Church leaders support Good Food Junction

 — Nov. 27, 201027 nov. 2010

Church leaders support Good Food Junction;
Grocery store heart of Station 20 West

Advent sees many churches encouraging members to give a special gift to charity. This year, local church leaders suggest these gifts be directed to the Good Food Junction project at Station 20 West.

Earlier this week, local leaders from a variety of Christian denominations gathered at Station 20 West to sign a letter of commitment to support a project to equip and outfit the soon-to-open Good Food Junction.

“The Good Food Junction store is the heart of the Station 20 West project,” says Rev. Jan Bigland-Pritchard, executive director of the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism which facilitated the signing event. “Station 20 West will create a hub of services in Saskatoon’s core neighbourhood. There hasn’t been a grocery store in the area since 1997, and this is a neighbourhood where fewer residents have cars. Just imagine being a mother with toddlers and having to walk many blocks to a grocery store. Or trying to navigate on a bus with children and bags of groceries. What generally happens is that these folks are forced to spend money on expensive taxi trips, rely on fast food, or go without. As a result, health is gravely undermined because of lack of good food.”

While the Good Food Junction project is not a church program, churches are standing behind it.

The church involvement began when the new Catholic Bishop, Rev. Don Bolen, was approached by Station 20 West to see if the Catholic Diocese would add its support to the project. Bolen enthusiastically gave his endorsement and began looking to broaden the support of Station 20 West by the wider Christian community.

“Christian churches should always act together,” he says, “whenever it is possible and responsible to do so. The Good Food Junction is clearly addressing a need. It is a very helpful project directed toward the common good. There is no reason why we all would not want to support it.

“Doing so comes with three benefits that I can see. First, it is helpful and an end in itself. If the various Christian communities will help as they consider appropriate, we will help get the project off the ground.

“Second, the project got politicized when it really isn’t a political thing. The only legitimate politics involved here is the politics of addressing human need and providing a grocery store in needy area where there isn’t one. My hope is that Christian churches standing together will help de-politicize it. Third, my hope is that by virtue of a wide range of Christian churches standing together in this way, the project will be seen by others — including the business community — to be worth getting involved in.”

Signatories on the letter of intent included the Most Rev. Bryan Bayda, Bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon; the Most Rev. Donald Bolen, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon; Rev. Jeremiah Buhler, Area Minister for Mennonite Church Saskatchewan; Rev. Amanda Currie, minister with Presbyterian Church in Canada; Rev. Claire Ewert Fisher, Executive Director of the Mennonite Central Committee; Rev. Cindy Halmarson, Bishop of the Saskatchewan Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada; the Rt. Rev. David Irving, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Saskatoon; Rev. Ron McConnell, Chair of the River Bend Presbytery, United Church of Canada; and Pastor Harry Strauss, chair of the Saskatoon Evangelical Ministers Fellowship.

The Advent Initiative calls for congregations to consider offering prayer and financial support for the Good Food Junction project. The specific focus is to raise the $650,000 required to stock and equip the store.

“This is good community development work,” says Claire Ewert Fisher of the MCC. “This is cutting a wider swathe across the spectrum of the whole community. This is churches getting behind a community effort, saying: ‘We want to work alongside you’ rather than ‘We’ll do this for you.’ We are accompanying people who are already doing good work.”

Jan Bigland-Pritchard hopes each church member and church community will look for deliberate and innovative ways to raise funds. “Saskatchewan people very good at this,” she says. “It could be something as simple as putting a jar by the door and dropping in a toonie every time you head for the grocery store.”

To Cindy Halmarson’s mind, the Advent initiative is totally appropriate. “Advent and Christmas remind us that when God in Christ came to dwell among us, He was born and lived in poverty and simplicity. In Jesus’ ministry, we see His profound concern for those in need. As His disciples, we have a moral imperative to follow His example.”

Says Amanda Currie, “Congregational participation in this is a practical expression of our Christian calling.”

For more information on Station 20 West and the Good Food Junction, visit

Posted: Nov. 27, 2010 • Permanent link:
Categories: NewsIn this article: justice, poverty, Saskatoon
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Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : justice, poverty, Saskatoon

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