The diocese and the local community are being asked to get involved in a street ministry for the Downtown East Side of Vancouver.

The Rev. Matthew Johnson has been developing the ministry through his parish of St. James. He and St. James are proposing that it be sponsored jointly by his parish, diocesan funds, corporate sponsors, and individual contributions.

The cost of the street ministry would be about $80,000 annually, and the diocese, parish, and others, are each being asked to contribute a third of the cost.

Johnson's ministry was described in December's TOPIC and is also described in this month's Anglican Journal. Several volunteers, many from St. James, are involved.

Johnson said he would avoid duplicating programs that provide health care and practical necessities to people in this poverty-stricken area of the city.

Instead, he envisions it would provide listening and attending, basic counseling, impromptu prayer, invitations to worship, one-on-one meetings, and other spiritual initiatives.

"Our emphasis is primarily pastoral, addressing matters of the heart and of the spirit," said Johnson in his proposal for the diocese. He received his inspiration for the plan from Archbishop David Somerville's vision of "a Church without walls."

The proposal has been presented to the Ministry and Congregational Development Committee. The request for funding will most likely go to the Administration and Finance Committee this month, and come before Diocesan Council in February.