Conference seeks to break down barriers

hands hold a candle next to a flyr that reads "talking about social justice"
 on October 1, 2017

The diocese’s annual Outreach and Advocacy Conference will take place on Nov. 4 at St. John, York Mills, 19 Don Ridge Dr., Toronto. St. John’s is readily accessible by TTC, as well as by car from Highway 401.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Becoming God’s people: Embracing difference, building solidarity.” While the biblical vision of the Kingdom of God is of diverse peoples brought into communion through Christ as members of one body, all too often, in our society and in our churches, there remain barriers to listening to and fully welcoming each other. This conference aims to help us break down those barriers, examine our own privilege, and learn to hear what others in our pews and our communities are saying.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Carl James, the Jean Augustine Chair in Education at York University. Dr. James is well known for his work on the impact of structural racism on youth in the GTA. He is also chair of the Black Experience Project Research Advisory Committee, whose report on the black experience in Toronto was released this summer.

Workshops will cover topics such as unpacking privilege, inequity in access to housing, building interfaith friendships in the face of xenophobia, dismantling racism in the parish, youth perspectives on social justice, and what Christians with disabilities can teach us about being the body of Christ. At a time when our world is seeing a disturbing increase in overt racism and xenophobia, we as a Church need to find ways to embrace difference to build solidarity. By hearing from people of diverse experiences, we hope to gain a better understanding of how we can stand alongside and uphold each other.

Several FaithWorks ministries will host displays where attendees can learn about their work and how to get involved. The conference also provides an excellent opportunity to connect with people from across the diocese and learn how other parishes are addressing justice issues and outreach opportunities.

The cost for the conference is $30 per person ($15 for student or those with low incomes), including lunch and refreshments. Childcare is also available on request.


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