March 3, 2008 -- The Anglican Primate and the Evangelical Lutheran National Bishop call on the members of their respective churches to advocate for affordable housing solutions for the homeless with letters and visits to their Members of Parliament.
In a letter sent to the Minister of Human Resources and Development Canada, Monte Solberg, on Feb 27, 2008, the leaders urged the government "to address homelessness in Canada as part of a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy."
The letter follows the tabling of the federal budget which left the estimated 150,000 to 300,000 homeless people in Canada out in the cold, and another 1.5 million Canadians in desperate housing need without relief.
The joint Anglican-Lutheran initiative takes inspiration from the prophet Isaiah who asks what true religious observance is: "Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house?" (Isaiah 58:7).
"Our vision," the leaders' letter concludes, "is to go beyond the prophet's call, to create a society where the hungry are able to eat their own bread, and the homeless poor are brought into their own house."
"Being in full communion means more than worshipping together," says Archbishop Fred Hiltz, the Anglican Primate. "Members of both our churches give generously of their time and money to help people who are homeless. They run thrift shops, food banks, overnight shelters, and hospitality programs. But they know that charity isn't enough. Advocating together for justice is also part of being in full communion."
"I'm so excited by this initiative," says ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson. "It demonstrates how working together in full communion we can make a much larger impact and a stronger witness, hopefully inspiring our government to address the realities of homelessness in Canada."
The joint initiative is modelled after a campaign of the diocese of Toronto encouraging Anglicans to visit their local MPs to express concerns about housing and poverty.
Hiltz and Johnson are inviting Lutherans and Anglicans to write or visit their federal MP, and where possible, to do this jointly. The purpose is to ask the Government of Canada to:
- Renew and increase the affordable housing funding which is set to expire at the end of 2008
- Join with the provinces to develop a comprehensive housing strategy as part of an overall national poverty reduction strategy
On line resources are available to help people participate in this initiative: [http://www.accnotes.org/ecojustice/reports_policy_documents/bring_the_homeless_poor_into_t/ ]
- "Bringing people who are homeless into their own house" - a resource that explains this initiative and gives tips for writing and visiting with your MP.
- A bulletin insert for use in church bulletins, encouraging congregations and parishes to become involved.
- A copy of the joint letter from The Most Reverend Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and The Reverend Susan C. Johnson, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada to the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, Monte Solberg.
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For more information contact: Trina Gallop, Manager of Communications, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, 888-786-6707 ext. 172, firstname.lastname@example.org [or] Maylanne Maybee, Coordinator of Ecojustice Networks, The Anglican Church of Canada, 416-924-9199 ext. 219 email@example.com
Contents: The Church and Social Service: A Constructive Programme.
"The call to the Christian Church to enter the field of Social Service on even broader lines than heretofore; the urgent necessity for a well-considered, scientifically planned, and, above all, constructive policy has never been so insistent, nor the need so great as it is today. As has been said already most admirably by Dr. Tucker, `The advance of civilization always means a more complex social order and many attendant evils. These evils largely neutralize the efforts that are made for the moral and spiritual well-being of the community and the state. It is, therefore, meet and right that religious and benevolent agencies should seek to facilitate their work by the amelioration of the social conditions of the people. Hence, the tendency that has been everywhere manifested to enter the sphere of Social Service' (p. 3)".
Contents divided into sub-sections: The Social Message of the Church -- A Constructive Social Gospel -- Showing the Better Way -- Counter Attractions to Sin -- The Need for a Positive Programme -- The Programme of the Council -- Education in Social Subjects -- The Need for Guidance -- The Danger to the Church -- The Challenge -- The Challenge Accepted -- Social Service in the Parish -- Social Research for the Parish -- A Social Service Programme for a Parish in a City of Industrial Community -- A Social Service Programme for a Parish in an Agricultural Community -- Bibliography.
"Early in 1964 the Anglican Chaplaincy services on the University of Toronto campus organized a day long Symposium designed to explore and discuss the relationship between the Institutional Church and our modern rapidly changing society. The topic was presented from the point of view of theology, sociology and social welfare. A panel of three persons well qualified to deal with each of these disciplines laid an excellent ground work for discussion by small groups which reported to the Plenary Session. An `off the cuff' summary at the end of the day made very clear that `the Church' is not some remote abstraction but is `you and I' and our Christian witness. The panel was chaired by Dr. Robertson Davies ... Master of Massey College. The Department of Christian Social Service is grateful to the Chaplains of the Canterbury Club and of Trinity College for providing us with a tape recording of the addresses and discussions and to the three panel members, Dr. W. Norman Pittenger, the Reverend Stewart Crysdale and Professor John Spencer who generously edited and arranged their material so that it could be presented in this Bulletin". -- Intro.
Contents: Introduction / Maurice P. Wilkinson -- The Role of the Institutional Church in our Society : The Theological View / W. Norman Pittenger -- A Sociological View / Stewart Crysdale -- The View of Social Welfare / John C. Spencer -- Discussion-- Summary / Norman Pittenger.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper should move immediately to release funds designated for affordable housing, according to the leaders of four Canadian churches -- Archbishop Andrew Hutchison of the Anglican Church of Canada, Bishop Ray Schultz of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, the Rev. Peter Short of the United Church of Canada and Henry Hess of the Christian Reformed Church of North America.
In June 2005, Parliament approved a budget that included $1.6 billion dollars over two years for new affordable housing. Eight months have passed and these dollars remain uncommitted, the church leaders note.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, the church leaders cite the involvement of church members across Canada to care for the most vulnerable in their communities, through food banks, community suppers, and shelter programs. "Yet they know these acts of charity are not enough ... Without secure, affordable and long-term housing, `home' for the people they serve will never be possible."
Church groups and other civil society groups are ready to act, they say, to partner with federal, provincial, and territorial governments and develop housing that is :long overdue and desperately needed".
"Unless you take decisive action to allocate these funds," the church leaders say, "we fear they may simply revert to debt reduction -- making only a marginal difference to Canada's economy and doing precious little to address the social and infrastructural deficits behind Canada's crisis of homelessness and affordable housing."
The four leaders remind the Prime Minister, who has asked God to bless Canada, of the words of the prophet Isaiah, explaining that God blesses you "when you share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house".
"We are asking you to spend tax dollars now in a way that will help to bring the homeless poor into their own house, and allow them the dignity of sharing their bread with others".
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For more information, please contact: Maylanne Maybee, Justice education Coordinator, the Anglican Church of Canada; 416-924-9199, ext. 291, firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Stephen's Anglican Church in Montreal has been operating The Open Door soup kitchen for five years. It is "a drop-in place for low-income people, offering soup, bread, coffee and a little spiritual guidance. Organizers stress that they run nota food bank, but a soup kitchen that provides one small meal daily from Monday to Thursday". "It costs about $30,000 a year, including the director's salary, to operate The Open Door. Of this amount, St. Stephen's contributes $6,500."
Article also translated into French, with title "Reconfort sans avoir a chanter" on same page.
"Thirty-three years ago Communism to most people in our country was only a name, a vague idea. Thirty-three years ago Communism had no political power over one foot of the world's surface: today one-third of the world's area is under its domination. Thirty-three years ago no human being owed allegiance to the authority of any Communist state: today millions are under its power. .... In addition, no one knows to what extent Russian Communism `rules' China or in what way the Chinese people accept, or will accept, authority from the Kremlin. It is obvious, however, that they are more certainly within the Russian sphere of influence than of the Western Democracies. .... Today Communism has a well integrated program in the areas of thought, practical economics, and active politics. Its swift and apparently effective sweep over a third of the world in one generation is one of the most startling phenomena of history. Therein lies the menace and the challenge to both Christianity and democracy. We find many clergy (and others) who still find it difficult to reduce to small compass for teaching and preaching purposes any analysis of what Communism really is. .... The Christian answer to the whole theoretical and applied program of Communism today demands, as we see it, an answer along three lines, Though summed up differently, this threefold answer is reminiscent of the Lambeth 1948 treatment of the question. 1. Intellectual .... 2. Evangelistic .... 3. Practical ....". -- Foreword.
Contents: Foreword / W.W. Judd -- Communism : The Theoretical Bases of Marxism / Wm. R. Coleman -- The Challenge of Communism in the Church / H.R. Hunt -- Christianity and Sociology : Based on a sermon preached ...at St. Cuthbert's Church, Leaside, on March 12, 1950 / D.R.G. Owen -- Recent Books in the Council's Library.
"The purpose of the Bulletin is to present to its readers various, and sometimes differing, view-points on social subjects. Its object is, therefore, information and not propaganda. The Editorial Board does not necessarily endorse all, or any, of the opinions expressed in its publications". -- p. 2.
Contents: Community Study for Community Service / Charlotte E. Whitton.
"In no field, more than in that of Social Work, is it necessary that the highly regarded but blithely disregarded principle of `knowledge before action' be observed. Any group or individual considering work with a community or with any considerable group within the community must create a background of acquaintance with an understanding of that community. To move presumably forward, in the treatment of one aspect of the social need without a concept of the ramifications of that problem, and its interrelationship to the whole community is to offend against the very cause, one seeks to serve. .... It is, in line with this train of thought that the following suggestions of possible inquiries in different fields of social work, is offered as an appendix to the Bulletin, dealing with `The Lambeth Findings and the local Church'. (No. 59.)".
Contents divided into sub-sections: The Urban Community: I. Immigration -- II. Industries -- III. Health -- IV. Delinquency -- V. Child Welfare -- VI. Recreation -- VII. Organized Relief Work -- The Rural Parish: I. Housing -- II. Life of the Women on the Farm -- III. Public Health -- IV. Education -- V. Recreation and Community Life -- VI. The Church in the Community.
"[P]repared by Stephen F. Hopkins staff to the Diocesan Outreach Committee, Anglican Diocese of Toronto".
"'Outreach' is a vague term used to refer to a wide variety of activities. In general, we use it to speak of that action taken by faithful Christians both personally and corporately as they seek to extend Christ's ministry of love and restoring wholeness to a broken world. More specifically, we use the term 'outreach' to refer to the action we take towards a Gospel vision of peace and justice in our own community and in societies around the world". -- p. 2.
Contents: Introduction -- What is Outreach ? -- Your Role as an Animator and Facilitator -- Writing Your Job Description -- Planning for Outreach Ministry -- The Primate's Fund (PWRDF) and Ten Days -- The Diocesan Outreach Committee.
An appreciation of the life and ministry of Archdeacon Robert Pynn, dean and rector of Calgary's Cathedral Church of the Redeemer, who retired 1 July 2001. Pynn's is an activist ministry has "focused on themes of justice, reconciliation and social transformation". Pynn believes strongly that "a cathedral's role is to be a public advocate for peace, `We take public matters seriously and the public square as partners in the search for justice and commonwealth'." He has supported a number of pastoral and outreach ministries including those for the bereaved and those with urban natives in downtown Calgary. One of his proudest initiatives is the Working Justice Domestic Violence Initiative. "A massive project designed to reduce domestic violence, it involved partnerships comprising the courts, police, corporate sector, social service agencies, three levels of government and the faith community. It has become a model for North America".