Centre for the City

We believe God cares for everyone, and because of this, Jesus calls us to be His hands and feet, caring for people in need. At CSC, we walk with new refugees, immigrants and anybody who is in need. We support them with food, clothing, skills training, community and life change opportunities for those seeking deeper connection and purpose.  

We give people “a space to belong before they believe – a place of welcome, refuge and hope.”

 

WHAT WE DO 

The Centre for the City brings together both Compassionate Ministries and the New Canadian Friendship Centre to make a bigger difference in the city as we partner, love and walk alongside people in deepest need.

 

New Canadian Friendship Centre (NCFC)

What we do at NCFC

We walk alongside people who are new to Canada, giving friendship, and practical help to be a part of Canadian life. We help all people, including refugees, and refugee claimants, regardless of their immigration status. Our classes and programs are designed to provide practical learning for Canadian life, as well as opportunities for building friendship, community and conversation skills. Some of the classes offered to people new to Canada include:

 

NCFC offers:

  • ESL classes: We offer classes to learn English (as an additional language). Presently these classes are being provided both online and in person. 
  • English pronunciation classes: We help people new to Canada to make English sounds (consonants and vowels) and practice relaxed speech. 
  • Citizenship classes: We help people preparing to write their Canadian citizenship exam, or people who simply want to learn more about Canadian ways of life, government and history. 
  • Cooking or baking classes: We enjoy community and meet new people while learning traditional Canadian style baking and cooking (using Canadian standards, ovens, recipes, etc.), or sharing recipes and foods from our home countries with each other. People also learn how to substitute healthier ingredients into recipes as well as Canadian tips to shop for and value nutrition. 
  • Knitting and Sewing Classes: People can come to learn to knit or sew while making new friends and practicing English skills. 
  • Artist Collective: We give women new to Canada opportunities to learn skills in sewing and needlework. They receive mentorship to market their quality handcrafted items. 
  • Café Drop-In: New Canadians can stop by the Café for free snacks and drinks and to visit and share stories and friendship with other newcomers to Canada and with our volunteers. 
  • Childcare programs: We offer a safe and fun learning environment by providing age-appropriate activities including Bible stories, songs, activities and games. Childcare is offered for parents of preschool children who attend morning classes.

Compassionate Ministries

People come to CSC’s Compassionate Ministries to receive short-term relief for basic needs and a sense of love and community. For those that wish to pursue a journey of deeper life change we work with them to build a larger plan of action that all integrates multiple dimensions of well being… skill development, job readiness, emotional and mental health, community, belonging and purpose.

Here are some of the programs and partnerships that help us do this:

Note: many of our programs have been temporarily suspended during COVID-19. Please see our section on COVID-19 Food Ministry and Program Eligibility

 

  Drop-in nights and monthly community meals:

Specifically designed for building connection with people in deep poverty, Monday and Wednesday night drop-ins and monthly meals provide a space for people to use the food bank or clothing bank and then come into our café, ‘The Well,’ to enjoy a hot drink, some games, and a listening ear.

  Job search and life skills support:

While our ministry provides support to those living in poverty, we also seek to help in ways that promote sustainability to people in need. We provide access to computers, networking and resources, potential employment and volunteer opportunities at the clothing store, and certification training for employment (e.g. food safety) to empower people to get back up on their feet.  The Job Search and Life skills area offers resources such as budgeting, resume writing help and job search skills to help people explore job opportunities in the city.

  Life Journey:

Each week food gatherings and ministries serve as potential doorways for life change as we make connections and book appointments to support emergency needs and address a desire to move beyond the “band-aid” solutions and address the deeper issues behind cycles of poverty. 

Step One: An initial assessment allows volunteers to provide short term relief for people’s practical needs. First steps are an opportunity to demonstrate more care and concern for the deeper issues. 

Step Two: Volunteers use a Life Budget approach to gain greater understanding of each person’s needs (financial, intellectual, physical, social and spiritual) so they can create an action plan to support each ‘friend’ or ‘neighbour’ more deeply and connect them to a supportive community.  

Step Three: (Compassionate Friends Program): In this program, CSC congregation members are matched with individuals in an intentional friendship and mentoring relationship as they follow their Life Budget action plan.

  Mental health partnerships:

We’ve seen a growing number of people coming with diagnosed or non-diagnosed mental health issues. Knowing CSC needed to be more intentional and equipped to serve people with mental health challenges, a collaborative partnership was established with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).

We have since expanded partnerships with other organizations and people, offering expertise to walk closely with those struggling with mental health issues. This includes working with the ‘Calgary Scope Society,’ which has offered training to CSC leadership in identifying particular types of mental illnesses, and engaging with the appropriate community supports, including City of Calgary social workers and area agencies.

  Clothing Store:

The Centre for the City will offer a clothing store, providing affordable clothing options for those in need and those who desire to dress for success. Gently used clothing will be provided to bring dignity and value to those seeking to meet this practical need in their lives. An additional part of the vision for this fully operational store, is that would also provide employment opportunities for people in a life change journey.

 

Vision

The Centre for the City exists to partner, love and walk alongside people in deepest need. We also support new immigrants & refugees, while building stronger bridges between the church, community partners, and concerned Calgarians.  

By consolidating our Compassionate Ministries and our New Canadian Friendship Centre into one facility, designed with a missional purpose, we now have the opportunity to transform Central Campus into a hub for mission work, allowing all ministries to work together to serve with more efficiency, building stronger bridges between the church, community partners and concerned Calgarians. 

The facility will provide 11,077 square feet of dedicated space, and access to other multi-use spaces in the Central Campus expansion, increasing our capacity to support those in need with food, clothing and intentional spaces for training, classes and community. 

The ‘Centre of the City’ will be a place of welcome, refuge and hope for those in need or those simply looking for a place to belong. Just picture it. People coming to a safe place to make appointments and drop in for a cup of coffee, prayer and support in whatever they may be struggling with. They can be a part of mentorship programs (for individuals or families), as well as opportunities to access the gym and other multi-use spaces for fun activities and gatherings like Crossover Sports, monthly community meals, a play structure for children while families connect, and more.

You can support this vision by donating to our projects to BUILD more room for God. CLICK HERE.

 

History

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          CSC history: ‘Benevolence’ approach to outreach

          Most common among churches, the benevolence model meant that when people came to the church seeking help, we reactively provided food and resources on a case by case basis. Food drives and mission work to feed the homeless were common throughout CSC history.

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          2013: New Canadian Friendship Centre is launched

          Led by Pastor Ashwin Ramani, the NCFC is launched to walk alongside new Canadians, offering them the support they need to navigate a new culture, new climate, foreign language, social isolation, job security and other challenges.

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          2015: Downturn

          More people come to CSC seeking help for their physical needs, especially food. Church leaders pray for guidance. “God shifted my thinking. We didn’t need a strategy. We needed a miracle. I prayed for mana from heaven,” says Pastor Brad Friesen.

          Calgary Food Bank comes to CSC inviting us into a partnership. “We’ll provide the food if you provide the space,” they say. Pastor Brad says, “we’re in.”

        • 2016: ‘Compassionate Ministries’ is born

          The compassionate approach is a proactive and strategic outreach model. It addresses the many dimensions that contribute to cycles of poverty - the physical, mental, emotional, community and spiritual needs of the whole person. People in need come to CSC to receive short-term relief for basic needs, before being brought into a larger plan of action called a ‘Life Budget’ or ‘Life Journey.’

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          2017: Sale of West Campus

          West Campus is sold to Chinese Christian Wing Kei Nursing Home Association. Sale proceeds are slated to fund the expansion of Central Campus to address growing demand for space for Compassionate Ministries among other CSC ministries.

          Compassionate Ministries launches Monday evening drop-in ministries, including: ‘The Well’ café, food bank, clothing bank, skills training and other classes to help people in poverty move forward in their lives.

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          2018: BUILD more room for God journey begins

          CSC launches its journey to build Northwest Campus and to expand Central Campus to increase ministry opportunities to marginalized people groups and to accommodate the growing needs of Calgarians and other ministry programs.

          Compassionate Friends program pilot is launched.

          Program connects people in the Life Budget program with mentors from the congregation, providing additional community, friendship and support

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          2019: Compassionate Ministries forms partnership with Canada Mental Health Association

          Compassionate Ministries launches Monthly Community Meals.

          Compassionate Ministries distributes 2,493 hampers and serves 1535 Monthly Community Meals. An average of 70 people per week come to ‘The Well’ café to find true community. 52 people are connected into our Career Connection Network. 200 people go through the Life Journey process to experience deeper life change.

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          2020: COVID-19 pandemic hits

          The need for food increases among Calgarians as thousands of additional families experience layoffs. We expand our food ministry to include prepared meals, so we can feed more people who are vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19 including seniors, new Canadians, individuals or families facing layoffs, or with low or limited income, families with young children, and individuals with medical conditions, mental health challenges and limited access to support. 

          From July to December, the number of people being served by Compassionate Ministry increases over 600% as we move from serving an average of 899 people each month (in 2019) to serving an average of 5475 people per month (in 2020).

          NCFC continues to provide a sense of stability, safety, connection and hope to people new to Canada  - moving many communities online where people can connect with a familiar face.

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          2023: Estimated opening

          Anticipated completion of construction (or partial completion, allowing for basic use of the space) of the new Centre for the City will be potentially in 2023.

Covid-19 Food Ministry

We expanded our food distribution programs to include prepared meals, so we can feed more people who are vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19 including seniors, new Canadians, individuals or families facing layoffs, or with low or limited income, families with young children, and individuals with medical conditions, mental health challenges and limited access to support.

We currently have three food distribution programs in which agencies and individuals can participate:

I have a need

 

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Ready Freezer Meals

These are provided to assist partners and agencies in the meeting of food needs for their clients. Any agency working with people struggling with food insecurity can apply by emailing:

 
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Food Hampers

Hampers are provided as a depot of the Calgary Food Bank and registration can be done through them by phoning 403-253-2055. If you are referring clients to the Emergency Food Hamper Program visit: www.calgaryfoodbank.com/2020/referral-agencies/ . The church also provides hampers to people in need who may not be eligible to register through Calgary Food Bank.

Register at: or call 403 293 3900.
Location: our food bank operates out of4021 Centre Street NE-North Doors. (Wing Kei Village)
Food bank hours: Monday and Wednesday 6-730pm and Tuesday and Thursday 10-1130am

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Box Lunches

Box lunches are also distributed at 4021 Centre Street (NE-North Doors), Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6-730pm. These lunches are available for anyone who is in need. Registration is not required and drop-ins are welcomed.

 

Notes of Encouragement

These meals and notes of encouragement are having a huge impact!
 
Our congregation has created hundreds of notes of encouragement cards to people in need. And they keep pouring in.
See how these cards and these meals are having an impact on people’s lives.
 

 

Keep them coming church!

For more information about how you can submit a note of encouragement visit www.cschurch.ca/notes.
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Donate Now

Your donations to BUILD more room for God contribute to making our Centre for the City vision possible.

To learn more about our BUILD projects and how the Centre for the City follow the button below:

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