We strive to live out our faith by seeking justice and relief for those in need. There are many forms of outreach at SMM. In addition to the individual commitments of parishioners, the parish is involved in a number of ongoing project and advocacy initiatives.
Refugee Support SMM has a history of supporting refugee families during their first year of residence in Canada. As well as providing substantial financial support, we provide household furnishings, clothing and personal assistance from a committed volunteer team in integrating and welcoming these new residents to life in Canada. We are currently engaged in one sponsorship and will be starting a new sponsorship to bring another family to Canada. If you are interested in making a pledge of financial support, please email us at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Dinners For over a decade, volunteers from SMM have helped to host a community dinner once a month during the winter. For the past two years we have also extended our contribution to cover the summer months, especially since few community dinners are offered then throughout the city of Toronto. We share this responsibility with other teams from Parkdale and Trinity College and we serve these dinners at St. Thomas Church, Huron Street. On average, our 30 volunteers welcome 80 – 120 guests each month. As well as preparing delicious hot meals in the winter, we frequently add winter clothing, socks, underwear as well as fruit and treats to take home. Summer fare is more in picnic style and may be taken away, but we find the guests also enjoy a chance to enjoy a meal with others. Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons also rate special food, decor and entertainment.
We’re walking to support HIV/AIDS again
Rotary AIDS Walk For the past four years, SMM parishioners have participated in the Rotary AIDS Walk, an annual fundraising event in support of various organizations assisting those living with HIV/AIDS. This year’s walk took place on Saturday, April 30, 2016, when a team of 23 walkers raised over $2400.00 to assist the work of Latinos Positivos and Casey House. Latinos Positivos will use some of the funds to establish an “emergency pharmacy” to provide essential medication to HIV+ people who cannot afford their treatment regimen. Many of these are people who have been adversely affected by the federal government’s changes to the refugee healthcare program. Missed last year’s walk? We’d love to have you join us in 2017. The proposed date is TBA. Please plan to walk with us!
Advocacy and Social Justice We learn about other organizations in the community by attending workshops and seminars. Some of these are presented by the Diocese of Toronto on an occasional basis and we often attend in groups. We have visited our political representatives and exchanged information about the local community. Often we learn from our own members about the work they carry out in the wider community
Hospital Visiting A team from SMM visit the O’Neill Centre Nursing Home once a month for mass. Individual parishioners also assist in other health care facilities.
Faith Works FaithWorks – the annual appeal of the Diocese of Toronto – allows us to come together as Anglicans to share a portion of our “first fruits” with others who are in need. FaithWorks’ Community Ministry Partners support the Diocese of Toronto’s strategic objective to create communities of hope and compassion by addressing the needs of:
- the homeless and under-housed;
- children, youth and women in need;
- refugees and recent immigrants;
- those with terminal illness or special needs;
- and those living in the developing world.
Truth and Reconciliation
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Summary Report (which you can download here) describes some of the history of church-run residential schools for aboriginal children, and includes personal experiences of survivors, as well as recommendations from the Commission as to how we can work together to build a better and healthier future.
The parish has committed to learning more about the history of aboriginal residential schools, and to think together about ways we can work towards Reconciliation. In our discussions of the TRC report, we have been very moved by what we read and heard, and were left with many questions and a desire to educate ourselves further. And we were particularly struck by the need for humility and willingness to listen to the stories of our neighbours as we move forward.
The co-chairs, Outreach and Social Justice Working Group, St Mary Magdalene