On March 18 Pastor Deborah Olukoju, and other recipients of the annual Prime Minister’s Volunteer Awards were honored by Prime Minister Harper at a special ceremony in Toronto, Ontario. The awards recognize individuals or groups of volunteers, businesses and not-for-profit organizations in five regions across Canada. Deborah was nominated, and subsequently won the award for Community Leader: Prairie Provinces. We add our congratulations.
Three years ago the Prime Minister’s Volunteer Awards were created to recognize the enormous contributions made by volunteers, innovative not-for-profit organizations and businesses through voluntary contributions and innovative ideas and approaches to address social challenges. It is recognized that often the best solutions to challenges facing our communities are found locally.
Olukoju is Senior Pastor at Immanuel Fellowship, an EMC Church of approximately 400 people in Winnipeg, Manitoba. With the backing and assistance of a web of volunteers from the church, Deborah’s range of community activities is varied and assistance extends wherever need is found and ability to meet that need exists. Much time is spent in counseling, and a drama ministry that has produced three videos to date has served to inspire people to stay close to God and away from wrong paths. Of high priority is work settling new immigrants, meeting needs of international students, and helping those less fortunate as Olukoju and the church seek to be the ‘hands and feet’ of Jesus. “We work to make things happen for people. We want them to see the Church of Jesus in a new light. We identify with people’s problems and then make the gospel practical. All we do, we do in the name of the Lord.”