I’ve mentioned from time to time over the last few months that changes were coming to my life and my ministry. One of these changes begins today. As of yesterday, which was Canada Day, so a holiday, I am Priest Missioner at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in downtown Winnipeg. This is a half-time position. I will be there half-time and at St. Philip’s half-time.
If you as a reader know of any really good food programs, please leave a link or a comment in the comment section. If anyone here is part of a good food program please leave your experiences and ideas. I know there are so many good programs out there, but sometimes it’s hard to find them all.
Taking on the role of priest missioner is going to be an interesting and big challenge. Part of the challenge is that the program has not operated for a year. This means that there will be work to do to rebuild the numbers of people who served so faithfully in the kitchen and at the door for many years. The other thing that makes this a challenge is that I’ll be following in the footsteps of Rev. Canon Henry Falconer, who oversaw the program before his retirement last September. If you click on the link you may get some idea of what I mean.
These next two months for me will mainly be about connection. Hopefully being able to renew former connections, but also looking for new ones. I’m so grateful, for example, that the Downtown Winnipeg Biz, is eager to continue their involvement with Holy Trinity. This period will also be a good learning time for me. Allowing me, if possible, to meet with people from Siloam Mission, Agape Table, and the Bell Tower Community Cafe, just to name a few.
Also, many of the people who are seeking food assistance, are from the Indigenous and Newcomer communities. I hope to spend the summer and beyond learning what they have to teach me about food and health for their communities.
As you read the rest of the post, realize these are not giant brainwaves that I have had. I’m simply looking around at all of the many good things that are going on in the world of people and food, and hoping to find ways in which the lunch program at Holy Trinity will be able to tap into the already existing structures and help to a stronger community caring for those who are most in need of care when it comes to the food made available.
Small is Beautiful
Given that I’m only going to be half-time and that we are returning after a year’s absence, we are going to start on a small scale. We will initially be serving lunches two days a week. This will give us time to build up our resource base, be that financial, food or kitchen help. We are also going to be inviting people in to sit at tables while they enjoy their food. We hope that those who serve will also be able to sit and enjoy their lunch with those
Priest Missioner – Collaborator
While I will be overseeing food production, I also want to reconnect with organizations that have been part of this ministry before, and also find new ways to connect with the Winnipeg’s downtown community. This, for me, means more than just going out in search of donations(though they rarely hurt). Beyond this it would be could if we could connect with local makers and other businesses to create items that benefit both the business and Holy Trinity.
One organization in Winnipeg, that we have sent a request to is Fruit Share. I’ve written about this group before. I even signed up as a member one year, but I never managed to find the time to go out and do any picking. The fruit connect part of this organization is quite simple.
People with trees but no ability or perhaps desire to harvest the fruit allow members of Fruit Share to pick the fruit. The members, who pay a small annual fee, pick the fruit. The fruit picked is then shared, one-third grower, one-third picker, one-third community organization. That’s where we hope to benefit. We hope that we become one of the community organizations that some of the pickers choose to donate to.
Beyond that, I hope we are able to connect with social workers, nurses, and other professional in the health care field. I’ve put in an email to the Manitoba Association of Home Economists to see if they are a group that we may partner with. Foot care is another area that I’d like to see us work on.
Priest Missioner for Food Justice
More than anything else I hope that over the course of time, that beyond serving healthy food and giving people a place for conversation and community. I’m hoping the lunch program help Holy Trinity become a centre for Food Justice. Honey bees don’t only serve as a potential method to help fund things. The addition of hives to the roof of Holy Trinity is in part a recognition that all of our world is of a piece. That caring for creation and acting on climate change is not a separate issue from too many people not having enough healthy food to eat.
One thing that Winnipeg is not very good at is managing food waste. Food waste is a huge issue, and I hope that over the course of time food waste is one thing that Holy Trinity is able to help address. This again means making wider connections, because, although a lot of waste occurs post grocery store purchase, a lot of it also occurs before that, as far back as the farm.
These are just a few ideas I want to pursue in my role of Pries Missioner. Like I said earlier, they are not mine and they are not new. These are just a few of the dreams I have. How will they turn out? Who knows. I do believe this is in God’s hands, and that means things are likely to turn out differently than I expect. Right now my biggest prayer for this ministry is that people come along who are passionate about food justice, and wish to see things change for the better.
I hope, as time goes by, that I am able to post more about what I am learning through this process and this ministry.