Posts Tagged ‘faith’

Working Together For Community

April 8, 2015

Reading our volunteer profiles, you may get a sense of the diversity of experience that makes House of Friendship an interesting organization to be a part of.  Today I would like to share the first part of an ongoing series where we share about what inspires and drives the people who work at House of Friendship. Here is Michael Hackbusch.

 

Michael

 

Where do you work and what do you do?
As Chaplaincy Director my office is currently at the Charles Street Men’s Hostel but I work in the community: advocacy group, teaching students, preaching at local churches, interfaith partnerships, HOF event promoter, pastoral care, Leadership Team, Spirituality group leader with addictions programs. The work is certainly diverse but always returns to the basic task of promoting HOF’s vision of a healthy community where all can belong and thrive. (more…)

Volunteer profile: Norm

December 30, 2014

Norm has volunteered at the food hamper program for over four years. He is kind and soft spoken, and his faith and his determination to better our community is truly inspirational. Your contributions have been noticed and are appreciated by many. Thank you Norm for all that you do, you are amazing!

Norm and Marg!

Norm and Marg!

 Why do you volunteer here? Is it important to you?

Some of the best things in our lives over the years have been volunteering. When talking about poverty one day while volunteering I was asked specifically by a 14 year old girl: What are you doing about it? My faith commitment is a major reason why I volunteer and help out in the community. This is very important to me. I feel that we should go beyond our work and go the extra mile for people. (more…)

Our Common Ground: A 75 Year Journey

May 20, 2014

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.

 

Soup for the soul – pitching in to help volunteers help others

December 11, 2011

Today may be Sunday for you, but for us at House of Friendship, it’s day 2 of 12days, during which volunteers deliver Christmas food hampers and distribute turkeys to families in need.  The Christmas Hampers Warehouse is quiet today, but tomorrow it will be in full swing, packing and shipping Christmas food hampers.

Because it is Sunday, I want to highlight a very important way that many people in our community, of many different faiths,  support the work of Christmas Hamper Volunteers as they share the gift of food with our neighbours in need.

Each year, for many years now, different faith groups choose a day that Christmas Hampers are being packed in our Christmas Warehouse and prepare a delicious soup lunch for the hardworking volunteers working on the assembly line.  This is always a highlight of the day, and an important way of supporting the people who give up their time and a lot of their energy to help others.

One volunteer with the groups told us, “I know the importance of always, in formal and informal ways, appreciating and thanking our volunteers.  Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.  Feeding them during a shift is just one small way of showing our thanks and appreciation for their time and efforts.”

For others, there is a powerful spiritual message in the labours of the volunteers, as another group member shared with us that, “The Christmas Hampers that are distributed by House of Friendship are a wonderful incarnation of the spirit and meaning of Christmas, of the generosity of God’s gift at Christmas. And as I believe Dickens said, it is at Christmas when human wants and needs are most keenly felt.  So of course we must support the Christmas Food Hampers!!!”

What is the reward for making soup for 30 or 40 people?  We asked the groups for some suggestions and recipes and our friends at Erb St. Mennonite Church told us, “Even though one person could prepare the soup, it is a time of fellowship and sharing for several people to assemble on the evening before the soup making day and prepare all the ingredients. It is a community building event for us.  It is one link in the chain that binds our faith community with the broader community. We can show our support for the work of House of Friendship in a tangible way.”

As these volunteers show us, if you are wondering where to start pitching in to help others, look no further than your own faith community.   There are always many different ways to help your community and others in need.

House of Friendship offers heartfelt thanks to everyone involved in our many programs.  At this time of year especially, your efforts to pitch in and make a difference are an inspiration to us all.

But we can’t leave a post about sharing soup with others without sharing in turn a recipe.  So with thanks to our many volunteers (both serving and receiving) here you go!

Corn Chowder Soup for Thirty:

  • Start with a big pot or caldron
  • Fry two pounds bacon (chopped)
  • Add a 3-lb bag of onions, chopped
  • Cook until onions are transparent.
  • Add two large bags frozen corn.
  • Add two liters chicken stock, six to eight liters half and half, or milk, or any combination thereof.
  • Add salt & pepper to taste, and generous amounts of Italian Seasoning Mix.
  • When the soup is hot (but not boiling), slowly add one large box of instant mashed potatoes to thicken.

Enjoy! And remember to share with us your stories and comments on how you pitch in.