A thrift store with a difference is opening in Langley.
It came about after the board of International Christian Response Canada explored ways to engage the public in recycling goods and raising money for charities.
It took a few months of exploration and discovery before the group found the path it wanted to take, said Mel Wiebe, CRI’s director.
The result is the Christian Response Thrift Shop which will officially open on Saturday, Nov. 10, The opening ceremony will last from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and feature Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender, MP Mark Warawa and Pastor Vila of Cuba.
The store is at 5786 – 203 St.
Wiebe, who has many years of retail experience, will manage the shop with a number of volunteers from the Langley, Surrey and Aldergrove area. People from other areas are welcome to join as volunteers, although eventually a full-time manager will be needed.
“We plan to develop a voucher that will be distributed through social agencies and churches,” Wiebe said, adding that the voucher will entitle the recipient to clothes or other items from the shop.
International Christian Response is working with its Swiss partner, Helping the Persecuted, in 37 countries of the world where practising Christianity is forbidden, bringing relief, food, support and encouraged to persecuted believers.
“Many Christians are beaten, their houses destroyed, they are not allowed hospitalization or other government benefits, and thousands are killed every year,” Wiebe said.
The face of Christianity has changed drastically, he said.
“Paul Marshall, of the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., and a former senior fellow at the Center for Religious Freedom, says ‘there’s still the mindset that Christianity is white, Western and European’,” Wiebe said.
Today, Marshall points out, two-thirds of the world’s Christians live outside the West.
“Virtually every human rights group and Western government agency that monitors the plight of Christians worldwide arrives at more or less the same conclusion: Between 200 million and 230 million of them face daily threats of murder, beating, imprisonment and torture, and a further 350 to 400 million encounter discrimination in areas such as jobs and housing,” Wiebe said.
A conservative estimate of the number of Christians killed for their faith each year is somewhere around 150,000.
Many persecuted believers are in prison and in work camps, and there are many orphans, Wiebe said.
ICR Canada helps the church in these areas to grow by training leaders, starting new churches, providing Bibles, and giving humanitarian aid.
More information is available at www.christianresponse.ca or call 604-836-4546 or 1-866-896-5599.