Monthly Archives: October 2016

Another camp adventure awaits

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In just over a week, about twenty-five of us Dale folks will be up at Camp Koinonia, up near Parry Sound!

We missed our camping trip last year, for a variety of reasons, and the community felt it. Consequently, we’ve been fielding questions about camp since the middle of last winter! For many of our folks, this trip (which is sometimes a summer trip and sometimes a fall retreat) is the only time they get to leave the city, so they are understandably itching to hit the road next Friday.

One of my favourite things about these trips is seeing the stress melt away from the faces of my friends as we exit Toronto. Don’t get me wrong… I adore Toronto, and am so glad to call it home. But we all know that life in the city can be loud and busy, and many of our friends in Parkdale are facing the added stress of living on a low income in the midst of a rapidly gentrifying neighbourhood.

But next weekend we will be leaving the noise of the city behind, along with the advertisements for unaffordable goods and the worry about where to find the next meal. We will sing songs around the fireplace, play lots of board games, go on hikes, do some canoeing, hopefully see some stars, and breathe lots of fresh air.

Of course, things aren’t always as idyllic as all of that. Conflicts sometimes arise, people sometimes forget their meds, accidents have been known to occur. So if you think of it, please send off some prayers or good thoughts, that next weekend will be a deeply good one.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

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The gang from 2 years ago!

Extended Family

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At The Dale, we are very aware that we are a large, beautiful network of people. Our core community is comprised mainly of folks who call Parkdale home, or are in the neighbourhood regularly. We see each other several days of the week, and do life together in a fairly intensive way.

There are other members of the community who we don’t see as often, but are very much part of the weekly or monthly rhythm of life at The Dale. We see them for lunch on Mondays, or for breakfast on Wednesdays, or for church on Sundays, or for outreach during the last week of the month. These folks come from all over the city, and sometimes even from outside of town. They add to the richness of our communal life, bringing their unique perspectives, experiences, gifts and vulnerabilities.

There are other people who we know we can call upon for extra support when we need it. These folks work at places like Sanctuary, The Gateway men’s shelter, a law office, a medical clinic, or another community agency. They helps with drop-ins or outreach when Erinn or I can’t be there, provide services that we aren’t able to offer, lend a listening ear or offer insight into a tricky situation.

We also have a wonderful board of directors, made up of people who care deeply about The Dale and are committed to helping us run in a healthy and sustainable way. On top of their regular board meetings, these folks also participate in our fundraising efforts, and offer support in a wide variety of ways.

And of course, all of this is made possible by the wide network of people, churches and organizations who support The Dale, financially and prayerfully. This network is wonderful, and increasingly diverse. The Ride for Refuge, the bike ride/walk in which The Dale recently participated, provided the opportunity to invite more people into our web of support. This is so exciting and encouraging!

These various groups of people overlap in many beautiful ways, and each person is very much part of The Dale in their own way. I wish I could name every single person who we consider to be part of The Dale’s extended family, but please know that EACH of you is cherished. This Thanksgiving, I am giving thanks for you.

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