For some local volunteers at the Reading Room in Burnaby, the average day involves an active role in the community while balancing a professional career as well—a juggling act that sometimes results in long days.
Ranging in age from teenagers to seniors, volunteers enthusiastically open the doors at the Reading Room most weekdays from 2-5 p.m. One volunteer recently become an elder at the Willoughby Heights Canadian Reformed Church in Langley, and both he and the church were instrumental in establishing the Reading Room that opened last July in Burnaby.
“An elder is someone who attends to the spiritual needs of the people,” says the volunteer. “We encourage people to live faithful lives, to live in accordance to what God asks of us in the Bible, and we try to help them along the way.”
His commitment to being an elder involves visiting church members and engaging them in conversation about their lives and Christianity. He also reaches out to the community to offer support where he feels it’s needed. This experience no doubt aids him in the volunteer role at the Reading Room, where volunteers love to talk with guests over coffee.
One volunteer has noticed that at times members of his congregation feel lost, searching for purpose and dwelling on the meaninglessness of life.
“We want to offer another perspective,” he says. “People struggle through different things in life at different stages. We encourage them to live their lives more meaningfully and purposefully, and show them how they can find this purpose.”
The Willoughby Heights Canadian Reformed Church, along with several Canadian Reformed Churches in Aldergrove and Chilliwack, and the United Reformed Church in New Westminster, worked together to establish the Reading Roomin July of 2015.
Recognizing the need in the Burnaby area, the Reading Room provides a place where people—both Christian and non-Christian—can explore the faith, ask questions, have discussions with volunteers, and read books and other literature on Christianity.
To find out more about each church, you can visit the website: www.whcanrc.com, www.aldergrovechurch.com, www.canadianreformedchurchchilliwack.org, and www.newwesturc.org. To learn more about the Burnaby Reading Room, visit the website, send an email, or drop by the Reading Room at 5272 Grimmer Street in Burnaby.