Support for Multifaith Housing Initiative (MHI)
The affordable housing fund is replenished each year through the Loblaws Gift Card Program and some individual donations. Since the establishment of the committee in 2003, St John’s has joined MHI as a faith community member, providing a donation of $500 per year to MHI’s operating budget. In 2007, the committee donated $12,000 to assist with the purchase of the ten MHI units in Somerset Gardens and in 2008, provided $2,700 to assist with MHI’s purchase of a 27-unit apartment building on Blake Blvd in Vanier.
In 2013, the AH committee supported MHI’s annual fund raising walk, the Tulipathon, by raising $6,000 from parishioners and friends for the St John’s team. St John’s won the Dr. Farook Tareen Tulipathon award, given to the faith community team who raised the most This money supported MHI’s first major fund raising campaign “A Place to Call Home”, with a goal of $500,000 to provide the down payment on housing for another 40 to 60 people. To date, almost 80% of the goal has been pledged. In addition to personal pledges to the campaign, the AH fund will provide $2,000 in 2014. As well, a GIFT grant of $10,000 from the Diocese to St John’s for this campaign has been approved.
St John’s has a significant volunteer involvement with MHI. Bruce Marshall is a member of the MHI Board and MHI’s Development Committee, Gay Richardson is President of the Board and member of the Development Committee and both Gay and Andrea Spraakman are members of the Membership and Outreach Committee.
Support for Somerset Gardens
Since 2009, St John’s has provided subsidies to tenants of Somerset Gardens. Each year the committee assesses the need and its ability to sustain support before agreeing on any subsidies for the following year. One subsidy was provided in 2013. Peggy Lister is a member of the Board of Somerset Gardens.
Support for Cornerstone Housing for Women
In 2011, St John’s contributed $5,500 towards the capital campaign for 314 Booth Street which provides supportive housing for 42 women, 20 of whom are seniors. St John’s connection continues through Peggy Lister as chair of the Cornerstone Foundation and Barb Dransch as Manager of Finance and Administration.
Loblaws Gift Card Program
Since 2003, the Affordable Housing Committee has been selling Loblaws Gift Cards at St John’s. In 2013, St John’s began selling Metro cards as well. About $30,000 has been raised in donations and through Gift Cards over the years allowing St John’s, through Multifaith Housing Initiative (MHI) and Cornerstone, to make a difference in a tangible way to provide affordable housing in the city of Ottawa. In 2013, the program raised $2,650 through the purchase of $79,000 worth of gift cards and disbursed $1,524 (subsidies and affordable housing.)
For each Gift Card purchased from Loblaws, Loblaws gives a percentage of the value to the organization. When we order more than $5,000 we receive a 3% discount. If we purchase over $10,000 we receive a 4% discount. The cards are used like a debit card for grocery purchases at any of: Loblaws, Your Independent Grocer, Valu-Mart, The Great Canadian Superstore, No Frills, Provigo, Zehrs and Fortinos. The Gift Cards are available in denominations of $250, $100, $50, $25 and $10. The Metro program is similar but so far the volume of sales is small and so little has been raised.
The cards are great for budgeting your grocery money; giving as gifts or as a thank you; helping out at the Centretown Emergency Food Centre (CEFC) or giving to your away-from-home-student-children a hand with their grocery bills.
The Loblaws/Metro Gift Card program is run by Peggy Lister with help from Kathleen Arsenault and Gloria Fox and other occasional volunteers. If you want to know more, or if you want to purchase cards, visit the Loblaws/Metro table during coffee hour.
In 2013, members of the Affordable Housing Committee were: Peter Anderson, Jo Cassie, Barb Dransch, Gloria Fox, Claudette Kohut, Peggy Lister, Bruce Marshall, Mary Frances Marshall, Monica Patten, Gay Richardson (chair). Thanks to committee members and to all who continue to support this important work.
If you are interested in becoming more involved with affordable housing, either at St John’s or with MHI, please contact Peggy Lister (Loblaws/Metro Gift Card coordinator) or Gay Richardson (St John’s AH Committee and MHI)
During 2013, St John’s AIDS Committee continued its work of the last 21 years – trying to alleviate the harm and devastation caused by HIV disease. The needs are somewhat different from those we encountered in the early days but there is still challenging work to be done - maintaining awareness of the disease being one.
Our main focus is local. As well as our monthly services, we support the work of various Ottawa AIDS service organizations including the “Taste for Life” and “Walk for Life” fundraisers. In July we assist and participate in the Snowy Owl Foundation summer camp for HIV positive families. On a wider scale we help organize and take part in the annual World AIDS Day observations on December 1.
A couple of our members are part of a Canadian AIDS Society group developing a faith-based programme for use in AIDS care organizations. The product should be ready by the spring.
We continue to work on our memorial quilt project which goes slowly and would benefit from help from some other St Johnians.
As always, we welcome new ideas and/or participation from all who might be interested.
The bridge club provides opportunities for aficionados of this ever popular card game to meet and entertain each others in their homes. A fee of $15.00 per person is levied to cover the cost of the final banquet in June. Anyone interested in joining should get in touch with Alain Lanoix and Tony Lovink.
Bridgehead sales are held monthly ( except November, March, July & August ) at St John's on Sundays after the 10:15 am service. We are members of a local 10 church network selling fair trade products which are grown by small scale farmers in Asia, Africa, Central & South America. By buying Bridgehead coffee, tea, granola & cocoa products you are supporting these farmers, giving them a fair wage for their products and encouraging & supporting their organic shade growing methods.
During 2013 our sales totaled $1, 467.30. The profit from the sales (purchase to sale price) for the network was $2,000.00 This year the money has been sent to Oxfam to support relief work in the Philippines which was hit by a devastating typhoon a few months ago and to Guatemala to support programs working for empowerment of women and for food security.
Thanks go to those parishioners who support this ministry, and thanks also to Robin Dorrell and to Pete Torunski who assist at the sales.
The Centretown Churches Social Action Committee (CCSAC) is currently comprised of 25 churches. Founded in 1967 to respond to social needs in the Centretown area, CCSAC has undertaken many initiatives on behalf of the poor and isolated in the community. CCSAC’s mission states that it exists to unite member churches in social action and in prayer.
The largest single activity of CCSAC in 2013 was the Centretown Emergency Food Centre. The Centre’s mandate is to provide food security for low-income residents of Centretown area. It is open four days a week, and provides clients with a 3-4 day supply of nourishing food according to family size, as well as referrals to other social services. The Centre’s clients include people of all ages, from many diverse cultures. Many of them are on social assistance, but a significant number are working poor and new Canadians. CCSAC provides major support for the Food Centre. The number clients are increasing as are food costs. Yet contributions have decreased a little. Increased individual contributions in both money and staple food are needed!
Politicians have been lobbied to reduce poverty. Recently lobbying for increased minimum wage of $14/hr resulting in an increase to $11/hr. Lobbying for Bill C-400 to promote a national housing strategy which was unsuccessful. Currently, lobbying efforts are for the nation-wide “Chew on This” campaign to reduce poverty.
This year its member churches contributed $25,346 of which St John’s contributed $3,500. Individuals from the churches contributed $44,896 of which $2,847 came from St John's parishioners.
Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) is a community-based reintegration program that assists people who have been incarcerated for committing sexual offences, and voluntarily seek help in their effort to re-enter society. It has operated out of St John’s Church for 15 years.
A Circle typically consists of four volunteers and one core member (how we refer to our clients). They meet weekly as a group and each volunteer meets regularly 1on1 with the core member. Over time, trust develops between them; the Circle often becoming a surrogate family to the core member. The Circle volunteers help their core member to live safely in the community, from basic needs such as finding affordable and safe housing, to ensuring they are attending counseling or support groups, and modeling healthy relationships.
The Volunteer training program is offered each year (typically in the spring and/or fall) in attempt to recruit a diverse group of individuals from the community. At our spring and fall training we recruited 14 and 15 volunteers, respectively, bringing the numbers up to 35 active (and 13 waiting to be placed) Circle volunteers who support nine Core Members. We welcome St John’s parishioners as volunteers and invite anyone interested to check out our spring 2014 training schedule at www.cosa-ottawa.ca/training/.
A vital element in retaining both volunteers and core members is to offer them opportunities for personal growth and to get together as a CoSA ‘community’. Some of activities we engaged in last year are:
- Discussion series (facilitated)
- Money management
- Challenges of reintegration
- Avoiding breaches
- Healthy cooking
- Family Ties – Good, Bad and Indifferent.
- Activities: Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners attended by 24 and 62 guests, respectively.
Our program is governed by a ‘dream team’ of Board members, chaired by St John’s’ own Emmy Verdun. We have been very fortunate to recruit individuals from key community sectors, including the Ottawa Police; a Defence lawyer; Janet, the director of The Well – all who hold us accountable for the integrity of how we operate. This past August we became a registered charity – something that our Board of Directors has been working diligently on – and so we invite all St John’s parishioners to become a member of CoSA-Ottawa. We are happy and grateful to continue our great relationship with St John’s!
CoSA’s goal and guiding principle is “No More Victims”- the accountability aspect of the program is vital to its success. Preliminary research indicates that sexual offending rates for people who participate in CoSA are 80% lower than for those who don’t. An evaluation of CoSA in Canada is currently underway, funded by the National Crime Prevention Centre, which will further demonstrate CoSA’s success. We are proud, in Ottawa, to be part of this vital movement! Thank you St John’s for making it possible for us to flourish!
2013 resulted in a comparatively healthy financial state. Donations were up and the amount of rubbish that had to be discarded appears to have gone down. We are now recycling any clothing or textiles that we cannot use (through the Salvation Army). We are also making sure that any books that are not usable are also recycled. This certainly helps those making the decisions regarding what is not suitable much easier. Of course, sometimes we unwrap objects which don't seem to have any function! There is rarely a dull moment!
As always St John's is indebted to all the volunteers who give of their time and expertise. Each day has its "team" which engenders a lot of camaraderie and firm friendships. We also appreciate the people who fill in when any of the volunteers are sick or on vacation, especially those who already have a regular day.
From time to time we call on parishioners to fill in voids. Most often we are short of men's clothing, especially winter coats and underwear. The responses have been heartening and our thanks go to those who responded so quickly.
Finally we owe a big debt of thanks to Melodie who sorts, prices, fills in, arranges, and keeps everyone happy. Without her help and input the show would probably not survive!
The St John’s Foot Care Clinic was established in October 1989 in response to a perceived need for affordable foot care. Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs), from Carefor, a community health service organization, provide the foot care. The volunteers from St John’s look after everything else. This includes making appointments, setting up prior to each clinic and cleaning up afterwards, bookkeeping, paying Carefor for the RPNs' time, ensuring the necessary supplies are on hand and collecting fees. The fee for a 20-minute appointment is $20 with the first appointment for a new client being scheduled for 40-minutes at a charge of $40 to include a preliminary assessment by the nurse.
Twelve clinics were held in 2013 for a total of 257 appointments for the 50 clients who attend the clinic on a regular basis. The clinic is open to all – senior and non-senior, parishioner and non-parishioner alike and could easily accommodate additional clients on a regular basis.
St John’s is known as “the Church with the open door”. Many who come through our doors catch the spirit of the parish and decide to make it their spiritual home. ALL are welcome to participate in our various ministries, and to become part of our family.
The process of being recognized as a newcomer is to fill out a card found at the back of the church or in the pews, which is then given to the Rector. After the Rector has reviewed it and made contact with the new member, the information is given to the Newcomers Coordinator and a committee member then contacts the newcomer(s) with a phone call and/or a visit. Once each year, the new members of that calendar year are invited to a lunch in order to meet each other and some long-standing members of the parish in an informal way. The most recent Newcomers’ Lunch was held on Sunday, January 26, 2014, in the Well. 16 Newcomers attended, as well as a group of “old-timers”, who were on hand to answer any questions and describe our many ministries & services.
We also enjoy opportunities to socialize and to celebrate special events during the year. St Johnians are wonderful bakers and cooks, and are always ready to respond to the need for food! These are great occasions for community-building and we thank everyone who generously contributes to such events. As well, we have compiled a list of caterers who can be called upon for events such as special events, family celebrations and funerals. This list is available in the Church office.
Special thanks to everyone in the congregation for passing on the "Good News" of St John’s, for making newcomers welcome and for providing goodies when asked!
The Pastoral Care Committee is a small group of parishioners who, in partnership with the parish priest, act as providers, facilitators and mediators of pastoral care. Committee members liaise with a number of parish committees and groups, such as Newcomers, Hospitality, Prayer Chain, Thursday Fellowship Program and Foot Clinic in order to identify people who may need pastoral attention.
Committee members also visit or phone the sick and shut-ins themselves or arrange for other parishioners to do so. At our monthly meetings we share our knowledge concerning people in need of pastoral attention and establish who will follow up in each case, through telephone calls or visits by one of us, another parishioner or the priest
One morning each week, some of the members, on behalf of the Ottawa Diocese, make pastoral care visits to the Anglican patients at the Civic Campus of the Ottawa Hospital.
On occasion the Committee organizes workshops that offer opportunities to both parishioners and our own members to expand their awareness and skills in areas related to pastoral care.
Many parishioners, as well as members of the Pastoral Care Committee, participate in providing pastoral care such as driving people to church and to appointments and assisting with shopping.
Members of the Pastoral Care Committee in 2013 were the following: the Rev. Rob Heard (from January to June), the Rev. Beth Bretzlaff, Kitty Cocks, Mary Ellen Herbert, Bea Robertson, Marietta Stenman, Daphne Strange, Judy Threinen and John Zegers.
PWRDF is the Anglican Church of Canada’s agency for sustainable development, relief, refugees, and global justice. With the support of Anglican parishes across Canada, PWRDF works to support partners’ initiatives and to promote actions of solidarity at home and around the world.
St John’s primary activity related to PWRDF is the annual Ash Wednesday Parish Poverty Supper. Parishioners contribute home-made soups, bread and butter and the committee makes an appeal for financial support to PWRDF, suggesting a contribution of the value of a good meal.
The Poverty Supper was held on February 13 and featured Aboriginal Elder Gordon Williams as our guest speaker. Mr. Williams, a member of the Peguis First Nation of Manitoba, a Presbyterian Pastor and currently serving as an Advisor and Elder to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, shared his understanding of what the Idle No More movement and Chief Teresa Spence's hunger strike hoped to achieve and also updated us on the progress of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Members of St John’s also participate in diocesan events sponsored by the diocesan PWRDF Committee including an annual workshop for Parish Representatives as well as speaker events. In 2013, the PWRDF Diocesan committee organized a workshop entitled "Right Relations and Recent Aboriginal Activism" for the May diocesan Congregational Resource Day.
The Committee would like to thank parishioners for their generosity in supporting the life-giving work of PWRDF, both at the Poverty Supper and throughout the year. Committee members in 2013 were: Joan Fulthorp Jubb, Jane Maxwell, Gay Richardson and Don Smith. New members are most welcome.
Parishioners at St John’s contributed $10,135 through St John’s to PWRDF in 2013. Not included in this amount are any funds sent directly to PWRDF by individuals.
The group hosted a parish lunch in January, well attended by parishioners and newcomers.
Approval was obtained from Parish Council to play a major role in the settlement of an Iraqi-Palestinian family sponsored by the Diocese. During the year, the three children of the family fled from Damascus to a refugee camp in Turkey where their mother, Thikra, was able to join them from Jordan. Unfortunately, given the situation in the Middle East they are unlikely to arrive soon. This family is related to the Iraqi-Palestinian family group sponsored in 2011 by the Diocese, in partnership with St John's and Mackay United Church. We will continue this settlement partnership with Mackay United.
Approval in principle was also given by Parish Council for a new parish sponsorship under the “blended visa office referred” program whereby the federal government identifies the refugee family and also provides the initial six month financial support. During the year neither a suitable refugee family nor sufficient effort within RAG was identified to undertake such a sponsorship. Now that our new rector is in place it is intended to try again in 2014. Under such a sponsorship, the refugee would arrive quite quickly.
We continued to assist an Afghan family sponsored by the parish, who arrived in 2011/2. Areas of ongoing concern are affordable housing options and long term care options for their handicapped son.
Much time and effort was devoted to supporting a refugee claimant family from Nigeria who arrived in January and made St John's their spiritual home. Their situation highlighted the difficulties and stresses of the new refugee claim process. In spite of what seemed a very clear and deserving case, their claim was refused, both by the IRB member at the initial hearing and again on appeal. They returned to Africa in September voluntarily to seek refuge elsewhere.
Last year we noted that ongoing everyday support for some needy newcomers to Canada who have become parishioners is a significant effort for RAG members and that a broadening of this pastoral support within the parish beyond RAG is needed. Contacts were made with both Pastoral Care and Christian Education groups but no real progress was made. RAG members continue to assist several families especially with severe medical issues, and with housing issues. A training program was set up to provide practice for the citizenship test.
The proposed new sponsorship provides an opportunity for new members to gain hands-on experience assisting former refugees establish themselves in Canada. RAG welcomes anyone interested to find out more at one of its regular meetings.
This Ministry prepares and serves coffee, tea and juice following the 10:15 service, allowing parishioners to mingle and exchange in a relaxed atmosphere. Between June and September, lemonade is served. Parishioners can bring confections and baked goods to be enjoyed along with the drinks, but this is entirely optional. Currently, eight volunteers or volunteer teams take turns officiating, which involves preparing the table before service and cleaning up after. The time commitment is rather light. Any newcomer is welcome and should speak with Alain Lanoix.
Tuesday is made Terrific for some twenty or thirty people who gather in the Parish Hall weekly for supper, spiritual uplift, and socializing. Generous parishioners provide the main meal, usually soup, and we chip in bread, cheese, and a dessert to round out the meal. We nourish our spirits while we are together, both by sharing individual thoughts and experiences, and by participating in a short liturgy and some singing.
We send out a million thanks to all those who have provided such nourishing and tasty meals for us! Those who wish to join the ranks of the generous may sign up in the hall for an open Tuesday. New volunteers would be most welcome.
The Fellowship group consisting of men and women (usually 20 to 30 in number, some of whom are not able to attend other church services) who join in on a celebration of the Holy Eucharist on the 3rd Thursday of each month at 2 p.m., omitting the summer months of July and August.
Following the service the group proceeds to the parish hall to share valuable fellowship time and also enjoy in yummy refreshments provided by eager volunteers, who organize and set up for Tea Time, clean up, drive people to and from their homes and, last but not least, maintain vital telephone links with these parishioners.
This group has been an active ministry for over 30 years and welcomes newcomers as our parish motto states "The Church with the Open Door". To this end it is a real pleasure to have the seniors from Saint Theresa's, Knox Presbyterian, and Somerset Gardens join us during this joyful time. During the year we highlight various themes, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Saint Valentine's Day and Saint Patrick's Day, during which our church organist, Gordon Johnston, entertains us with his expertise on the harp, as part of that month's theme.
I would like to express my sincere appreciation for all who assist, the clergy and staff, Dorothy Berg with set up and piano skills, and the following active volunteers: Bev Bewley, Melodie Conlon, Vicki Milnes, Marietta Stenman, Virginia Hill, John Nesbitt, Ron Hannah, Wendy McCutcheon, Kitty Cocks, Connie Snelgrove, Shirley & Phil Conquer, Claire Marson, and Gloria Gifford. Blessing to you all!
The Well/La Source is a spiritual and justice based day program providing services to assist homeless women and women and children at risk of being homeless. They offer a safe, supportive, inclusive environment where women come together to empower each other while nourishing the whole person. St John’s is their host and landlord. The St John’s – Well Liaison Committee provides a vehicle for open communication between the Well’s management and administrative staff and St John’s clergy, administration and parishioners.
Among the highlights for 2013 was the successful Open House, held in September after church, at which the staff, volunteers and women of the Well welcomed the St John’s congregation to their premises for refreshments, great entertainment by the Well’s singing Angels.
In 2012, The Well/La Source engaged in a comprehensive study looking into the creation of a Wellness Centre. This important project will bring various health professionals together on sight, to serve the women. St John’s and The Well/La Source continue to explore avenues for bringing this project to fruition.
The Well/La Source celebrates their 30th anniversary in 2014. Watch for events advertised throughout the year in our bulletin and on their website.
The members of the Liaison Committee include Wilma Di Gaetano representing the Well’s Management Board, Jan Calder (St John’s), Kim Chadsey (St John’s Administrator) Barbara Dransch, (St John’s) Adele Finlayson (St John’s), Kirstie Gray (The Well) and Janet McInnes (The Well).