*Please Note: This is a letter that I have been working on for a while. I am excited to share it here and plan to send it out in various forms- I invite you to do the same!
Just six months ago Parkdale Neighbourhood Church began a new adventure. Faced with a financial crisis we decided to begin the process of “reboot”. Today we have extinguished many of our expenses, most notably those associated with our living quarters: we gave notice at 201 Cowan Avenue and have effectively spilled out into the neighbourhood, relying on various partners to house our ongoing programming. There is a beautiful resiliency to this community. We have been through much and have so many reasons to celebrate and continue to hope.
Our Monday Drop-In now meets at Bonar-Parkdale Presbyterian Church, located just one block from our previous home. Remarkably we are seeing our record of 120 people in the drop-in broken! Over the summer we held art workshops in the Masaryk Park, though with the cooling temperatures we are looking for an alternate location. I love sitting at a desk in the Sketch Administrative Office at 180 Sudbury Street and gathering on Sundays for a joint church service with The Jeremiah Community, our friends have so graciously welcomed me/us and offer constant support and encouragement. A street outreach team wanders the neighbourhood at various times during the week.
Though it is challenging to not have a space of our own, we are most certainly a community that exists outside of any single building. We are truly transitioning together while earning the “neighbourhood” in our name. We have made countless meals and pieces of art; sung songs and shared our needs; prayed and wept; packed boxes and cleaned floors; danced and laughed. We need one another.
Together we have nurtured PNC’s desire to be a place where those who are vulnerable and broken are deeply valued and all people are welcome. We invite people into full participation of the community, in the ways that they are able. For some, PNC is one of the few (if only) places they feel accepted and loved. When I asked my nine-year old daughter Cate to describe what it is that PNC does, she said simply “you let people in”. Yes, that is indeed what we do.
One of the people who has decided to “come in” is Joanna Moon. I am thrilled to announce that Joanna felt the call to PNC and has joined me on staff. She will be supporting our programming, building and caring for relationships and assisting me in rebuilding the structure of PNC. While I have felt far from alone, the weight of my responsibility as the sole staff has been heavy. I am grateful on so many levels to work with Joanna. She is my friend AND now colleague.
Mixed in with all these good things are continued challenges. An important part of what I need to do is find the funds for PNC, including my own salary. I am so grateful to the many people who are making it possible that I get paid for this work. The truth is, I still need help. This is not easy to talk about, however, I’m learning to. Please hear this as an invitation to invest in me and PNC with whatever resources you might have available to do so. One of the most helpful ways to give financially is through monthly giving (this is made easy online at CanadaHelps or through our Pre-Authorized Remittance system).
Of course investing in this work can look different for each person. Please consider becoming a part of the PNC story, either by checking out a Monday drop-in, joining us on street outreach, engaging in our worship on a Sunday afternoon, praying for us, encouraging us from afar or making a financial contribution. Good things are happening here; lives are being changed, including my own. For some this means making the choice to take a small step toward sobriety; or learning to believe they are loved; or choosing to get out of bed even though the depression is thick; or having the opportunity to not just receive, but to give.
PNC is one precious place. Please come on in.