N.S. church’s parishioners craft 200 quilts for northern babies
Up to 200 infants in Nunavut may be sleeping more snugly this winter thanks to the efforts of parishioners at St. John’s Anglican Church in Wolfville, N.S.
As part of the church’s 200th anniversary, celebrated through 2018, parishioners decided in mid-March to create 200 baby quilts to send to families in Nunavut by the following winter. All 200 were completed that fall, and on November24, the quilts were displayed at an annual coffee party given by the church’s Anglican Church Women, blessed and packaged. As of press time, organizers were hoping to get all the quilts to Nunavut early in the new year.
The idea of creating quilts to send north arose partly from a 2016 talk on some of the needs of northern families given by parishioner Beverly McKee, who had spent more than 25 years as a health care worker in the north. One church member recalled McKee saying some Nunavut families don’t have a warm blanket in which to wrap their newborn babies. The project was organized by parishioner and avid quilter Elizabeth Biggs. In the end, more than 40 people took part, including members of Biggs’s quilting club.
—The Diocesan Times
Community rallies around Ontario church after racist graffiti incidents
The writing of racist graffiti on property belonging to a Toronto-area church this fall spurred a show of solidarity from local residents, and has led the parish and diocese to take steps against hate crimes.
In three separate incidents in September and October, a man wrote graffiti on a shed behind St. Margaret’s Anglican Church in Etobicoke, a district west of Toronto. The graffiti, which included the N-word, appeared soon after the Rev. Jacqueline Daley, who is black, began as interim priest-in-charge at the church. Daley believes it was prompted by her arrival.
“It’s supposed to incite fear and terror, and it’s a reminder of the painful history of black people in this country,” she said.
Jenny Andison, area bishop of York-Credit Valley, met and worshipped with the congregation after the first incident, leading it in praying both for the parish and the person who had written the graffiti.
The third incident occurred during a Sunday morning worship service; the man was chased away and identified, but as of press time, police had not arrested anyone.
Three weeks after that incident, about 40 people from the community, who had heard about the incidents from the news media, arrived at the church to help with the cleanup and to offer their support. One offered to pay for security cameras to improve security on the property. Daley said she was deeply impressed by the show of solidarity.
The church, meanwhile, started a social justice committee, and invited a specialist in diversity and inclusion to speak to the congregation. Andison was asked by the diocese of Toronto’s college of bishops to draw up a list of things to do when a parish experiences hate crimes, together with Peter Fenty, area bishop of York-Simcoe.
Anglican-supported women’s affordable housing project opens in Ottawa
Women at a time of crisis in their lives now have more affordable housing in the nation’s capital after the opening this fall of a new facility by Cornerstone Housing for Women, a mission of the diocese of Ottawa.
In November 2018, Cornerstone opened the doors of its new residence for women at 373 Princeton Avenue. The building formerly belonged to the Sisters of Jeanne D’Arc Institute, a Roman Catholic religious community. It was purchased by Cornerstone with the intention of repurposing it for affordable housing, a project that was launched in March 2017. The $8-million project was supported by all three levels of government, and Cornerstone itself raised $2 million over a two-year capital campaign.
“Our dream has become a reality thanks to the incredible ground-swell of support by the caring, compassionate and hard-working people of faith within the Anglican diocese of Ottawa and the greater Ottawa community,” said Jessie-Lee Wallace, resource development officer for Cornerstone. Almost 30 parishes in the diocese contributed to the project, financially, through food donations, volunteer work and in other ways, she said.
The newly refurbished building, she said, contains 42 small bachelor apartments, and is intended to provide a secure home for women hoping to recover from abuse or job loss, or get support for mental health and addiction problems, or move past a time of crisis in their lives. One-tenth of the units are reserved for Indigenous women, and an Indigenous elder will serve on the building’s staff.
More than 1,000 women become homeless in the nation’s capital each year, Wallace said.
Consultation session on human trafficking held in Edmonton
Anglicans from the ecclesiastical province of Rupert’s Land—as well as the dioceses of Western Newfoundland and New Westminster—gathered in Edmonton October 21-24 to hear about and discuss human trafficking in their communities.
Participants heard from speakers, including Kate Quinn, executive director of the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation (CEASE), who spoke about the origins of the organizations, and Taanis Bellerose, an Indigenous survivor of sexual exploitation. Bellerose, who was brought into the sex trade at age 12 and lived on the street for 25 years, now works as an advocate for others who have been exploited sexually.
Another organization, the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking, is currently developing a hotline to provide round-the-clock help to trafficking victims, and hopes to launch the service in the spring of 2019. The group’s CEO, Barb Gosse, told attendants that churches provide valuable help in the struggle against human trafficking.
“You are our eyes and ears on the ground; you have potential volunteers around you all the time and you are a powerful community of assistance providers,” she said.
The meeting was the third of four regional conferences planned by the Anglican Church of Canada’s departments of Public Witness for Social and Ecological Justice and Global Relations. Similar events, funded by General Synod and the Anglican Foundation of Canada, have already been held in the ecclesiastical provinces of Ontario and Canada. The fourth, for the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia and Yukon, is planned for early 2019, and the results are to be presented to General Synod when it meets in July.
Anglicans help create Indigenous spiritual space in B.C. jail
Indigenous inmates at the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre, a maximum-security provincial jail, have a tent-like meeting house to practice their traditional spirituality after efforts by an Anglican chaplain at the facility and a grant from the diocese of British Columbia.
The spiritual services team at the jail was awarded $6,000 this year from the diocese’s Vision Fund to buy a canvas tent for use by Indigenous elders, chaplains, inmates and staff, says the Rev. Kevin Arndt, who has served as a chaplain there for about nine years. Indigenous inmates have made the 16 ft. by 20 ft (4.9 m by 6.1 m) tent into a portable meeting house for spiritual practices, Arndt says. The front is now painted in the style of a Coast Salish longhouse, with a raven and eagle on either side of the door. Inside there are cedar benches, blankets, a wood-burning stove and other items.
“Together, these natural elements transport the inmates away from the cold, hard surroundings of concrete and bars, and help the men to open themselves to the spiritual medicines that lead to a better path,” Arndt says.
The idea for the meeting house arose from conversations Arndt says he had with a local chief who is also aboriginal liaison worker at the jail. The two hoped such a space would allow Indigenous inmates at the prison to “encounter nature, find comfort and peace, and pursue spiritual learning and healing,” he says.
Many of the inmates, he says, practise a form of spirituality that blends Indigenous tradition and Christianity.
—The Diocesan Post