The door is always open to the Chaplain’s office at The Ottawa Mission. Some people drop in daily to see a friendly face and others come in looking for guidance in a time of crisis. As well, an average of 25 people attend the small Chapel Service held daily at The Mission.

Many of the people who turn to The Ottawa Mission for help have experienced rejection, major disappointments, or have survived a personal tragedy. The Mission provides much-needed spiritual support to help these people along their life journey. The Chaplain leads daily chapel services and provides personal support to people in the shelter and others living in the community who seek help in coping with the stresses and pressures of everyday life. The Chaplaincy team also provides spiritual guidance to people dealing with addictions and to those living out their final days in The Ottawa Mission’s Hospice.


Holding Space

Several months ago, a young man named Josh came to my office after our morning chapel service.  The best way to describe Josh’s demeanor would be to say that fear, anger, and despair were tightly interwoven in how he expressed himself.  He was very much in fear over his spiritual state, yet the anger issues in his life had become a significant block in his ability to understand how he could come to peace.  Josh was extremely intelligent for such a young man, but his emotional state was hindering his ability to understand.

A term that we often use in the realm of spiritual care is that of “holding space” for someone.  It means to provide safe space for the person who needs to, on their own, find their spiritual path to peace and fulfillment.  To “hold space” for someone, is to entrust them into God’s hands. It also means to do so without judgement on our part and resisting the temptation to “fix them.”

For several months, I “held space” for Josh.  Then a few weeks ago, he attended a Bible study that I hold every week. During our group discussion, another person asked Josh how he felt about a certain point. By simply asking the question, I could see something click inside of Josh.  Something was said to him, just at the right time and in the right way, that caused him to drop his guard and take a more honest look at himself.  As days and weeks followed, I could see Josh slowly letting go of his anger and he has since become more involved in our spiritual support activities. He seems to have come to a place of deeper spiritual enlightenment.  Sometimes the best that we can do for someone in despair, is provide them with that safe place where they can meet with God, and where God can make the changes.