In Matthew 25, Jesus gives us a short form of how best to act in our world: feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, welcome the stranger. Cedar Park United has been committed to social justice for decades and our Social Justice ministry has evolved from a basis of charity to a basis of empowerment. Acts of mercy help individuals; acts of justice try to look at underlying systems that cause people to need help. Recognizing that we cannot do this work alone, Cedar Park United reaches out to support a variety of community partners to help provide social justice.
Syrian Refugee Response: Cedar Park United’s Syrian Refugee Response Team is completing an application to sponsor a family. Watch for details of information sessions and opportunities to help. Donations are welcome, payable to Cedar Park United Church. Please note Syrian Refugee Response on the reference line. Plan to participate in Ride for Refuge on Oct 6, 2016, as a rider or walker or as a sponsor. CPU’s Syrian Refugee Response Team leader is Ernie Bauer.
Montreal Diet Dispensary: Founded in 1879, the Montreal Diet Dispensary provides nutrition and moral support to 2,000 women in need each year during their pregnancy and the first months after their baby is born. CPU has a long history of supporting the MDD through donations of money and goods. The Easter Egg project in 2014 raised $*** and there is an ongoing need for Dove soap, and new and gently used baby clothes. There are many volunteer opportunities at this downtown venue such as providing child care so the moms can participate in workshops, helping with knitting classes, etc. http://www.dietdispensary.ca/
Saint Columba House: This community centre in Point Saint Charles, a ministry of The United Church of Canada, empowers and involves citizens in groups and actions which directly impact their lives. A daily lunch programme provides food security and StCH offers a preschool, after-school activities for all ages, a bicycle shop, a summer day camp and much more. In addition to strong financial support, many Cedar Parkers have been involved over the years at StCH, as Board members and volunteers, and as donors of school supplies and other specific items for their programming. CPU’s main point of contact is Andrea Nugent. The StCH website is: http://www.saintcolumbahouse.org/
Cedar Parkers painting at StCH in 2014
Montreal City Mission: This United Church of Canada ministry believes that everyone has the right to authentic participation in community. MCM enables the journey from exclusion to community through a variety of programmes. For example, through their Seniors Mobile Legal Clinic and Just Solutions Clinic, MCM offers free legal information and assistance, rights advocacy and accompaniment to vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals and refugees. CPU’s liaison is Rev. Wendy Evans. Follow their blog at http://montrealcitymission.blogspot.ca
Church Apartment programme: in collaboration with Beaurepaire United Church and West Island Citizen Advocacy, the CARE apartment project provides housing and social support for three men with mental health issues in a Pointe-Claire apartment. CPU’s volunteers are Tom Kingsbury and Crystal Lau.
Family Life Centre: Would it help to talk? is the advertising tagline of this vital community outreach ministry for the West Island and off island West, offering free short term counseling to individuals, families and couples, interactive workshops, and referrals to health and community services. As a founding member, CPU provides financial support, together with 7 other West Island churches, and volunteers who serve as in-take workers and on the Board. CPU’s primary liaisons are Elizabeth Chown Lafreniere and Karen Kingsbury. www.familylifecentre.ca
Christian Action Chretienne: this small scale food bank assists Pointe-Claire residents in need with emergency food and Christmas baskets. Cedar Park’s contacts are Noreen Cole and Karen Kingsbury.
LGBTQ Youth and Seniors Centre: Serving the West Island by providing a safe and welcoming environment where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people can come to hang out, meet, talk, get to know each other, ask questions and understand themselves better, the Centre offers group activities, workshops and programmes. Their aim is to promote understanding, help dispel ignorance and encourage the free exchange of words and ideas. The drop-in centre is open Wednesdays and Fridays from 4 to 8 PM. Cedar Parkers have shown strong support through attendance at their annual GALA fundraiser. For more info, please see http://www.lgbtqyouthcentre.ca
Dix Mille Villages: Cedar Park United was a founding member of the local branch of Ten Thousand Villages, a non-profit Fair trade organization. The Dix Mille Villages store in Pointe-Claire Village markets personal accessories, home decor items and gifts from fairly paid artisans, handicraft coops and agricultural organizations based in low income countries. Did you know that Dix Mille Villages offers a Gift Registry? And their excellent fait trade coffee is very popular in the community and at Fellowship Time at CPU after worship. Dix Mille Villages’ volunteers are one of the strengths of this unusual business model. Applications are accepted year-round to volunteer to work in the store, assisting customers and telling the artisans’ stories. During the busy pre-Christmas season, volunteer shifts as greeters are also offered. CPU is represented at DMV by Rev. Elisabeth and many volunteers.
Action Refugies Montreal: Action Refugies Montreal is a strong voice for refugees in Montreal and beyond, seeking justice for asylum-seekers and refugees. ARM promotes partnerships among people in refugee and faith communities and society at large for mutual empowerment. Through its Detention, Sponsorship and Twinning programmes, ARM offers hope and assistance while raising awareness of refugee rights. CPU is being assisted by ARM in our application to sponsor a Syrian Refugee family. To learn more about ARM, speak with Paul Clarke or see their website: http://www.actionr.org/
Maison de la Gare: Established in Saint Louis, Senegal in 2006, Maison de la Gare is dedicated to helping the talibe street children become productive participants in Senegalese society. Because every child has the right to an education, emotional support and the carefree life of a child, Maison de la Gare works to return these rights to the talibe children. It supports over 200 children each day. MDG offers an international volunteer program. For further information, speak with Rod LeRoy. Their website is http://www.mdgsl.com/
Reconciliation Matters: Cedar Park United is committed to the long road of reconciliation with Canada’s First Nations in ways that reflect our Identity and Values. Past activities included:
- a presentation from the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal and the Montreal Urban Aboriginal Community Strategy Network
- walking tours of Kahnawake
- participation in ‘We Stand Together’with Free the Children and the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative
- a collection of specific goods requested by the Native Women’s Shelter
Mission and Service: Cedar Park United has an enviable record of donations to the United Church of Canada’s M&S Fund which provides ongoing support of ministries’ and programs in Canada and around the world, such as:
- Global and Canadian justice initiatives
- Aboriginal ministries and right relations
- Community ministries
- Theological education
- Faith formation: youth, camping, intercultural engagement
- Support to remote ministries
- Innovation in communities of Faith
as well as specific disaster relief funds.
Please hold all of our Social Justice partners and those with whom they minister in your prayers.
Financial donations are welcome through CPU or directly to each organization.
Other Cedar Park United Social Justice Ministry programmes:
- Seasons of Justice: growing from the 12 Months of 2012 initiative where we invited Cedar Parkers to collect specific items requested by our social justice partners each month, the Seasons of Justice programme is now on an occasional, as needed basis.
- Living Gifts Market: Social justice partners are invited to attend a Living Gifts Market during Fellowship Time one Sunday in December to raise awareness of their work and to offer ethical gifts – generally a card noting that a donation has been made towards a particular project.
- Petitions: Cedar Parkers are involved with a wide variety of social causes. If a Cedar Park member wishes to bring a petition to the attention of other individuals in the congregation during Fellowship Time or weekday gatherings, he or she may do so after obtaining the approval of our Social Justice Ministry.
- Green Church programme: In accordance with our Covenant with Creation, Cedar Park United strives to live with respect in creation by making every effort possible to practice responsible environmentalism by reusing, reducing, recycling, composting, redistributing, and continually seeking new ways to improve our environmental practices in our church home and in our community. CPU avoids the use of plastic water bottles, Styrofoam and plastics and asks our building users to make similar eco-friendly choices.
CPU Social Justice Ministry Goals for 2016
- To continue to reach out to the broader community to find partners to work on food security, homelessness, right relations with Aboriginal communities and other issues.
- To follow a practice of providing information, encouraging engagement and working together to help bring justice to the West Island, Canada, and other parts of the world.
- To continue to celebrate the many ways Cedar Parkers quietly share their time and skills with a wide variety of organizations within and beyond our walls.
For further information or to offer assistance or suggestions for our Social Justice Ministry, please contact Paul Clarke, Social Justice Chair, or contact our Church Administrator (email@example.com).
Cedar Park United Church gratefully declines donations of household goods, books or clothing.