(Part 1)

I took my first (non-mandatory) day off work this past Friday.  My rationale was that I have 3 weeks of vacation per year, and you’re only allowed to get paid out for 1 of those weeks if you don’t take those vacation days.  So, I thought that I had better start taking some days off.  (Note: I still might take a week off to visit my sister’s little family and my friends in Ontario… but don’t get your hopes up yet; it’s just a thought right now)

As it turned out, the Friday I took off happened to be the last Friday of the month, which means that it’s the day that Union Gospel Mission here in Vancouver holds a small graduation ceremony for graduands of their 6-month addictions rehab program for men (they have a 3-month program for women, as well).  Their program can fit 36 men at one time, so this Friday, there was one person graduating from the program.

I intend to blog more about this, but for now, I just wanted to give you this little preview, especially in the case that you’d never heard of UGM before.  Oh, look what I found off UGM’s website… (Link: http://www.ugm.ca/ )

Our Mission Statement Union Gospel Mission offers hope to hungry, hurting and homeless men, women and children in Metro Vancouver and the city of Mission by sharing and practically demonstrating the gospel of Jesus Christ, providing without discrimination:

  • Basic necessities and practical assistance
  • Effective recovery programs that offer freedom from addictive lifestyles
  • Educational and job readiness programs that equip for successful living
  • Outreach programs that provide encouragement, support, counselling, spiritual guidance and referral services, and
  • Affordable housing through Union Gospel Housing Societies

Actually, one of the main reasons I wanted to go down for a visit (and tour) during their Friday grad ceremony was because I’ve been really curious about how “Christian” they actually are.  Many, if not most(?) of our non-governmental agencies in the downtown Vancouver area are Christian in origin.  They might have something about Jesus in their mission statement, for example, but I’ve always wondered about whether it really influenced how they helped people.  I think NGO’s in developing countries might experience this too, but it seems to me that often “Christian” organizations doing this kind of work may focus on the humanitarian aspect and never really proclaim or tell anybody about the more meaningful kind of help (i.e. spiritual) that they need with respect to God.

So, even for an organization like the Union Gospel Mission, which has “Gospel” right in the middle of its name, I wasn’t too sure if they really made a “big deal” about Jesus when they worked with people, or if He was more just a “reason” or motivation in the background for the work that they do.

(to be continued…)