As I’ve continued to reflect on January’s focus of our mission statement, my mind took me to the last part; ‘…to be a transforming influence on the communities of our world.’
We’re well into our third year of a 3-year plan to integrate all of our shelters under the name Toronto Housing and Homeless Supports. We have a new logo, a new website and most importantly a new plan to best serve those who come to us for help. As our co-founder William Booth said, “You cannot improve the future without disturbing the present”.
One of the things we’ve identified as being crucial to our work is to spend a whole lot more time, energy and resources in providing follow-up services to the people who move out of our shelters into a new apartment. We want to offer the needed supports they need to make their new housing situation into a home. Yes, we believe in no uncertain terms that ‘housing’ is different than ‘home’.
A critical program that has become a part of this integration is Causeway. We are successfully connecting the men and women moving out of our shelters with Christians who live in the neighborhoods they are moving into. Already this month, we connected a woman who moved out of our Evangeline Residence with two committed Causeway volunteers. Megarrah, our Causeway coordinator, tells me that we have six more Causeway connections in the works. Causeway is working and we are really excited about it; 2016 is off to a great start! We are seeing the fruit of attempting to be a transforming influence in our communities.
One other addition to our new integrated approach is the adoption of this one-line motto that holds us all together;
The Hand of God in the Heart of the City.
We will continue to strive to live up to this high calling.
Dion Oxford, Director of Mission Integration
As I prepare to face this new day, I ask you Jesus to…
Ready my senses.
that I may delight in the wonder of your creation,
Ready my heart.
that I would recognize the burdens around me and offer myself, selflessly, as an agent of your compassion.
Ready my mind,
that I may fathom the wisdom that has confounded the ages, and that my imagination would be captivated by incarnation.
Ready my resolve,
that I would serve with dedication, integrity, and faithfulness.
Bless me as I take time to work today,
that I would find hidden wonder in the ordinary.
Bless me as I make time to play today,
that I would find joy in a break from the ordinary.
Make me a blessing to those I encounter,
that your people would be encouraged,
and that your enemies might be inspired to seek peace with their merciful creator.
Ready Me – adapted from Denver Book of Common Prayer (Urban Skye)