Iron Sharpens Iron at Annual Networking Day

The month of May is busy for many, including us! May is not only when many churches hold their NewGround Sunday offering, it is also when Diaconal Ministries’ holds its annual Ministry Networking Day; a day when past, present, (and potential!) NewGround partners gather to learn together, acquire valuable resources, and support one another in their ministries. 

This year’s gathering was held on Friday, May 24th, at the John Perkins Centre in downtown Hamilton. This is one of several Indwell supportive housing sites in southern Ontario. For 50 years, Indwell has offered “compassion, innovation, and [an] unwavering commitment to providing dignity and independence” for thousands of individuals across Ontario! [taken from their website]

Indwell & NewGround’s story

It all started in 1974 when a group of Christians in Hamilton wanted to help support families who had adult children with disabilities. Through to 2001, with The Homestead home helped several people transition to independent living within a year or two!

By 1999, Homestead shifted focus towards establishing more supportive permanent housing. They acquired Caroline Apartments, which included a Shared Care Program involving partnerships with Salem — now called Shalem Mental Health Network — and many other faith-based organizations, including NewGround, then called Operation Manna (OM), in 2001! Homestead then applied a second time – in 2005 – as the ministry continued to grow, to help pay the salary of a newly hired Regional Educator. 

From 2001 through 2007, OM granted over $40,000 to this ministry! In addition, Tammy Heidbuurt (the Operation Manna Coordinator back then) led a strategic planning process with Indwell in 2017, which included several staff focus groups as well as tenant surveys.

We celebrate the role that NewGround played all those years ago in supporting faithful churches and their members to love their communities in hopeful and helpful ways. 

Find out more about Indwell here!

Highlights of the Day

The main topic for the MND was board development and some of the challenges that come with that! We were pleased to have Shepherd Consulting lead us through a helpful and insightful session in the morning.

Another highlight of the day is hearing updates from our current community ministry partners.

One partner, Mission Montreal (or Christian Direction), walks alongside Christian 

leaders who want to bring change in their city. Mission Montreal was formed over a decade ago in collaboration with Resonate Global Mission, Diaconal Ministries Canada, First CRC of Montreal and the CRCNA in Canada. They practice a ministry of presence through young adult formation, church engagement/outreach, and programs for newcomers in the city of Montréal.

Mission Montreal applied to NewGround to help two (2) local congregations in the east end of Montreal discern and design a long-term, concerted, and sustainable missional project. Mission Montreal will walk alongside these congregations to develop a case study, of sorts, following them after the community scan/assessment is done and they begin to answer “now what?”. Once completed, they can use this information to help even more churches engage in their local community and contribute to its flourishing!

Check out the update from Greg Houldcroft of Cross Town Impact:

Director Greg shares how NewGround helped him keep his head above water this past year!

(Stay tuned for more updates on our social media channels in the coming weeks!)

None of these ministries are possible without the faithful support of CRC churches across Canada who donate to and pray for NewGround.

What the Participants are Saying

As stated above, the MND is meant to bless and inspire the participants; whether they are a past, present, or potential NewGround partners! Online meetings are wonderful for gathering people from across the country but getting together in person is still appreciated by most participants. “And you never know how our paths will cross again!” shared a participant. 

“Overall, this is always such a well thought-out and organized day,” shared one participant.