Social Justice =
Equity for all of Creation
From camperships for kids, to food for all, to a welcome for everyone with no strings attached.
God's Justice reigns and we strive to participate in God's grace and realm, offering the best we have for God and for each other.
Love one another.
Sounds simple enough doesn't it?
The Social Justice Committee of SJWT works to develop opportunities for education, action and devotion, regarding the safeguarding of all of God's Creation.
The very first meanings of equity in English were a direct translation from the original Old French equité, a word whose Latin root means “even,” “just,” and “equal.” At SJWT we strive for the equality of the human person – meaning that all people regardless of social status, level of education, economic worth or ability, race, creed, colour, religious affiliation or not, and any other measure are equal in the eyes and created order of God. We also strive for equity for this planet we call home, and for the environment which we, humanity, have devastated over the last century. Pollution, clear cutting, waste in all of our water systems (fresh and salt), consumerism, and a culture of waste has led us to a place where the planet that sustains our very life is in peril.
The committee is focused on three priorities – Truth and Reconciliation (TRC), Food Security and Water Justice. Justice is daunting work to which we are committed to doing everything we can. We invite you to this important work!
Social Justice Committee
The Rev. Evelyn Butler, Chair
Joy Kennedy, John Sprague, Lisa Rumble
To find out more and how you can participate, contact Deacon Evelyn
DID YOU KNOW? The shape of the logo reflects the Circle of Life. In the Circle, we join together to share truth. The flames sustain life in the Circle and provide safety and sustenance. Most importantly, the flames shed light on what needs to be shared in the Circle- the experiences of those affected by Indian Residential Schools. The seven flames that make up the circle represent the seven sacred teachings: love, respect, courage, honesty, wisdom, humility and truth. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission draws on each of those teachings in the work of truth-gathering, truth-telling, and reconciliation.
In response to our former Primate Fred Hiltz’s statement regarding Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action Article 48: We call upon the church parties to the Settlement Agreement, and all other faith groups and interfaith social justice groups in Canada who have not already done so, to formally adopt and comply with the principles, norms, and standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for reconciliation.
Food Security is much more than the old adage of providing for those less fortunate it is our intentional participation in the continued dignity, liberty, and justice of our neighbours of all of us as one human family.
Some find it hard to believe that in Canada food security is a critical reality in the lives of many. Access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet the dietary needs and food requirements for an active and healthy life, is the responsibility of all of us. We are our brother and sisters keeper. Each and every month hundreds of thousands of people across Canada access food banks, and sadly children represent a staggering 36%. To read more about this real social crisis click the link - www.foodbankscanada.ca/getmedia/ retrieved 2017 January 9
Recent data indicates that reliance on food banks is unlikely to decrease and will possibly increase in the coming year. Researchers at Dalhousie found prices for meat, vegetables, fish and other seafood are projected to jump by four to six per cent and the cost for dairy, eggs, bakery products and cereals could see a two per cent bump.
St John’s West Toronto has responded to the food security needs of our neighbours in west Toronto by partnering with the Four Villages Community Health Centre. This Four Villages CHC maintains a food cupboard that is open to any of their clients. Any client who has been identified as food insecure, may at any time access the food cupboard. This approach recognizes that food security is more than access to a supply of nutritious food. A critical component of food security is access to food in ways that do not compromise peoples’ dignity, self-respect or human rights. Our partnership with Four Villages CHC respects the dignity of every human person. Through regular conversations with staff at Four Villages CHC we are informed with regards to the type of food needed and we then are in a better position to address our neighbours food requirements.
You can participate in this essential justice work
By providing weekly food donations - bring your donations to any service and place them in the food hamper in the narthex.
By providing a financial gift - make your cheque payable to St. John's West Toronto. On the memo line write - Food Security
and by working in our Community Garden - all of our produce is gifted to Four Villages CHC
Together we can make a difference!
All living beings plant and animal must have water to live and thrive. Along with being crucial in our physical existence - water also plays an important role in our spiritual lives. Throughout the biblical account water is the source of life and hope; even through destruction water brings life and renewal. The many stories in our sacred texts demand that we respect both the sacred symbolism and practical need for water. Water is a gift from God available to all humanity.
St John’s is committed to using tap water and discouraging the use of purchased water. At our annual vestry meeting, 2015, we adopted a policy to ban the use of all purchased bottled water from St John’s West Toronto, to facilitate easy access to drinking water at all events, and to inform all facility users about this policy. Our decision is based on a belief that water is a sacred gift from God for all and must be honoured as such. We also believe that water is an integral component of creation and God has called us to be stewards of creation.
However, water has become an economic commodity, a multi-million dollar business. In Ontario a commercial operation is permitted for a mere $3.71 per million litres to withdraw 1.13 million litres of ground water per day. This water is then sold for a profit. The sale of this water is limited to those who have the financial means. We are called to acknowledge that this practice is contrary to our teachings, to protect this sacred gift and to ensure that water is available for all. To read more click the link http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/bottle-vs-tap-7-things-to-know-about-drinking-water-1.2774182
We also recognize our responsibilities as stewards of God’s creation. In our baptismal covenant we commit to strive to safeguard the integrity of God’s creation, and respect, sustain and renew the life of the Earth. The use of bottled water has significant environmental consequences. The water industry uses fossil fuels and water in the production and distribution of bottled water. It is estimated that three litres of water are used to make one litre of bottle water. Distribution of water can also use large amounts of fossil fuels. For example water flown from Fiji or France leaves a substantial carbon footprint. As well, the industry generates significant waste. Used plastic water bottles end up in landfills and can take hundred of years to decompose.
We invite you to join us in protecting God’s sacred gift of water.
The Anglican Church of Canada approves new pastoral liturgical texts that fully embrace transgender and gender non-binary people
General Synod has passed new blessing and liturgies for gender transitions! This marks a happy outcome to work that our former honorary assistant and diocesan Transgender Ambassador, the Reverend Margaret Rodrigues, was deeply involved in. We celebrate the approval of these new liturgies as a step toward greater visibility for trans and gender non-binary people and as a new pastoral resource for the Church.
The CBC ran an article about the development and passing of these new liturgies July 9th, 2023. You can read it here: Anglican Church of Canada introduces pastoral blessing for transgender and gender non-binary parishioners
Click on the cover image to download the full twelve page booklet of resources for the transgender community.
The CBC is an excellent source of information about Black Canadians. Here is the link:
Another source is the Sheffield Park, Black History and Cultural Museum located between Collingwood and Owen Sound in Clarksburg, Ontario, open May to October.
Anderson Ruffin Abbott, Canada’s first black doctor was one of the physicians who tried to save President Abraham Lincoln’s life in 1865. Read more
Anti-Black Racism in Canada: As Canadians, we may not be aware that our society has centuries of anti-Black racial division and discrimination. Legislation now prohibits slavery, segregation and hate speech or other actions rooted in hate. That reality was not always the situation. Read more
• Achievements and inventions created by Black people
• Prominent Black Canadian activists