The Christmas story, in my work as chaplain at Tyndale St. George’s Community Centre, is not a once-a-year facet of that ministry, although for many years I have helped actively in the delivery of Christmas food baskets in our inner-city area. Christmas, in its wider meaning of the gift of God’s love appearing on earth in human form, is a year-long, day-to-day celebration of that love, expressed in the servanthood of Jesus.
My colleagues have a more direct relationship with the centre’s clients. The co-ordinator of our adult development department says: “Since we work with many different cultures we need to be aware that not everyone is Christian.” This, however, does not stop us as a team in practising the art of giving and sharing. For the last three years we have put up a tree in our window. Instead of using commercial decorations we ask all the people who use our centre to write on a card a wish for the holiday season. Many people have a collective wish such as world peace or tolerance for others. Afterwards all of the cards are hung on the tree. It is our belief that this is a way of putting out positive thoughts and this energy will make a difference.
Another tradition that we have done for the last six years is host a community holiday supper for the adults in our community. We realize that for many it is not always a happy time. Many people are alone without family. Every year we provide an evening where everyone shares a traditional turkey dinner with many ethnic culinary influences. We laugh, dance, and share good times together. It is an event that more than 100 people participate in and this year we have the support of the Montreal West Presbyterian Church to help us with some of the food.
Rev. Allan Marjerison
Tyndale St. George’s Community Centre
Diocese of Montreal