowan - Intern (Hotel Ministry to asylum seekers)
* Screenfish - reaching the hollywood tribe through film. See - www.screenfish.net
You can also give through cheques at the address below. All gifts are tax deductabe. Thank you for your love, prayers & support.