By Rev. Jonathan Chan
105 Gibson Centre hosted four Christmas celebrations in December and were attended by about 800 guests. This signified a beautiful end to our ministries in 2017. Looking back, we had the highest and most diverse attendance this year – including seniors, students from our classes, Syrian new comers and youth from the community. A lady from Trinidad told me that she enrolled in our dancing class because she received our activity pamphlets delivered to her home by our volunteers four years ago. She also invited a non-Chinese neighbour to our celebration. The cultural difference did not scare her at all. In fact, she is interested in learning more about the Chinese culture! Two Aleppo men who happened to be elementary school classmates but had lost contact for 15 years encountered each other at our Syrian newcomer dinner! It is a blessing to see how the Centre has become a place for cultural exchange, and for our users to consider it their second home when they bring along their families, friends and neighbours to the celebrations.
Our Phase 2 expansion will be ready by March and we envision the Abundant Life Court, with a capacity of 800 people, will usher in new seniors to use our services. The Thrift Store will finally have a permanent location selling high quality items at low prices while providing retail sales experience to those seeking such training. Our partner Meals in Need will expand their services to meet the needs of seniors in different life circumstances while Centre volunteers provide emotional and spiritual caring support. We are also actively discussing with partnering organizations on how to offer additional services to the community. Our volunteers will have their own room to work, and staff will finally have an office to enhance teamwork and communications. New rooms will be available to accommodate groups of various sizes. Although the results of this expansion are not yet known, I am still very excited and cannot wait to hear more blessing stories.
We pray that in 2018, more people from various backgrounds will visit the Centre; that the gospel be shared more explicitly; that our services be more diversified; that a deeper personal relationship is fostered. Simply said, our goal is for 105 Gibson Centre to become our community’s second home, where our users can be blessed through our ministries.