Thur Dec 3 2020
- New Vision shared in the leadership of a memorial service on the forecourt of City Hall last Sunday evening, The memorial marked the beginning of a vigil by the demonstrators on the forecourt against an order by the City to take down their sleeping tents or face the prospect of the tents being seized and destroyed Monday at 12 midnight.
- The service was officiated by me. I led it as a celebration, and drew heavily on our funeral service tradition. We were limited by pandemic orders to no more than 100 people for this outdoor service. I believe those gathered were about 100 people.
- We remembered Hamilton people who lived difficult lives who have died who were known to the Wesley Day Centre and New Vision United Church communities, often on the streets and homeless. We remembered Blacks who have died subjected to police violence. All attendees were invited to place a rose in an array in the middle of the forecourt in memory of the persons as they were named.
- On Monday morning, around 10 am, I watched a by-law officer issue a ticket for littering to one of the demonstrators when the demonstrator picked up a handful of the roses and placed them before the officer.
- Bylaw officers and police attended the forecourt on Monday morning around 9 am and seized and disposed of the demonstrators’ tents.
- New Vision’s Church Council issued a letter to the civic authorities on Sunday evening and placed it in the hands of the desk officer at police headquarters around 6;30 pm. The letter asserted that the tents were part and parcel of the demonstrators’ speech, and ordering them taken down placed a municipal by-law ordinance against the Church Council members’ charter rights. As Canadian citizens they wanted to “hear” this demonstration speech of words and tents without obstruction from the civic authorities.
- New Vision continues to provide safe harbour to the demonstrators within the walls of 24 Main St. W. Their demonstration is ongoing.
- New Vision’s Resting and Hygiene Centre has completed its assignment. Begun in the last days of April, it provided essential relief and support to people who were sleeping rough in downtown Hamilton. There were 3 churches providing these respite centres at the beginning. The other two closed by the end of the summer. New Vision promised to keep its centre going until better arrangements could be made in its place, or it was no longer needed.
- A new downtown service for people on the streets and living rough will open this Saturday at 5 pm at 78 Vine St. It will be staffed and run by the volunteers who operated the New Vision Resting and Hygiene Centre. It will be open 7 days a week from 5 pm to 9 pm.
- Thanks to commitment, passion and talent, the New Vision centre became over time something much more than a stopping point for hygiene and rest. The resting centre grew into a hub. The centre became a place for social service workers to interact with guests in a gracious space. It became a place where community and mutual aid could be.
- Not only did the centre outgrow its original emergency mandate, it became clear that there was nowhere else in the City doing anything quite like it from 5 pm to 9 pm 7 days a week during the pandemic. The unanticipated development of community programming at New Vision led to the realization that the space and our running it was not really set up for such programming. Thus, as we began to peer at the second wave of the pandemic coming toward us, the leadership of the hub looked for a better location to move to.
- We rejoice that New Vision seeded something so beneficial and substantial for people living with marginalizations in downtown Hamilton during this terrible pandemic. We celebrate the courage and passion of the leadership who secured agreement from Philpott Memorial Church for a larger space with more amenities for guests in Philpott’s building at 78 Vine St.
- We would do it again. We wish godspeed to “The [ ] Hub” — friends, acquaintances, strangers.
- New Vision folks without access to Zoom are continuing to attend our Zoom worship gathering on Sundays in person at 24 Main W. Because attendees are at a religious gathering, pandemic health orders allow us to have 10 people together, when at present in all other circumstances gatherings are limited to 5 people.
- If you are interested in attending the in-person gathering, please be in touch with New Vision by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The gathering will observe all the best practices for hygiene, screening, and sanitation.
- We will be celebrating communion this Sunday, the Second Sunday of Advent. Have a beverage and some bread nearby to join in.
- Christmas is right around the corner! As you might have already heard, Wesley Urban Ministries’ Christmas & Holiday Store will not operate like a store this year. Instead, it will provide hampers for people who participate in Wesley programs and through some of its community partners. For more information on how to get involved, please visit the website https://wesley.ca/holiday-assistance-program/.
- Purchase donations and do a curbside drop off at 1974 King St E (Pioneer Church), December 6 – 22, 1 – 4 pm. Calendar is here: https://wesley.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/christmas-holiday-hamper-calendar-2020.pdf
- Wesley Donation Wish List:
Plastic or re-usable bags
Any non-perishable food in individual or family sizes
New gifts: toys, hygiene items, small kitchen appliances, towel & linens
Gift Certificates for Walmart, Giant Tiger, Canadian Tire, Toys ‘R’ Us
New or gently used hats, mitts, socks, winter boots and coats (No clothing)
- For those looking to volunteer at Wesley, their new volunteer roles and pandemic protocols are available online at the above link. There will be a limited number of on-site volunteers this year, however, you can also help from home by making pre packed hampers or volunteer as a driver to take the hampers to Wesley programs and community partners.
- New Vision Virtual Worship is experiential, participatory, image-rich and collective, just like worship in person at New Vision! Join us on Sunday mornings 10:30 am week to week during the Covid-19 emergency by clicking here. If you want to put the link someplace easy to find each week, here it is:?https://us02web.zoom.us/j/782292511. Please share it with others and invite them to a “different” kind of time on Zoom from the usual.
- You can also call in to the gathering on the telephone toll free. Call 1 855 703 8985, then, when prompted, input the Meeting ID 782 292 511 followed by the # sign. Ignore the prompts for Participant ID and Password. You are in when the recorded voice says, “You are in the meeting.” If you can only connect by video on your computer with no audio, you can use the phone connection for audio and the computer connection for visual.
- For updates on New Vision plans in the post Covid-19 emergency recovery, please visit http://newvisionunited.org/new-vision-covid-19-updates/.
Hope to see you on Sunday – again, or for the first time.