24-7 Boiler Room Vancouver

If you’ve never been to Vancouver British Columbia you’re missing out! It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and that isn’t even a biased statement – Vancouver has been named the worlds most liveable city multiple times over not to mention we just claimed the title of second greenest city in Canada (Victoria BC got the #1 spot). It is a place where mountains meet ocean, where the architecture is almost as beautiful as the landscape and where your summers aren’t too hot nor your winters too cold. Nestled tight in the North Eastern corner of Vancouver lays our neighbourhood, the Downtown Eastside. People weren’t looking at this neighbourhood when they awarded Vancouver with such city awards. This neighbourhood is home to Canada’s poorest postal code. It is a tight-knit ten block circumference of open addiction, open prostitution, homelessness, neglect, poverty, crime, oppression, mental illness, violence and some very very broken people. You will walk down the streets of the DTES and hear people wailing in agony from ether a bad drug trip, withdrawal or dope sickness or despair so deep that can only expressed through deep moans and groans (you intercessors might understand). A visitor from 24-7 UK once described the DTES like this while looking out the window of our prayer room: [I see] people who look young, except for old faces. [I see] people walking fast, sometimes scared, [I see] others who can hardly walk at all. I’m trying to paint a very dismal picture on purpose – but Google will do a better job. What I really want you to know, is that is the midst of this brokenness and sin, there is beauty and healing because Jesus is here. Jesus was here long before we moved in that’s for sure….but let me tell you about when and how we moved into the DTES.

In 2002 The Salvation Army opened fire (terminology that can be compared to church planting) in Vancouver’s DTES and we came to be known as Vancouver 614. In 2004 the 24/7 prayer movement partnered with Vancouver 614 in a week of prayer. For one week, in February of 2004, we were praying non-stop, 24 hours a day in a slum hotel room looking out on the corner of Main St and Hastings St., which is locally known as Pain and Wastings. At the end of this week there was an overwhelming sense that we couldn’t stop praying. So we didn’t. For the next 4 and a half years we prayed non-stop, day and night, in three hour shifts, in our prayer room which was located in a slum hotel. In 2007 we obtained a new space that was larger in size and located above an emergency shelter and woman’s refuge. This is when we became a boiler room and when our non-stop prayer shifted into what it is now. Don’t get me wrong, we still pray, a lot, but we’re also following the mandate of a boiler room “A 24-7 Boiler Room is a Christ-centred community that practices a daily rhythm of prayer, study and celebration whilst caring actively for the poor and the lost”.

In the winter of 2011 our space above the shelter and refuge was sold to developers (beyond our control) and since then we have had to be creative with our common prayer space. However, I write this at a very exciting time for us. After a year of not having a common space to call our own (though we are very thankful to people who opened up homes and to our partners in the gospel who have given us building access when needed) we have obtained space right back where we started, on the corner of Main and Hastings. As we speak we’ve got our more creative and artsy types working on the aesthetics of the place, I’ll send pictures as soon as it is done.

So, there you have it, a bit of history on 614 Vancouver and the 24-7 Prayer Boiler Room located in Vancouver BC. My next few posts will be more story-like and testimonial.

Grace,

nicole


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