Archdeacon: The Ven. Beverley Stewart
Regional Dean: The Rev. Stephen Rowe
This is the fourth report from parishes within the diocese of New Westminster regarding their ministry and outreach to their communities.
The information has been collected by Bettina Gruver, Diocesan Program Co-ordinator, and comes from files, websites, personal experience, and mostly from parishes who shared their ministries via the recent "Sharing Our Ministry Questionnaire." Many of the ministries of parishes have been carried out over the years in partnership with the diocesan Stewards in Action.
Besides providing necessary space to parish activities, St. George's new hall was built to be an official "Community Evacuation Centre" and outreach ministries are in the planning stage. There is a monthly meal for seniors, a luncheon. St. George's is one of several Anglican parishes that are part of the ecumenical Inter-Church Refugee Project which sponsors refugees under the diocesan sponsorship agreement. The parish opened its doors to AA, Scouts, Guides, a bereavement group and something a little different, a dog obedience group. In 2001, a teen participated in the Stewards in Action supported Taizé pilgrimage.
At St. Andrew's in Langley about 30 people a month are provided with food. Clothing is collected and sent to The Living Room, The Front Room at South Fraser Community Service Society (SFCSS) and to First United Church. St. Andrew's also belongs to the Inter-Church Refugee Project. A different set of groups have found their way to the parish: Geranium Club, Ishtar Transition Society, Marriage Project, Care Homes Coffee Club and of course, the Cubs and Beavers.
In 2002, a teen traveled to the Far East with the Taiwanese Pilgrimage, supported by SIA. "Education for Ministry (EFM) is a course of study that holds before it an image of the church empowered by an active, theologically literate laity." SIA supports EFM and St. Andrew's hosts one of the 14 groups of EFM students in our diocese.
Alongside a couple of other parishes, St. Cuthbert's parishioners have for many years been involved in offering weekly meals, donations of clothing and other outreach services to clients at SFCSS. In 2000, SIA supported a meal program through a parish partnership grant and in 2002, supported outreach for the AIDS/HIV program at SFCSS via parish volunteers. An SIA evangelism grant was used for a youth outreach concert in 2002.
The Lunch Basket Program here provides lunch for children who would otherwise go hungry - 220 lunches are provided per month. A self-help group of disabled women meeting regularly enjoys a soup lunch offered by a chef of the parish. SFCSS is supported with milk for the High Protein HIV/AIDS Food Bank and parishioners assist with the distribution of food. Toiletries, shampoo and bus tickets are collected for homeless youth. Individual cases of need are addressed as in the case of the destitute Mom. Her children received lunch over the summer and the Mother was given help to begin a process towards financial independence.
The parish facilities are used by Scouts of all levels. In 1997, three teens participated in the SIA Jars of Clay youth servant leadership program. SIA provided a grant for the Journey of Christmas, an evangelical outdoor display, in 1999 and in 2001.
The parish makes contributions to the food bank and is part of the Inter-Church Refugee Committee, providing support to refugees. Prison ministry is part of a visitation program. AA, Brownies, Sparks have been welcomed to use the parish facilities.
St. Helen's placed one of its outreach ministries in the location where it's most needed, in The Front Room of the SFCSS. There, about 500 people a month are provided with breakfast. A recently renovated hall allows the parish to act as the depot for the Harvest Box Program. Families can get a box of vegetables at a very low price; the parish sponsors a few families in need. Longer range plans include starting up a community kitchen in the expanded facility. There are hospital visits with "Buddy", the therapy dog. In extreme weather conditions, the parish provides a homeless shelter. Facilities are used by AlAnon, AA and other community groups.
In 1997, three teens participated in the SIA Jars of Clay youth servant leadership program and two followed suit in 1998. SIA provided a grant in 1997 and `98 for community outreach.
There is a meal program that benefits about 10 people a month and food items are provided to about eight families as well. The food bank is supported and parishioners collect clothing several times a year for donations in the downtown eastside and to Covenant House. Help is provided in finding affordable housing and for finding jobs, along with computer training. There is also support to Métis. Scouts and MTS of Canada use the parish facilities as well as the Surrey Academy of Music. In 2002, a teen was part of the Taiwanese Pilgrimage and in 2003 another teen traveled to Taizé, both pilgrimages supported by SIA.
Three different congregations use Epiphany Church in Surrey on a Sunday apart from the Anglicans. There is a food bank that is much supported. The parish is part of the "Adopt a Street" program - cleaning up and caring for their specific section of the street, being a good community citizen. Needs of people are intentionally and compassionately addressed with practical support to those who need a hand-up. Other church users: AA, AlAnon, NAnon, Brownies, dog obedience groups, pre-school and day care, ALS Society, Quilting Group, and a Japanese Friendship Society all meet at Epiphany.
The parish contributes to the food bank in Surrey and provides donations to Missions to Seafarers. This season, the youth group has been collecting coats and blankets for distribution to the needy in the Hastings area. The Ladies Guild reaches out through the sponsorship of a foster child. In 2002, the parish received an SIA evangelism grant.
The parish has received requests for outreach support from various organizations. In order to review and respond to these requests in a more intentional and positive manner, the parish just formed an Outreach Committee. Individual parishioners volunteer much in the community. The parish supports the Union Gospel Mission and collects food for the food bank. There is also a sponsorship extended beyond borders: to the parish of St. John's Placencia in Belize.