About River City Sanctuary

Shelter Common Area(formally called Harbour Inn) 

Sanctuary Motto
We offer safe sanctuary, food, showers and clothing to any person in need. We have the oppurtunity to help people dream again and reach their potential.

Sanctuary vs. Shelter - Why the name change?
A Homeless Shelter comes with a lot of emotions and expectations and has a definition that does not fit what River City’s mission is. Shelters are expected to be temporary, provide meals, counselling, and operate as a crisis care facility. River City has no intention of running a crisis care facility nor do they want to compete with other homeless shelters in the area. The goal is to provide a place where people will feel loved and accepted. If someone does not have a place to sleep for the night, RCV wants to offer a bed in a place that is safe and conducive to sleep. This is our biblical mandate. 

Why We Provide Sanctuary
Every person in our society deserves to have a place to sleep, a place to wash, a place to eat and be fully clothed. These are the necessities of life. A person can’t focus on getting a job, looking after their children, or contributing to society if they don’t have their basic needs met. We live in one of the most affluent countries. Helping those in need is distributing the wealth ofour nation which we see as justice instead of mercy. We think it is unjust for one person to be living in abundance while another is dying because of there basic needs not met. We do believe in capitalism and believe people should be rewarded for their efforts. We also believe that we should all make sure our fellow human being should have enough resources to have the chance to capitalize on capitalism.

We carry this out by trying to be the hands and feet of Jesus and by having his heart. We aim to work towards fulfilling the great commission (proclaim the good news to the poor) and the great commandment (love your neighbour as yourself).

Here is a Summary of what happened with the court case
RCV started Sarnia’s only homeless shelter in November 2006 in the basement of the church located on 260 Mitton St. N Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. After working with the City, and obtaining temporary zoning changes the City acquired their own shelter and told RCV that the shelter was no longer needed and no longer allowed to operate. RCV always believed it was allowed to help people under the existing zoning and as part of the Canadian Charter’s guarantee of religious freedoms and so, continued to operate. In 2014 a superior court sided with the City and ordered RCV to shut down their shelter on Father’s day June 15th, 2014. A subsequent Ontario Court of Appeals overruled the Superior court judge and ruled that RCV was within its legal right to offer shelter.

JULY 3, 2015: Ontario Court of Appeal rules in favour of River City Vineyard, allowing church to reopen shelter;

What's next?
Yes, the plan is to re-open. After eight years of ‘wear and tear’ on the facility, and after eight years of experience and learning best practises, RCV needs a capital infusion to see these projects move from planning to action.  When the shelter was shut down, the volunteer base was also dispersed. There is a lot to do, and a lot of funds and effort will be required before the doors can be re-opened.  Stay tuned for more information as work progresses.

Isaiah 58:7 Share your food with the hungry and give cover to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them. 
Proverbs 3:27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act


Our Goal

So when you come, you are loved. No matter who you are or what you've done you are loved.

Contact Us

  • Phone: 519-383-8463(VINE)
  • EMAIL: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Adress: 260 Mitton St. N, Sarnia, Ontario, N7T 6H8 (Mailing Adress)
  • Shelter Phone: 519-383-8323


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