Happy Valentine’s Day!
As our team was thinking about Valentine’s Day and love, we were reminded of an important Bible passage for Scott Mission – the story of the good Samaritan. This story is found in the book of Luke and it begins with Jesus saying that we are to love God and love our neighbours. In return, Jesus is asked, “Who is my neighbour?” – in other words, who do I need to care about?
Jesus gives a story example of a man beaten and left on the street. Different people walk by and refuse to stop and help. But one man stops, picks up the beaten man, takes care of his wounds, pays for treatment, and provides lodging and food while he recovers. Jesus then asks those listening, ‘Who was the best neighbour?’ and they respond it was the man who showed love and mercy. Jesus then instructs them to do likewise.
The parable has many layers – we would love for you to read this devotion written by Peter Duraisami, our CEO (Chief Executive Officer), for more information – but the core message is simple, ‘loving your neighbour’ means more than caring about the person who lives next door, it means showing love and mercy to all.
Throughout our history Scott Mission has taken inspiration from The Good Samaritan – we want to be the neighbour who goes out of the way for those hurting in our community. This Valentine’s Day we wanted to share with you how your support shows love and mercy on a daily basis and how compassionate care of neighbours can build a stronger community.
Over 10 years ago, Scott Mission began to ask if we could come alongside a specific neighbourhood to demonstrate love in action, thereby building something special. This question caused Scott Mission to open our first neighbourhood-focused location – our O’Connor Family Centre (OFC) – in the east end of Toronto in 2012. Our downtown location welcomes people from all over the city for services, but the OFC was meant to serve people within an easy travel radius around the Centre.
We started by making friends. We met with church leaders and school administrators, frequenting small businesses, and – most importantly – meeting our neighbours. We moved our Child Care Centre to this new location, started welcoming families from nearby to our Food and Clothing Bank, and our youth department started to offer afterschool programs.
Over the years we listened to our community and built a community garden, which is cared for by neighbourhood volunteers who spend their summers weeding and watering, eventually harvesting their fruits and vegetables. They share 10% with our OFC food bank, passing on their hard work to their neighbours.
Our Child Care Centre was built to make an impact on the lives of parents nearby. We listened to what they needed: spaces for infants, a place that accepted their daycare subsidy from the City, and high-quality care. But most importantly: a place they knew their child would be valued, safe, and loved. Parents from our community are then able to confidently go back to school or work, building an exciting future for their families.
The Centre is committed to providing amazing care for children, sharing God’s love and compassion with our youngest guests. Recently, our Centre updated the pre-school room to be a Montessori classroom – a child-led educational philosophy where children learn by doing and are supported by the teacher.
The Family Centre has also hosted neighbourhood parties, community breakfasts, workshops and conferences, delivered meals, and regularly prays for the community. Scott Mission has learned a lot from being so deeply connected in one area, and we are looking for ways we can expand this model to more areas around the city. We will be sharing some exciting news soon about this idea!
OFC has shown us how to show love in action, but we can’t do it alone. This work is only possible through partnerships with people like you! This Valentine’s Day, you can help us show love in action by joining us in praying for our neighbours!
- • Community is key! Pray that all our neighbours feel connected and valued. Feeling alone can be so scary and devastating.
- • Pray for safety for our communities, neighbours, and staff.
- • Pray for the children and youth who participate in programs that they would know how much God loves them and that He has a plan for their lives.
- • Pray that our wider community comes together to value and care for the most vulnerable in our city: the seniors, the disabled, those in poverty – they are our neighbours and we love them!
You can further partner with us by financially supporting our programs at the O’Connor Family Centre and beyond by visiting this link. We are so thankful to have you as a part of our community and we cherish praying for you regularly! We hope that you truly feel blessed and loved this Valentine’s Day!