by Judy Rois

When the Anglican Foundation of Canada put out a call for innovative and creative ideas to transform parish ministry as its 60th anniversary Request for Proposals initiative, St. Christopher’s parish in Burlington scored a basket, literally!

Theirs was a case where need and opportunity met in a most interesting way.

In a city where there are limited resources for youth with only one YMCA drop-in, young teens between the ages of 11 and 14 found the church parking lot to be an ideal place for skateboarding and shooting baskets. In order to create a more permanent space for these two activities, the parish agreed to install professionally-mounted basketball nets and a ramp for skateboarders.

It’s a novel approach to make connections with the youth in their community, and to let them know the church is willing to meet them where they are in a hospitable and generous way.

In November, the Anglican Foundation’s Board of Directors awarded a grant of $15,000 to St. Christopher’s for this ministry.

They were one of four $15,000 60th anniversary grants given for innovation and creativity.

The parish of St. James and St. Brendan in Port Colborne was creative in a different sort of way, by transforming a vacant, derelict lot in the downtown core into a prayer garden.

It’s part of their “bless the city” initiative.

This is another project in Niagara Diocese where Anglicans are taking the church into the community.

Port C 3
St. James and St. Brendan Port Colborne owns this derelict property on Charlotte Street in Port Colborne. Photo: Submitted

The parish project planners said, “We voted to purchase land located at 25 Charlotte Street in Port Colborne with the intention to transform this ugly, vacant, chain-linked lot into a beautiful community green space.”

The goal is to have a fenced garden space that will include trees, benches, bushes, a pavilion, artwork, edible gardens and a fountain.

In a neighbourhood where a high percentage of residents live in poverty and social isolation, the prayer garden will provide a beautiful place to spend quality time with nature and one another.

The Anglican Foundation awarded a grant of $14,385 to support this project.

Between skateboard ramps, basketball nets and prayer gardens, these parishes in Niagara Diocese took the Anglican Foundation’s call for innovation seriously, and its Board of Directors were delighted to respond with generosity!

The Reverend Canon Judy Rois is Executive Director of the Anglican Foundation of Canada.