The Outreach Committee is a very busy and active group of volunteers here at Scarborough Bluffs United Church. We meet almost monthly throughout the year, and work to assist in our community, our city, and the world at large.
Basic Life Skills are under the umbrella of and are supported by Outreach. The Toronto District School Board operates the BLS program, and a member of our committee is a liaison person.
In the past, some members visited at a local motel where the homeless and new residents to Canada are sheltered. We have recently discontinued this activity as most motel stays are now of shorter duration making it difficult to develop a connection with the residents. We are, instead, hosting dinners at Scarborough East Boys and Girls Club for the children in residence as well any children at the club on the evening. We have also hosted luncheons for
the mothers to give them a break from the residence.
We have members who are affiliated with The Caring Alliance, an interfaith group serving the homeless and those at risk.
We support our local food bank through regular donations of non-perishable food, cash, and grocery store gift cards.
We respond to the requests and needs of The Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities (formerly West Hill Community Services) as needed.
Each October we have “Undie Sundays”, a Thanksgiving project to collect new underwear for distribution through the Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities. It reminds us of the many that we take for granted while others do without even the most basic things.
Our annual special offerings during the seasons of Lent and Advent are allocated to one global and one local charity each year. Some recent recipients of these funds have been Global Medic, an emergency disaster relief organization run by a Toronto Paramedic; FoodShare Toronto; the United Church of Canada’s Mission and Service Fund, supplying micro loans to those in developing countries to start and maintain small home industries; Ryan’s Well, an organization working to provide fresh drinking water in Africa and most recently the United Church Ebola Fund.
We hold an annual Giant Used Book Sale, and allocate the receipts to various Outreach projects.
We have supported Habitat for Humanity by hosting a lunch for workers at local build sites almost every year since 2006.
At Christmas time, we provide gifts for the youth who are living in shelters. We also provide warm hats, mitts and scarves to those in need during the cold winter season. We participated in the City of Toronto’s annual holiday party for the families living in motels and shelters, by helping to serve nutritious snacks, and a hot turkey dinner with all the trimmings until it was discontinued.
We set the target for our congregation’s annual Mission and Service givings, and encourage the support of this with regular presentations of “Minute for Mission” during the weekly church service.
Mission & Service Fund
The Mission & Service (M&S) Fund represents our collective way to be God’s presence in the world—to be the church, to love and serve, to seek justice, to live with respect in creation. It gives us a collective voice in advocating change, justice, and peace, whether through the Canadian government or working with our ecumenical partners. The M&S Fund ensures that we are participating together in all of this work and more.
It has been said that “for Christians giving isn’t an option,” and for United Church members, M&S shouldn’t be. We all make decisions about which charities we want to support. For United Church members, the M&S Fund should be an automatic choice. M&S is who we are and what we do. It’s the United Church faith in action.
Through the resources of the Mission and Service Fund we support nearly 350 ministries – from local congregations to community outreach and social support programmes, from chaplaincies in hospitals, nursing homes, and universities to ministries with refugees and immigrants and with ecumenical agencies. Globally, we work in partnership with 38 countries with 144 churches, Christian Councils and agencies.
The logo for the Mission and Service Fund can be viewed in two parts; the base foundation and the vertical flourishes. The base foundation may be seen as a manger reminding us the Christ Child was and is born among us and all creation. It may be seen as a baptismal font where we are welcomed to the new life in Christ. It may be seen as a communion table where we are nurtured in the new life and where offerings of bread, wine and money are brought and shared.
The vertical flourishes emanating from the base may be seen as a rainbow reminding us of God’s covenant of hope with us and all creation. They may be seen as splashes of water cleansing and renewing all of life. They may be seen as flames of the Holy Spirit bringing God’s light, warmth and direction to the life of the Church. Taken together, the logo is designed to represent all aspects of the Mission and Service Fund. It is symbolic of our faith that has a sure foundation; and at the same time is vibrant, energetic and versatile. It is symbolic of God’s offering to us; and at the same time suggests each of us has something to offer to the wider wounded world. Together, the receiving and giving of God’s gifts is at the heart of the Mission and Service Fund.
Global Medic – Haiti Cholera response, January 2011
Habitat for Humanity build, Scarborough 2010
Ryan with Ugandan children (2006)
Thanks to the meal providers, including Scarborough Bluffs