Looking to Spring

Looking to Spring

As you receive this newsletter, you’re probably finding yourself caught in the thick of winter—as we are. This is not my favourite season, so I feel some excitement building as we enter the home stretch. Cold and snowy days are still ahead but the first hints of Spring might only be a few weeks away.

The snow will finally melt. The grass will begin to peek through. Flowers and trees will start to blossom. A world that has looked gray for too long will once more be filled with colour, and the cycle of life begins all over again.

As followers of Jesus, spring is also the time that we celebrate Easter. We come through the season of Lent and, on Easter Sunday, commemorate Jesus’ resurrection. New life for him. And through him, an offer of new life for each of us as well.

Thank you for the financial gifts that you have already shared this winter. We are grateful for every dollar and the difference you make in our community. As we continue to live out new life together this new year, we thank you too for your support through the season of Easter and beyond.

Blessings,

Alan,
for the Sanctuary Community

Jonathan’s Story

Moving Deeper into Community

Jonathan’s Story

Moving Deeper into Community

Way back in 1999, our good friend Jonathan first came to Sanctuary, and all of our lives have been forever changed. When he first heard about Sanctuary, he was staying at Seaton House—a men’s shelter in Toronto. He had become friends with Donald Sturrock—another precious man who became our current kitchen manager, and who was also staying at Seaton House at that time. Donald had already been to Sanctuary a few times, and shared about his positive experience with the welcoming, family atmosphere.

To Jonathan, the idea of being part of something bigger than himself felt so right. And when he first stepped foot into Sanctuary, he said he felt a good vibe right from the start. The staff he met that day eventually became mentors because they were so easy to spend time with and talk to—whether the conversation was light, or leading into deeper, more difficult topics. For the first time in a long time, Jonathan felt like his voice was being heard.

“My life is so much better now than before I was part of the Sanctuary community.” —Jonathan

Since that first day, Jonathan has become an integral member of the community. And, over the years, he has been well-supported with whatever he’s going through—from getting help with his housing situations to having the knowledgeable support of a nurse at health-related appointments.

When we asked about his thoughts on the arts programming, meals and community gatherings at Sanctuary, he shared his appreciation that Sanctuary is so inclusive. “My life is so much better now than before I was part of the Sanctuary community,” he said, adding that it meant a lot to him, and that he isn’t isolated anymore.

For the past 2.5 years, Jonathan has been working at Switchback Cyclery—Sanctuary’s bike shop that launched in 2013. As he endeavours to help “propel community” through his workplace, he’s discovering the joy and dignity that comes from having a meaningful and purposeful occupation. “When I had jobs before, I was just doing it for the pay cheque. But at Switchback, I want to be with the people I work with because we really care about each other. I feel renewed because of the people in my life now.”

We are so thankful for Jonathan just for being himself, and for everything he contributes to Sanctuary. Thank you, also, to everyone who makes this place of belonging possible.

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Lazarus Rising Highlight

Our Growing Partnerships

Lazarus Rising Highlight

Our Growing Partnerships

Since 2005, Sanctuary has had the privilege of working hand-in-hand with Lazarus Rising (LR) and Mennonite Central Committee of Ontario (MCCO). LR came together several years before 2005, when a group of people from Toronto-area Mennonite and Brethren in Christ congregations wanted to find ways in which they could become more involved in issues of homelessness and poverty. Their solution was a partnership with Sanctuary and MCCO that added a team member to our community here–entirely funded by supporters of LR.

For eight years, that role was filled by Doug Johnson Hatlem. For a time, Emily Dueck was funded by LR to work alongside Doug. When Doug left, Aylish Chantler filled his shoes. And, during Aylish’s recent maternity leave, Adrienne Martens has ably assumed the role. Four great individuals who have been a part of our community thanks to this partnership!

As we begin 2017, LR has decided to transition their support directly to Sanctuary. On the surface, this won’t look any different than it has previously. What it means, however, is that financial support for the LR street pastor will come directly to Sanctuary rather than going to MCCO through LR. Realistically, this will make things simpler for the street pastor, as they will have one less supervisor in the mix!

We are deeply grateful for MCCO’s partnership with us throughout these years, and for their ongoing commitment to financially support this position for the next two years. We look forward to continuing to work with LR to cultivate support within the Anabaptist community for this important work. Thank you to those who have generously supported over these years and to those who will continue to support it–we hope–for some years to come.

Copyright © 2017 Sanctuary Ministries Toronto
Registered Canadian Charity: 890379340RR0001