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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.

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.

If you would like a copy of the booklet click the email link and request one - info@sjwt.ca

Food Security

For I was hungry and you fed me, Matthew 25:35.  The truth is, every time you did this for the least of my brothers, sisters and siblings, you did it for me”. Matthew 25:40

Members of St John’s West Toronto respond to this teaching from Jesus  through our weekly food collection for Four Villages Community Health Centre, Emergency Food Cupboard.  The weekly food collection also includes collection  bins on our steps on Saturday morning for neighbours to also donate.

At times Four Villages Community Health Centre has run out of food because of an  increase demand from their clients.  Hunger in Toronto and indeed all of Ontario Is increasing and was recently reported in the following publications.

Toronto Star - 2024 February 24

Inflation cools but many Torontonians still cannot afford to eat — proof is at the food banks

Hunger Report 2022 The Deepening Cracks in Ontario’s Economic Foundation

As the Hunger Report correctly states, food banks were established in response to emergency food shortages. Increasingly over the years, however, food banks are relied upon to subsidize government budget cuts and employers’ cost-cutting measures.  Food banks have become part of the social safety net. (p. 43).

As part of the social safety net, food banks cannot reduce  poverty, an underlying reason for food insecurity.  As well, food banks cannot rely on increased donations from other residents to match the increasing demand for food by hungry residents.    Food security for all requires changes in our systems including living incomes and affordable housing.

 

While we continue contributing to food banks we can also take action to reduce the need for food banks.  What will you do to  demand, at the very least, minimum living incomes and affordable housing?  

 

How will you support our governments in ensuring that these changes in our systems are enacted?

 

Through these actions we will be feeding the least of our brothers, sisters, and siblings,

You can participate in this essential Social 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

    • by cheque payable to St. John's West Toronto. On the memo line write - Food Security

    • through out CanadaHelps donation page

    • Interac e-Transfer to wardens@sjwt.ca

  • and by working in our Community Garden - all of our produce is gifted to Four Villages CHC

Together we can make a difference! 

Water Justice

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

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UPDATED VERSION

February 2023

Click on the cover image to download the full twelve page booklet of resources for the transgender community.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH


Black History is celebrated every February to recognize Black Canadians and their contributions to our nation.  We know that Black people and their communities have been a part of Canada since the early 1600 with the arrival of Mathieu Da Costa, a navigator and interpreter.

To celebrate Black History month we invite you register for 

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Click here to register and to access the resources

Next session is April 18th

 


You can also learn more about the experiences of Black Canadians with the following videos:
 

BlackHistoryMovies

Legacy Echoes: Passing Down Our Roots

 

A look into the rich tapestry of multigenerational Black families as they navigate the intricate journey of transferring culture, traditions, and stories from one generation to the next.

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Dear Jackie


After a stint with the minor-league Montreal Royals, Jackie Robinson was the first Black man to play in Major League Baseball and a key contributor to the civil rights movement in the United States. When Robinson broke the colour barrier in professional baseball in 1946, the impossible seemed possible in a segregated North America. All Montrealers Black and white cheered him on and treated him like a hero. But did the white majority use the historic moment to perpetuate the myth of a post-racial society?

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When Robinson played for the Royals, the neighbourhood of Little Burgundy in the southwest part of the city was home to 90 per cent of Montreal’s Black community and known as the “Harlem of the North.” It had its own churches, community centres and clubs. Marcus Garvey established a local Universal Negro Improvement Association in Little Burgundy. Malcolm X’s parents met there.

But after Robinson’s departure from Montreal, the neighbourhood came on hard times. The municipal government led by Jean Drapeau carried out a brutal plan for urban renewal in the area, destroying the heart of Little Burgundy. Its residents were driven out, as was its soul.

This poetic and intimate film tells the personal stories of the residents of Little Burgundy through interviews and testimonies, using a vérité style. Dear Jackie explores racism and racial inequality in Montreal and Quebec and is a tribute to the perseverance of one of Canada’s most important Black communities.

Speakers for the Dead


This documentary reveals some of the hidden history of Blacks in Canada. In the 1930s in rural Ontario, a farmer buried the tombstones of a Black cemetery to make way for a potato patch. In the 1980s, descendants of the original settlers, Black and White, came together to restore the cemetery, but there were hidden truths no one wanted to discuss. Deep racial wounds were opened. Scenes of the cemetery excavation, interviews with residents and re-enactments—including one of a baseball game where a broken headstone is used for home plate—add to the film's emotional intensity.

Africville  Stories; Joe Sealy


This introduction is a mini documentary where Joe Sealy tells us about Africville and his current project, Africville Stories.


Joe Sealy: Canadian Jazz Musician

For more than five decades Joe Sealy has enjoyed a successful career as a musician, actor, composer, music director and recording artist. Tours have also played a significant part in Joe’s career. Some of the more notable ones include:

  • 6 months on the road with Blood, Sweat and Tears;

  • 19 concert tour of Africville Suite(including an appearance at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C.)


Read more about Joe Sealy

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Black History 

The CBC is an excellent source of information about Black Canadians. Here is the link: 
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/beingblackincanada
 
Another source is the Sheffield Park, Black History and Cultural Museum located between Collingwood and Owen Sound in Clarksburg, Ontario, open May to October.
https://www.sheffieldparkblackhistory.com/
 
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 

Read more here

War in the Holy Land

Please join us in praying for the people of Israel and Gaza, for the safe return of all captives, and for lasting peace between Israel and Palestine.

Focus on Ukraine

CBC GEM has several videos available such as:
(click on image to go to video, you may have to create a free account with CBC to watch)

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You can explore more like this at CBC GEM

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