The Bridge started out in 2014 as a church plant of Classis Niagara (a group of Christian Reformed churched in our region) and Providence Christian Reformed Church in Beamsville. In 2018, doors opened to start a non-for-profit social enterprise cafe (www.thirdspaceonqueen.ca) as a safe, accessible place for all people, with particular concern for the poor of the city. It was a risky move. Covid complicated our cafe ministry and contracted our church. In other words, we got smaller. To be honest, Covid almost broke us.
God gave us a gift during Covid: A new opportunity – the city and region asked us to serve breakfast to our neighbours living on the street and supported us financially for the first six months. Fast forward to now, by God’s grace, we serve 50 – 70 warm, nutritious breakfasts each day 7 days a week, in partnership with the great staff and a host of volunteers at Third Space Cafe. Our daily numbers are growing. It’s not the ministry anyone imagined in 2014 when we started, but it’s the ministry God has given us.
And so our growing “congregation” is beginning to have a very different face: They live in tents, doorways, abandoned buildings, and misfit motels. They live with mental illness, addition, and trauma of many kings. Homelessness has 1,000 different faces and that stereotype of a “homeless person” is pretty much shattered. Good thing. Passing a “homeless” neighbour” on the street is much different when you know their name and have eaten breakfast with them. They become your people. “They” becomes “us”. And “us” are becoming a fuller, wider reflection of God’s beautiful kingdom.