The Holy Hug

I’m a hugger.

One my many childhood nicknames was “Huggy Bear,” and one of the many nicknames I’ve recevied from Dale community members over the years is “The Hugging Bandit.”

Over the last few weeks I’ve been fighting a cold, followed by the stomach flu, and have been avoiding hugs for the protection of those around me. This has felt very reminiscent of the first couple of years of COVID, when The Dale staff only hugged each other when someone died, and tried to avoid getting within six feet of community members.

Not being able to hold one another in a warm embrace is sad and hard. I am so grateful that, thanks to masks and vaccines, hugging has felt like a safer thing to do of late. (This being said, I recognize and respect that not everyone is a hugger, and don’t assume that a hug is what someone wants in a given situation!)

There is one Dale community member, “Brenda”, who gives particularly good hugs. She has a very big presence in the neighbourhood, and a voice that can easily reach across Queen Street. She’s been known to call us over to say a prayer for her, nearly always followed by a hug.

About a month ago (well before I got sick!), Brenda spotted me and Erinn when we were showing our friend Paul around Parkdale. This time, instead of asking for a spoken prayer, Brenda went straight in for a long, tight hug. As she let go, she said “Amen!”

I loved that. Sometimes a good hug is all the prayer we can muster, and all the prayer that we need. Sending you all a holy hug, this chilly Monday. Amen!


By joannacatherinemoon

I am the Lead Community Worker at The Dale Ministries in Parkdale, Toronto, ON. The Dale seeks to create safe welcoming spaces in which all people, particularly those on the margins, are encouraged to participate fully, to the best of their abilities and journey together toward a deeper experience of the life God has given us. This blog is meant to help keep my supporters connected with life at The Dale.


  1. And a BIG HUG right back achta!

    Hope your cold and flu bugs have been chased away and you are doing well.

    Lots of love, Elaine


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: