Interfaith group gathers for housing plenary
More than 80 people representing 16 different faiths and 13 community organizations, front line agencies and community stakeholders met in Edmonton in November for the Capital Region Interfaith Housing Initiative (CRIHI) Plenary.
Participants were greeted by Anglican diocese of Edmonton Bishop Jane Alexander, as well as Archbishop Richard Smith of the Roman Catholic archdiocese and pastors Bonnie Hodge and Keith Taylor of Beulah Alliance Church, which hosted the workshop.
Many people—faith community members, real estate developers and City of Edmonton employees—shared their ideas about housing access. This included discussion of the possibility of faith groups opening their doors as part of a city-wide network of safe access points, the creation of a database of churches willing to offer their places of worship as safe spaces and spiritual care for front line workers.
CRIHI will develop a timeline for implementing the action items raised at the plenary.
In her address to the plenary, Bishop Alexander said that “when we speak about people who find themselves homeless, or in need of housing, or are falling through the cracks, it’s not them. It’s us. When one part of the community hurts, we all hurt. In my denomination, in the Christian faith, we would say when one part of the body hurts, we all hurt.”
Working together on housing and the forces that contribute to homelessness, Alexander added, is “building up our entire community for the good of everybody.”
Alexander urges support for the City of Edmonton’s Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness (updated in 2017) through her work with CRIHI and as co-chair of EndPoverty Edmonton.
A national housing strategy that recognizes adequate housing as a fundamental right for all Canadians was announced by the federal government Nov. 22, 2017.
“We’re in an incredible time of opportunity,” said Alexander.
Diocese of Qu’Appelle bishop to appoint task force for marriage canon conversations
Bishop of the diocese of Qu’Appelle Robert Hardwick was instructed by Diocesan Council to put together a task force to facilitate discussions in the diocese about the proposed change to the marriage canon to allow for same-sex marriage.
The task force will help with the consultation process of discussing the marriage canon at every level of the diocese, especially at the parish and regional levels. While Diocesan Council made suggestions in regards to the makeup of the task force, Hardwick will have final say on appointing the group. Fewer than 10 people will be chosen for the task force, with consideration given to creating a group with a cross-section of skills such as canon law, theology and culture. There is also the possibility of including one clergy person from each archdeanery.
During the most recent Diocesan Council meeting, Hardwick said that Council of General Synod (CoGS) has sent information to dioceses about the issue and wants to hear about each diocese’s particular process. He also said that Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, sent out a letter on behalf of CoGS, encouraging dioceses to engage in this discussion.
Hardwick said that the task force would report back to Diocesan Council in March. The task force could also report to Executive Council about how things are unfolding at the diocesan, regional and parish levels.
“It’s important that we as a council grapple with this [issue],” he said.
—The Saskatchewan Anglican
Cree veteran praying for justice
Veteran Victor Flett shared his life story in a presentation entitled “From Racism to Reconciliation” at St. Peter and St. Paul’s, Esquimalt, B.C., diocese of British Columbia, December 2. He was afterward given the status of lay canon of the diocese.
In the presentation, organized by the diocese’s Aboriginal Neighbours group, Flett shared about his childhood, growing up on his grandfather’s land in Manitoba, his time in the Navy and his civilian life after his discharge.
Flett, who is of Cree descent, said that he learned early in his life to be ashamed of his Indigenous heritage, and experienced racism at school and in the navy.
Flett, who served in Korea on the destroyer HMCS Crusader, shared stories of returning to Korea for ceremonies of acknowledgement of the Canadian contribution and of participation in the 100th anniversary ceremonies at the Vimy Memorial. People’s warden of St. Peter and St. Paul’s, John Ducker, presented a photo essay on Canadians returning to Vimy to complement Flett’s talk.
Flett also spoke about his experience in Aboriginal Neighbours, where he found friends who were trying to build bridges between Anglicans and First Nations. He spoke of being encouraged by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action, highlighting the call to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery, which he believes is the root of the racism that followed in the past 400 years.
When asked what he was praying for now, Flett emphatically answered, “justice,” pointing out that even in a land as rich as Canada, some First Nations communities live in poverty and under boil water advisories. He said that he is encouraged to see signs that racism is being replaced by reconciliation, but that there is still a great deal of work to be done.
After inviting Flett’s son, Victor Jr. (Buddy) to stand with them at the front, Anglican diocese of British Columbia Bishop Logan McMenamie bestowed upon Flett the status of lay canon of the diocese to much cheering and applause.
Bowling tournament expands to fight childhood hunger
A bowling fundraiser in the diocese of Fredericton is hoping to raise $100,000 to fight childhood hunger in New Brunswick.
Organizer of the tournament, the Rev. Kevin McAllister, decided to expand the tournament, which last year brought in more than $7,500 to help build a library at Bishop McAllister College in Uganda.
This year, the tournament will take place in three cities—Fredericton, Moncton and Saint John—with the goal to raise $33,000 for each city. These funds will be designated to a local charity in each city that addresses childhood hunger.
McAllister says he was inspired to combat hunger by the diocese’s Stewardship Day workshop last year, when Anglican diocese of Fredericton Bishop David Edwards spoke about child poverty. “I didn’t realize it was that bad…As a dad and a priest, I don’t think it’s right that people should be hungry, especially kids.”
The tournament will take place April 21. Parishes can form teams, sponsor teams or turn up to watch. There are also “Strike Out Child Hunger” T-shirts for sale, which McAllister says will both aid donations and help build awareness that “child hunger and poverty in our province are bigger than we would like to admit.”
—The New Brunswick Anglican
Mission to Seafarers team delivers Christmas presents to seafarers in Vancouver’s harbour
On December 22, 2017, a Mission to Seafarers team, along with a CBC intern doing coverage for an afternoon radio program, boarded a water taxi. With them they carried almost 400 gifts that would be delivered to the 18 ships at anchor in Vancouver’s harbour.
A total of 1,000 gifts are distributed annually as part of this seasonal ministry of the Mission to Seafarers at Port of Vancouver and Roberts Bank Superport, in the diocese of New Westminster. In preparation, participating churches organized the donation of toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, toiletries, chocolate, socks, hand-knit toques, gloves, and more, which were wrapped in gift boxes and given to seafarers who found themselves far from home during the Christmas season.
The group made contact by radio with each of the ships to be visited, then maneuvered the water taxi into position for the ship’s gangway to be lowered. Senior Port Chaplain the Rev. Peter Smyth then asked how many were on the ship’s crew, and the appropriate number of gifts were brought onboard.
Most of the ships were bulk cargo ships from around the world. The group met crews from the Philippines, Ukraine, Myanmar and China.
The Mission to Seafarers is a worldwide Anglican ministry. It exists to serve one of the most marginalized groups of workers in the world, often the victims of outrageous breaches of standard employment practices.