Our diocese continues to adapt and pivot during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are many stories of creative ministry in response to the new circumstances. I would like to share ours.
Food security is an ongoing problem in Edmonton. Our parish of Christ Church has sought to leverage its resources to help the most vulnerable in our neighbourhood of Oliver (west of downtown) with weekly summer barbeques and monthly community dinners during the year. Shortly after the lockdown began we were approached by the Edmonton Catholic School Board with a request to support the school lunch programs in a few of their high-needs schools.
Our Vestry and Leadership Team worked quickly to pivot from our customary ways of helping to this new way of offering food. This was far from straightforward as our kitchen and volunteers have had to receive training and certification following COVID protocols.
From the beginning of May, Christ Church has been supplying 90 hampers weekly, distributed across three schools: St. Joseph High School, and St. Nicholas and St. Elizabeth Seaton Junior High Schools. Each hamper includes a hot meal for a family of six, a loaf of bread or buns, cut-up vegetables, fruit, cheese and something sweet. School staff pick up the hampers from the church, and then deliver them to each school for families to pick up.
This has been a learning experience and hard work: from shopping, to preparation, to distribution. And it only addresses part of the problem. Nevertheless, we believe it displays the church in action as Christ’s hands and feet to give bread to the hungry. Even though we have not been able to receive the Eucharist since before Easter, this is, in profound ways, a Eucharistic ministry. And all who share of their time, talents, and/or treasure are participants.
We are thankful to God for the opportunity. Submitted by the Rev. Susan Oliver, rector