The name “Journey” was chosen because it conveys the sense of hope at meeting God anew, and the concept of “experiential discipleship." Photo courtesy journeycanada.org.

New name signals expanding role for ministry

Journey Canada comes alongside churches to foster relational healing

VANCOUVER, BC—Journey Canada (formerly Living Waters Canada) may have a new name but its mission is the same: offering hope through Jesus Christ to people struggling with relationships and relational issues.

“Our convictions are the same as when we began,” Journey Canada national director Toni Dolfo-Smith says. “But the way in which we go about our work has expanded.”

Now in its 25th year as an organization, Journey Canada started as a small group in Vancouver in 1991 and has expanded across the country into a network of support for those struggling with identity and sexuality.

Many come to Journey wrestling with gender identity, divorce, pornography addictions and same-sex desires, and find a safe place for spiritual care and discipleship. Staff and volunteers help people experience healthy relationships in their families and communities by bringing freedom to those addicted, abused or confused.

“In the past few years, we’ve seen a tremendous growth in opportunities to equip the Canadian church,” Dolfo-Smith says, adding their church-based Pastoral Approaches Seminars on topics about relationships, identity and sexuality have become some of its most popular offerings.

Dolfo-Smith says the organization’s work has always included coming alongside local churches, but now instead of merely saying, “send us the people in your church who are struggling with relationships, identity and sexuality,” Journey is saying, “let us help and teach you how to minister to people dealing with these issues.”

Dolfo-Smith says Journey Canada had more opportunities in 2014 to hold training in churches than in the last 10 years combined.

“New doors are opening every month for us to go to churches and not just receive people from churches,” Dolfo-Smith says. “We’ve also been given new opportunities to serve our partner organizations around the world.”

A new name

The name “Journey” was chosen because it conveys the sense of hope at meeting God anew, and the concept of “experiential discipleship,” which Dolfo-Smith explains lies at the heart of its programs.

While it may take some time to get used to the name change, Dolfo-Smith says the organization still values and cherishes the name Living Waters, and its fundamental beliefs and views on sexuality remain the same.

“Our moral stance on sexuality and relationships is rooted in the Christian tradition and turns first and foremost to the Christian Scriptures for beliefs, values and ethics,” Dolfo-Smith says.

“I believe that we are on the cusp of some of our best days as an organization,” she adds. “We are poised for expansion and growth, ready to add new staff, volunteers, and program offerings,” adding a fresh slate of church-based seminars events is in the works.

“Most of all, we are encouraged to remember that this is not a solitary quest but a shared one with resources beyond what we can calculate,” Dolfo-Smith says.

 

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