Outreach & Social Justice Update
Each year, the Diocese of Toronto’s Social Justice & Advocacy Committee puts forward a motion for discussion at the vestry meeting of each parish. This motion is endorsed by the Bishops and speaks to a real and pressing issue they see in the community. They ask us as a parish to prayerfully consider and adopt practical actions to help create a more just society. This year, the diocese and our Bishops have asked us to consider the continuing problems of racism faced in our society by black, indigenous, and other racialized people.
The Trinity Church Outreach Committee has taken a leadership role in considering the draft motion, and prepared a motion including the suggested model language of our own plan of action. The following motion will be made at this year’s vestry in February, 2021:
“The parish of Trinity Church acknowledges that Anti-Black racism exists in our society and in our Church, and that it and all forms of racism against Black, Indigenous and other racialized people are a sin against God and against our neighbour. We commit ourselves to the recognition, dismantling, and elimination of Anti-Black and other forms of racism in our secular institutions, in our Church, and in ourselves, and to work for the full inclusion, participation and belongingness of Black, Indigenous and other racialized people in all sectors of our common life.
In light of this acknowledgment, and in keeping with this commitment, our parish undertakes to do the following:
Invite one or more speakers from a racialized community to speak on anti-racism.; and
Hold a follow-up discussion to learn how we can recognize and help confront racism in our community.”
At the annual social justice & outreach conference, our own former Area Bishop Peter Fenty and several others spoke of their own recent experiences of racism in the local community. Recent news articles make clear that no community is immune to the persistent problems of systemic bias. We hope that the motion will be received thoughtfully and supported by the parish community as an opportunity to learn and grow in our ministry to all of God’s people. More information can be found at https://www.toronto.anglican.ca/parish-life/diversity-resources/ .
Coldest Night of the Year – For some years, Trinity Church have supported Newmarket Inn from the Cold with our individual time, donations of clothing, and fundraising. “The Inn” is a special place, operating as an emergency shelter and social services hub for people experiencing homelessness in northern York Region and southern Simcoe County.
Every year, Inn from the Cold holds a fundraiser called “Coldest Night of the Year”. People may volunteer to walk 2 or 5 kilometres, to raise funds in support of the Inn’s mission. The walk is virtual this year, as we cannot gather, but will be held around February 20. Several members of our own extended Trinity community are part of the team, Friday Night Lights and Friends – captained by Bill White, including Bonnie Connolly, Rev. Dana, Patti Kergon and her sister Marlene Shuriff and Ellen Cotton. You can join us! Check out the team link at https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/TeamFundraisingPage.aspx?teamID=932994&langPref=en-CA to join the team or donate and support this worthy cause.
Clean Water Project – Our Lenten Project
For many years there have been news stories about the lack of clean water in indigenous communities, dating back decades in some cases. As well, there are communities where few homes have indoor plumbing. It was 10 years ago that the Pikangikumcrisis in Northern Ontario came to national attention after a wave of youth suicides in 2011. The number two priority identified to help the community was clean water, because 90% of homes did not have water or waste-water services and surface water sources, lakes and rivers, are vulnerable to contamination. This was all part of the desperation that young people were feeling. The crisis in Pikangikum was the beginning of the Clean Water Project through the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, (PWRDF), of the Anglican Church of Canada.
More recently, Archbishop Mark MacDonald, the National Indigenous Anglican Bishop of Canada, has brought a group of representatives together from churches and community groups with interests in the Indigenous communities in Canada. The group, now known as PimatisiwinNipi (“Living Water”) Group, supported PWRDF’s water program in the Northern Ontario community of Pikangikum as it worked to achieve the Four Pillars in their work together: Advocacy, Education, Partnership and Strategic Giving.
The generous offerings and training of previous years make it possible for the community of Pikangikum to move to the next phase on its own. Now the group are working to help more First Nations communities across Ontario thanks to a new partnership between PWRDF and “Water First”, an organization that addresses water challenges in Indigenous communities in Canada through education, training and meaningful collaboration. “Water First” not only helps to provide clean water, but opportunities for Indigenous youth to develop relevant skills and hands-on experience through internships, in the operation and maintenance of drinking water infrastructure in their local communities. So, they are providing water for communities and hope for Indigenous youth. These are both key priorities for these communities, their future and the future of the youth. You can learn more about Water First here http://waterfirst.ngo/.
This Lent, we are collecting alms (donations) to support this work, living into our baptismal promises of seeking and serving Christ in all persons, striving for justice among all people and respecting thedignity of every human being. I invite you to join me in this important initiative.
Submitted by Rev. Dana on behalf of the Outreach Committee