To feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, heal the sick, protect our environment and work for peace and social justice, we believe it is essential that we partner with others in the wider community. We are called to serve all people, without judging or partiality. By working in partnership with other community organizations, agencies and faith communities, we can do more and learn more than we could by ourselves. That is why we are partners in local community action groups such as the Food Security Coalition, and why so many of our parishioners volunteer in service and advocacy organizations such as Rotary, United Way, Care Stratford, L’Arche and many others. We welcome volunteers from outside our parish to participate in community service work at St. James’ such as Community Meals, Food Bank and Christmas Day Dinner.
The Outreach Committee coordinates parish outreach programs, promotes advocacy and awareness around issues of social justice and human welfare, and advises Parish Council on priorities for community service work and the allocation of outreach funds to support needs in Stratford and area and internationally. For information about the Outreach Committee or any parish outreach programs, contact the Rev’d Tom Patterson.
St. James’ is a partner in a Stratford community meals network with other faith communities and The Local Community Food Centre. Our Community Meals team serves a hot meal on the first Friday of each month, November through April, at Knox Church in downtown Stratford. Food and money to support the meals are donated by parishioners. Anyone who would like to participate in this ministry may contact one of the Coordinators, Sandra Graff
or Pam Ayres
Four Tuesday mornings a month, the Food Bank at St. James’ provides fresh and packaged food and basic personal hygiene items. Donations of food items and money come from parishioners as well as from other churches and community groups and the Huron County Food Bank Distribution Centre. The Food Bank also is supported by the annual reading of Charles’ Dickens’ Christmas Carol at St. James’. We are a partner of The Local Community Food Centre. To donate or volunteer, contact one of the Food Bank Coordinators, Peter Mussen
or Rick Falshaw.
Christmas Day Dinner
For many years, St. James’ has hosted a turkey dinner at noon on Christmas Day, cooked and served by volunteers from the parish and the wider community. It’s a great dinner and warm and welcoming place to get together with others to celebrate the day. Everyone is welcome. For information, contact Jan Schonfeldt
Meals on Wheels
Every three months, teams of volunteers from St. James’ take a one-week turn delivering Meals-on-Wheels in Stratford, bringing healthy meals to seniors and people with disabilities day Monday through Friday. If you would like to volunteer, contact Sandra Graff
HELPING PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD
St. James’ supports sustainable development, humanitarian aid and social justice around the world through PWRDF – the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund – and the Huron Hunger Fund. PWRDF is part of the world-wide ACT Alliance, and works with 58 partner organizations in 22 countries, as well as with CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency). PWRDF and HHF support people-centred development that improves the quality of daily life for vulnerable populations, promotes self-reliance, and addresses root causes of poverty and injustice.
St. James’ has a partner parish in Ontario’s North, St. Stephen’s Anglican Church in the Constance Lake First Nation. We exchange news and pray for one another, have welcomed St. Stephen’s Rector to a visit at St. James’ and have provided resources for the St. Stephen’s vacation Bible school and church school.
Simple Gifts is St. James’ own alternative giving program for Christmas. Purchasers may give their friends or family Christmas cards featuring photography by parishioners and enclosing a message about a donation given, in lieu of a buying a Christmas gift, to a local, national or international program serving people in need. Simple Gifts are on sale each year in December at St. James’.
The national leadership of the Anglican Church advocates, often in concert with other faith leaders, for governmental and social action on behalf of people who are marginalized by poverty, disability, racism, gender inequality or other injustices. We, too, at St. James’ speak out through petitions, letters to our MP or MPP and participation in public meetings around human needs or injustices matters of particular concern. Through our national church we are partners in KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Social Justice Initiatives and are linked to global mission and justice partnerships.