Anglicans in the Diocese of New Westminster were blessed by having Bishop Melissa stand with other faith, union, and community leaders at the Founding Assembly of the Metro Vancouver Alliance in February. We are well on our way as a part of this growing voice for social and human justice.
The first Annual General Meeting of Metro Alliance members was held at Vancouver Community College on Thursday, June 5. Several Anglicans active in the organization were there to give reports and to vote on behalf of their Anglican constituencies. I was there to represent St. Laurence, Coquitlam, a registered member of the MVA. Other Anglicans who play key roles in MVA at the present time include (but are not limited to) Patricia McSherry, Margaret Marquardt and Andrew Wilhelm Boyle.
As the Annual Report states, “Members of Metro Vancouver Alliance are institutions: congregations, labor unions, educational bodies, non-profits, and neighbourhood organizations that share a concern for the well-being of their community.” Faith groups represented include Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Anglican, Baptists, Presbyterians, members of the Jewish community, KAIROS, Longhouse Council of Native Ministry,and the United Church of Canada. We’re hoping to broaden that base. Individual Anglican parishes that are members of Metro Alliance include St. Catherines, St. Clements, St. James, St. Laurence, and St. Thomas, in addition to the diocesan Eco-Justice Unit and the North Shore Social Justice Working Group (Anglican and Lutheran).
These faith groups partner with a number of labour unions and their locals, community groups, and sponsoring organizations.
Over the past year, Metro Vancouver Alliance has completed a listening campaign involving conversations with hundreds of people in its member organizations, carried out a discernment exercise to choose the issues that will form MVA’s public agenda (Poverty, Housing, Transit, Social Isolation), and held the Founding Assembly attended by 650 people with senior political faith and community leaders in attendance.
In addition, MVA has carried out leadership and listening training for community leaders from over 100 institutions, established four Research Action Teams for the four identified areas of action, put plans in place to hold an ‘Election Accountability Assembly’ in October 2014, prior to municipal elections, and built a governance structure and financial base to sustain and support the organization.
Lead Organizer Deborah Littman came to MVA from London Citizens in the UK, a thriving broad-based community organization. Winetta Lee, Project Co-ordinator, has worked primarily with the Catholic Matters Project. She helped to develop a Catholic Social Teaching training package for young adults and co-ordinated a number of key MVA events. She completed her contract in August of last year.
James Infante has interned with MVA over the past year, playing a large role in the organization and execution of the Founding Assembly. James is also a UBC student ambassador, involved with the Filipino Students Association.
MVA has a very active Board and Leaders’ Group which holds one-to-one meetings with leaders of faith, community, education and labour organizations. The major goal of such meetings is to identify where leaders and institutions share common interests which could be best advanced by being part of a broad-based community organization.
When members of your parish have an opportunity to attend a leadership institute or other form of training, it will be well worth your while. We have an excellent opportunity for effective network development between Anglicans and a host of other organizations and for helping to develop servant leadership in our community.
Have a look at the MVA website to find out more. http://iafnw.org/canada/metrovancouveralliance
Steve Bailey is a deacon at St. Laurence, Coquitlam and a blogmaster at NW Anglican Blog.