An Exciting Way Forward
Nearly two years ago, at the 2022 virtual vestry meeting Tim presented our community with an opportunity and challenge: that we would, in a yet-to-be experienced post-pandemic world, reignite our collective identity and purpose as a community following Jesus by serving the poor, the oppressed, and the vulnerable in our city.
After two years of staying home, keeping apart, and taking care of our own, we were invited to imagine something different: radical, biblically-based hospitality towards our neighbours.
A diverse group of parishioners was brought together to form a justice working group that would set an initial path forward. We met with leaders at the Yonge Street Mission, we hired Karen as a justice animator, and we supported a series of activities that would bring us together again, and be inclusive of a range of talents and interests.
The goal was to discern concrete actions that we could take together by the end of 2023.
As a community we have prioritized listening. We have heard our teachers share their biblical conviction and personal experiences. We have listened to each other through conversations and a congregational survey. We have listened to our neighbours: residents, business owners, organizers already serving a range of needs, politicians and police. We have listened in worship, we have listened in prayer. We have spent almost a whole year listening.
We believed that through this approach we would find out what God is already doing and orient ourselves towards humble service and away from impulses toward empire building.
So what have we learned?
We have heard from each other that social isolation, urban renewal, food insecurity, and the arts are key areas of interest and passion. We heard that many are already serving at an individual level.
Through research and in conversation we have heard from our neighbours that housing affordability, food insecurity, mental health, and substance abuse are key areas of need.
We also heard that the church can foster community by offering space, support and hospitality.
We have seen evidence that God is already at work in our community around these issues: months ago a young parishioner took initiative to erect a food box outside our doors. Our biggest challenge is keeping it full. At that same time a cluster group began meeting to cook for community leaders. Meal trains are ongoing for a variety of needs. A few weeks ago 20 people of all ages came together in partnership with a local church in Regent Park to serve 300 meals.
As we have connected with a number of food advocacy organizations, one opportunity stands out: an organization called FoodShare, which provides healthy, fresh food at wholesale costs through a pop-up market model called Good Food Markets.
A Path Forward
We now come to this community to propose a Little-Trinity-hosted Good Food Market, that could take place on our property in the coming months.
We are excited to share more about how the market could work, who it might serve, and a range of opportunities to get involved.
We invite every person in this community to join us at two town halls on Nov 28 at 7pm in person in the Annex, and Nov 30 at 7pm on Zoom.
If you have questions or thoughts please reach out to Karen () or any of the members of the Justice Working Group.