Another Update!

Dear friends of Sanctuary,

We come to you with a sigh of relief and praise for our God. Since we last wrote, we have received an outpouring of financial donations that will ensure that we can make it to the end of this calendar year. That is very exciting! The overflow of love, kind words, and money has been very encouraging. Many people gave one time donations. Some folks started as monthly donors, and others upped their monthly giving. All of that helps so much!

So, how are we now?
In many ways, we are good. We have returned to dreaming of great things: more hired staff to assist us, more partnerships with other organizations, greater ownership of this work, and even more folks finding home. Beginning in a few weeks, we will be sharing even more stories of the lives of our friends at Sanctuary. Titled, “This is my Sanctuary, this is your Sanctuary,” we will share the stories and the lives that inspire us. And finally, we have an amazing dream in the works that will be revealed in our Christmas newsletter.

Yet, in many other ways, we are still trying to work out sustainability. We realize that we cannot keep returning to you with news of empty bank accounts. We need to find ways to make the work of Sanctuary sustainable. We have been approached by a couple of people that would like to help:

1. Spend a night with us rocking out to the Ashgrove on December 5th at the London Music Club. Doors open at 6:30, show starts at 7:30pm. Tickets are $25/person with 100% of the funds going directly to support the work of Sanctuary London. Tickets are available HERE!

2. A father and son team are putting together a fundraiser for us. We will be revealing the nature of this fundraiser soon. Their only need at this point is a person/company that does commercial printing that would like to help out Sanctuary.

3. We have been approached by a local farmer who is willing to sell whole, farm fresh, grain fed, free rein chickens on behalf of Sanctuary to supporters in the London area. We are selling the chickens at $3 per pound and each chicken are 5-10lbs. Send us a quick email with the number of chickens you would like to order. If you are in the London area, they will be delivered to you in the third week of December. Do you want to help in this way?

4. We continue to have a partnership with Patrick’s Beans Coffee. We sell his coffee for $15/lb. and a portion of the proceeds are returned to Sanctuary.

In addition, we understand that monthly donations are the best way to keep us sustainable. Two weeks ago we shared with you our goal of finding 120 new donors to give $100 a month. We are happy to share that as of yesterday, our first 20 people have already signed up! Thank you so much! If you have not already signed up, would you please consider if you are able to help us reach this goal? Can’t give $100/month? No problem! Every little bit does help. We’ll keep you posted on how this is going.

Thanks for being there. This has been a challenging month in many ways. We keep finding that God has not let us go. God keeps calling us afresh to walk alongside our friends. We have been overwhelmed by the love and support of each of you. We are grateful.

On behalf of all of us at Sanctuary,
Darryl, Gil, and Jeremy.

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Finances, Finances, Finances

Dear friends and supporters of Sanctuary London,

Many of you will already know that on Friday (Nov. 7, 2015) I received a phone call from Sanctuary’s banker. A cheque that we wrote was being cashed, for which we had insufficient funds to pay for. For the first time in five years, Sanctuary was out of money. I was supposed to have the afternoon off, but that just doesn’t happen very often. Something always comes up. So I immediately shared the news on Facebook, and asked for help. I then drove to the office to see if there were any financial donations that still needed to be taken to the bank.

I am so happy and thankful to say that help came. By the end of the day, enough donations came in that our bank account was back on the good side of zero. One gentleman, whom I didn’t even know, heard about our situation and drove in that evening from Ilderton to hand me an envelope of cash. Another friend email transferred money to my personal account, trusting that I would cash it and deposit it into the Sanctuary account. Today, just four days later, I made another bank deposit, and our balance is now just above five thousand dollars.

Perhaps most encouraging to me has been the number of our friends from our community who have somehow heard of our situation and have shared their desire to help. Some have written e-mails to friends that they have asking if there is any way they can help. Others are trying to come up with a project they can make and sell to donate the profit to Sanctuary. One friend wondered if he could build a small offering box to put in the atrium where we host drop-ins so that he and others could give anytime they had a little extra change. Another friend pulled me aside and asked, “Darryl, if I pay you back the loan you gave me a number of months ago, would that help to keep Sanctuary open?” And yet another friend asked if there was a way that she could automatically donate a small portion of her ODSP cheque to Sanctuary every month. These are the kinds of interactions, deep love, that help me to remember that what we do matters. And it keeps me going for another day.

But the reality is that even with the donations that have come in over the last few days, we still do not have enough to pay all of our expenses for the rest of this month. And if enough money does come in to cover the rest of November, what about December? what about January, and February and so on and so forth?

Many people have asked me, “have your donations decreased? What happened?” No, our donations have remained fairly consistent. In fact, every year, our giving has increased. But our expenses have increased at a higher rate. In some ways this is great news. We are growing as an organization and as a community. We are meeting with  more people. Last year we added Jeremy as our third staff member, and this year we got the office building which has substantially increased our ability to do ministry with an added art and music drop-in. But, as always, the increase in ministry results in an increase in costs.

We’ve tried to balance out these new costs with a number of new fundraisers. In September, Gil and I participated in a Triathlon event and tried to raise sponsors for Sanctuary. Then, my wife Sarah and I (mostly Sarah) worked very hard to put together the “A Taste of Home” fundraiser selling coffee, tea and gift baskets. And Jeremy has two concerts coming up with his old band the Ashgrove with all proceeds going towards the work of Sanctuary. But all of these have brought in significantly less money that we believed they would.

We know that what we really need to do is to come up with a strategic plan for how to make our work sustainable for the long haul. This isn’t new to us. It is something we have been thinking about for a long time. We are already involved in conversations about a few possible social enterprise projects that may generate some funds for us down the road. Of course this will take quite some time until we see any fruit from that labor. 

In the meantime, we’re having other conversations. Could I be laid off to save the cost of my salary? Sarah has a great job and could increase her hours back to full time, to provide for our family. I could then take care of our daughter Naomi and save a bit on childcare costs. Then I could volunteer as much of my time as possible to help Sanctuary in any way that I can. Realistically, however, our three staff are already stretched to the max as it is. In Gil’s words, “without any one of the three of us here full-time, the other two would be completely burned out within a few months and the whole organization would be over”. We just can’t do it with less staff. In fact, our hope and our goal for this year was to hire at least one more full-time, or two more part-time female staff.

 Therefore, what we really need is to increase our monthly dedicated support. Can you help? The following is a break down of what we need in order to make our work sustainable:

Sanctuary London Monthly Budget:

Monthly Incoming Pledged Support:


New Support Needed:
120 new monthly pledges of $100 = $12,000.00
OR, perhaps more realistically,
10 x $250 and 70 x $100 and 40 x $50 and 15 x $25 and 20 x $10 = $12,075.00

Would you please carefully consider if you are able to be a part of our sustainability plan? Once we have enough monthly pledges in place to cover our monthly expenses, we can continue to do fundraisers and commit other one-time donations towards hiring new staff and to expand our work in reaching out and caring for the most vulnerable people in our city.

If you have already sent in a donation, thank you very much! You are part of the reason why we are still here today! If you think that you can be part of our sustainability plan, even committing to $10 a month really is a huge, huge help. If not, thank you for what you have already given. Please continue to pray for us, and if you know anyone who you think might possibly be interested in helping us, please pass this message on to them.

Sanctuary is able to debit your bank account automatically on either the 1st or the 15th day of every month. We simply need an Authorization Form filed out and mailed in to us. Ending your monthly charge is quick and easy. We simply need to hear from you a month before you would like the donations to end.

If you would like to talk to any one of us about this, please contact us as soon as possible. We really would love to hear from you.

Darryl Reckman 519-280-8895 or
Gil Clelland 519-902-9774 or
Jeremy Jongejan 519-955-3937 or

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Mutually Blessed

Communities Working Together for (un)Common Blessing

mini-exIt’s kind of just the way Reto’s mind works. He sees things that others look past. He sees work that needs doing and he longs – literally, he longs – to go and do it.

Circle Square Ranch in Brantford is a summer camp that operates under Intervarsity Fellowship providing a fun, safe, wholesome camp experience for children from all over southwestern Ontario. In August, Reto journeyed with me to the ranch to drop off my daughter for her annual week of overnight horseback riding camp. It was then that his mind started to buzz with the possibilities of partnering with the camp. We started to dream about a good, old-fashioned work weekend in the great outdoors. We started to imagine a group of friends from Sanctuary London serving the ministry of Circle Square.

RoofersThis past weekend, Reto’s dream became a reality. Armed with all the tools we could gather, a short wishlist of jobs from Camp Director Steve Richardson, and a desire to serve, eight men set out from Sanctuary London on Friday morning with snow in the forecast, determination in our hearts, and a cup or two of hot coffee. Two days later, having seen frost but no snow and having downed more than our fair share of camp coffee, seven guys made up for my lack of skill and managed to exceed Circle Square’s expectations of our team, completing everything the camp wished and quite a bit more.

trenchHere’s why I think that is amazing. Not because we got lots of work done, but because we were given the opportunity to complete lots of work. I’ve spent my last two summers at Sanctuary and I know that often, little thought is given to the abilities our community possesses and rarely do many imagine us serving others. To Circle Square’s credit, they didn’t see us as those who live on the fringes of society with nothing to offer, but rather as a group of willing, skilled, hard-working volunteers, and what charity can’t use a few of those?

They worked alongside of us as we felled trees, split firewood, re-shingled three roofs, cleared brush, and laid more than 100 feet of water line for their barn. They talked with us, laughed with us, and dined with us. For a brief window in time, away from the concrete of downtown London, we formed a small community of equal, like-minded workers… all of us working together, trying to provide a better place for children to attend camp.

chainsawThroughout the weekend we were equal. We were like-minded. We were servants.

Isn’t that all anybody wants? An opportunity to serve. An opportunity to be in community. An opportunity to be recognized as equal. It is through these things that we find blessing. Mutual blessing. Circle Square was blessed with a weekend of free labour. We were blessed in the opportunity to contribute fully. Reto was blessed in seeing his dream realized. I was blessed to see it all come together through the efforts of an amazing group of men and the welcoming hearts of our fabulous hosts. ~ RD

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A Taste of Home – A Fundraiser!

As you probably already know, at Sanctuary London, we’ve always got a pot of coffee brewing, or a warm kettle ready to make some tea. We believe there’s really no better way to connect with another person than welcoming them with a fresh warm mug of their favorite beverage. A warm drink also helps to level out the power differential between people as they share conversation around a common table.

For me, it’s coffee. A nice dark roast. Black of coarse. The cool fall weather recently reminds me of one particular interaction I had three or four years ago. It was the beginning of fall. On a walk about down by the river I found a makeshift tent that was quite obviously ‘home’ for what looked like two people. But I couldn’t find anybody. I came back to that spot a number of times during the week, but there was never anyone around.

About a week later I noticed that the weather forecast predicted a very cold night. Colder than it had been so far that year. My mind went to the person sleeping by the river. I didn’t remember seeing any blankets or warm clothes lying around. So I called up a friend, found a few old sleeping bags and picked up four large coffees from Tim Horton’s, with cream and sugar on the side.

Usually when people from Sanctuary go on outreach walks, we intentionally do not go with supplies. We don’t want to be service suppliers, or people who give ‘stuff’ away. We simply desire to build relationship with people, and sometimes, we have learned, ‘stuff’ can get in the way of real relationship. But every once in a while, all of our theories and theologizing are thrown out the window as our hearts are nudged by the Spirit within us.

It was one of those times. It was frigid, and I was concerned for the well-being of these unknown people. So, with  coffees in hand, we went out late in the evening together, walking along the path until we came to the place where I knew the shelter was made. There was a dim light glowing through the tarp. 

Knowing that these are sacred spaces, not much different from my own living room at home, we do not approach people’s shelter without an invitation. So I called out, “Hello?”

No answer. So I tried again, “Hello?”


“We really don’t mean to disturb you, so if you don’t respond, we’ll just keep walking. But it’s really cold tonight, so we just thought maybe you could use some warm blankets and a cup of coffee.”

“Did you say coffee?” was the immediate response.homeless hands coffee

And within moments a young man and a young woman came out from underneath the shelter and joined us on the path, eager and ever so thankful to receive these ‘life-saving gifts’. 

This was a trans-formative moment for me. I firmly believe that in that moment, if I had offered these people either a thousand dollars, or a hot coffee, their frigid and shaking hands would have instinctively reached for the warmth of the coffee. This was the beginning of friendship.

What about you? Are you a tea lover? A coffee lover?

Maybe your just passionate about the work of Sanctuary and are looking for a small way to get involved.

This is your opportunity! Sanctuary is looking for people to help us sell Coffee, Tea and some amazing Gift Baskets.

The fundraiser goes from October 3-20th, 2015, with a kick-off tasting party and information session on October 3rd from 2-4:30pm.

There will be prizes for whoever sells the most!

Please check out our event page

Or contact for more information!

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Seek Asylum at Sanctuary

Beside 513 Talbot Street sits a very special place called Sanctuary. It makes use of an addition to the main church building called ‘the atrium’. Two churches working together, sharing the same space. One Church. Often, the ‘Church-outside-the-church’. The people … Continue reading

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New Office Space!

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For the first time ever, Sanctuary London has found some designated space to call ‘HOME’. As of February 2015, we will be renting space on the main floor of 531 Talbot Street. We are so thankful for all the people … Continue reading

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Canoe Raffle

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Congratulations to Mr. Al Miller who won the Canoe Raffle. Al shared with us that he is extremely excited about being able to take the canoe up to the cottage to teach his 9 grandchildren how to paddle. Huge thank … Continue reading

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Family Christmas

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“John, I’m surprised to see you here tonight. I thought you had said you wouldn’t be able to make it to our Christmas Eve dinner because you would be over at your parent’s place?” John has been hanging out with … Continue reading

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Shoe Offerings

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As I was leaving the fireside room during a Sanctuary drop-in, I almost ran head-on into Len. He was waiting for me, excited to show me the new boots he’d gotten that morning. “Check out my new boots, Debra! I’ve … Continue reading

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Body & Soul Collective

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 Please join us for this free concert, An incredible two evenings expressing the cooperation and collaboration of two communities becoming ONE. Watch the promo video HERE

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