Ontario CRC Reaches Out with Random Acts of Kindness

| |

Once each month, members of The Village Church target a park, home, or business in Thorold, Ontario, and take it over—with kindness.

Members of the Village Church participate in random acts of kindness.

The Home Missions-supported church plant uses “Random Acts of Kindness” (RAKE) to renew the community by encouraging people to act kindly and pass that kindness on to others.

“The residents of Thorold are getting to know the Village Church as the ‘community-involved’ church that offers different groups and services to Thorold and its residents,” says Pastor Mike Collins. “It has proven to be a great way to get to know our own church members and our city.”

RAKE is based on Collins’s love for the Thorold community, which has inspired him to use small gestures to show God’s love for the city and its people. So far, a team of Village volunteers has completed 30 projects, including raking leaves at residents’ homes, shoveling snow, handing out water at a local park, cleaning up parks, and passing out flowers door-to-door.

The projects have also led to the development of the church’s “Love Thorold” team, a small group of church members seeking to provide more formal community assistance.

The Thorold community is taking notice. The principal of Thorold Secondary School appreciated the church cleaning up garbage on the school’s property. A local community group was grateful for work done at a community center.

“We have received many letters of appreciation and donations from residents of Thorold,” Collins says.

About the Author

Ben Van Houten is a senior writer for Christian Reformed Home Missions.

See comments (2)


What a great way to be a witness. In evangelism, words are good, actions better, and actions often leads to the ability to meaningfully exchange words. At least that's what I think.

This is also a great example of how the CRCNA, through its churches, might best impact our communities and through that our broader society. Doing this sort of thing, at a local level, has much more impact and is much more unifying than denominational agencies pretending to be national/global level experts in political and economic affairs.

Hello from Arlington, MA. I am a '80 Calvin grad,theology major and philosophy minor, who is a one of a number of caregivers for my mother-in-law. There is no CRC here in Arlington, MA. So I have
visited every church here in Arlington, MA and continue to do so. The closest to the CRC is a Covenant Church, close, but not the same. I saw my friend Steve Collins in the picture. Steve and I both lived at the Logan Street Covenant House, a christian non-profit housing cooperative that was lived in and run by mostly Calvin College students that lasted for 28 years. The members of the Logan Street Covenant House are now all over the world and it is quite a story. But both Steve Collins and myself met our wives at the Logan Street Covenant House. I was also Steve Collins best man at his wedding to Stephanie Baker-Collins, who now has her Ph.d, and is a college professor. But The Village Church is doing the kind of ministry that I believe in. I call it the Mister Rogers kind of ministry - a ministry of service and kindness. The Presbyterian Rev. Fred Rogers is a very good Reformed example that should be known more in the CRC and at Calvin College. The more one researches the more one is drawn in. Thank you for your coverage. One project that I am involved in here in Arlington is in being a morning volunteer taking food donations from a health food grocery store chain called Trader Joe's. Every morning at 8:30 AM, Monday through Saturday, I go to Trader Joe's and pick up their daily food donations and bring them to 4 senior homes and the Salvation Army. Trader Joe's management figures that they are donating approximately $8,000 a week of foods that have reached their sale by date. I work about 2 to 3 hours a morning. It is about $1500 worth a day. The group is called The Boston Area Gleaners. I got in touch with them because I worked for the West Michigan Gleaners Food Bank for 6 years. I began the food pantry at Calvin Theological Seminary with Dr. Roger Greenway. I also have been a volunteer with the Eastern Ave. CRC Saturday program for about 8 years now when I am in Grand Rapids. I get dressed up in a cardigan and a tie, like Mister Rogers, and go about my day, whatever it is, here in Arlington, MA. It puts me in a ministry mind. I also love serving senior citizens. My wife and I were Senior Citizen Social Workers with the Mennonite Church in Strawberry Mansion North Philadelphia right after Calvin. I have loved giving senior service that they can trust ever since. I am very much like Marc DeRuiter, who I went to South Christian with, who you did an article on. I play piano for the seniors I meet, and play at 4PM every day for my mother-in-law. Well, I need to end this. It is becoming a small epistle. God bless. Bye for now.