Our gifts for Mission & Service support ministries to those living on the margins, like First United Church Community Ministry in East Vancouver, British Columbia. The community has become the epicentre of the converging crises of mental health, addiction, extreme poverty, homelessness, and marginalization. The people who gather here for help are people who literally have nowhere else to go—they may have been rejected by other shelters, mental health supports, hospitals, or their own families.
They are among the most regulated and constricted members of our society, and yet as Executive Director the Rev. Dr. Carmen Lansdowne shares, “Every day since I started at First United there has been a moment where I’m surprised by joy: Watching two participants in our weekly Spirit Circle move through hostility to forgiveness. [Seeing] the brother of a young woman who was murdered on the Pickton farm sweeping our steps because he knows the role our staff play in advocating for missing and murdered women in our community.
“When we shift our view of the notorious Downtown Eastside from the negative to the positive, we receive the joy of seeing growth and community, not just poverty, addiction, and despair. I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity to serve this community, and I hope to be always surprised by joy in this place.”
If Mission & Service giving is already a regular part of your life, thank you so much! If you have not given, please join me in making Mission & Service giving a regular part of your life of faith. Loving our neighbour is at the heart of our Mission & Service.