Welcome to Whitestone!

Ten years ago, I was sitting in church one Sunday morning listening to a sermon by Pastor Dave Taylor on the topic of heaven. Among the things Pastor Dave said that morning was that when you get to heaven you receive a white stone with your new name written on it (Revelation 2:17). This is the ultimate sign of redemption.

At that time, I was serving as Board Chair with Jericho Road Ministries, an addiction recovery ministry in Ottawa. One of our many needs was finding good jobs for our graduates. In the fall of 2011, I sat down and wrote a business plan for a new Ministry called Whitestone. The plan focused on serving the needs of both men and women graduate from addiction recovery homes and ex-offenders leaving prison.

The plan was designed to help program participants get good jobs or start their own small businesses. I remember ‘shopping the business plan around’ trying to get support, advice, and ideas from Christian businessmen in my life.

After a few false starts, my plan to launch fizzled out. I was preoccupied with other things — working at my job at Acart Communications, family life and continuing other volunteer work.

When it was time to step down from the Board of Jericho Road, I began volunteering for a ministry called Connecting Streams and helped set-up a Ministry for ex-offenders called Living Hope. I also began volunteering for Prison Fellowship Canada. Visiting the Ottawa Carleton Regional Detention Centre renewed my heart for the forgotten.

In the summer of 2020, I was in the last few months before retirement and the idea of resurrecting Whitestone was on my mind and in my heart. There were no excuses now! I had the time. My two sons and two stepsons were launched into successful careers. My marketplace connections were excellent. It was time!

I knew it would be impossible to do Whitestone alone — I needed partners. One day, the head of Connecting Streams in Ottawa, Pastor Dan Byrne, introduced me to a young man from his church, James Joh, who had experience working with ex-offenders. James had worked in a halfway house and he had earned a degree in criminology from Simon Fraser University. James shared a very similar vision for helping ex-offenders get turned around and discover their true identity.

I also reconnected with Wayne Mosley who I had worked with at Dollco Printing in the 1990s. Wayne and I had also volunteered together at Jericho Road from 1999 to 2004 at a Dynes Road group home. Wayne and I had remained good friends over the years as brothers in Christ.

After the three of us met for series of once-a-week meetings in September and October we began to receive our first program participants in November 2020 et Voila — Whitestone is here!

Thank you for visiting the Whitestone website. You will read much more from us in this column in the weeks to come!

John Westbrook

Executive Director