Blyth, Ontario CRC deacons wanted to get to know the food banks which serviced their small community: The Salvation Army (SA) and the North Huron Foodshare. When they initiated conversations with the SA food bank, they learned of another church in Blyth, Living Water Christian Fellowship, that also wanted to know more about how they could work together, serving the food bank clients in Blyth more meaningfully.
Blyth deacons then organized a meeting between these 2 churches and the food banks. They also decided to invite food bank clients to join in on the conversation. Along the way, a local restaurant owner offered to host the meeting and provide food for lunch.
At the meeting, people were asked what they liked about the community of Blyth and why they lived there. The conversation eventually turned to the challenge of transportation for people: the food banks are 18 km away from the community of Blyth. The SA offered their 7-seater van to be used for a once-a-month shuttle from Blyth to the foodbank. Clients in another smaller community nearby heard about this development and asked to be included on the shuttle run.
As the churches began to work in partnership with the SA, the director there began to refer some of their Blyth clients to the church-community for further support. This act spread out to other service providers who also began to turn to the church-community as a resource. One caseworker said that she never thought of turning to a faith group for help, but was impressed by what was happening.
By God’s grace, this development will continue to expand and initiate additional opportunities for the area churches to serve the vulnerable residents in Blyth.
(photo of Queen Street in Blyth is from Google maps)
How might a partnership with Operation Manna help your church in local ministry?
Do you and your fellow church members have a desire to walk with your neighbours? Did you know that Operation Manna has been helping churches establish important and impactful local ministries for more than 45 years?
In 2016 alone, Diaconal Ministries Canada worked with more than 30 churches and ministry partners to help them establish and grow. Heartland Fellowship CRC, in Chilliwack, BC, is just one of those churches. They partnered with their community to build trails through a local forest, which has opened up exciting connections within the community. They’re the feature of a video that we just posted to tell the Operation Manna story. You can watch it here.
But first, here are three ways that Operation Manna can help your church in local ministry:
1. Diaconal Ministries Canada has experienced staff dedicated to the Operation Manna program.
- We provide support to your ministry through prayer, encouragement and consultation (planning, organizing, training, or even providing a “sounding board” for your ideas and vision).
- We connect you to other ministries and churches across Canada involved in similar ministries for learning and sharing.
- We provide excellent tools to help you develop your ministry.
2. Diaconal Ministries Canada makes grant money available to churches for their ministries.
- These grants might be needed to help to start a program or ministry.
- They might also help a church or ministry with limited financial resources be able to partner with others in the community.
- They might help your church develop a current ministry further or to move it in a new direction.
3. As part of our network, your ministry will be given more exposure and promotion in your Classis and across the country.
Looking for more information? You can find it here.
(above photo: Good News Fellowship CRC walks with their neighbours through the ministry of the Indigenous Family Centre in Winnipeg, MB)