The Duncan United Church Social Justice and Outreach Team is guided by the values and philosophy of Micah 6:8 –
“..and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God”.
Projects from the past and present
· Sponsorship of several Refugee families
· Lobbying the Government for a Homeless Shelter – Warmland Shelter
· Lobbying for access to health care in the valley for everyone – Walk in Clinic
· Support patient-centered care – “Everybody’s Guide to Health Care”, a guide to supporting the rights of the patient in the working partnership with health care professionals, family and friends.
· Our latest focus has been connecting with the elders of the Cowichan Tribes and learning about their ways through the Cowichan 101 program held here at the church facilitated by Social Planning Cowichan.
Each month on the third Sunday in Heritage Hall we serve a warm nutritious meal to approximately 100 people in our community. This dinner began over 17 years ago and is a huge support to those who struggle. Volunteers, prepare cook and serve the meal. It is a wonderful outreach to folks and gives us all a sense of community.
Meals on the Ground
A community run program held here at our church where meals are served three times a week to those living on the streets. Meals are provided by different groups and organizations in the community. Through donations from the Change for Change plate that goes out once a month, Duncan United provides one meal per month. Approximately 40 people are served a hot meal at these dinners.
Every January, a simple lunch of chili and a bun following the service reminds us of those in our community who do not have enough. All proceeds go to the Cowichan Valley Basket Society and the Canadian Food Grains Bank.
Third Place Cafe
Every Friday between 10 am and 11am people are welcome to stop by and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea along with some home baked goodies. A great place to join in some conversation and meet new folk.
Third Place Cafe does close down for the months of July and August.
We are a community based refugee sponsorship constituent group working in collaboration with Duncan United Church. We have chosen to focus specifically on helping individuals escape persecution from African countries where LGBTQ2S+ intolerance is growing even more pervasive in the last few years with several countries retaining the death penalty for crimes related to the LGBTQ2S+ life. Many LGBTQ2S+ refugees have escaped to Kenya or South Africa, the only two African countries that accept LGBTQ2S+ refugee claims. Unfortunately, in Kenya and South Africa LGBTQ2S+ refugees are still not safe! All funds raised go directly to assisting an individual with their integration into life in the Cowichan Valley.
Mandate of the Social Justice & Outreach
· Increase understanding and promote collaboration for outreach and social justice issues at a local, national and international level.
· Act as an umbrella group for all outreach programs in collaboration with the Mission and Service Committee at Duncan United Church.
Roles and Responsibilities
· Retain clear communication between the Social Justice and Outreach Team and the Mission and Service Committee, the Unified Board and Ministerial Staff.
· Encourage participation of people of all generations and from all walks of life in the work of the Social Justice and Outreach Team.
· Build awareness of social justice issues in our church family and promote congregational activities that reach out to people in the world about us.
· Take a leadership role in advocating social justice issues within the Cowichan community and beyond.
· Foster community partnerships.
· Include components of world affairs in the work of the Social Justice and Outreach Team through organizations like Kairos.
· Support the day-to-day activities of the church, e.g.,
· Frozen meals, monthly dinner, vouchers, and sponsor advocacy initiatives.
· Provide opportunities that increase awareness of outreach at the local, national and global levels, e.g., (bulletin board, speakers, facilitated events).
· Participate in special events, encouraging community and ecumenical collaboration, e.g., World Food Day, Environment Sunday, Micah’s Meal and 10 Days for World Development.
· Provide financial support to agencies and groups through allotted budgets and funds received from fund raising and special appeals, e.g., Cowichan Food Basket, advocacy work.
· Collaborate with other groups and organizations in the community around outreach activities, e.g. churches, non-profits, individuals with interest and expertise in specific areas.
· Participate in Presbytery and Conference social justice events.
· Plan and coordinate time-limited projects, e.g. Refugee projects.
· Report regularly to the congregation highlighting the work and concerns of the Social Justice and Outreach Team.