“Whenever I see hopelessness, I also see hope, because I used to be that hopelessness.”
Dave Morgan of Eden Whalley Church lived a life much different than what you would expect from a normal pastor. Diagnosed with dyslexia and a learning disability at a young age, Dave faced many hardships growing up, including an estranged relationship with his father. Unable to cope with the pressures of his young years, Dave dropped out of high-school, and turned to a gang-affiliated lifestyle heeded with substance abuse.
“Addiction is a hard animal to beat, you can’t just wish it away,” Dave confirms. “It takes brute striving to make better choices, and distance yourself.” Unfortunately, Dave’s substance issues would soon result in the destruction of his family, leading him further down a seemingly never-ending spiral.
“I locked myself in my apartment and went on a three week bender fuelled by drugs and alcohol. I couldn’t see my son because of my addiction, my marriage was gone. My life was empty and broken.” Dave continues, “Right then and there I said ‘God, if you’re out there, you gotta help me.’ It was like in that moment nothing happened, but at the same time, everything happened. That was the epicentre of my life.”
A message from Pastor Dave Morgan
Dave would soon move to Alberta for rehab. He detoxed at the home of one of his friends, who is also a pastor. As a self appointed form of a therapy, Dave fasted for 40 straight days. “It was through this fast that I really reached my faith.”
Now ten years sober, Dave has dedicated himself to helping those in need of guidance. Six years ago he started his mission by helping teenaged fathers. “Teen dads are something that we don’t really think about. I connected with that because of the relationship I had with my dad.”
During that time, Dave met Alec Roberts. “I found Dave during my search for parental support groups in Surrey,” Alec explains. “We formed a special bond built on faith. He introduced me to the reality that I wasn’t alone in my desire to be a good father, while still sorting out my very checkered path.”
Alec was living in a halfway house and awaiting trial when the two met. “Dave and other leaders of the community stood by my side on the day of the trial. I was sentenced to two years incarceration. Throughout my entire sentence Dave and his mentor Dale Peters used their pastoral titles to make their way into the jail every Friday. Through his commitment to our friendship, I was able to stay driven and motivated to live for The Lord and stand apart from my life of destruction, degradation, and death.” Alec, now married to the mother of their two daughters, is building an eavestroughing business. “Dave helped save my life.”
Currently, Dave Morgan is the lead pastor of Eden Whalley, a startup Church dedicated to bringing hope to the underprivileged area. “The Whalley community has very unique threads of tragedy and brokenness. Drug and alcohol addiction is prevalent, homelessness, gangs. All this stuff has built onto itself.” Dave has recently moved into Whalley with his family to fully dedicate in building a positive community in the area.
Pastor Dave helping the Whalley community
“A lot of these people have amazing stories, amazing families, and have had great beginnings. Unfortunately, some have made poor choices. They would just love a helping hand in moving forward, making better choices, and having a good life.”
Though still an early startup, Dave assures Eden Whalley Church, which works in collaboration with the United Kingdom’s Message Trust organization, has long-term, impactful ambitions. “We’d love to have an influence in schools,” Dave states. “I also want to create an establishment where people can build skill-sets, help get them into the workforce, and have a better chance at life.”
The Church also has a passion for visiting jails throughout Canada to help with inmates, giving them restoration, and a chance to make better choices and have greater opportunities when they get out.
“When you’re at the very beginning of a startup, you always have a vision that’s a lot bigger than the reality of the immediate situation. That’s what keeps you going.”
“Sometimes people come up to me and ask why I do this. They say ‘You can’t help everybody,’ or ‘You can’t save everybody.’ It reminds me of my beginnings in ministry, and reading a quote about this man who found all of these stranded starfish on a shore. One by one he started tossing them back into the ocean. A guy walking along the path sees this and says ‘You can’t save everyone of those starfish, you know.’ And as the Man is in mid throw, he responds: ‘Maybe not, but I can save this one.’ That’s the tradition I move out with each and every day when I walk those streets.”