New federal funding to support a youth initiative the Word of Truth Christian organization has been administering for the past seven years ushered in the unveiling of the Pickering church’s new wing last Saturday.
The six-month Skills Link Employment program helps immigrants and young unemployed Canadians obtain useful career information, develop skills, find suitable jobs and remain employed. The program, which boasts an 80 per cent success rate, has helped turn around the lives of many young people.
Pickering-Scarborough East Member of Parliament, Corneliu Chisu, made the funding announcement at last Saturday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. The church will receive $310,000.
“Our government’s top priority is creating jobs and economic growth,” said Chisu. “Our government’s youth employment strategy is helping youth develop the skills and gain the experience they need to get jobs now and prepare for the workforce of tomorrow.”
Word of Truth founding pastor, Bishop Joseph Fisher, welcomed the new funding.
“Over the past seven years, we have helped over 200 youth and over 100 families,” he said. “Our goal is to strengthen families and empower youth by working in partnership with various levels of government and non-government organizations. The funding that we receive makes this goal possible and, as such, we are most grateful.”
The church’s 60,000 square feet parking space and adjacent land was converted into a new church that will accommodate a congregation of up to 650. The old church building will be used to run the Skills Link and Saturday morning mentoring programs held at a rented building across the street from the church. The rental fee was $3,000 monthly.
“That was quite a burden and we are now happy that we have our own place where we can run our programs and add new initiatives,” said Fisher who was sanctified in December 2005 as the second Canadian Bishop of the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church. “We are going to start a daycare centre in September and a twice weekly drop-in program for stay-at-home mothers that will be administrated by our female members.”
Fisher also said the new church’s overflow, that can hold a maximum of 150, will be used for meetings and small banquets.
Prior to becoming a pastor, Fisher dabbled in politics in his native Guyana, serving as region chair for Kitty for the People’s National Congress (PNC) party. After migrating four decades ago, he worshipped at several community churches, including Malvern Christian Assembly before joining Revivaltime Tabernacle World Wide Ministries in 1985 where he served as the Worship Leader and Minister of Evangelism.
Fisher left Revivaltime in 2000 to start Word of Truth which has an active membership of nearly 500.
He bought the building at 1527 Bayly St., which housed a fine dining restaurant, and turned it into a church at a cost of $1.4 million. There is still $600,000 outstanding on that first mortgage.
The cost of the extension, that lasted 18 months, is $1.5 million.
By RON FANFAIR