Each year the Anglican Church Women's (ACW) group holds an open house dedicated to welcoming all to the diocesan ACW headquarters during Advent. The date for the annual open house is selected a year in advance. With the lower mainland experiencing a heavy snowfall on November 29, it was questionable whether or not it was safe to travel to 7012B Merritt Avenue, Burnaby. Thankfully, the temperature rose and the roads were clear. We only had to be concerned about the less than ample parking near the warehouse.
I arrived with homemade marshmallows, and asparagus sandwiches in hand and wore my new winter boots from Winners with my Grip-ons attached.
The place was filled with past presidents, parishioners, board members and guests from Sechelt to Langley and decorated by ACW Diocesan Board President Kelly Bowman and her crew of Monday bale-makers and sorters. Refreshments were extensive and looked delicious. I am an ardent N95 mask wearer and even in the face of strong temptation I keep my mask on, although I was able to bring away some morsels upon my departure.
A most popular visitor was the Rev. Peter Smyth, Senior Port Chaplain at the Mission to Seafarers. He was showered with toques, cowls, warm socks, chocolate, magazines, puzzles, books, games—all to be given to the seafarers on the ships in the harbour—both at Roberts Bank Centre and Vancouver Waterfront Centre. The donations from the various parishes are ongoing all year but are particularly special at Christmas.
President Kelly gave tours of the warehouse and demonstrated the making of the baby layette bales.
I have enclosed two photos taken by Pauline Emerick, ACW member from St. Michael's, Multicultural. If you look closely at my feet, it was noticed by Vice President Amelia Foster that I had my new boots on the wrong feet. I guess my anxiety about driving/walking conditions overtook my inattention to detail.
The outreach by ACW through the bales of clothing for all ages, blankets and more sent to the north and some financial support has and is benefiting so many. The dedicated work by Beth Fortin and Past President Gail Revitt, ODNW and their team of faithful warehouse volunteers is impressive and inspiring. The focus on worship, stewardship, basic human needs, advancement of education through bursaries, and most recently supplementing the Council of the North Retired Clergy Fund align with the purposes of the Anglican Church Women, Diocese of New Westminster Society constitution and bylaws.