Skip to main content

Ontario Church Uses Laughter to Address Serious Issues


There’s nothing funny about being short of money to pay for food, rent, or dental work. But there was lots of laughter at a benefit concert held to raise funds for just such needs.

Performers at Cambridge Maranatha’s benefit concert to support a new Social Assistance Fund.

The deacons at Maranatha Christian Reformed Church in Cambridge, Ontario, hosted the concert to raise funds for its recently established Social Assistance Fund, which will operate under the umbrella of a local community foundation.

An audience of several hundred enjoyed the comedic talents of Leland Klassen, actor Jason Hildebrand’s performance of The Prodigal, and music by trumpeter Guy Few and pianist Stephanie Mara.

At the end of the evening, the fund’s first donation was received. It will “help folks who otherwise would not be able to pay first month’s rent or initial costs of new housing, a fund that needs support due to government cutbacks,” explained John Vanderstoep, pastor at Maranatha.

The purpose of the church’s Social Assistance Fund is to help the most vulnerable and needy people through already-established agencies and charities. Maranatha deacon Mike Vanderzwaag said, “I am really excited about providing a Christian voice in a public charitable organization.”

Vanderstoep hopes that the Social Assistance Fund will help the church develop relationships with the community and with other churches in the area. By creating the fund as part of the Cambridge and North Dumfries Community Foundation, he said, “One of the hopes is that this would help us raise more money for benevolence more broadly, but also that we would be in conversation and benevolent relationship with philanthropists who would otherwise not engage the church in their giving.”

Maranatha’s deacons will direct the fund initially, but according to Vanderstoep, the goal is to grow and involve other local churches in directing the donated funds.

We Are Counting on You

The Banner is more than a magazine; it’s a ministry that impacts lives and connects us all. Your gift helps provide this important denominational gathering space for every person and family in the CRC.

Give Now