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Social Justice Vestry Motion

Vestry motion for 2024: Protecting and Advancing the Right to Housing

The 2024 Social Justice Vestry Motion addressed several of the key obstacles to the realization of the human right to housing in our province, with calls directed to both the federal and provincial levels of government.

As of May 7, 2024, 135 of 194 parishes in the Diocese of Toronto (69.6%) had indicated, either by directly contacting the Diocese or by checking the appropriate box on their Incumbent’s Return, that they had passed this year’s motion in some form.  Thank you to all who presented, debated, and passed the motion!

Parishes and/or individuals who have supported the motion may wish to send letters or e-mails to their federal and/or provincial representatives.  We have provided some customizable templates below. Please note that letters to federal Cabinet Ministers and MPs at the House of Commons do not require postage, but letters to provincial Cabinet Ministers and MPPs do.)

Find contact information for federal Cabinet Ministers and MPs

Find contact information for provincial Cabinet Ministers and MPPs

We are also encouraging parishes which supported the motion’s call to close provincial rent control loopholes to visit their MPP.

Watch our Advocacy Workshop Video

Tips for Visiting Your MPP (PDF)

List of Parishes by Provincial Riding (Excel)

Tips for presenting and following up on the motion

  1. Circulate the motion and backgrounder before the vestry meeting
  2. Identify parishioners who are ready to speak to the motion both before and at vestry.
  3. Consider exploring the subject in advance through an information session, like a “lunch and learn” after a Sunday service.
  4. Follow up with a letter (or a visit!) to your local elected official (municipal councillor, MPP, or MP, depending on the level of government addressed).  You can do this as an individual or as a parish, or both.  We can help you with templates for each year’s vestry motion.

Our parish passed the motion. Now what?

If your parish presented the motion, whether it passed or not, please contact Elin Goulden, Diocesan Social Justice & Advocacy Consultant, at egoulden@toronto.anglican.ca to report. Not only would we love to know if the motion passed, we’d like to know what kind of discussion it generated, and if you found our resources helpful, or have a suggestion for what we could do in the future. If your parish altered or amended the motion at all, send us the text of what was passed. Clergy are also reminded to check the Social Justice Vestry Motion box on the Incumbent’s Return if this year’s motion passed in your parish.

 

Why do we present the vestry motion?

Throughout the history of this Diocese, bishops and church leaders have spoken out on issues affecting our society. Our bishops regularly communicate with government through letters and meetings, and they’re invited to comment on budgets and new legislation. Canadian law recognizes these communications as aspects of the Church’s charitable purpose.

For more than a decade, the Social Justice and Advocacy Committee has drafted annual vestry motions on concerns our Diocese is connected with. These motions are non-partisan, and the College of Bishops approves their final wording before commending them to parishes for consideration.

When parishes support social justice vestry motions, it strengthens the bishops’ voices in their advocacy with government. The motions also inform Anglicans about diocesan social justice concerns. Each year the committee prepares a brief “backgrounder” on the issue at hand, which can be used as a bulletin insert.

Some parishes shy away from presenting a social justice motion at vestry, seeking to avoid conflict. This may be understandable in some contexts. No parish is required to present the motion, and any parish can change its wording if this is the will of its vestry.

But the Church can’t be insulated from issues that affect the world God loves. Learning about and speaking out on these matters – even learning to disagree well together – is part of the witness we bear to Christ, who makes all things new.