Preparing for ministry can include opportunities to work in a community ministry. An Emmanuel College, Toronto, student who took a course in “Care and Community” reflects on her urban placement: Fresh dough is slapped, stretched, and rolled out by one set of hands before an apron-clad boy carefully spoons tomato sauce onto the crust. Someone else sprinkles on shredded cheese and freshly picked basil. A young woman standing ready with a long wooden paddle expertly slides the pizza into the wood-fired oven. Minutes later out comes the pizza, ready to be shared with the diverse and chatting crowd gathered in the backyard of The Stop Community Food Centre. What began as a food bank in this urban Toronto neighbourhood has transformed into a social and educational food hub for all ages. In addition to the popular outdoor brick oven, The Stop has an industrial kitchen where hands-on after-school programs teach kids the skills to grow and cook healthy foods. New and expectant mothers on low incomes connect with one another while learning about pre- and postnatal nutrition for themselves and their babies. A weekly Good Food Market provides affordable fresh produce to supplement the canned and dry goods offered through the food bank. By providing an inclusive space where community members can gather, cook, eat, and learn about food together, The Stop strives to increase access to healthy food in a way that maintains dignity, builds health and community, and challenges inequality. The Stop is also one of many community partners where theological students from Emmanuel College learn, experience, and practise ministry in the urban context. Our gifts for Mission and Service help support our theological schools and students. Thank you, and please join me in giving generously.
Mighty and tender God, through our gifts for Mission and Service we respond to your call to mend the world.