By CBOQ Communications
“A community church with a passion for God and compassion for people” is the motto of Lisle Memorial Baptist Church. They have been serving in northwest Toronto since 1980. The main area of focus is known as Jane-Finch. This area has been labelled in news publications as “Toronto’s least livable area,” and “every large city has a hell hole, Toronto’s is Jane-Finch.” Despite this negative publicity, the people of Lisle Memorial Baptist Church (LMBC) are committed to be a beacon of light and hope in the area.
In order to have an outreach branch of LMBC which better facilitates raising funds, delivering programs, and collaborating with strategic organizations, they began Holistic Outreach Promoting Empowerment For You Community Services (HOPE4U). In August 2016, HOPE4U officially became a registered non-profit organization. It has a strong partnership with Youth Unlimited (Youth for Christ, Toronto) through having two of its members on staff as outreach workers in the community.
HOPE4U seeks to help bring heaven to Jane-Finch and beyond by addressing some of the needs. They strive to make this a desirable area for people to live. How are they doing this? Currently they are focusing on 4 key groups: Youth, Seniors, Low Income Families and Individuals, and Single Mothers.
Journey to Adulthood Ministry (JAM) is the ministry to youth. It aims at helping to equip boys and girls for healthy transitions from childhood to adulthood. JAM offers life skills training, character development, Bible study, outings to places of interest like museums, camping, and post-secondary campus tours. Both groups have rite of passage ceremonies to mark the 13th and 18th milestone on the journey. In 2021, Hope Robotics was added; a co-ed program in partnership with FIRST Robotics Canada for children ages 6-14. This program is to help get children interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics).
The programs for the seniors are to encourage and equip them to age with dignity and usefulness. There are seminars and classes to promote physical, social and mental health; teach computer literacy; and provide tools for relating with confidence as mentors to younger generations.
HOPE4U also offers tools for achieving financial health in partnership with Credit Canada Debt Solutions. They help participants receive free debt counselling services which includes reviews of debt relief options, aid in lowering payments, stopping collection calls, and negotiating lower interest. For community members struggling, these steps can release them from fear, oppression, and worry caused by their current situation. Lessons on money management are also offered to teach skills such as budgeting, saving, and protecting oneself from fraud.
For those with low incomes, free tax preparation services are offered through a collaboration with the Canada Revenue Agency. This is especially valuable to those who cannot afford interruptions to the benefits they are entitled to from the government.
Women of Hope is geared to the mothers of the community. Mothers are offered insights into better spiritual, physical, emotional, social and financial health. They are empowered to follow godly principles to enable them to deal and cope with issues in their lives. Through workshops, training, and retreats, Mothers are better equipped to raise their children and feel supported.
Their motto and the leading of the Holy Spirit compel this church to find practical ways to offer God’s love to their community. What are the needs in your community? Thanks be to God for the members of LMBC and their service to their community.