Our Common Ground: A 75 Year Journey

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Extending the Hand of Friendship for 75 years at the House of Friendship

Throughout House of Friendship’s (HOF) 75th year of service we are Remembering, Reflecting and Renewing. This discussion starts and ends with HOF’s core values. When we introduce people to House of Friendship, we share our core values: COMPASSION – We extend the hand of friendship; INCLUSION- We believe everyone has a seat at the table; JUSTICE- We value a society where all have a voice; DIGNITY- We honour the self-respect of each person; and, HOPE – We always see hope, even in times of trouble. We explain that these values are inspired by Christian Faith.

What does this mean, ‘Inspired by Christian Faith’? We think this is a fair question. After all, we want you to get to know House of Friendship. And if we are to build a trusting, caring relationship then we need to be open and honest in all of our communications.

First, ‘Inspired by Christian Faith’ is an acknowledgement of our roots. House of Friendship was founded as an evangelical Christian storefront mission in 1939. As its services grew, House of Friendship evolved into a social service agency. It has retained a commitment to serve mind, body and spirit, but respects the right of any individual to define their spirituality at all times.

Second, throughout its history, House of Friendship has had, and continues to have, very close working relationships with local Christian churches and the Mennonite community. House of Friendship ‘For All Nations’ has always served anyone, but as it grew into a social service agency, its diversity increased. Today, House of Friendship is a diverse organization in every sense of the word, welcoming people of all faiths amongst its staff, volunteers, community partners, supporters, and participants.

Over the years we have come to understand, and to appreciate, that the values to which we subscribe are not exclusive to any one faith, including Christianity. Rather, they are our shared values, the common ground on which we stand. This is best illustrated in the Charter of Compassion (November 12, 2009), seen here:

The Charter starts by saying, “The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions.” It goes on to say that compassion demands that we work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of others and that we treat everyone with equity, justice and respect. Sounds good to us!

The Charter, the dream of Karen Armstrong, a former Catholic nun, was created on-line by more than 150,000 contributors from around the world. It is a call to action to return to this ‘Golden Rule’ as a way of building humanity and creating a just and peaceful society for all.

House of Friendship’s vision, ‘building a healthy community where all can belong and thrive’, is part of this global movement. House of Friendship is proud of its history and sees it as a foundation on which we can help build a better tomorrow.

We invite all people in our community to serve with us as we strengthen people and communities by being there when needed, speaking up and working together.

 

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One Response to “Our Common Ground: A 75 Year Journey”

  1. Michael Hackbusch, Chaplaincy Director Says:

    Right on! ‘Inspired by Christian Faith’ does indeed give a nod to HOF’s Christian roots and how that inspiration is spelled out in HOFs Values unpacks what has and continues to BE inspired: Compassion, Inclusion, Justice, Dignity, and Hope.

    HOF’s relationship with the churches began ‘back in the day’ and continues to this day but with the added support of both the Interfaith Community and non-religiously affiliated Citizens!

    The Interfaith community especially supports the diversity of our community, and that each is fully able to give expression to their faith by serving our neighbours in need as together we strive for a healthy community where all can belong and thrive.

    We together are engaged in the work of the Golden Rule!

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