Mobile medical clinic for Ghanaian diocese
FREDERICTON – The Diocese of Fredericton has employed the services of Malley Industries, which manufactures emergency vehicles, to build a mobile medical clinic. The mobile clinic will be shipped to the Diocese of Ho in Ghana, which is a companion diocese to the Diocese of Fredericton. Situated in the Volta and Oti regions, it is a large, rural diocese where most people lack access to health care.
The van features a heating and cooling system, a worktable for lab tests, a refrigerator for medicines, a stretcher and a roof rack for jerry cans and the tents in which consultations and operations will be carried out. The interior of the van has aluminum bracing to prevent the equipment inside from coming loose as it navigates the region’s unpaved roads. It also has a winch for pulling itself out of ruts.
The project almost didn’t get underway as Malley Industries has been affected by supply chain issues. Of 73 chassis they ordered, only two arrived in the fall of 2021 — one of them the chassis for the mobile medical clinic.
The project was the vision of the bishop of the diocese of Ho, Bishop Matthias Mededues-Badohu, and Robbie Griffin, chair of the companion diocese committee in Fredericton. The cost of the project, including the cost of refurbishing the van, supplies and shipping, is $270,000 and many parishes across the diocese of Fredericton have contributed to the fundraising. Malley Industries has also donated medical equipment.
Mr. Griffin and Archbishop David Edwards hope to be there when the van reaches Ghana in early spring. The mobile clinic will be operated and staffed by the Ho Teaching Hospital. It will provide staff there with the opportunity to train in rural medicine, and the people of the diocese of Ho will have access to basic health care.
The New Brunswick Anglican
Fundraising for affordable housing off to a good start
OTTAWA – Parish fundraising for the Christ Church Bells Corners affordable housing project has already raised $750,000 of its $1.6M goal, with $250,000 of that amount from a single donation. The housing project will see a 35-unit, 4-storey affordable housing unit on the site of the church’s former rectory. The project has already received $10M in government funding and construction is almost complete; it is expected that renters will be moving in later this year.
The building will include a mix of studio and one-, two- and three-bedroom units, with units offered at average market value as well as three categories of affordable housing: 80 per cent of average market rent, 70 per cent of average market rent, and units with deeper subsidies for people eligible for the Ontario Disability Support Program. The first floor of the building will provide a permanent home for FAMSAC, a local food cupboard, and the Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre, which provides services to seniors and families including meals, transportation and foot care.
Increasing community compassion for homeless
PENTICTION – The Downtown Churches for Social Justice group is made up of a number of Penticton churches, including the Anglican parish of St. Saviour, as well as local social service agencies. The group meets monthly and works to address pressing needs within the Penticton community, including homelessness and food insecurity.
Recently, the group and its partners have been working on resources to increase the wider community’s understanding of the root causes of homelessness, with the aim of increasing compassion and action for those who are unhoused or precariously housed.
“One of the most challenging problems is public understanding — the need to help the wider community understand the challenges facing a person living under a local bridge in a tent or in a building doorway,” writes Pat Simons, deacon at St. Saviour, Penticton, in a recent issue of The HighWay. “I don’t think there is any intention to treat others badly; I just think people are unsure of how to respond when they encounter a person living outside.”
Ms. Simons identifies one of the biggest misunderstandings among the public regarding homelessness as being the notion that people living outside should simply “get a job.” This admonition overlooks the underlying causes of homelessness, such as abuse, trauma, mental health problems and substance use. To educate the public, the Downtown Churches for Social Justice group has supported its partner OneSky Community Resources to develop a series of videos in which people who have been living on the streets tell their stories. The videos have been released on the OneSky Community Resources Facebook page and Ms. Simons describes them as “very compelling.”
“I became very emotional as I viewed the videos — the people telling their stories are no different than you and me, except some event or some thing had caused a catastrophic change in their lives.”
Another resource developed by the partnering groups and shared on the St. Saviour Facebook page over the course of a week details seven steps to support people experiencing homelessness. The steps include changing the language used to refer to people who are homeless, donating, volunteering, demanding affordable housing and showing kindness.
Ms. Simons hopes these resources and a shift in the wider community’s understanding of homelessness could ultimately lead to a world in which homelessness is a thing of the past. “I know this is a huge hope but human lives are at risk. It is a human right to have food, clothing and shelter for everyone. If this is not happening, then we must push for it to be at the top of our agenda.”
A boatful of children’s books
ST. JOHN’S – During Advent 2021, the Parish of the Ascension in Mount Pearl, N.L., encouraged parishioners to purchase books for children aged two to four years. The books were collected in the church’s boat, Saint Margaret (picture a small rowboat), and the boat was eventually filled to the brim. The books were for the Daybreak Parent Child Centre in St. John’s.
Youth ministry needs to be a priority in parishes