Coming this September: a new ministry to help St. John’s connect with a greater number of people in the neighbourhood, and to help people connect.
Recently, a young Christian Chinese couple were planning a move into our neighbourhood this summer and were looking for a “church in the area”. In the foyer they chatted with parishioner Sian Lee. Could St. John’s offer them anything? Unfortunately their English was very limited and we only offer services in English.
Following that encounter in our foyer, parishioner Sian envisaged a ministry for St. John’s that will offer English conversation around relevant topics and which will help us better connect with our neighbourhood. A neighbour of Sian’s, a recent immigrant from China, mentioned the ready availability of ESL (English as a second language) classes that deal with the structure of the language, but noted that there was a real need for opportunities to learn to converse in English. She said she would come to such a program and to bring her friends.
This sounded like an opportunity for both St. John’s and for the newcomers. An appeal for interested volunteers brought together a committee of seven very capable and dedicated parishioners.
The new ministry is called English Conversation Fellowship (ECF) to distinguish it from ESL. We plan to deal with such topics as food, education, health, transportation. As the perceived needs become apparent, we will continue to tailor our program, offering group activities as well. Our proposed time is Thursdays, beginning on September 24 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Sian’s hope is to add one or two BAS (Book of Alternative Services) books and a hymn book in Chinese, so that we could welcome some of these people into our services.
The committee currently consists of Sian Lee, Rob Ellis, Laura Peetoom, Bev Salmon, Joan Patterson, Anna Zachariah, Jennifer Cheung and Olivia Lee. We would be happy to welcome other interested parishioners.