Lighthouse still beaming after 100 years

WINNIPEG, MB—A mission launched a century ago in downtown Winnipeg continues to be a beacon of hope in the city.

Lighthouse Mission first opened its doors in 1911, thanks to the efforts of people influenced by California's Azusa Street Revival. Even now, the mission's focus is firmly fastened to its doors—"Love all…serve all."

As many as 250 people arrive at the Main Street mission for a nourishing hot lunch each day. Emergency food hampers are prepared for those who have the greatest needs. Front-line supervisor Tom Murphy doesn't slacken his pace dicing vegetables for soup as he enthuses about the Lighthouse's ministry.

Lighthouse staff members also work with like-minded organizations to provide addiction treatment and transitional housing, as well as offering mentoring and work skills programs.

In addition to feeding patrons, the Lighthouse endeavours to meet their spiritual needs as well. A popular Friday night service offers a place for fellowship and teaching. Lighthouse director Sean Goulet sees a renewed sense of purpose at the mission. "Once again we function as a church in the inner city," he says, reflecting on the mission's early days.

Linda Vickers coordinates the Lighthouse's outreach programs, including "Women for Women" a work skills outreach program. She says most of the participants are Christians, and face some difficult situations with courage. Yet when they pray, she says, they pray most consistently for others.

"I've found the most incredible treasures within the beautiful women I've met at the Lighthouse Mission," says Vickers. "These women are such a blessing and a gift to me."

Vickers believes these women are following in the footsteps of those who launched the mission a century ago. According to historical reports, "women were crucial to the revival" in California—which led to the founding of the Winnipeg mission.

The Lighthouse Mission is always looking for people who want to get involved. With the approach of colder weather, the mission is looking for donations of the most sought after items such as sweaters, coats, boots, mittens, hats, warm underwear and sleeping bags for its clothing distribution centre.

Many faithful individuals who supported the work of Lighthouse Mission have passed away. Even though some corporate sponsors have come on board in the last four years, individual gifts are also appreciated.

The Lighthouse Mission will celebrate its centennial on November 19 at the Delta Hotel in Winnipeg with guest speaker pastor Bruce Martin, Canadian recording artist Jon Bryant and the Asham Stompers. Visit www.lighthousemission.ca for more details.

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Pat Gerbrandt is a Manitoba writer who delights to learn how God is working in and through His children, and enjoys sharing these accounts. Do you know a senior with an amazing story? Let us know! E-mail krempel@christianweek.org or call 1-800-263-6695.