Sydenham Street United Church seeks to advance social justice globally and locally, in partnership with others, through generous contributions of their talents, treasure and time. The monetary value of these contributions was assessed at approximately $1.7 million by the Halo Project in 2018. The same study determined that the local community receives $5.40 in economic benefit for every dollar paid out by the congregation.
The complete Halo Study is available here. In it, the researchers assessed SSUC’s contribution to: 1) Open Space; 2) Direct Spending; 3) Education; 4) Magnet Effect; 5) Individual Impact; 6) Community Development; and 7) Social Capital and Care. It is well worth reading!
We support The United Church of Canada’s Mission
Annual donations to the Mission and Service Fund (M&S) of The United Church of Canada were over $45,000 in 2019. This is equivalent to approximately 20 percent of the total annual operating budget and supplementary to the operating budget.
The congregation supports numerous local projects on its own or in association with other community agencies. We also draw on UCC and other resources, such as KAIROS, to support educational and social development projects offered on an ongoing or occasional basis. For many years, the congregation has also supported self-help groups like AA and Al-Anon, groups working to restore health to people and families facing issues of addiction. Through its general operating fund, the congregation has provided below-market rental rates to these and other outreach and social justice programs.
We help others in our community meet household food needs.
Through the Food Voucher Program, volunteers meet weekly with community members to share friendship and provide food vouchers to help meet household needs for 25-30 families. The program also provides emergency support for food on a one-time-only basis to nearly 200 other people each year. This program is supported through bi-monthly congregational soup lunches, donations and grants, and special events sponsored by generous external groups totaling approximately $24,000/annum.
The Community Garden on the church’s front lawn is planted and tended by a small group of dedicated gardeners. Fresh produce is donated to Loving Spoonful as part of the Grow A Row Initiative. The annual harvest averaging over 160 pounds is supplemented by donations of surplus produce from congregants and other local gardeners to The Spire drop-off location.
Christmas Baskets for 44 families (over 100 individuals) are supported through food and monetary donations from SSUC and two other local congregations. Volunteers sort the donated food, purchase fresh ingredients, and pack and deliver the baskets prior to Christmas. In 2020, we provided food vouchers only, consistent with public health directions and in cooperation with other local organizations.
We support children by creating learning opportunities and mentoring opportunities for university students
The Helen Tufts Child Outreach Program (HTCOP) matches Queen’s student volunteers with about 35 school-aged children from under-serviced Kingston families to support academic and social skills development. SSUC provides meeting space and significant administrative coordination, in partnership with Frontier College and the Queen’s Alma Mater Society.
We provide safe meeting space for numerous self-help groups
On weekday evenings and Sunday mornings, SSUC is the meeting place for self-help groups, including AA and Al-Anon, working to restore health and create community for people and families facing issues of addiction. Below market-rental charges for these community programs are supported by the SSUC operating fund.
We are working to advance Reconciliation and Right Relations with Indigenous Peoples
With Chalmers United Church and community members, this small group, known as the Joint Truth and Reconciliation Group, plans and leads occasional programming initiatives that invite us to listen, learn and share knowledge about the continuing tragic consequences of colonialism and how we may support First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples in their struggle for self-determination and self-governance.
The Inter-Faith Refugee Partnership (IFRP) is one such collaborative community undertaking. Formed in 2015, in cooperation with five other local faith communities to facilitate the immigration and settlement of Syrian refugees in Kingston, this partnership, with two SSUC dedicated volunteers, continues to assist several Canadian immigrants and their families. The rewards and benefits of this engagement have enriched the lives of those directly involved as well as the congregation.
Updated 2021 05 03