Mission Statement of the River City Sanctuary

Our mission is to help our neighbour in need

While we can not be all things to all people, we believe we should act when we have the power to act.

Prov. 3:27 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.

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 of our 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).  We try to follow the Bible to take the following verses seriously.

Matt 25:35-36
35For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.”
36I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
Prov. 14: 31 He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. 
Prov. 19:17 He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done. 
Prov. 21:13 If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered. 
Prov. 22:9 A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor. 
Prov. 28:27 He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses. 
Ezekiel 16:49 49Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.50They were haughty and did detestable things before me.
Luke 4:18-19 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” a

We do this because we are a church and want to show God’s love in a practical way. We believe that real help comes in the form of body, soul and spirit. If a person has given up their will to live, or if they have no hope, then helping them physically is only just keeping them alive. We want to see people full of hope and have a passion for life; to dream and see possibilities for their lives, for their family’s lives and for their community. We do not believe that we should promote our personal believes on people, rather it should come from attraction. Our job as a shelter provider, is not to get people “saved”, or to try and make them like us or one of us. Doing that would make them a “project”. We never want people to think they are a project, or part of some religious duty. They are fellow human beings, created equal and a child of God. We are just to be there, in love, and to help them in there need. We are also there as examples as how to live life abundantly. Our love, kindness, and grace will do more for their soul than preaching.

Staff and volunteers must agree to our basic philosophy of ministering to the whole person and must not go against the basic teachings of the church. (see more for details)

Our principals and values:

1. Everyone should be treated with dignity and valued as a human being. Everyone has a great potential worth that can be tapped into. God created everyone equal. Homeless people, people on social assistance or on some sort of disability, politicians, doctors, and police are to be treated as people not as an object and should be treated like a guest in our home.

2. Every person in our society should have a place to sleep, a place to wash, a place to eat and be fully clothed. Some people don’t have the capacity to always function in society, obey rules set out and to get along with those offering assistance. They too need our help and we have the power to act.

3. The quality of care should be a balance of treating a person like a guest in our home and giving a level of care that is conducive to them working to provide their own shelter. In other words, we don’t want to make a place that is a replacement of a home but more of a last resort so that we don’t enable homelessness. Also, when the guests come, they should feel welcomed, at “home”, loved and cared for.

Our goal is to help enable homeless people to rise up, dream again of possibilities and reach their potential.

Homeless programs

Some homeless may have a degree of mental illness or some kind of dysfunction. A percentage of them are slight to moderate mentally challenged. The more severe mentally challenged tend to be on disability and have a case worker who works with them and help them obtain a place to live i.e. are not homeless. A few of them are not cooperative and are on the streets. If they are severe, the family can have a court order to have them picked up and forced on medication. So therefore, in our experience, very few severe mentally challenged are homeless. We should never pre-judge a person who finds themselves in some sort of need or try to slot them. We do need to be wise and cautious on where they may be at to help them move along and keep everyone safe.

We see 3 levels of shelters needed to help the “hard to house” homeless

Level 1 – just a bed – supervised by volunteers. This is for the average person who is down on their luck and find themselves homeless. There may be mental illness but nothing violent or dangerous. We believe 80-90% of the homeless are in this category for a city like Sarnia. Most of these we find have had some sort of significant setback (e.g. death of a parent, loss of significant other, major loss of income, etc.) and need some “hope”, “love” and help.

Level 2 – supervised by trained staff; for the agitated person or those “on the edge”. This would include; the schizophrenic person off their medications, person who is intoxicated or high, a person with a major anger management problem. Right now, in Sarnia, the police station is taking care of some of these and we believe that is not the best use of our policing resources.

Level 3 – Storage box. For the person who is a loner and doesn’t want to come out of the cold to staff or other people. For adults who can choose not to obey rules or choose not to comply with level 1 or level 2 shelters. 4’ high x 4’ deep x 8’ long ventilation holes, 2” Styrofoam, double pad lock, inside lock with panic bar release, peep hole to look outside or small one way glass window. We realize this would rattle the people in charge of enforcing the building code but see the concept as a viable way to shelter the “really hard to house” people.

 a Isaiah 61:1,2



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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