church

A boatload of warmth

As the cold weather fast approaches we begin replacing our sandals and shorts for warm hats and mitts. Unfortunately there are kids in the Deep Water community who go to school without these basic winter clothes. Just minutes away from Deep Water Church is Joseph Howe Elementary School. Children in this area often come from low income households, including new Canadians not used to our cold climate. Deep Water feels strongly that they can meet the need of these community members by equipping the kids with hats and mitts. A boat was set up at the front of the church and people were asked to donate hats and mitts for kids at the school. The goal of this project is to collect 217 pairs of mitts and 217 hats.

For the past several weeks Deep Water attendees have answered the call and have purchased and gathered an abundance of hats and mittens. 6 church members have been spending their time knitting pairs from scratch. Kids and adults of all ages have been a part of the donating, and as of November 3, 212 hats and 183 sets of mittens have been collected.  17 scarves/neck/head warmers and 31 ball caps have also been donated to the boatload.

Members of Deep Water, don't forget that today (Sunday, Nov.5) is the last day to bring in donations!

The boatload will be delivered by Deep Water staff on November 6. What better way to show Christ's love in action than wrapping neighbourhood children in winter warmth.

michal-janek-194890

HEY has exciting news!

mike-labrum-151765.jpg

On Thursday, October 5, Westin Hotel hosted a dinner to support one of the most urgent matters in our city. The large hotel ballroom bordered with floor-to-ceiling windows was filled with guest in formal attire — women in dresses and high heels and men with colourful pocket-squares and bow-ties. In groups of ten or so, pastors, church-goers, and business representatives sat and mingled around white cloth-covered tables. A silent auction was set up at the back of room for guests to participate in before the dinner began. Volunteers were stationed around the room holding large bunches of gold balloons: single balloons could be bought for $20, with two balloons containing the grand prize of either a pair of diamond earrings or a diamond necklace valued at $1000.

This was the 3rd annual Door of Hope Dinner, organized to raise funding to support the work of the Open Door Centre in Halifax. Heather Harman, the executive director of the centre, walked onstage in a long black dress and welcomed guests with a warm smile. She acknowledged that the topic of the night may be uncomfortable — guests would be served a delicious three course dinner while also being educated on the centre’s work in trying to eliminate sex trafficking and helping young people make critical decisions around pregnancy and abortions. Harman’s speech was gentle but powerful. Guests heard personal stories of women who have found help, hope and healing through the programs the centre offers.

“It is so easy to imagine that sex trafficking only happens in places so far away from our homes and that perhaps, it is not our problem,” reads the Open Door Centre’s website, “Yet, the vice is a growing criminal industry in Canada. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) estimates the number of sex trafficking victims to be in the thousands and that 90% of these thousands are Canadians. This is proof that sex trafficking is indeed our problem. It is happening in our backyard. From our interactions with different professionals who have worked in the area of sex trafficking over the years, we learnt that Nova Scotia is a recruitment hub.”

The division of the Open Door Centre that focuses on sex trafficking, entitled HEY (Helping Exploited Youth), is a ministry that Deep Water supports financially through it's ReachOut program. HEY was excited to announce that their Prevention strategy is well underway. Their focus for this coming Fall will be to educate teens about how human trafficking happens here in Halifax.

Earlier this year HEY gave presentations to guidance counsellors across the HRM, which helped to build connections and trust between Open Door Centre and local schools. The centre has now met with every junior high in the HRSB to discuss the possibility of making presentations to students throughout the school year. The presentations are free and include information about what sex trafficking is and how it works, Canadian laws about sex workers and trafficking, how to recognize the signs if someone is being recruited, and how students can help stop local exploitation.

“18 schools have expressed interest in our presentations so far and as of now we have 7 booked,” says Heather. “Some schools are already asking us to come back and make a presentation each year.” Most schools are requesting presentations for their Grade 6 students.

So what can we, the members of Deep Water Church, do to support the volunteers and staff at the Open Door Centre? They have asked for us to focus our prayers in these 3 areas:

  1. That HEY would be equipped to carry out it's mandate — preventing teens who would have otherwise been trafficked from being exploited.
  2. That the volunteers who are giving school presentations would have the wisdom, courage, and passion to engage these youth in an impactful way.
  3. That any exploited youth would see the presentation and come to the centre for help.

Thanks for joining with us in supporting the life-changing work that is happening in our city!

 

Why Nova?

This post was written by AJ Thomas, lead pastor at Deep Water Church One of the first projects we have backed as a part of our ReachOut initiative is a church plant here in Halifax called Nova. To some people this may seem like a rather strange thing for us to do. Why would we pour outreach funds into a church? And if a church why a church other than Deep Water?  And if another church why Nova? Let's take a couple minutes and look at the answers to those questions.

“Why pour outreach funds into a church?”

At Deep Water we believe that God has called us to help bring his kingdom here in Halifax. While this includes serving the poor, feeding the hungry, helping the sick, caring for those in prison, and a whole host of other social justice initiatives, we believe that the most essential thing in bringing the kingdom of God to Halifax in greater and greater ways is to see individual lives transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. The tool that God has ordained as the primary way for the gospel to be both lived out and proclaimed is the local church. We believe that the more churches there are in Halifax that are Spirit filled and on mission with Jesus the more we will see people come to Christ, our community transformed and the kingdom come. No organization in Halifax is as well positioned or as God-empowered to bring transformation as the local church so we think it makes great sense to invest in a project that raises up another great local church.

“If a church, why a church other than Deep Water?”

I understand this question. God is doing some amazing things in Deep Water right now. Why would we not just continue to fuel that fire as much as we can? The answer is simple: we can't do it alone. It will take many different kinds of strong, effective churches to reach Halifax for Jesus and while we want to do our part we also want to be a part of helping other churches to do theirs. Deep Water exists because the good folks at Hillside Wesleyan Church knew that we needed more strong healthy churches in our city and so they released people and gave money so that Deep Water could get off the ground. We want to have that same heart that says we will work our corner of the field with everything we have but we will also support those God has called to other corners. Our mission is to help people become passionate followers of Jesus Christ not just to build Deep Water, and if investing in another church helps us to accomplish our mission we will. People invested in us and because of this THE CHURCH in Halifax is stronger. Now we our investing in another church and THE CHURCH will be stronger still.

“If another church why Nova?”

In Matthew 25 Jesus tells the parable of the talents. You can read it for yourself if you want all the details but the basic gist is this: the Master gives us resources and it's our job to invest them where they will bring the greatest return. Pastors Mike and Nancy Miller have served faithfully in the city of Halifax for many years. They know the culture, they know the people, and they know the spiritual climate here. They have excellent gifts for this type of work and God has clearly shown his blessing on this project in many ways including the amazing team he has raised up around the Millers. When Deep Water started we had the launch team of 30. Nova still has almost 2 months until they launch and their team already has 100 members. The vision they have for Nova is certainly not a replica of the vision for Deep Water but there is absolutely  a common heartbeat, a common passion, and a common focus on reaching people who are far from Jesus. Making Deep Water and Nova kindred spirits. Simply put we are giving funds to Nova Church because we believe that it is one of the best kingdom investment opportunities our city has ever seen and we want in on the rewards of seeing lives transformed and God glorified.

So that's why we are not just investing in Nova Church but are thrilled to have the opportunity to do so. We are investing in Nova not just because we believe in their mission but because it helps us accomplish ours and helps bring the Kingdom in Halifax as it is in Heaven.