by Stephen Dafoe
Elisabeth Melvin is transitioning from working as a minister with the Father’s House to taking on a position with Edmonton-based Connecting Streams, an organization that works with those that society sometimes forgets.
“We minister to everyone from longterm care to our local jails. We’ve got widow-to-widow groups, and also work with newcomers to Canada, teaching them things like basic English,” Melvin explained, adding Connecting Streams is based on a passage of Psalms that speaks to taking care of the widows and orphans. “I’m hoping to take the influence of the church outside the four walls of the church and reaching out into the greater community.”
Melvin said Connecting Streams takes the Bible passage literally, looking for ways to bridge the gap with those seldom reached, bringing them in so they feel accepted, dignified and a part of the community.
The opportunity to branch out from the Father’s House is one Melvin felt called to answer.
“As a pastor, when I read the Bible it talks about the work of the church is to equip God’s people for the work of the ministry,” she said. “Connecting Streams becomes the work of the ministry outside the church. connecting Streams is that opportunity to work with people who would never come to church.”
Connecting Stream is an interdenominational, faith-based organization that is part of a larger group called Power To Change. It started 50 years ago in Canada, originating in the US as Campus Crusade For Christ. Connecting Streams, which began in 2006, currently have 200 volunteers working in four cities in Canada: Ottawa, Langley, Swift Current and Edmonton with a goal of reaching all the major cities.
The Father’s House has now joined the network of churches helping others. Melvin will be working within the Capital Region.
“It was beyond my wildest dreams as I showed Pastor Greg [Fraser] this new role and job description,” Melvin said of the pastor and the church supporting her in the new calling and mission. “Our church here – the Father’s House is supporting me to go into the community and the City of Edmonton to reach the unreached.”
Pastor Greg Fraser said Melvin is the perfect person for the new role.
“One of the fun things for me in watching Liz’ life and ministry go forward, is watching seeing that Liz is one of these rare people that can manage crisis well in people’s lives,” Fraser said. “She’s not fearful to run into the burning building of people’s lives, where others would back away. Liz is that person that will run in.”
While Fraser sees Melvin’s taking on the new role as a personal loss for the Father’s House, he and the congregation are delighted about the broader role she will play in the region.
Looking for financial help
As Connecting Streams is a non-profit with charitable status, each of the workers is responsible for raising their wage. While the Father’s House is providing some support, Melvin is reaching out to the community for additional funding.
Donations can be made on the Power To Change website at https://p2c.com. Melvin said donations could be made to the ministry in general or a specific staff member. She is quick to point out the funds do not go directly to her, but are earmarked to support her mission work. Donations can be one time or recur monthly. Donations are tax deductable.