Westside Anglicans Neighbourhood Ministry Annual Meeting

Tuesday, June 28th, 2022

7 pm at St. Anselm’s Anglican Church, 5210 University Boulevard

Light refreshments served

Through its volunteer base, the Westside Anglicans Neighbourhood Ministry (the parishes of St. Anselm’s, St. Helen’s, St. Philip’s, and St. John’s Shaughnessy) have been serving homeless and vulnerable people on Vancouver’s Westside since 2008.

At the annual general meeting, we celebrate the volunteers, give thanks for their service, offer an update on the past year’s activities and look to the future.

Not a volunteer? Curious about what we do? Want to learn why our watchwords are “Mutual Transformation?”

We encourage you to come and hear more about the services we offer to our brothers and sisters who live among us on the streets of Vancouver’s Westside. We value your input!

They are Not just Statistics Opioid Crisis Service of Lament

Squamish Elder Xwechtaal (Dennis Joseph) offered a welcome, a territorial acknowledgement and a powerful Travel Song at Christ Church Cathedral’s Opioid Service of Lament.

“On this date, April 14 of 2016, the provincial health officer of the day, Dr. Perry Kendall declared a public health emergency in relation to the opioid-related overdose deaths. In 2016, the rate of overdose deaths per 100,000 people was 20.4. That rate in 2021 was 43 deaths per 100,000 people.2,224 deaths last year, more than six people dying every day. Every day.

These are the statistics and perhaps if we simply keep them as statistics, we can try to ignore them or avoid them or not make any real eye contact with them. But these are real people. People who are our neighbours.

They are brothers, sisters, parents, children. They are uncles, aunties, teachers, lawyers, friends. They are people who work in grocery stores, coffee shops, offices, universities. They are people who know the streets, walk the streets, drive the streets, or have a fancy home on a street. They are like me, they are like you, they are like those people in our lives whom we love and cherish and appreciate. They are all of this and of so much more. But they are real people. Real people with dreams and aspirations and hopes and fears.

Real people who laughed and cried and wondered how this world could be a better, kinder, gentler place. Real people who sadly probably died on their own even though there are many others who could have tried to help them. They are individuals just like us gathered here today to mourn them and mourn what continues to take place. They are not just statistics.” 

With these preceding paragraphs, Bishop John Stephens began his reflection shared at the Opioid Crisis Service of Lament at Christ Church Cathedral at 2pm on Maundy Thursday, April 14, 2022.

Squamish Elder Xwechtaal (Dennis Joseph) offered a welcome, a territorial acknowledgement and a powerful Travel Song. 

The Lamentation Tree was a significant part of the ceremony—branches drawn on a presentation board with accompanying paper leaves. People attending the service were asked to write the names of victims of the opioid crisis memorial messages on the leaves and then affix them to the tree. The Lamentation Tree was processed into the sanctuary by two members of Providence Health Care, Rejoice Anthony (who is also a Christ Church Cathedral parishioner) and Kate Wilkinson, and placed on the altar before Bishop John’s Reflection. 

Service organizer Sue Cruickshank, ODNW, and the Reverend Alisdair Smith offered prayers, followed by Beth and Rejoice taking turns reading Jan Richardson’s “Blessing When the World is Ending.”

Look, the world
is always ending

the sun has come
crashing down.

it has gone
completely dark.

it has ended
with the gun
the knife
the fist.

it has ended
with the slammed door
the shattered hope.

it has ended
with the utter quiet
that follows the news
from the phone
the television
the hospital room.

it has ended
with a tenderness
that will break
your heart.

But, listen,
this blessing means
to be anything
but morose.
It has not come
to cause despair.

It is simply here
because there is nothing
a blessing
is better suited for
than an ending,
nothing that cries out more
for a blessing
than when a world
is falling apart.

This blessing
will not fix you
will not mend you
will not give you
false comfort;
it will not talk to you
about one door opening
when another one closes.

It will simply
sit itself beside you
among the shards
and gently turn your face
toward the direction
from which the light
will come,
gathering itself
about you
as the world begins

A solo quartet consisting of members of the Cathedral Choir under the direction of Rupert Lang punctuated the liturgy with music appropriate for prayer and reflection, culminating in Rupert Lang’s well-known funeral piece, Kontakion.

Photos & story, courtesy Randy Murray.

Feature image on home page: Lamentation Tree on the altar at Christ Church Cathedral, downtown Vancouver.

A Day For Churches to Explore Developing Affordable Housing

Citygate Vancouver invites you to join them on Saturday, April 2nd at St. Andrews Hall, UBC and online via Zoom for a morning to learn and discuss affordable housing as a use for the physical spaces our churches occupy.

The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed how little some church buildings are used and accelerated discussions about how to steward these buildings and lands in a better way. Church leadership teams will be initiated in the process of developing affordable housing and encouraged to commit to serious exploration of that process.

The panelists for the day will be Rev’d. Christine Boyle, City Councillor with OneCity Vancouver; Irene Gannitsos, Vancity Foundation; Marko Cimcic, Anglican property development committee; Andy Lambkin, The Nest Housing Society and Pastor at Simple Churches; Rebecca Pousette, Co:Here Foundation; and Tim Dickau, Citygate and the Center for Missional Leadership.

For details including how to register click on the link below.

Resolution on Homelessness passed at 2021 Diocese of New Westminster Synod

Synod is the Annual General Meeting (convened every two years) of the Diocese of New Westminster. The Bishop is the Chair of Synod. Chaired by Bishop John Stephens, Synod 2021, the 121st, took place on May 15, 2021.

The Westside Anglicans Neighbourhood Ministry Board of Management proposed a resolution on housing affordability and homelessness in the Lower Mainland, which was passed by Synod delegates with a vote count of 224 in favour, 16 opposed, 10 abstentions (out of a total count of 250 voting delegates).

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Woven Together: Partnerships in Community Programs

Presented by UGM

JOIN US for a discussion to share practical ideas and real-life experiences of effective partnerships for supportive community programs.


• Different types of partnerships (formal and informal)
• Benefits and challenges to partnerships
• Risks of ignoring partnerships
• Key aspects of a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
• How to end partnerships well

Continue reading Woven Together: Partnerships in Community Programs

Workshop from Union Gospel Mission

Addressing Grief + Loss in Community

Vancouver and the Fraser Valley are woven together pursing the common good and actively participating in Christ’s call for everyone to flourish. One part of this vision is an improved understanding of and engagement with communities facing poverty, homelessness, addictions and food insecurity. Working with vulnerable individuals living with these challenges – especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the overdose crisis – brings us near those experiencing grief and loss.

Many that attend supportive community and church programs see the setting as a primary spiritual community or connection to a Body of Faith. As that body, how do we address the death of one of our community members – honouring their life, supporting other community members through their grief, and sustaining ourselves in the journey?

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2020 Annual Meeting draws attendees via Zoom

By Joan Stewart   

The Annual Meeting of the Westside Anglicans Neighbourhood Ministry (WANM) was held via Zoom on Tuesday, June 16, 2020, with 27 attendees from the parishes of St. Anselm’s, St. Helen’s, St. Philip’s and St. John’s Shaughnessy.

The meeting began at 7pm, with WANM clergy leader Rev’d. Pitman Potter being asked by Rev’d. John Stephens, chair of WANM, to open the meeting with a prayer. Rev’d. Potter led with an inspiring prayer of hope for the ministry and the world during this challenging period of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Food and Clothing Drive Continues to Serve

By Beth Vondette 

The Westside Anglicans Neighbourhood Ministry has allied with other community partners to continue serving the homeless and vulnerable community with a clothing and food drive. Please view the attached flyer for further details.

From May 25 – Jun 8, 2020 please drop off donations to St. John’s Shaughnessy only.  St. Philip’s is currently a construction site as the roof is replaced. For your safety, we ask that all donations be directed to St. John’s Shaughnessy (1490 Nanton Avenue).

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Neighbourhood Ministry Food and Clothing Drive Delivers

By Beth Vondette 

A Westside Anglicans Neighbourhood Ministry volunteer dropped off all the clothing donations received by St. Philip’s and St. John’s Shaughnessy yesterday (approximately 13 “bags”). There was 1 purple rolling suitcase (carry-on sized) and 1 backpack donated amongst the bags, which were gratefully received. We anticipate the majority of the clothing donated were womens’ clothes. The shoes were also primarily women’s shoes/boots. Going forward, we ask that the clothing donations be primarily men’s clothing.
Continue reading “Neighbourhood Ministry Food and Clothing Drive Delivers”