Monthly Archives: June 2017

The spice of life

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If variety is the spice of life, yesterday was a flavourful day!

We met in the morning to do some admin work at our new “office”, the kitchen of a baptist church in Chinatown that has graciously offered us space, access to wifi, and a coffee maker 🙂 We talked through some logistics, answered emails, and wrote letters to members of our support team.

Next on the docket was a recording session for “The Noisy Jesus Band”, a group of musicians from The Dale who help lead worship on Sundays. A generous friend of one of the community musicians has supplied some equipment that makes recording possible, and so The NJB got down to work!

After a quick lunch-on-the-go, Meagan, Erinn and I then journeyed to the apartment of a community member who struggles with hoarding. This friend had been talking about having us come to help clean for quite a while now, and this week took the vulnerable plunge to have us over. It was saddening to see the conditions in which our friend lives, but a privilege to be invited in. Our friend played upbeat music and told us stories while we began the process of cleaning up.

After saying goodbye to our friend, I popped by the community garden to do some weeding in The Dale’s plot. The dill, kale and parsley that we planted as seeds are sprouting up nicely, and our basil, tomato, rosemary, oregano and mint plants are doing well too. I connected with another gardener who was curious about who we are and what we do. I gave him our info, and he said he’ll considering joining us for a drop-in or church service with his daughter sometime soon.

On my way through one of the many Parkdale parkettes, I ran into Marlene, a dear community member who was going to feed the birds. She stopped for a little chat and a hug. Marlene makes my heart smile.

My final stop was the apartment of a community member who is currently in the ICU at St. Jo’s. This friend is the proud and loving owner of six cats and a dog, and a few of us at The Dale are taking turns caring for these critters. Yesterday was my turn. I’m sad for these little dudes, as they miss their mom, and grateful that we were able to gain access to her place in order to help care for them.

So yeah. That was our day. Just another day at The Dale.

I am grateful for the generosity of our many supporters, and the person who donated that recording equipment. I am grateful for the way our friends let us into the vulnerable spaces of their lives, and that we receive such care from the community at the same time. And I’m grateful for new growth sprouting from the good earth, and new connections that remind me of the that saying my dad instilled in me: “there’s no such thing as strangers, only friends you haven’t met yet!”

changes

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There’s been a lot going on lately, and lots of changes. Some of these changes have been really good, some have been really sad, and some have been hard, simply because change (even when it’s good) can be hard.

One of the very sad things is that Erinn’s dear mom, Elaine Grant, passed away on May 22nd. Elaine was wonderful, and was a hugely important part of Erinn’s life and the life of The Dale (she was a supporter in every sense of the word, and was prayed for every single Sunday by folks at our church service). Things were very hard for Elaine for many years, and she was still an incredibly grateful, generous and caring woman of faith. Her absence is keenly felt by Erinn, and the rest of her family and friends (of which there are many).

One of the good changes is that Meagan Gillard joined us on staff at The Dale on April 18! Meagan is wonderful- she’s calm under pressure, intuitive and efficient about things that need to be done, and keeps us laughing with her witty one-liners. While it’s a big adjustment for her, and for me and Erinn, we are glad that she’s part of our little team 🙂 I am especially grateful for the timing of Meagan’s arrival; her start date fell a month before Elaine’s death, which meant that she had a bit of time to get settled before becoming my right hand lady for a couple of weeks while Erinn was off. Meagan totally rose to the occasion, and I know those weeks were far more manageable because of her steady, kind presence.

Another of the changes is that we need to leave the space at 201 Cowan that we have been using for our Wednesday Art/breakfast drop in, and our church service on Sundays by July 1st. This space was probably the closest thing to a “home base” that the Dale has had over the last few years, so the loss of this space has been hard. However, we will still be meeting in the building on Sundays, in the main sanctuary rather than a classroom. And we are 90% sure that we’ve secured a space for our Wednesday drop in (stay tuned to find out where!). Two aspects of the Dale’s identity is that we’re nomadic, and that we roll with things. So, we’ll keep on rolling!

My thoughts on change are sort of summed up in one of my favourite Steve Bell songs (called Changes, appropriately).

Change is coming upon us

It keeps moving, moving around us

Got to keep dancing, knowing who loves us

Got to keep joy in our hearts

 

Amen.