By Paige Souter
Feeding, sheltering, befriending and nurturing. This has been the ministry of FaithWorks since 1996, when the diocese embarked on a collective journey to share God’s blessings with marginalized and vulnerable people, building on decades of active ministry. In 20 years, FaithWorks has raised more than $25 million and has helped transform the lives of thousands of people.
In FaithWorks we can hear the echo of Jesus’ call to Peter to tend to his sheep. In the Gospel of John, Jesus asks Peter three times: “Do you love me?” In response to Peter’s emphatic affirmation of his love for the Lord, Jesus commands Peter to “Feed my sheep.”
“FaithWorks enables us as Anglicans to live out our faith in a way that both reflects the love we have for Christ and our deep desire to share that love with others,” says Archbishop Colin Johnson. “For 20 years, we have been building intentional communities of hope and compassion throughout the diocese. Through FaithWorks, we become love in action.”
October is the perfect time of year to celebrate and give thanks for FaithWorks. Parishes are encouraged to host anniversary celebrations, big or small, and to incorporate the anniversary into their FaithWorks campaigns. Throughout the month we invite everyone to share on Facebook and Twitter (#FaithWorks20) their favourite FaithWorks stories and memories from the past 20 years. The month-long celebration will culminate in a gala event on Oct. 30, hosted by Archbishop Johnson, in Snell Hall at St. James Cathedral.
FaithWorks is working to improve the lives of people in need because of the faith-filled generosity of our donors, volunteers, parishes, clergy, corporate partners and foundations. This collective commitment ensures that FaithWorks’ 18 ministry partners are able to feed, house, nurse and support, each and every day, people who are hungry, homeless, isolated and ill.
As Shelagh McPherson, chair of the FaithWorks Allocation Committee, states, “Through our ministry partners, we reach out and show great love to women, youth and children who are at risk; to individuals and families who live in deep poverty; to newcomers who are seeking a new start in Canada; to Indigenous peoples seeking a better future; and to people who are impacted by HIV/AIDS.”
The 20th anniversary is a time to celebrate this ministry of encounter and compassion. It is a time to give thanks for everyone who opens their hearts to walk with marginalized and vulnerable people and who makes FaithWorks possible. It is also a time of renewal; a time to renew our commitment to our shared ministry of love.
May God continue to bless FaithWorks as it lives out its mission to be love in action.
Paige Souter is the diocese’s manager of annual giving. She can be reached at email@example.com.