NightShift Street Ministries

All cities have areas of obvious social need. In Surrey, a large and growing B.C. municipality outside of Vancouver, the most troubled section is Whalley.

Throughout the Greater Vancouver area, Whalley has a reputation for social needs – rundown housing, panhandlers, sex workers and homelessness.

Various agencies, however, are cooperating as never before; and the mayor and the police department are partnering with them.  

There is a concerted effort to implement a multi-disciplinary approach to the social needs of the area – which includes a key role for organizations such as NightShift Street Ministries.

NightShift was formed in 2004. It has grown under the leadership of MaryAnne Connor, who left  a successful real estate, marketing and interior design company in Vancouver to head this ministry.

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“NightShift is so much more than soup,” she says. “For three years, every night, we [have coordinated] 15 or so volunteers, that come from five or six different Surrey churches; 100 – 150 people are served nightly, 365 days of the year.”

Esther Toth is one of many people whose lives are being transformed by volunteering. She says: “I watched my husband change and grow as he became more involved with [NightShift’s] ministry, while I sat safely at home.

“It took a leap of faith to realize that God uses us in our brokenness, to minister to the broken. I finally accepted that I don’t need to be ‘all fixed,’ or perfect, for God to use me. There is great freedom knowing that God loves me and uses me just as I am.”

Whalley-area Staff Sergeant Barry Hickman, a 35-year RCMP veteran, oversees all of City Centre’s policing operations. He comments: “We’re all one big team, spiritually connecting people.” Nightshift, he says, is “doing a great work.

Summer 2007