Minutes for Mission 2018: Spiritual and Practical Care in the City

I’m Reverend Evan Smith. I am the United
Church minister at Toronto Urban Native Ministry, which is an outreach ministry
of the United and Anglican churches that’s been around for 21 years. My name
is Jess Swance and I am a student at Emmanuel College. My degree that I’m
studying is my Master of Divinity and with the intention of going for
ordination. Being an outreach ministry we have a whole serve wide range of things
that we do. My work involves a lot of street at reach, harm reduction work,
pastoral care, counselling, visiting prisons. Doing a lot of advocacy for
prisoners and clients and community referrals and crisis counselling, funerals,
weddings. We have a program called Biidaaban which is an indigenous community
ministry and so we do things like an indigenous book club. Each December we do
a big feast for youth in the community honoring two-spirit folks and I think
this year we had almost 80 people at it and we have an elder come in and do
traditional teachings and teach the youth how to actually make the food that
we’re going to eat. I think the commune with look really
different if Toronto Urban Native Ministry wasn’t here, because we’re one
of the only ministries definitely in Toronto that really looks at focusing
on traditional spirituality and Christian spiritual traditions together.
Not one is being better than the other or overshadowing. And I think that
there’s so many people who come into Toronto and who are looking for a
spiritual home and don’t know how to access either Christian communities
because they’re not culturally relevant or traditional spiritual teachings
because they were raised in the church but they just don’t have access to them.
So it’s a really important role that we play in connecting people with their
their spiritualities no matter what they look like. Your gifts to the Mission and
Service of the United Church of Canada help make projects like this possible.
Thank you and please continue to give. you

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