A deacon “shows the presence of Jesus on the streets”

A deacon in Toronto is reaching out to prostitutes and addicts — and getting results:

It’s a cool autumn night, and Robert Kinghorn begins his downtown ministry as night falls on Jarvis Street in downtown Toronto. Amid the hustle and bustle of night life near a local hamburger joint, Kinghorn stands out sporting a white Roman collar.

But here on these streets, Kinghorn, the 26-year deacon with a background in prison ministry, seems at ease.

Toronto’s unofficial red light district isn’t where you’d expect to find hope and a prayer. But here on “the track,” the notorious downtown area with a well-earned reputation for crime and prostitution, is where Kinghorn has been ministering to people once a week for the past six years.

Kinghorn lends a sympathetic ear and offers prayers for the women and men on the track who seek his counsel, the prostitutes and drug dealers, many of whom are wrestling with broken childhoods and drug addictions.

“It’s showing the presence of Jesus and the presence of the Church on the streets,” said Kinghorn of his street ministry.

In Ontario, the Supreme Court is considering an appeal by a group of former sex trade workers to decriminalize prostitution, claiming Criminal Code provisions are against their rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Yet Tracey Ferguson, a survivor of these mean streets, says ministries like Kinghorn’s do more to promote the human dignity of street workers than any legislation ever could because of the human face he brings to his ministry of compassion.

“Him showing people that he cares even though he doesn’t know them,” Ferguson said, “it’s stuff like that that gives people a little bit of hope.

“If more people took heed to what he’s doing and started doing that, I think you would start to see a bigger change,” she said.

Read more at the link, and check out the video profile of the deacon and his ministry below.

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  • Rudy

    I read the preliminary article above. I think it is good that a deacon ministers to prostitutes and drug addicts (is not that what Jesus did?). Interesting to see that he wears a Roman Collar, which in many dioceses of the U.S. is a big no, no for deacons.

  • ron chandonia

    Perhaps articles like this attract relatively few responses because everyone agrees that a ministry like Deacon Robert’s–a ministry of listening to, caring for, and praying with the marginalized and the outcast–is really the sort of diaconal Christian service of which ordained deacons should be exemplars. It’s nice to think so anyway.

  • Mark

    Agree with Ron. Who could not be for this type of ministry. Good to see anyway.

  • Deacon Jose A. Munoz

    God Bless him..in the 85, 90ss I used to do that while I was working at CabriniMedical Center and Rikers Island(C-95)…It was a great expirience for me and help me in my ministry & work in Hospital, Jails & Prisons for more that 25 years..now my mission is to take care of 3 kids that his mother left them…homeless…Thank God they are with me and my wife…they are my grandson…tha is my mission now…
    Keep send those articles they are good…foe continue education to all of us…Deacon Jose A. Munoz-Retired State Chaplain…living in the poconos PA…archNY

  • DR. Tom Bednarek

    Deacon Munoz,

    Could you please contact me ? Your prior email address is not current.

    TOM


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