Oct 18: Outreach Sunday

Discerning, Deciding, and then Doing.

The community of faith that is St. John’s has always committed itself to working in the wider community to better the lives of those near where we live and those around the world.

“I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you invited me in,
I needed clothes and you clothed me,
I was sick and you looked after me,
I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

“Truly I tell you,
whatever you did for one of the least of
these brothers and sisters of mine,
you did for me.” (Matthew 25)

The many faces of Outreach at St. John’s

Over the years we have supported, and continue to support a number of service organizations. These include FaithWorks, the appeal of the Diocese of Toronto to help Anglican-affiliated ministries, and the Primate’s World Relief Development Fund (PWRDF), which is operated by the Canadian Anglican church to provide humanitarian assistance around the world.

Closer to home, members of St. John’s volunteer with the monthly Barnabas breakfast ministry. St. John’s parishioners also support service organizations including the Downsview Youth Covenant, Flemingdon Park Ministry, Friends of Dismas, New Circles Community Services, and Robertson House.

This year we heard a call to help make lives better for children and teachers at the Sandy Bay Primary School in Jamaica. Many parishioners responded and volunteers were able to improve building facilities and to support the children with school supplies and by setting up pen pals. More work needs to be done, however, including roof replacement and professional development for the teachers.

A new, urgent call – the refugee crisis

Now we are hearing another call –  a call to respond to the Syrian refugee crisis.

During the past several weeks, many from St. John’s have been gathering information about sponsoring a refugee family to come to Canada. We are blessed with the support of the Anglican-United Refugee Alliance (AURA), which is an organization with has a lot of expertise with refugee sponsorship. We are now working with AURA to develop some focused options for us to consider. These options will be presented during the sermon at the 10 a.m. service on October 18.

The purpose of this presentation is to help parishioners consider our current involvement in Outreach and to look at options for expanding our Outreach commitment. This is a challenging issue and requires considerable thought and prayer. For example, if we decide to sponsor a refugee family, it is a full year commitment of time and money: up to $40,000 plus 20 to 30 hours per week to support the refugee family as they settle in Canada.

Future directions for Outreach work

On October 18, we will take stock of our Outreach programs and projects. How do these projects fit with the mission of St. John’s? How effective are they? How can we contribute to their success? What should be our next steps?

During the 10 a.m. service we plant to look at:

  • The Christian context for Outreach
  • Current, ongoing SJYM Outreach programs (Barnabas Breakfast Group, Downsview Youth Covenant, Flemingdon Park Ministry, Friends of Dismas, New Circles Community Services, Robertson House, Christmas Outreach Projects)
  • FaithWorks, our major faith-focused Outreach program
  • Other Faith-focused Outreach, especially PWDRF
  • The Sandy Bay School project – accomplishments and aspirations
  • Overview of the refugee crisis, and three options for undertaking refugee sponsorship

Following the service, we will host a question-and-answer session. Ask questions about anything you hear in the service or about any Outreach topic.

There will be a sign-up form, if you wish to consider making an additional financial commitment toward the Sandy Bay and Refugee projects.

Be a part of Outreach at St. John’s

Please plan on attending the 10 am service on October 18 to provide your input into the Outreach programs for St. John’s York Mills.

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