St James Centennial United Church has a long tradition of supporting charitable organizations and activities within the community. While the church will continue its support of charity through the organizations listed below, the Outreach Committee feels called to expand its focus into social justice concerns. By taking a social justice approach, we hope to change the system and attitudes that lead to inequities in our community.
For that purpose, the following priorities have been set:
(a) Building a relationship with Wasauksing First Nation. We will do this by attending their United Church services monthly and joining in their community conversation pot luck lunch. As the relationship grows, we will encourage the full congregation to participate. The groundwork for relationship building will also include educational activities such as showing the 8th Fire documentary series and conducting an Aboriginal Sunday service prepared in consultation with aboriginal spiritual leaders;
(b) Supporting the Idle No More Movement as opportunities arise.
(c) Renewing a chapter of Kairos here in Parry Sound. Kairos is a Canadian Ecumenical Justice organization that unites eleven churches and religious organizations in faithful action for ecological justice and human rights internationally. By being a local “chapter”, we have access to their knowledgeable staff, resource materials and a vast network of contacts.
(d) Reaching out to youth. We are currently doing some research to find an effective means to engage with youth in our community.
The sites found below represent the events or organizations that we have endeavoured to support over the past several years.
Ten Thousand Villages
People…committed to caring, devoted to justice. Ten Thousand Villages creates opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to our markets through long-term, fair trading relationships. For several years now St. James has hosted a Ten Thousand Villages festival to support fair trade for people around the world and bring awareness of the cause to our community. For more information and individual stories of the people who are at the heart of this endeavour, visit the site below.
Click on http://www.tenthousandvillages.ca/
- to improve accessibility to good quality, affordable and nutritious food
- to promote recycling in all its programs
- to maintain a purchasing policy aimed at building a sustainable local economy and food systems in the Parry Sound area.
St. James Centennial United Church has supported Harvest Share for many years, collecting food items for their use and providing a facility to prepare and serve food. We have also supported Harvest Share with the provision of subsidized space for their operation. You can help by donating soup, canned goods, pasta sauce, peanut butter, etc, in the drop off box at St. James, at Harvest Share at 22A Miller or in the drop box at Sobeys. For more information related to their programs please visit the site below.
Click on http://www.harvestshare.org/
Great Beginnings: Prenatal Nutrition Program and Growing Up Program
St. James members have generously donated gift baskets, toys, food and gift cards to young mothers of the area who participate in the Great Beginnings Program run by Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca. Great Beginnings is a place of support for mothers and children to play together, share resources, learn about pregnancy, parenting, baby care and nutrition and to build healthy relationships.
For more information for Great Beginnings go to The Family Help Network
Esprit Place – Family Resource Centre
Esprit Place is a ten bed emergency shelter for women and children, operated under the jurisdiction of the District Social Services Administration Board in Parry Sound. Safe and secure residential accommodation is provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A 24-hour crisis line is also offered as well as many other services.
St. James has given support to this center over the years in the form of food donations, clothing, toiletries and other needed supplies.
The Mary Street Boutique
The Mary Street Boutique was started by women from 5 area churches in the early 1970’s to provide good, affordable used clothing and household items to those in need. This venture, which operates out of St. James, continues to transcend denominational boundaries, bringing together women from St. James, Trinity Anglican, St. Peter’s Catholic, First Baptist and St. Andrew’s Presbyterian, churches.
Breakfast Program – William Beatty School:
The William Beatty School breakfast program is operated 5 mornings a week. The goal of the program is to provide students with a welcoming place to receive a healthy breakfast before beginning their day. For several years now St. James has been a proud supporter of the Tuesday morning program. We assist with the scheduling of Tuesday volunteers, which are primarily from St. James, and donate food and cash donations on an occasional basis.
Kairos: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives unites Canadian churches and religious organizations in a faithful ecumenical response to the call to “do justice, and to love kindness, and walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8) For more information click here Kairos