Q & A about The Beacon

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Eat Lasagna & Support The Beacon!

Instead of taking your spouse to a restaurant and leaving your hard-earned cash in the hands of the restaurant owner, come join us at King Edward Community Centre, Brighton 6:30 pm,  Thursday, September 20th.

Help support The Beacon youth centre by sharing with us a meal of Lasagna, Caesar Salad, a roll, Cake and Coffee.

Adults pay $15.00 / kids under 12 pay $7.00 / Family rate $40.00

Hear what The Beacon has accomplished in the last year for our high school and elementary youth in Brighton!

Small in size but remarkable in accomplishment, Mike and The Beacon volunteers have welcomed thousands of Brighton Youth five days a week in the last school year and Chad and volunteers had an excellent program two days a week during the summer. 

What better initiative to support!

Friday, 10 November 2017

The Renovations Are Complete

Beginning in the summer vacation months, The Beacon has had a major make-over.  Led by Don Harnden and our new director Mike Fuller, volunteers from the community and the Fellowship Church SERVE team helped to tear the old walls and ceiling down, move the office, and reposition  the overhead lights.  Don, in particular, spent much of the summer doing the building, drywalling, mudding and painting, plus he made the new cabinetry that was needed in our expanded and more accessible kitchen area.  KESA Painting, owned by Kevin Hakkesteegt and Luke VandenBosch, painted the revealed steel ceiling and joists with a tasteful grey coating. 
Welcome to the New Beacon youth centre.  Come and see the renovations and meet our new director, Mike Fuller.


Monday, 21 August 2017

The Church Family

The following article is one written for The Northumberland News "Articles of Faith" column.   It will appear on August 24th.   Any pitch for youth and The Beacon is worth doing, right?  

The Church Family… do you see me over here?

Psalm 68:3a God sets the lonely in families…

     I have just five blood relatives in North America and most live far away, so one of the things I love about my home church is looking around and seeing dozens of people I have shared some important part of my life with. This lady gave us meals when my wife had cancer, that man and I led teens on a SERVE mission, that older lady next to him taught our boys in Sunday School. Though the years pass and I no longer serve on this committee or in that church function, my status with them does not change. They still know and accept me, despite my warts and failings and I accept them the same way.
     This is as it should be. As Christians we are supposed to be part of the larger “Family of God”. We hear in our churches the terms “brother” and “sister” to denote those fellow believers in the church. Some denominations also use the terms “father” and “mother” for church leaders. This is family at its best.  Fellow Christians are not “cousins in Christ” or “uncles in The Lord”.  Being part of a church family isn’t just saying hello, having potluck together or occasionally sharing power tools.  Being part of a family means being part of the messy stuff too.  We share in the struggles, triumphs and tragedies, through unemployment and success, during lost love and heartbreak as well as marriage and new life.  
    Over the years The Beacon youth centre has also been “family” to some teens in need.  Some have had volunteers spend hours with them teaching special skills. Others have been given part-time jobs that improved their future employment chances. We have taken some of them into our homes, helped them with school or work, intervened in conflict situations and attended court with them.  
    So how can we be family to youth in our own neighborhood? As we get older and less able (or willing) to do gardening or clean up jobs, it is tempting to hire relatives or a professional to help us, while there are youth who live nearby who really need to earn some money doing part-time work. You know who they are. They don’t have family connections to get the few jobs available. Do you have some grass that needs cutting? A local boy or girl will likely not do it to your satisfaction the very first time, but if you (patiently) help them learn your methods you will be teaching them a new skill. Do you have a shed or fence that needs painting? A local youth will do it, and maybe spill paint on the grass or onto the begonias, but in time they will learn to work well. Maybe someday they will be able to do that deck or interior wall for you.
     Don’t be afraid to hire a student nearby to help you, and perhaps in some subtle and gradual way you will become part of that fabric of that youth’s life; a part of his family. It isn’t always perfect and sometimes its messy, but you will be part of something that lasts a long time.
    “I can trim your hedges ma’am. An old friend of mine showed me how.”

By Rene Schmidt

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Big Changes!


    One of the things that's important about running a local youth centre that depends 100% on donations from others is that it should be well run and manage its finances responsibly. 
In that regard, God continues to be good to us! Beacon supporters will be pleased about our changes coming this summer. 

     A NEW DIRECTOR: The first change is in management. Mike Fuller is our new director and I (René Schmidt) will go back to being a volunteer like I used to be.  Mike has a great background: he is 30, a happily married dad with good people skills, a history of taking responsibility, is self-employed, has three years background in youth ministry and experience working with challenging adults in a group home. Mike plans to support what is good about The Beacon, but he also brings a youthful outlook and new ideas to our mission.

    A NEW LOOK:  Our second obvious summertime change will be some ‘free’ renovations to The Beacon. Over its lifetime The Beacon has had many improvements to make it more accessible, safe and kid-friendly.  But with our greatly increased numbers this year*, more changes are needed. Thanks to David Green we secured a generous Brian Todd Memorial Grant, so we can make improvements without dipping into our regular budget.  Volunteer and builder Don Harnden has created plans and will supervise the following work projects: 
    1) The Beacon’s ugly drooping ceiling will be removed and the poorly distributed lighting will be rearranged to bring more light to dark areas of the place.  The exposed upper area will be cleaned and spray-painted professionally.  
    2) The Beacon’s small food preparation area will be increased with a moveable food prep table. 
    3) The back emergency exit door will be replaced. 
    4) The office will be relocated and made smaller, allowing more room for youth and the games they use. 
   5) The poorly-flushing toilets in both bathrooms, long a source of annoyance, have already been replaced.  
   6) The 'Big Boy' table will be rebuilt and recovered. 
 FREE LABOUR:  Many of the improvements will be undertaken by work teams from SERVE. (SERVE is hosted by Fellowship CRC in Brighton. For a week in July teenaged Christians from CRC churches in Ontario and Michigan will do supervised work projects in Brighton such as gardening, painting, planting, cleaning or building. This work is done free for seniors, the disabled or for charities like ours.) Don will supervise much of the renovation work at the Beacon. During July and August Mike and our volunteers will complete much of the skilled work involved, with local tradesmen called to inspect and approve the changes according to building codes.

    INCREASE IN VISITS:   *This school year we had 5273 visits from youth during lunch and evening programs - 40% more than for the 2015-2016 school year. Every day we were open an average of 23 to 38 students were greeted warmly and exposed to the love of Christ through food and prayer and uplifting conversations with volunteers.    
    YOUTH NOTES: The Beacon Youth Centre Respect Award was awarded to Matthew Kinzinger by René Schmidt at ENSS graduation. Beacon regular Rachel Petty won the Citizenship and Achievement awards at Brighton Public School graduation. And Cole Rittwage one of our ENSS regulars, contributed $60 to The Beacon during our last week.  Said Cole; “I’ve been enjoying this place and eating for free, so I felt I should give something back. Duncan Bellamy also gives back by playing sledge hockey with able-bodied and other-abled teammates in Bewdley. Duncan frequently assists with fostered adults and youth in our community.   
    SCHOOL NOTES  New Brighton Public School Principal Todd Bishop and V.P.  Keith Piette express gratitude for The Beacon. “So many of our students are welcomed at The Beacon,” Bishop said.  Many of these regular students are from broken homes and needy families. Some of these public school students are bold about the lunchtime prayers and offer to pray out loud for the food and each other’s needs.  ENSS Principal and V.P.s also visit The Beacon when they make lunchtime rounds of the community. They and other teachers we have dealt with say they appreciate the good communication between The Beacon and the high school.

  PRAYER NEEDS Please pray for students in the following needy situations: K, D, W, and A with family struggles.  These students (and others) have difficult home lives that sometimes affects their relationships with others at ENSS and The Beacon.  Also pray for healing for volunteers Jim Snyder, Lorraine Schernitzki, Bets Lobban, and Ann Dalrymple who all have serious ongoing health issues that have affected their ability to volunteer for us.  

Saturday, 18 March 2017

100 Women Who Care

    A couple of weeks ago a lady from my church named Jodie Richards came to The Beacon and spoke to David Green about how her organization, 100 Women Who Care, starting up in Brighton, could contribute to The Beacon. David told her the good things we are doing. Neither he nor I had heard of the 100 Women Who Care group, but the internet revealed it is part of the 100 Who Care movement that is springing up all over Canada.
    True to her word, Jodie invited me to attend their inaugural meeting at Evangel Pentecostal church on that Tuesday night. The ladies present were all very organized and got down to business without any fuss. Three organizations had been narrowed down to possible recipients of the $50 each participant brought with them that night. Jodie spoke about why they should give to The Beacon and two others spoke up about two other worthy causes they supported. We answered questions within our strict five minute time limit and there was a vote. The Beacon was voted to be the recipient of all the money collected there that night.  Since it is a new organization, not 100 members were on hand, but thirty-nine women contributed a total of $1950.00 to our youth centre.  Wow!

We all are very grateful for this obvious and important show of support from these people of our community. God bless these 100 Who Care groups!

Saturday, 4 March 2017

What if Jesus attended my high school?

I was discussing the personality of Jesus with some teenagers.  Did he become who he was in an instant or did he grow into his position?   Was he an 'ordinary' teenager or was he different in some way?  It was an interesting discussion.

So extending the thought, suppose Jesus was a teenager today - a student at E.N.S.S. - what would he be like? What might he look like? What might he do for sports? What clothes would he wear?

So here is a little poem I wrote about that.

If Jesus Attended My High School

I look at my high school and see the big crowd
There are so many, some shy and some loud
I wonder of all things how Jesus would be
If he were at my school - a student like me?

Maybe young Jesus would be the total sports achiever
Who could anticipate passes as a football receiver
Would his game-skills be awesome or his skating the best?
Would he be faster and smarter than all of the rest? 

Would he be good-looking for the girls to admire?
Strong and handsome and he’d never perspire?
Or would he be a joker, the best kind of class clown,
Witty and smart, someone cool to be around?

When I try to fit in I wonder how Jesus would fare?
Would he buy the latest styles or blue-dye his long hair?
Would Jesus the teenager even think of these things?
Like who to ask to the semi, or perhaps the spring fling?

Would he friend me on Facebook or tweet us on Twitter?
Would he wear clothes with pinstripes or glitter?
Maybe Jesus would avoid that social media so speedy
And instead be spend time with a friend who was needy

Maybe Jesus would be a studious guy off in another zone
Reading dusty old textbooks in the library, alone
He’d surely be smart, especially in History,
And know all the answers – to him nothing’s mystery!

He would know me, right down to my middle, 
But would I know him? Recognize him, a little?
Jesus on earth wasn’t automatically respected
Born to poverty, not influence, and often rejected

WWJD says try to do what he would do, live as he did 
But we imagine him a grownup man, not a teenaged kid 
Because as a teenager in my school, I’m guessing that rarely 
The day would go by that a Jesus would be treated fairly

Maybe teased for being good or the way that he talked  
Or who really was his father, was he born out of wedlock? 
Maybe he’d be short and ignored, not allowed in the club
Because those shy quiet types are the ones people snub.

If a kid was friendless Jesus would text that kid’s phone
And he’d talk to that strange kid who is always alone
Jesus had a purpose and wouldn’t be embarrassed 
To be seen with me when I’m being harassed

So maybe not fitting in at school isn’t the worst thing ever
Not belonging with the cool groups, or being thought clever
If Jesus went to my school, I hope that I’d recognize
Him for his goodness and kindness not his beauty or size 

I look at my high school and see the big crowd
There are so many, some shy and some loud
I wonder of all things how Jesus would be
If he were at my school - a student like me? 

We don't know what Jesus looked like.
The paintings we have are pure guesswork.
My guess is that Jesus would be ordinary looking and would not look like this gentle European-looking fellow, neatly groomed and attractive.

I think Jesus would have looked more like the guy below; depicted by artists in the Middle Ages who were familiar with sorrow and suffering. The artist remembered what Isaiah had predicted about Jesus:
Isaiah says:
 He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

This makes sense, because being born to ordinary folks and being treated as he was he knew others' suffering.
He felt intense pain and rejection from friends who later on turned on him and betrayed him, yet still he forgave those people.

Either way, as a teenager, I doubt Jesus was tall or handsome or especially talented or outstanding in some way.

I think he would look pretty ordinary, like the kids we see at The Beacon.

Please continue to support The Beacon with prayers, your time, and donations of money.  God is working some great things out in the lives of our teenagers.  Help us by being a part of that.

Contact me at rene@qyfc.com