Spiritual Care at CAMH
Twice a month, two members of the Bathurst congregation travel to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto’s west end.
They go there to conduct worship services in the CAMH forensic assessment unit. The doors at the unit are locked. The people inside are facing criminal charges and are being evaluated prior to their trial.
This spiritual care initiative is supported by volunteers from Bathurst and other local churches. Judy McCallum has been a key participant since the launching of the project six years ago. She says one goal is to be an ally to those with mental health challenges.
“It is our hope that our presence is a way of bringing love and the Spirit into the lives of some of the most marginalized people in the city, and of letting them know they are not alone.”
McCallum says another aim is to promote openess and conversations about mental health issues within Bathurst and in the wider community. As well, the initiative helps the churches to be welcoming to people with mental health issues who may be looking for a congregation.
The worship services are in the afternoon, on the second and fourth Sundays of each month. Under a partnership with CAMH, the volunteers receive training and an orientation from the Centre's personnel.
Supporting Canada’s Indigenous Peoples
Responding to the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Several members of the Bathurst congregation are part of the United Church’s TRC Witness program. We educate ourselves and take action in areas such as the Doctrine of Discovery, the effects of pipelines and resource extraction, and the ongoing impact of residential schools on the lives and families of Indigenous peoples.
One important initiative is our Three-Part Territorial Acknowledgment. Each Sunday service opens with an acknowledgment that we worship on lands that are the traditional territory of the Seneca, Petun, and Huron-Wendat peoples, and more recently the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. We briefly highlight a current issue or event and relate it to one of the Calls to Action. The weekly ritual helps keep the TRC and its Calls to Action alive in our hearts and minds.
Middle East Working Group
A joint committee of the Bathurst and Trinity-St. Paul's congregations
The Middle East Working Group focuses on peace and justice in Israel/Palestine. The group informs the congregations about The United Church of Canada General Council initiatives such as the Unsettling Goods campaign and the Let’s Keep Talking and Advent Box programs. The working group also keeps the congregations up to date about recent events on the ground in Palestine.
A principal focus is a joint Holy Land service each January. The 2017 service featured a reflection by Zoë Godfrey-Davies. Zoe participated in the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Israel-Palestine. She spent three months in the Occupied Territories. In 2016, the speaker for the Holy Land service was Robert Massoud, the founder of Zatoun and Beit Zatoun.
The Middle East Working Group also organizes Global Gossips, after-church gatherings that highlight particular issues. An October 2016 meeting focused on “The Wall”. The discussion time was part of the International Week for Peace in Israel/Palestine.