Embracing the Spirit update - May 13, 2021
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The Old Church Café

Birds eye photo of a cup of coffee on top of a heart made of coffee beans, on a wooden table.

The Mary Street Centre is the community space of St James-Centennial United Church in Parry Sound. This is where the church took up less space and the building was opened up (including green space) to the community. This seems like a difficult decision, but the whole community of faith said yes.

Then the pandemic hit, which meant that many of the seniors (who had been the lead volunteers) were no longer able to do that work. But the food ministry continued, with 190 meals being provided each week supported by the community of faith, as well as by all of their partners from Second Harvest, food banks, to the Rotary, and even the local brewery. In addition, 30 volunteers from the community started to contribute.

Through this outreach and the Mary Street Centre’s connection with the food collaborative, they were involved in the creation of an idea around a social enterprise community café. After two years of co-creation, the lead organization decided to give the entire project to the Mary Street Centre. They have now done a soft launch and are continuing to follow the energy around the creation of this social enterprise.

Listen to the whole story and find out what's next!

[Photo by Jessica Lewis on Unsplash]

Rising Up Strong in Ottawa

A screenshot from the music video, showing a group of masked but smiling healthcare workers.
The team at First United in Ottawa has been slowed down only a little bit by the pandemic... Here is an update on their experiments: 

“While the pandemic has slowed us down, we have benefitted tremendously from the formation of the Central Ottawa Cluster, under the great leadership of Claire Savage. As part of the Cluster’s work, “Soul Space” has been developed to support the spiritual care needs of street health workers in Ottawa. Because of pandemic restrictions, weekend retreats have been put on hold, but we have used the “downtime” to develop our relationships with street health workers, pilot different types of support virtually, and are working towards in-person supports when we are able. You can learn more about our activities from our recently developed website.

One exciting output of Soul Space so far has been a collaboration with Pat Mayberry, a local singer/songwriter who has written several hymns for the United Church, who worked with our team of Claire, street health workers, and myself to create a song/video to raise awareness about the need to support street health workers. Music United provided funds to support the studio recording costs and is helping with distribution to communities across Canada. I’m happy to share that video with you here: Rise Up Strong. We need to care for street health workers’ wellbeing everywhere, and here at home in Ottawa.” – Danielle Rolfe

Full permission is provided to Music United and its partners to share and post the video in its entirety, crediting Pat Mayberry and Soul Space Ottawa.

[Image: Screenshot from the music video]

EDGY Conversations and Events

Remember to check out EDGE’s Calendar to see what is coming up!
  • May 17: Networks & Clusters
  • June 7: The GO Project
  • June 14: Kamloops United Church’s discernment process
  • June 21: Wild Church Network
  • June 28: What is Sacred?

Are We the Partner of Choice?

As communities of faith, we know that it is all about relationships. But how do you put relationships first? What does this look like?

EDGE gathered to discuss partnerships and if we were the partner of choice already. Some questions we went through:
  • What does it look like to put relationships first?
  • How to start being in relationship and what do partnerships look like?
  • How can partnerships be transformative?
  • How have partnerships been transformative in our lives and work?
If the commandment of Love Thy Neighbour is one that we are following, shouldn’t we be the partner of choice already?

Listen to the conversation.

Embracing the Spirit is a learning network and innovation fund. It offers funding and support for innovation ideas hatched out of faith communities and communities in ministry. Some of the stories and best practices that are happening throughout The United Church of Canada are shared in this newsletter.

If you have an idea that you want to launch, reach out and tell us about it! Proposal deadlines are quarterly, and due on the 15th of the month: January, April, July and October. Find out more

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