Outreach and Service: Acting for Justice

“And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

Parkdale United Church is a centre for social justice where we embrace God’s vision of equity, justice and well-being for all. This vision can be fulfilled by identifying social justice concerns and examining them from a faith perspective; by raising awareness of important justice issues; by providing advocacy on justice issues; by encouraging effective outreach programs; by taking action to correct injustices; and by participating in alliances with other like-minded organizations to make changes within our church, in the wider community, and in the world. All are welcome to participate in helping to fulfill this vision.

Parkdale United Church is a member of The United Church of Canada, which invites all Canadians to participate in campaigns and studies, working with our partners around the world to achieve a more peaceful, just, sustainable world. Our congregation generously supports projects of the Mission and Service Fund of the United Church of Canada. Read more about the social justice initiatives of The United Church of Canada and the work of the M & S Fund.

Calgary Urban Project Society (CUPS)

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Years ago, we responded to poverty and homelessness by linking to social workers at CUPS who identified specific urgent needs (e.g., meeting utility bills, providing boots or bus passes). This is how our “Band-Aid Project” came into being. This led to work with partners in Kairos Calgary and the Calgary Homeless Foundation on the purchase of Acadia Place and three other apartments in Calgary to house vulnerable and high risk people. We assist by supporting their after-school programming and community gardening. We help people to get established by collecting and sharing basic household goods. We encourage social gatherings among renters within the apartments to build community. At Christmas, Parkdale United Church raises and donates money to fill many needs and requests from CUPS’ clients throughout the year.

Environmental Projects

Believing the environment is sacred, we have offered educational programs and taken action to ensure its protection.

  • We have sold 500 compact fluorescent bulbs.
  • We encourage the congregation to calculate and lessen their ecological footprints.
  • We encouraged an eco-audit for Parkdale United Church and are implementing the recommendations that were made.
  • We have sharply reduced the use of paper plates and plastic in our kitchen.
  • Fundraising has occurred for low flush toilets for Parkdale United Church and for an African water project.
  • We have installed a water filter system to discourage the useof purchased bottled water.
  • We support the work of the ecumenical group, Faith & the Common Good.
  • We renovate used computers and give them to those in need of this equipment.

Inn from the Cold

Inn from the Cold is a ministry that provides temporary emergency shelter to homeless families and others in need. Members of Parkdale United Church join with members from other churches in Calgary to volunteer at Inn from the Cold. The kind and caring volunteers perform a variety of duties to help create a safe, warm and welcoming space for guests to spend the night. Read more about Inn from the Cold.

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Project Ploughshares Calgary

Project Ploughshares Calgary was initiated by some members of the congregation and has its office in our church. Project Ploughshares conducts research and education, nationally and locally, about peacebuilding strategies, nuclear disarmament, the conventional arms trade, missile defence, and other peace issues. Project Ploughshares Calgary also sponsors discussions on nonviolent conflict resolution and on peaceful parenting strategies. They organize events such as the Hiroshima Floating Lantern Event and the Calgary Peace Run.

Social, Economic and Environmental Justice Issues

Through partners in Kairos Canada, we examine the causes of various social and economic injustices and environmental issues and seek faithful appropriate responses to these problems. We are actively discussing policies on Resource Extraction, Gender Justice and Sexual Diversity, and The Truth and Reconciliation Commission on the legacy of Indian Residential Schools. We raise awareness of these issues with the congregation using print material, occasional services and lunchtime discussions.

We use and sell fairly traded coffee and Minkha sweaters to support business endeavours by people in less developed countries.

Social Justice Movie Nights

About one Sunday evening a month, the Faith and Justice Committee hosts a Movie Night in the Conference Room downstairs. All are welcome to gather at 6:30 p.m. to enjoy dessert and fellowship, and to watch a thought-provoking movie with a social justice flavor. Following the movie, we engage in stimulating conversation about the movie. All are invited to join in the socializing, discussion and learning. See the News & Events page for more details about the next Movie Night.

Other Outreach and Service Projects

  • We provide space for a Community Kitchen Program. The Community Kitchen Program operates a self-empowering model to address the needs of marginalized Calgarians. Participants learn how to prepare nutritious meals and budget their finances.
  • Since 1979, thirty-seven refugees have been fully sponsored by our congregation. Twelve others have received partial sponsorship.
  • In recent years, both adults and children have supported projects in the Dominican Republic, giving financial support to help build an orphanage, a school, and provide affordable water filters and solar-electricity.
  • Parkdale United Church supports the work of Habitat for Humanity by providing the congregation with information about how they can participate in this endeavour.
    Habitat for Humanity is an organization whose mission is “to mobilize volunteers and community partners in building affordable housing and promoting home ownership as a means to break the cycle of poverty.”

“He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks.Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.” Isaiah 2:4