A Christian drop-in centre in Chateauguay Que., on the south shore of Montreal, will soon become home to a crisis pregnancy counselling service called Options.
In 2001, a donor in New Brunswick offered money to establish a Christian Association of Pregnancy Support Services centre in Quebec, if they could find somebody interested in opening one. After two information meetings, Teddy and Linda Hoare, workers with Youth for Christ Montreal, applied for the grant and were accepted.
The Hoares run a drop-in centre in Chateauguay called Station 7, an are involved in in pastoral animation in elementary and secondary schools. They see the crisis pregnancy centre as an extension of the work they are already doing. The board of Youth for Christ agrees, and will act as board of directors for the first two years, until the CAPSS centre becomes self-supporting.
At an information meeting held on April 30, about 25 people gathered to learn about the project and offer their time and expertise. The direction that the ministry will take depends very much on the interests and capacities of the core group of volunteers.
According to Hoare, some of the possible avenues of service are: teaching abstinence in schools, pre-natal courses, post-abortion counselling, and crisis pregnancy counselling that presents pro-life possibilities.
Options will also offer practical support for young girls with an unwanted pregnancy through a “shepherding” program – a church family willing to take a girl in from the time she learns she is pregnant until the baby is six-months-old and she has found other resources.
The Hoares hope to build momentum for the project by promoting it in area churches in the next few months, and using their school contacts to begin creating interest for abstinence courses in the fall. Hoare says she already knows 10 teenaged girls with babies who could use a mothers’ group.
In September there will be intensive training for volunteer counsellors, and others interested in crisis intervention ministry. According to Hoare, usually only half of those trained through CAPSS get involved with the crisis pregnancy centre. “Some volunteers come to Christ through the training. Others realize this is not for them. Many use the skills learned to minister in crisis situations in their own local church.”
Development of services to the French community will depend on the people who become involved and the resources that are available.
The Hoares, who are not completely bilingual, will have to rely on other people to counsel and teach in French.
“There is such a big need. We hope we will be able to operate in both languages really soon.”
If all goes as planned, Options will officially begin offering counselling and teaching services in English at the end of September 2002.This article originally appeared in the May 28 Christian Week.