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.

Responding to Poverty and the Need for Reconciliation

Parkdale United Church works to eliminate poverty and homelessness in Calgary by advocating for the Housing First Program.  Housing First is a homeless assistance approach that prioritizes providing permanent housing to people experiencing homelessness, thus ending their homelessness and serving as a platform from which they can pursue personal goals such as furthering their education and securing employment in order to improve their quality of life.

We work through a program called Band-Aid together with KAIROS, HomeSpace, and CUPS.  KAIROS Calgary is an ecumenical initiative bringing together 130 churches from 10 denominations (including The United Church of Canada) with a vision of helping homeless families in Calgary.  HomeSpace has a mission to increase the number of affordable and specialized housing units in Calgary.  CUPS assists adults and families in Calgary who are living with poverty and traumatic events to become self-sufficient.  Working together with these agencies, Parkdale United Church helps to provide housing, resource programming and mortgage support for four buildings:  Acadia Place, Bankview, Claire and Longbow.  In collaboration with other churches, we have contributed furnishings, household goods and moral support that have enabled the housing of over 3,000 individuals.  A significant number of these individuals are indigenous people.  We have had the privilege of listening to their requests and responding appropriately so they can improve the quality of their lives. This is part of the Reconciliation process.

Parkdale United Church supports the Coldest Night of the Year event, workshops on homelessness, morning coffee times, a community bread program, education and social events, including First Nations education and social programs.

Parkdale United Church has a group that meets monthly to make and deliver sandwiches for people in need at the Calgary Drop-In Centre and another group that volunteers monthly at the Airdrie Food Bank.

Responding to Climate Change

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 commissioned a green audit for Parkdale United Church in 2012 and have implemented the key recommendations.
  • We have sharply reduced the use of paper plates and plastic in our kitchen.
  • We have installed low flush toilets in the church.
  • We have installed a water filter system to discourage the use of 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.
  • To reduce the environmental effects of plastic use and costs of transportation, we sell Dizolve Eco-Strips laundry detergent and Unwrapped Life shampoo products (plastic free).
  • We have a consistent policy of “greening” our church.
  • We replaced our hot water boiler, estimated at 55% efficiency, with new boilers rated at 85% efficiency.  This replacement included upgrading thermostats to programmable models that prevent over-heating.
  • We will be installing 99 rooftop solar panels in the spring of 2020.

Other Justice and Service Projects

  • We have a strong committee assisting new immigrants from Eritrea.
  • Parkdale United Church supports the work of the Affirming Community, sending a clear message that all are welcome.
  • We sell and use in the church Fair Trade coffee to ensure that coffee growers are properly paid.
  • We enjoy sharing discussions after monthly movies which feature social justice themes.
  • Parkdale United Church makes our facilities available to many groups to support and encourage the wellbeing of all in our community and beyond (e.g., 12-step programs, workshops, wellness groups and support groups).

Building Peace

“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

Parkdale United Church provides space for the operation of Ploughshares Calgary Society. The group began as a branch of a national Project Ploughshares group (a program of the Canadian Council of Churches and sponsored by the United Church of Canada). Ploughshares Calgary operates independently now. Ploughshares Calgary seeks to educate and encourage research to create mutual respect and understanding in order to contribute to human security and the peaceful resolution of conflicts. By holding educational events, engaging in advocacy and publishing a regular newsletter, the group seeks to build sustainable peace, encourage practical steps towards nuclear disarmament and minimize recourse to military force.

“In keeping with his promise, we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness dwells.” 2 Peter 3:13