The four groups that came out of the Tree Project workshops have been meeting regularly since September. They have been making steady progress in the areas of ministry and service that the congregation most supported. Here is an update on each of the groups:
1. Expand The Waterloo Wayside Centre
This group is comprised of many of the Wayside volunteers and has been working on many aspects of developing the Wayside and its programs. This effort has included the development of a vision. At the next meeting on Thursday, November 13th at 7:00pm, there will be a review of the following draft vision statement.
The Waterloo Wayside Centre supports and builds community by providing safe places and opportunities to share and connect. In sharing our experiences and gifts with each other, we can meet our immediate physical needs for food and shelter and our long-term need to live independently while contributing and belonging to a loving, forgiving and inclusive community
As well, the group as met with staff from The Working Centre to explore opportunities for evolving the Bridgeport Cafe in response to the winding down of the Out of The Cold program. There are many exciting ideas including the creation of a volunteer coordinator role as well as introducing daily themes like Cribbage Tuesdays or Movie Thursdays. The Working Centre staff were very excited by the idea of more Emmanuel members building relationships with the homeless and marginally housed.
2. Worship Group To Expand Formats And Community of Worship
This group has been hard at work exploring what worship really is and what options are out there. Over the summer, several members of the group visited other congregations and experienced different forms of worship ranging from an informal service at a Provincial Park to visiting other local churches. This group is developing some tools to make our worship more accessible for people new to a formal worship service. This group also reviewed the survey results from the 20-14 campaign. As well, the group is in the early stages of connecting with representatives at St. Paul’s College at UW to explore opportunities coming out of the end of full-time United Church chaplaincy on campus.
3. Group To Support Those Released From Grand Valley Institute(GVI) In Transitioning Into Community
This group has had one successful meeting with a representative from the the Elisabeth Fry Society in setting up a support group. This group is also working with Prison Fellowship Canada through the Angel Tree Christmas program in which gifts and support are provided to the children and families of inmates in Canadian prisons.
4. Reach Out To The Community And Grow Youth Presence At Emmanuel
After several brainstorming meetings, this group has started focusing on setting up an after school or homework program for students Grade 7-12. At a recent meeting, Principal Martin of MacGregor Public School expressed strong support forEmmanuel providing after school programming. There are several options being explored including a formal math tutoring and skills development program, an open space for students practicing musical instruments or even an open gymnasium program.
If you are interested in joining any of these groups or have suggestions or connections that you wish to share, please contact David Petro