Bowling for a library
The parishioners at All Saints Church in Marysville, N.B., have come up with an innovative way to help support Bishop McAllister College, in Kyogyera, Uganda: a charity bowling event.
All Saints rector the Rev. Kevin McAllister said the parish wants to support the college for a number of reasons. Not only is it run by a New Brunswicker, Canon Paul Jeffries, the college recently received an influx of 200 children, bringing its student population to around 900, and needs to find ways to support these new students.
The school also recently suffered a violent attack, in which three staff members were killed.
“We often take our right to education for granted, while people in other countries take enormous risk to try and change their path in life,” McAllister said.
To the people of All Saints, bowling seemed like something that might draw a crowd.
“We wanted to host an event that could potentially involve the greatest amount of people, that would be possible for [everyone from] children to seniors to fully participate in,” McAllister said.
The event will be held on Saturday, March 25 in Fredericton, and McAllister said the parish hopes to raise $5,000. He has also challenged five other parishes and the diocesan synod office to participate.
“If all the parishes that we challenged participate, I think $5,000 is a reasonable goal,” he said.
Jeffries said the news of a fundraiser “couldn’t have come at a better time,” as the college hopes to build a library in the coming year.
“News of the fundraiser has greatly encouraged us as we look to take up this new challenge.”
–The New Brunswick Anglican
St. Patrick’s reaches out to senior newcomers
St. Patrick’s Anglican Church in Edmonton recently welcomed newcomer seniors to Canada by helping them overcome social isolation.
From July to October 2016, a program saw the parish partner Welcome Centre for Immigrants (WCI) and Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers (EMCN) offer free English language and computer classes to newcomer seniors.
More than 40 people from India and several African nations participated in the morning classes offered three times a week.
Having identified language development and cultural awareness as key learning priorities, the seniors were given an opportunity to realize their goals through presentations and field trips organized by Julie McArthur, an EMCN instructor, and Chand Gul, a WCI community connector and volunteer from St. Patrick’s.
Participants learned about Canadian geography, culture and history, with an emphasis on Indigenous history. Other topics included civic services, recycling and waste management, and preparing for a visit to the doctor. They also attended classes meant to improve computer literacy.
Overall responses indicate the participants were less fearful and more confident about going out into their community having attended the classes.
St. Patrick’s said it would also use surplus funds from a $15,000 Anglican Foundation of Canada grant and parish proceeds from contributions to the diocese of Edmonton’s REACH fundraising campaign to continue hosting job fairs in co-operation with WCI and EMCN. In January, the parish began a partnership with the Pan-Edmonton Group Addressing Social Isolation of Seniors to offer another instalment of English literacy classes, helping connect senior newcomers to resources-and one another.
“It is a great joy to see our prayers for the unemployed and newcomers to Canada being put into action,” says the Rev. Kevin Kraglund, St. Patrick’s rector.
New Westminster study group holds Pipe Ceremony
On November 16, members of All Saints Anglican Church in Agassiz, B.C., held a traditional Pipe Ceremony as part of their Wrongs to Rights book study group.
The ceremony was led by Cree elder Frank Surprenant, who was given the right to share this ceremony with others by two Cree elders 50 years ago, as a form of teaching about the culture and spirituality of Indigenous people.
Before the ceremony began, participants were given instructions on the correct protocol. The pipe, which contains tobacco, was lit and passed around the circle, with participants being invited to speak from the heart when their turn came around. Those who chose not to inhale were encouraged to touch the pipe to their shoulders, head and heart with the pipe stem.
The ceremony, which was at times accompanied by drumming, singing and smudging, was also an opportunity for Surprenant and the other participants to talk about the removal of Indigenous people from the land-a piece of history that Surprenant said was “difficult for me to lay out there, and difficult for you to hear.”
The ceremony also featured the telling of stories related to the relationship between prayer and the ceremony by elder Eddie Gardner.
“It is good to come together and pray. Prayer is very powerful,” he said. “Take whatever is useful to you in our teachings as Indigenous people, put it to good use, and become a good ancestor to future generations.”
Gardner also spoke about the hard legacy of the Indian residential schools in Canada, and the need to accept the truth of what happened as the first step toward reconciliation.
“Reconciliation is a long road to take. We have to make these first steps and have courage to come together and take these steps toward good understanding and harmony,” he said.
Talk focuses on role of faith groups in ending homelessness
Sue Garvey, executive director of Cornerstone Housing for Women, a project of the diocese of Ottawa, gave a talk at a November national conference on how faith communities can be mobilized to create affordable housing and end homelessness.
At the fourth national conference of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness held in London, Ont., Garvey was joined by the Rev. Linda Kauffmann, an Episcopal priest from Washington, D.C., in speaking about the traditional role faith communities have played in serving the poor.
Garvey posed the question of how churches can move from one-off efforts at poverty relief, such as opening their buildings for use as emergency shelters, to more long-term “movement” with the capacity to “do more, faster, better, and bring with it all the values and quality of life commitments” faith communities can offer.
Garvey used her experience working in the diocese of Ottawa as an example. In 2015, the diocese created the homelessness and affordable housing working group, which adopted a mandate to have every parish engaged in creating affordable housing units.
When Garvey told the gathering (which included nearly 1,000 policy makers, front-line workers, funders, community leaders and researchers) that the diocese had a goal of creating 125 units of affordable housing by 2021, there was an audible reaction. People seemed both shocked and excited.
Garvey noted that while the landscape of the church in Canada is changing, churches have assets, properties and congregations that are seeking to help those beyond their doors.
Renewed hope for Huron cathedral
The ongoing restoration of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, Ont., is nearing its end, according to the Project Jericho leadership team.
Project Jericho, which has been working on the restoration of the cathedral since May 2015, says it expects restoration work to be completed by mid-February.
The team said the restoration efforts provided an opportunity to “re-invigorate not only our church’s structure, but also its worship, its role in the city, it relationship among its parishioners and the diocese, while always remembering and celebrating that the story of the cathedral is the story of its people.”
At the time Project Jericho was launched by Archdeacon Nancy Adams, then priest-in-charge of the cathedral, no one realized how extensive damage to the 175-year-old building was.
While the gutters, bricks and mortar in the north transept were being fixed, it became clear that the water damage was greater than anticipated. The truss ends of the rafters were severely rotted, affecting the structure of the building itself. The cathedral was closed in November due to safety concerns.
Extensive repairs have been underway since then, however, and the engineering firm contracted to take on the work, SBM Engineering, is confident that the restoration work will ensure the building’s ongoing structural integrity.
While repairs are underway, the cathedral’s congregation is worshipping at Cronyn Hall, the cathedral’s parish hall. They hope to be able to return to the cathedral itself by Easter, at the latest.
While the team acknowledged that the decision to displace the cathedral congregation to Cronyn Hall was difficult, it was necessary to keep people safe.
“We’ve been energized as we’ve found new ways to share of ourselves through our fundraising activities, and how we’ve learned more about our past to help shape our future,” said the leadership team.
Despite the disruption caused by the repairs, the congregation has continued its outreach through St. Paul’s Social Services, Knitting for Peace and the Tuesday organ recitals.
-Huron Church News