Nearly a decade ago, St. Matthew’s Anglican Church in Winnipeg had fallen into disrepair. Located in a troubled neighbourhood where the poverty rate is at least double Winnipeg’s average, the inner-city church was contaminated with mould and asbestos. Its new incumbent, the Rev. Cathy Campbell, wondered how its ministry could even be sustained.
And yet, the huge brick building was home to five vibrant worshipping congregations. It also housed the Neighbourhood Resource Centre, which provided services ranging from meal programs to English language courses. Thanks to the vision and persistence of Campbell and her congregation, the church is being repurposed into “WestEnd Commons,” a $6.2-million multi-use, secular complex that includes a worship centre and affordable housing for low-income families. The vision is to create a sustainable future for St. Matthew’s and to help revitalize the area. (Twenty-two per cent of the project’s capital funds- $1.3 million-is still needed.)
For more details, visit www.thewestendcommons.ca. Send cheques to St. Matthew’s Non-Profit Housing Inc., 641 St. Matthew’s Ave., Winnipeg, MB R3G 0G6.