Through the power of the Holy Spirit, St John’s is called to be a parish community that worships and lives for God, constantly growing in our relationship to Jesus Christ and one another, caring about and helping our neighbours near and far; and sharing experiences of prayer, sacraments, learning, witness, outreach and fellowship.
Ministry and Mission
We are called to proclaim the Good News to the world in ministries of service and justice, especially to those who are marginalized, abused, lonely, sick or despairing.
Support for Multifaith Housing Initiative (MHI)
The Affordable Housing Committee supports MHI each year, both financially through the affordable housing fund and also through personal time commitment. The affordable housing fund is replenished each year through the Loblaws Gift Card Program ($3254 was raised in 2010) and 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 MHI’s Bricks for Blake, a fund raising effort to assist with MHI’s purchase of a 27-unit apartment building on Blake Boulevard in Vanier.
Support for Tenants in Somerset Gardens
In 2009, St John’s provided rent subsidies to three households. Beginning in the fall of 2009, subsidies were provided to two households. In 2011, one household will be subsidized. Each year the Affordable Housing Committee assesses the need and its ability to sustain support before agreeing on rent subsidies for the following year.
Support for Cornerstone Housing for Women
Cornerstone’s capital campaign, A Journey of Hope, will fund the construction of 42 units of supportive and affordable housing for the most vulnerable homeless women in Ottawa. In early December, the Affordable Housing Committee met and committed to raising the funds ($5,500) to “Adopt-A-Room” at the new facility. This initiative allows groups or individuals to fund the purchase of all the furnishings for a single room including furniture, kitchen appliances and linens. To make a difference for one homeless woman to have a home of her own, make a donation to St John’s, with Affordable Housing Fund on the memo line, or purchase Loblaws Gift Cards.
The committee wishes to raise the level of awareness about the issue of affordable housing through an information session early in 2011. We will welcome the participation of members of the congregation in a dialogue about this core issue for our society and how St John’s can become more engaged.
Loblaws Gift Card Program
Since 2003, the Affordable Housing Committee has been selling Loblaws Gift Cards at St John’s. This program provides a sustainable revenue source which allows the committee to plan its subsidies, grants and donations over a period of time. About $18,000 has been raised in 6 years allowing St John’s, with Multifaith Housing Initiative (MHI), to make a difference in a tangible way to provide affordable housing in the city of Ottawa. The program raised over $2,700 in 2009 and over $3,200 in 2010.
How does the Loblaws program work? For many years Loblaws has offered a Gift Card Program as a fund raising source for community organizations. For each Gift Card purchased under the program, Loblaws gives a percentage of the value to the organization. When we order more than $5,000 we receive a 3% discount. If we can 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 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. This year parishioners purchased over $600 of gift cards to give to the CEFC, thereby increasing the Gift card sales and also providing money for essential food for those visiting the Food Centre.
In October 2009, after over 5 years as coordinator of the Loblaws program, Barbara Dransch stepped down. The Loblaws Gift Card program is now run by Peggy Lister with help from Kathleen Arsenault and Gloria Fox. If you want to know more, or if you want to purchase cards, visit the Loblaws table during coffee hour or sign up now.
In 2010, members of the committee were: Peter Anderson, Barbara Dransch, Claudette Kohut, Peggy Lister, Mary Frances Marshall, Monica Patten (chairperson) and Gay Richardson (secretary). Thanks to committee members and to all who continue to support this important work.
We continued the tradition of holding “A Service of Prayer and Meditation for Those Concerned With HIV/AIDS”, usually on the last Sunday evening of every month at 7:00p.m. The December service is a Eucharist, in 2010 conducted by the Rector. The quilt panel that was made for John Begley (1955-2000) was added to the Names Project in 2010. Merci bien to Luc for designing the quilt and purchasing the fabric. Many thanks to Chuck for stitching it together. We hope to make another quilt in 2011.
Diners supported local AIDS charities through “Taste for Life” with a good meal out on Wednesday 28 April 2010. 2010 saw the launch of Eastern Ontario’s first AIDS camp called “Camp Snowy Owl” named after the sponsoring organization. Mary Frances and Dana were on the Steering Committee. Dana was the Chaplain at the camp and Joe was a counselor. Douglas was a camper. The camp site was Providence Point near Lanark Village, from 16-20 August 2010. A team of walkers from St John’s participated in the annual Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life on Saturday 25 September 2010. St John’s hosted the annual Interfaith World AIDS Day Service on 1 December 2010. Steve Alexander, of the Canadian AIDS Society, gave the homily. Five choirs participated and a reception with great food was enjoyed afterwards.
We look forward to another year of prayer and service.
Bridgehead sales are held monthly (except during the summer) at St Johns. We are members of a local 10 church network selling these products which are grown by small scale farmers in Asia, Africa, Central and South America. By buying fair trade Bridgehead coffee, tea, & cocoa products, you are supporting these farmers and their organic shade growing methods. Our sales last year totaled $1,225.70. The profit from the 2010 sales (purchase to sale price) for the network was $2,000.00. This has been sent to Oxfam Canada to support work in Haiti. Thank you to those parishioners who support this ministry and to Gayle Jennings who covered some sales for me in the spring.
The Centretown Churches Social Action Committee (CCSAC) is currently comprised of 24 churches. Founded in 1976 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 2010 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 are 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.
New Clients -483
Children - 658
Adults - 8112
Total - 8770
CCSAC provides major support for the Food Centre. This year its member churches contributed $59,435 (compared to $65,707 in 2009) and enough food to reduce the average cost of the food basket from $9.58 to $7.57. St John’s contributed $4,860 (compared to $5,195 in 2009).
Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA)-Ottawa has had another busy and productive year dedicated to “No More Victims” and “No One is Disposable.”
With significant new funding in 2009-2010 from the National Crime Prevention Centre, CoSA-Ottawa was finally able to obtain its own office space after being at the Church since 1991. Although the move was bitter-sweet, we are delighted to be sharing space with partner agency the Church Council on Justice and Corrections, who is overseeing the NCPC project.
Building upon promising pilot research to date, the goals of the National Demonstration Project are to:
- Increase CoSA’s capacity aiming at providing service to an additional 50 core members per year across Canada; and
- Conduct an independent evaluation of CoSA’s effectiveness in reducing sexual recidivism.
So far, the project has allowed us to increase our capacity, provide more support to volunteers and core members, and more strategically engage with the community in such ways as:
- Formalizing and developing operational policies and procedures, e.g., Safety Plan;
- Offering and receiving enhanced training opportunities;
- Providing self-care and compassion fatigue retreats for volunteers;
- Producing the CoSA-Ottawa Chronicle, a quarterly newsletter; and
- Raising awareness in the community through presentations, fairs and other events.
Once the project is complete in 2015, CoSA sites across Canada will be able to demonstrate the positive value of CoSA for their core members, volunteers and communities.
We are so grateful for the hospitality that St John’s and its parishioners have extended to us over the years and as we continue to hold Circle meetings, training sessions and special events, we must especially thank Carl Schriver for his ongoing time and assistance.
If you would like to receive a copy of CoSA-Ottawa’s quarterly publication by e-mail, please contact Susan Haines, Community Development Associate, at JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING . Similarly, if you have any questions about CoSA, or would like to become involved with CoSA-Ottawa, please feel free to contact Susan Love, Program Coordinator, at JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING .
It has been quite a year at the Community Shop. The downturn in the economy at the beginning of the year certainly had an effect on sales. However, due to our low prices, more and more people seemed to come in searching for bargains . The end-of-the-year sales amounted to $50,870 which we feel is on par with other years. We continue to issue vouchers and the total given away amounts to approximately $30,000. Besides Centre 507 and St Luke’s (among our biggest users of vouchers) we also counted the Parole Office and the Aboriginal Centre among the participating agencies. This year, we also opened the Shop on the occasional Sunday – strictly for the parishioners – which proved quite successful and will be continued.
Sadly, 2010 saw the deaths of two people closely involved with the Shop. James Landry had been a faithful volunteer for many years – he was always there on Saturdays and would often pop in during the week to help out. He was also our ‘techie’ for anything electronic. Definitely one of our most avid shoppers with a brilliant eye for a bargain, James would never allow us to reduce the price and often added a few dollars as a donation. He was always friendly, even-tempered and extremely kind-hearted. He leaves a void in all our lives, especially among the shop volunteers, and is deeply missed.
Among our regular customers was George McNee. George was an elderly gentleman full of wonderful stories which kept everyone entertained at ‘tea time’. He arrived for tea almost every day and knew most of the shop staff. He attended our Christmas luncheon as an honorary volunteer and was much loved by us all.
As always, all the success of this ministry is owed to the many volunteers who give of their time – and patience – with enthusiasm and good cheer; my heartfelt thanks to everyone. Melodie Conlon is my amazing partner in this venture; without her the shop would not be the success it is today. Thank you so much Melodie!
The Foot Care Clinic at St John’s 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, Jo Cassie, Peggy Lister and Marietta Stenman 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 a 40-minute session at a charge of $40.
The Foot Care Clinic is held on the second Thursday of each month. Twelve clinics were held in 2010 for a total of 246 client appointments. In 2010, there were 42 clients who attended the clinic on a regular basis. The clinic is open to all – senior and nonsenior, parishioner and non-parishioner alike and could easily accommodate additional clients on a regular basis. Many thanks to St John’s for the use of the facilities and to the office staff and the custodial staff for their consistent cooperation.
The Multifaith Housing Initiative (MHI) is a federally incorporated charitable organization whose goal is to provide safe, affordable housing to lower income households. Its Board of Directors represents a strong and unique interfaith team with representation from Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh faith traditions. Sue Evans, a member of St John’s, is Executive Director. Bishop John Chapman is one of MHI’s patrons, as are four other Christian leaders, three Jewish rabbis, the Imam of the Central Mosque and a leader of the Hindu community. St John’s is one of over 40 faith communities who have joined MHI and St John’s Affordable Housing Committee works in close partnership with MHI.
MHI’s Affordable Housing: In February, 2005, MHI purchased its first affordable housing - a multi-unit building comprising 2 bachelor and 3 one-bedroom apartments on Kent Street, made possible because of a $150,000 interest-free loan. In late 2007, residents began moving into Somerset Gardens, an affordable condominium, built on St John’s parking lot. Ten of the 119 one-bedroom units are owned by MHI and are rented to lower income households. To assist with the purchase of ten units, a number of donations and loans were provided by members of St John’s. As well, the Affordable Housing Committee donated $12,000. In October 2008, MHI became the owner of 27 units of affordable housing on Blake Blvd in Vanier. To support this purchase, MHI launched a fund raising effort, Bricks for Blake, in which individuals and faith communities were encouraged to purchase one or more “bricks” at a cost of $27 per brick. St John’s donated $2,700 to this fund raiser.
Staff and Office: Beginning in mid-2008, through a grant from United Way, MHI was able to hire an Executive Director and an administrative assistant, both part-time. This grant of $60,000 has been renewed each year. In 2010, a part-time property manager was also hired but this person resigned in the fall. The Board is now discussing the best option to oversee management of the MHI properties. In June, MHI moved from its office at 582 Chapel Street to Heartwood House at 153 Chapel at the corner of Rideau Street.
2010 Activities: In May, MHI sponsored the Tulipathon walk and raised over $23,000. In November, in conjunction with National Housing Day, MHI sponsored an interfaith prayer service, held at City Hall. This was followed by MHI’s first fund raising dinner, at which about $10,000 was raised. Much of our effort in 2010 focussed on the 27 housing units on Blake Blvd in Vanier. During 2010, four of the two-bedroom units were converted to three-bedroom units, a size very much in demand. (In 2009, 5 units were converted to three-bedroom.) MHI continued to upgrade other Blake units and the common elements. Volunteer teams of painters have been hard at work painting stairwells. A grant of $21,000 has been very helpful in assisting with upgrades.
Involvement of St John’s: Several members of St John’s have made major donations to MHI’s work and several have provided loans at no or low interest rates to assist with MHI’s housing purchases. People at St John’s were generous sponsors of walkers in the annual Tulipathon and a number of Johnians continue to be supporters of MHI as individual members with a donation of $25 or more. Income tax receipts are provided for all donations, which should be made payable to Multifaith Housing Initiative.
MHI needs both volunteers and financial support. If you have an interest in helping with building maintenance and repairs, support to residents, communications or fund raising, please let us know. To assist financially, please consider joining MHI by contributing $25 or more. All contributions receive an income tax receipt. MHI brochures are available at the Welcome Table or in the hall outside the Christian Education area. As well, MHI welcomes donations and low interest loans in support of the purchase of affordable housing. It is through the commitment of many volunteers over the past eight years and the generosity of donors and lenders that MHI has made a small but significant start in addressing the need for affordable housing in our city.
The Pastoral Care Committee coordinates pastoral care activities within the parish. Members ensure that pastoral care is available to parishioners and friends of the parish when required. This can take the form of home or hospital visits or practical assistance of some kind.
On behalf of the diocese, the Pastoral Care Committee ensures that a team visits Anglican patients at the Ottawa Hospital, Civic Campus on Wednesday mornings. John Zegers is the coordinator and leader of this group which consists of Kitty Cocks, Marietta Stenman, Beverly Sawchuck, and Pat Fisher.
The Keep In Touch Ministry continues under the direction of Kitty Cocks. People unable to attend church on a regular basis are contacted three times a year. With changes in administrative assistance at St John’s, the list of people to contact is currently in need of an update that will make this ministry easier to manage.
On Saturday, October 30, 2010, a workshop entitled “Befriending Death” was held and 197 people attended. It was presented by Michele O’ Rourke who used the work of Henri Nouwen to inspire participants. We served morning coffee and box lunches. The workshop evaluations were excellent and we are pleased to learn that we can manage such a large group. Frank Kajfes single-handedly managed all the publicity and most of the logistics for the event. Bryan Wannop took care of registration. The participants came from other churches, hospitals, and social assistance agencies. It is obvious that this is a topic of great interest to the Ottawa community.
For 2011, we are working with Jan Handy and hope to have workshops to educate people on how to support survivors of abuse.
Members of the team included Dana Fisher, Naomi Kabugi, John Zegers, Marietta Stenman, Kitty Cocks, Frank Kajfes, Sue Evans, Mary Ellen Herbert, Melodie Conlon, and Pat Fisher. Please contact us for assistance or more information about becoming a member of this group.
In 2010, St John’s sent a grand total of $15,771 to PWRDF, a 32% increase over givings in 2009! Part of that increase was due to St Johnians’ generous contributions to Haiti Relief – $3,534, of which $1,534 came from bake sales and $2,000 from donations. Donations for Pakistan relief totaled $850. Our sincere thanks to all who contributed during the year; your gifts and solidarity with our overseas partners were much appreciated. As of this date in early February, the Diocese of Ottawa and its parishes have sent approximately $464,429, an increase of 59% over diocesan givings in 2009!
The PWRDF Committee held its Annual Poverty Supper on Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2010. Beth Lorimer, a member of the PWRDF Youth Council, was our guest speaker. Beth, a CIDA Projects Officer in the Canadian Partnership Branch, visited PWRDF projects in Kenya in 2006 as part of an HIV/AIDS awareness trip organized by the Diocese of Ontario. Beth spoke about the work of the Youth Council – the latter works to create a network of youth which supports and promotes PWRDF’s youth program, justgeneration.ca.
Thanks are due to the members of St John’s PWRDF committee who provide such great support in all our activities: Ron Chaplin, Gay Richardson, Don Smith, Joan Fulthorp Jubb, Krister Partel and the Rev. Naomi Kibugi. We welcome and encourage new members to our monthly meetings.
The Refugee Assistance Group (RAG) sponsors refugees from overseas and provides settlement support after they arrive in Canada. It also supports refugee claimants and assists newcomers to Canada in the parish and beyond. The last year has been the busiest year we have ever had, and we have been blessed with an enthusiastic and energetic group of RAG members and the unfailing support of the parish. In addition to the continuing sponsorhip of the Darjee family, 2010 saw both of our long awaited sponsorships of Afghan refugee families arriving within a couple of months of each other, in addition to some refugee claimants and the arrival of more government assisted refugee families from Bhutan.
- The Darjee Family. (A Joint Assistance Sponsorship, where Federal Government provides funding for two years and our parish provides day to day settlement support.) Amit, Lachi, Susmita and Susit have become regular and active parishioners, and needed very little support from RAG until late in the year when Amit became seriously ill. The sponsorship formally ends in January 2011, but the family will need continuing support from the parish during Amit’s expected lengthy recovery period.
- Nazanen Taj and family. (St John’s is responsible for both financial and settlement support for one year.) Nazanen with her two sons, Frogh and Abbas, and two daughters, Maryam and Rose arrived in August as new permanent residents of Canada after a long and dangerous wait in Pakistan. An amazing subset of RAG members went into action on short notice: an apartment was found, furniture and effects provided - mainly by parishioners, all bureaucratic hurdles jumped and Frogh, Maryam and Rose started school more or less on time in September. Abbas, who is severely handicapped, was assessed at CHEO and enrolled in a full day program in Clifford Bowey School in November. Nazanen was then able to start a program herself at Adult High School. A very promising start to a new life for everyone. The refugee assistance fund has built up most of the funds required for the sponsorship, but a small financial campaign will probably be needed in the spring.
- The Hashimi family. (St John’s submitted this sponsorship with their nephew as co-sponsor, and should not have any financial involvement.) Sayed and Fahima and their daughters, Shabnam and Shabeena, arrived in October also from Pakistan after a five year wait. They will be supported principally by their nephew and other family members. RAG members provided much help initially, but will probably not be heavily involved with them in 2011.
Refugee claimants (Asylum seekers) and other newcomers to Canada
The Amit and Lachi were the first Bhutanese family to arrive in Ottawa and their presence has made St John’s a focal point, initially at least, for many of the Bhutanese families as they arrive here as part of a five year government program.. One Sunday in June there were over 50 Bhutanese at the 10:15 service including Amit’s parents, two brothers and a sister and an uncle and his family. RAG members have given continuing support to several of the Bhutanese families who arrived in 2009 and 2010, who have government funding but little settlement support group. It has been wonderful to see how quickly young people especially can adapt and take advantage of opportunities offered here to overcome physical handicaps and make successful starts in Canada. Several have become regular attendees at Sunday service, notably the extended Darjee family.
RAG members continue to provide a variety of support to some refugee claimants. We meet them in a wide variety of ways and the support and friendship also covers a wide variety of activities, from advice on dealing with bureaucracy, schooling and medical care, to help in finding housing and furniture, support and witness at refugee board hearings, etc.
Citizenship is a major milestone for newcomers and this year we celebrated with Fikre Gebre as she became a Canadian citizen in August. St John’s sponsored Fikre, a refugee from Ethiopia, in 2004.
Thanks go to all RAG members for their help over 2010. Although there are no new arrivals expected, 2011 looks to be another very busy year. RAG meets on the second Monday of each month and always welcomes new members. If you would like to become involved please talk to one of the members of RAG, who currently are: Rosemary and Peter Anderson, Tom Belton, Joan Bishop, Mitzi Campbell, Rick Clippingdale, Melodie Conlon, Jill Courtemanche, Alice Doell, Lynne Green, Mary Ellen Herbert, Bizunesh Kenea, Claudette Kohut, Tony Lovink, Gay Richardson, Bob Riley, Sitara Sharif, Therese & Don Smith, Dave Stephen, Gillian Wallace, and Barbara Wright.
This has been another exciting and productive year of cooperation between St John’s and The Well/La Source, the wonderful day shelter for women and children that happens every weekday in the church. 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 accomplishments for 2010 were the highly successful Open House, held in September after church, at which the staff, volunteers and women of the Well welcomed the whole St John’s congregation to their premises for displays, tasty refreshments and great entertainment by the Well’s singing Angels. Another exciting project has been the development of a worm condo and garden, under the able leadership of Graham Smith, whereby the waste from the Well’s operations is turned into food for the lovely new arbour over the women’s outdoor space on Somerset Street. A beautiful memorial service, led by Naomi, was held in May for women of the Well who had passed away. Many attending did so in memory of their own mothers. There were also some administrative adjustments this year, by which the Well assumed responsibility for more of its own maintenance services. With the assistance of Hans Stenman and the Building Committee, work was also done on issues around the sharing of utilities costs.
This year we were delighted that members of the Well’s Management Board, first Valerie Judd and then Wilma Di Gaetano, could join the Committee. Another new member is Ani Arnott, the St John’s Parish Administrator. Other committee members this year were Maura Beecher, Pat Fisher, Jan Calder, Darlene Carew, Ann Chaplin, Pat Connolly, Adèle Finlayson, Dana Fisher, Kirstie Gray, Naomi Kabugi, and Janet McInnes.