Pastors Gary and Melody Macsemchuk, Founders of Grace Place
With over 23 years' experience in street ministry, the homeless in Thunder Bay have always been close to their hearts. Through the love of God, they were compelled to form Grace Ministries of Thunder Bay in 2007 and later open Grace Place on Simpson Street in 2008. Their call to ministry came in 2000 when they were licensed with Global Christian Ministry Forum (G.C.M.F) a non-denominational body of oversight for those in ministry. They were ordained in 2008. 

Since the opening of Grace Place, God has been working through Melody & Gary to bring hope to all  those who come to use its services. The volunteers of Thunder Bay have been the stability to enable Grace Place to offer shelter, food, clothing, and a warm place to be off of the streets. God continues to do a mighty work in the hearts and lives of those who seek Him and who have often been rejected and forgotten.

Grace Place began in 2008 in the downtown south core of Thunder Bay with the vision of providing a safe haven to those facing homelessness in the community. Today that vision remains strong, as Grace Place continues to serve as a community hub providing stability and support for many needing an extra helping hand. It is often difficult for people on a fixed income to meet their basic needs; Grace Place seeks to ease the burden of finding shelter, food and services. Since 2008, thousands have come through the door to find a warm place to gather, a safe place to sleep and a hot meal. 

About Grace Place

Meet Us

Pastor Sha Tha Lei Wah,
Assistant Pastor & Worship Leader
Pastor Sha Tha Lei Wah was born in 1990 in the Maw Ker Refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border. When he was ten years old his family relocated to the Umphiem Refugee Camp. In August 2009, he immigrated to Canada as a refugee sponsored by the Thunder Bay First Presbyterian Church community. After three years in Canada, he travelled back to his home where he married his wife, Slow May Moon. In January 2016, Slow joined Sha in Canada as a permanent resident. Two years later in March 2018, they became parents to a daughter, Tamla Moon, and in August 2021 they welcomed their son, Samuel Moon. 

Coming from a refugee camp has taught Sha to appreciate his life and the freedom God has given him. God has given him a true purpose to share with others that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and no man cometh unto the Father except through Him. John 14:6. He has found Christ to be magnificent, profound in words, actions and character, and most worthy of following.

Sha joined Grace Place as a volunteer in 2013. On January 17th, 2017, Sha was licensed with Global Christian Ministry Forum (G.C.M.F). Sha confesses helping others is a privilege and he is thankful to serve the Lord on Simpson St,

Sha is a firm believer in two great principles, “Grace and Truth”, that which we all need to nurture and cultivate life.”

Dave Ree
Head Chef
Dave Ree joined Grace Place in 2009 and has had his Red Seal Chefs certification since 1981. Dave loves to cook and use his expertise to help the lonely, the homeless and the needy and was drawn to volunteer his time at Grace Place. When you visit Grace Place and have kitchen related questions and concerns, see our Kitchen Chef Dave, he would be glad to connect with you.

Judith Harju
Shelter Manager
Judith has been with Grace Place for over 14 years. Upon her first visit to Grace Place for a Sunday service, she was strongly impressed of the Lord to offer her services and teach Sunday School which she did for nearly 10 years. She loved interacting with the young people, teaching them of the love of God, always seeing great potential and purpose in each one.

As Judith’s involvement increased, she was hired as a Support Worker and Supervisor for the Out of the Cold (OOTC) program at Grace Place which stirred even more passion for the hurting and marginalized. Judith admits this work can be both challenging and gratifying all at the same time. With God’s grace, Judith has served from her heart and has taken the position of Shelter Manager.

"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine you did for me."   Matthew 25:40

“If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:17,18

“If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord…” Proverbs 19:17