At 17, Jenny Shantz sensed a call to work with inner-city young people. Four years previously, Bakerview MB Church had embraced her family, she told celebrants at the church’s 50th anniversary weekend. That grace remained with her and became a call which her fellow members at Bakerview helped her to answer.
Shantz plunged into youth work, acquiring relevant education and experience before founding Inner Hope Youth Ministries in Vancouver’s inner city in 2007. Today, the ministry provides housing to youth in need, as well as life skills training, practical support and discipleship.
As a Vancouverite, she now attends Reality Church, a C2C church plant that only recently acquired a building. Inner Hope now operates with Reality as its centre. (A member of Bakerview donated $15,000 in concrete and labour to make a play area for kids behind Reality’s “new” building.)
The ministry has grown. Shantz said the group now does Sundays as a day of church – as in, all day – including not only teaching and worship, but fun activities and a chance to “hang out.”
At Bakerview’s 50th anniversary celebration, she introduced a graduate of Inner Hope’s early days: now a man with a university degree who serves as a respite worker at one of Inner Hope’s two housing facilities.
This year, as a thank offering for 50 years as a church, Bakerview members donated thousands of dollars toward Jenny’s ministry. (Donations continue to pour in at press time.) And the church has pledged to support the work for another five-year period.
—Barrie McMaster, B.C. correspondent