“So what is it exactly that you do?”
I have been asked this a lot lately in regard to PNC. It’s a fair question. You ready? Here goes…
PNC stands for Parkdale Neighbourhood Church. I am the Director and only staff (though that is about to change- stay tuned!). PNC exists to create a safe, welcoming space in which all people are welcome. We value people who are vulnerable and broken. Everyone is invited into full participation of the community to the best of their abilities and to journey toward a deeper experience of the life God has given us. Many members of our community are under-housed and unwaged. Substance addiction and mental health issues are common. If you are looking for a place that is real and very raw, than PNC is that.
While I hold responsibility as staff, am housed and waged, I really am no different than anybody else at PNC. I too am invited to share my own vulnerabilities and brokenness on the journey. PNC is a home that we are creating together.
An average week for me looks like this:
On Sunday afternoons I, along with some volunteers, receive our Second Harvest donation at our Drop-In location. We assess the food, put it away and plan the Monday meal accordingly.
We have a church service. Over the last number of months this has been done in partnership with our friends at the Jeremiah Community. Am I ever grateful to those folks.
On Monday mornings I buy any additional groceries we need and head to the Drop-In. There we set up the room and cook for what is often a group of at least 120 people.
I encourage people to create art, lately in the park, but hopefully soon in an indoor space.
I do administration (you name it, I do it).
I fundraise. I write grant applications. I meet potential donors.
I spend time outside on the streets, both during the day and one night a week.
I visit people in the hospital. I accompany people to detox.
I listen and offer pastoral care. I carefully work at telling people they are loved, regardless of what they do or don’t do. I humbly attempt to speak about love, mercy and justice. I build relationships.
The list doesn’t really end there, though I think this is a good place to stop. Because the truth is, the foundation of what I “do” is relationships. It is beautiful, messy, sometimes exhausting, occasionally painful, deeply good work.
Well, I hope my answer is clearer than mud.
This friends, is what I do.