Justice Working Group

Welcome to Our Justice Page

The Justice Working Group at St. James is made up of a group of people committed to promoting peace, justice and the wise stewardship of our natural resources. The group seeks to be a place for people to share their concerns and obtain information. It looks at the causes of injustice from all sides, sets goals and takes action.

We hold membership on KAIROS (Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives), the Toronto West Presbytery, CEMA (the Burnhamthorpe/427 Community Center Project), LAMP, the Etobicoke Health Coalition, and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.

Past projects have included, and in some cases continue to include, affordable housing, ending the clawback of Child Benefit cheques, same-sex marriage, the war in Iraq, immigration policies, working conditions, transportation, defence initiatives. We take an active interest in the policies of every level of government and the church.

You are welcome to join us. We meet the first Monday of every month at 7:30 p.m. except in September and January, please see the calendar or call the church office to confirm the next meeting date.

Current Conversations:

Stop the Mega-Quarry in Melanchton Township.

Being and Becoming an Intercultural Church.

Addressing Poverty

The Israeli/Palestinian conflict

Some of our projects include:

The St. James Food Basket is a new, cooperative community initiative that was launched on February 7, 2007.  It is open every Wednesday from 2:00 – 6:00 pm. to give a hand up to the 20% of our neighbours living at or below the poverty line, many of whom are children and seniors, the working poor and people with disabilities.  Volunteers and donations are greatly appreciated (more details). Well over 200 families are receiving food and other forms of assistance from the Food Basket on a regular basis.  We spent a few months looking at the United Church of Canada’s document on the complexities and implications of globalization.
Water as Sacred Gift. Working with the United Church of Canada Lenten focus, KAIROS and the Canadian Catholic Organization of Development and Peace we are drawing people’s attention to the politics of water, and the very urgent questions, “is water a commodity to be exploited, or is it a right?” and “how do we manage our water resources so that there is water enough for all?” More information may be found at the following sites: The United Church of Canada: Water Focus, KAIROS Canada: Water and theBlue Planet Project.
Adopt a Minefield. We support the Toronto West Presbytery World Affairs Committee in its Lenten focus on the personal and economic toll that minefields have on the poorest of countries. Every day men, women and children are disabled and killed during the most simple activities of life, like walking or playing. See more at The Canadian Landmine Foundation , Wikipedia: Landmine and the United Nations www.mineaction.org sites.
Healthcare. The Justice Working Group has an abiding interest in local issues as well as international ones. We are watching with interest and some concern at what is happening in health care services, including the Ontario Provincial Government’s move to Local Health Integration Networks. The Provincial Government has LHIN updates at www.health.gov.on.ca/transformation. The Canadian Health Care Manager has a special report on LHINs. The issues surrounding this move are outlined by the Ontario Health Coalition and by the Ontario Nurses Association.
Burnhamthorpe/427 Community Center Project. The project began in the mid-nineties, when a number of agencies and concerned citizens met to address the lack of services for three Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) projects located in central Etobicoke, Ontario. The houses are situated on the East and West Malls and the Capri road area, near Rathburn road and Highway 427. Rev. Vicki Obedkoff, of St. James, was invited to join the Steering Committee. Bob Harris, also of St. James, supported the project and chaired the Committee for many years. Tenants were encouraged to join and work with the Steering Committee, and they later formed the East Mall Tenants Association. The TCHC set aside a two storey townhouse for this initiative and this was the beginning of a neighbourhood centre. The project is funded by the City of Toronto and the United Way. Current programs include after school, recreation, health and senior crafts. Presently, members of the Justice Working Group attend the Steering Committee meetings and participate in subcommittees and programmes. Support is also given to Burnhamthorpe/427 staff in their bid to rent the church facilities for children and youth programmes. The Community Center project may be contacted at 416.621.2515.