Embracing the Spirit update - March 3, 2021
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Learning Though Adjacencies

The West Island LGBTQ2+ Centre


When the West Island LGBTQ2+ Centre first opened there wasn’t any support for the local LGBTQIA+ and Two Spirit community. For support, teens and youth would have to go all the way in to downtown Montreal in order to participate in those programs. This could mean up to two hours of travel time, and wasn't always accessible for teens.

In 2011 a drop-in started. Within a year, they were already thinking about what else was possible. In 2013, they launched a family support group, an idea that came from the families themselves. Then it was identified that there was a need to have senior and LGBTQIA+ and Two Spirit programs. The Centre had been around for five years, and many of the teens were aging out of the existing programming. So the natural next step was to create young adult programming for 20 to 30 year-olds.

Over the years of the Centre growing, there was an increase in attendance in transgender individuals. And so in 2018, a transgender support group was created. Again, this was filling a gap in the support system.

Each of these new ideas was organic and continued to grow out of previous strengths; this is what we call "learning through adjacencies."

Watch the whole video.
[Photo by Cecilie Johnsen on Unsplash]

Herowork Canada


Herowork is a charity that transforms other charities by transforming their buildings! The organisation was created as it was apparent that charities’ buildings weren’t working for them; they were often without the right amenities and in a state of disrepair. In fact, in the Victoria area alone, 36% of charities are in need of renovations, and this is preventing them from providing better programs and services.

Herowork does radical renovations. This is in deep relationship by understanding the charity's 10 year plan and designing with them to help reach this vision. This can be about $100,000 of renovations a week! And the whole radical renovation is done with change, community, coolness, and cohesion in mind.

They have now completed 12 radical renovations and are ready to create new chapters across Canada. Herowork looks at The United Church of Canada as an ideal partner, and is looking to connect with communities of faith to be in relationship with them.

Watch the whole story.

P.S. Herowork has an exhibitor booth at the Hopeful Economics UnConference!

[Photo by KJ Styles on Unsplash]

Social Justice and Faith


Social Justice: We want to be involved in correcting the structures that perpetuate injustice. We want this to happen in our neighbourhoods, our countries and the world.

This raises questions like:
  • Why is there high unemployment?
  • Why is there climate change?
  • Why do some places have a lack of water?
  • What will happen to the world if the rainforests are destroyed?
We should be motivated by the fact that:
  1. We belong to the creator
  2. We belong to each other
The Ubuntu concept from Africa refers to behaving well towards others or acting in ways that benefit the community. Very often when you are performing social service, you also become involved in solving the problem which created the need in the first place. The two are closely related and often blend together. An example is a food bank; when we give out the food, this is a social service. But if the person went on to get a job, this is solving the real problem (which is social justice).

Watch this video to see many of The United Church of Canada’s partners and their social justice work. We believe that we strengthen one another’s work, through God’s grace, for a better world.

- By Rev. Dr. Japhet Ndhlovu, one of the speakers at the Hopeful Economics UnConference that started today

[Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash]

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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