Mission Services of London is proud to be celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2021!
What began by Alvin and Madeline Roth in 1951 as a nine-bedroom house to provide food, shelter, and clothing to men in need has grown into an organization of five branches dedicated to helping thousands of neighbours each year who struggle with poverty, homelessness, mental illness, and addiction.
Though we have grown in size and scope, our Christian faith-based values of compassion, hope, integrity, and diligence have remained steadfast since the very first day our doors opened to neighbours in need in the London area.
The past seven decades of service and impact would not have been possible without the helping hands and generous hearts of the community including past and present staff, volunteers, donors, partners, and supporters. Mission Services of London continues to be a true community venture and for that, we are entirely grateful.
To learn more about the rich history of Mission Services of London, please check this page often as stories, photos, and relics of the past 70 years continue to be published throughout the year.
Executive Director Peter Rozeluk reflects on the past 70 years in this Spring 2021 Curb Notes article featuring Community Mental Health Programs (CMHP). Read more
Alvin and Madeline Roth’s five children speak about their parents’ leap of faith to help build an organization that has helped numerous neighbours in need since 1951. Read more and view the video below to hear from the Roth siblings.
Note Card Contest Photos
Between May 4th and 14th, members of the community and staff cast their votes for their favourite photo to celebrate Mission Services of London’s history of service and impact in the London area. The top three photos with the highest number of votes earned a spot on the cover of special edition note cards!
Photo #1 (winning photo):
Beginning in 1951, Goodwill Rescue Mission (as Mission Services of London was first known) offered clothing to people in need in addition to other necessities like meals and clothing. When the Women’s Auxiliary formed in 1960, they assumed responsibility for clothing distribution which evolved and grew into an innovative clothing store offering an emergency voucher program. The voucher program still operates today as part of the Mission Store, serving over 4,000 individuals each year.
Photo #2 (winning photo):
Young men delivering canned goods to Goodwill Rescue Mission which later became London Rescue Mission in 1957. In 1969, London Rescue Mission was renamed Mission Services of London when leadership of the organization was turned over from the Mennonite Conference of Eastern Canada to an interdenominational Board of Directors.
Men participating in the Life Skills program which began in 1982 at Men’s Mission. A decade later, it expanded to include what is now Rotholme Family Shelter until ultimately becoming a service provided by Community Mental Health Programs in 1997.
A family enjoys a hearty meal at Rotholme Family Shelter. Named after the founder of Mission Services of London, Alvin Roth, Rotholme began as a women’s shelter in 1956 with room for six women. Merging with the Family Centre in 1984, Rotholme Family Shelter now offers shelter, nourishing meals, and housing support to hundreds of families every year.
In 2005, local chainsaw artist Robbin Wenzoski created a unique eagle structure out of a tree near the driveway of Quintin Warner House. When the tree had to be removed in 2012, Wenzoski carefully removed the eagle and refitted its wings to fold inward as if in prayer. The eagle sits atop of wooden plaque that reads, “I will lift you up on eagle wings,” a scripture passage that resembles the struggle and deliverance of Quintin Warner House program participants and graduates.
Photo #6 (winning photo):
This participatory project, One Body, invited people served by Mission Services of London to share their input on the struggles and solutions of those experiencing homelessness, addiction, and mental illness in the community. Through storytelling and painting, the above artwork was created and is now displayed in the boardroom of the Administration Office.
#ThrowbackThursday #MSL70Years on Facebook
“I think it was born out of simply recognizing need and feeling that they could supply help in very simple, concrete ways out of love”. In this video, the children of Mission Services of London’s founding Executive Director, Alvin Roth, speak about their parents’ leap of faith to build an organization that has helped thousands of neighbours in need since 1951. You can also read more about what the Roth siblings had to say on our website at missionservices.ca/meetingneed.
Stay tuned for a second video featuring the Roth siblings coming soon! #MSL70Years #ThrowbackThursday
#ThrowbackThursday to April 1965 when Quintin Warner House moved to 477 Queens Avenue in London (photo ). This branch of Mission Services of London, which opened in 1957, was originally located in Wallacetown and known as Bethel House. Over the past 64 years, Quintin Warner House has provided a safe and supportive place for men to overcome addictions and address issues such as trauma histories. It remains at 477 Queens Avenue to this day, in addition to two nearby Annex Houses which provide transitional housing to program graduates. #MSL70Years
Look what we came across at Men’s Mission… a 1991 article from The London Free Press about Mission Services of London‘s 40th anniversary! The front page features Alvin Roth, the founder of Mission Services of London, and Roger Smith, a former client and the third Executive Director of the organization. 30 years later, we celebrate 70 years of service of which Alvin and Roger, among others, helped to build, shape, and grow. #MSL70Years #ThrowbackThursday
#ThrowbackThursday to the Great Balloon Lift of London in support of Mission Service of London! We were so thrilled to stumble across this 1983 ad in The London Free Press. Does anyone remember this Canada Day event? #MSL70Years
#ThrowbackThursday to 1962 when the Women’s Mission moved to this three-story house on Clarence St . The house provided 17 beds and three meals a day for women experiencing homelessness in London. In 1975, the Women’s Mission was renamed Rotholme after the founder of Mission Services of London, Alvin Roth, and later became Rotholme Women’s & Family Shelter when the Women’s Mission merged with the Family Centre in 1986, shortly after a move to Stanley St. Today, Rotholme Family Shelter continues to operate on Stanley St., offering shelter, meals, and housing services to hundreds of families each year! #MSL70Years
#ThrowbackThursday to the very beginnings of what we now know as the Mission Store. In 1964, a dedicated and compassionate group of ladies, the Women’s Auxiliary, began offering clothing to those in need through the Clothing Centre which evolved into the Twice as Nice Thrift Mart (photo ) and then into the Mission Store. In 1966, an emergency voucher program began and is still being offered today, 55 years later! #MSL70Years
This warm weather calls for a #ThrowbackThursday to 2007 when Rotholme Family Shelter welcomed an outdoor playground for children thanks to generous community donations! #MSL70Years
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