She booked a bed at our women’s shelter, Evangeline Residence, because she was being beaten by her husband. She never dreamed she’d have to ever do that.
While she was there, she heard about our Causeway program. She knew that by fleeing her abusive husband, she’d be leaving her community behind as well. So she signed up to be a Causeway participant once she moved out.
When we found out where she’d be moving, we connected her with some volunteers in her new neighborhood in an effort to help alleviate her potential loneliness. It was a connection we felt good about.
Fast-forward a couple of years. I ran into two Causeway volunteers a few weeks ago and began a casual conversation with them. I inquired as to how their Causeway connection was going and got a good report. But here’s the part of the story that made my heart sing with joy and excitement. They told me that on the day before I spoke with them they attended a women’s prayer breakfast at their church. One of these volunteers got up and told the group about Causeway and announced that I would be doing an upcoming training for anyone who was interested. Afterwards, two women approached this volunteer to talk. They proceeded to tell her that they knew a lot about Causeway. In fact, they only knew each other because of Causeway. It turns out that one of those two people was the woman that had moved out of Evangeline Residence a few years back. She was there with her friend that she met via Causeway.
These two women were at this women’s prayer breakfast as friends; as equals. There was no distinction as to ‘client’ or ‘volunteer’. The former shelter resident wasn’t identified as such. They were simply just two friends at a women’s prayer breakfast amongst a group of other women enjoying a community breakfast and prayer time together. No fanfare. No singling anyone out. No distinctions.
When I think about true justice and reconciliation, I can think of no better story than this. Our work really does matter. What we do in our shelters is not a game. We have the opportunity to be catalysts to see lives changed. We’re not messing around. It’s a privilege to be a part of a team that strives to be ‘The Hand of God in the Heart of the City’.
Dion Oxford, Director of Mission Integration
*In honour of the recent International Women’s Day
Prayer for International Women’s Day
God of all,
Women are a reflection of your glory. Today we honor the women of all times and all places:
Women of courage.
Women of hope.
Women living fully.
Women experiencing joy.
Women delighting in life.
Women knowing the interconnectedness of the human family.
Women honoring the sacredness of the relational, the affective.
Women quietly tending the garden of human flourishing.
Women boldly leading the transformation of unjust global structures.
Women seeking Wisdom.
Women sharing Wisdom.
Women receiving Love.
Women giving Love.
Loving God, we celebrate your faithfulness and love. On this day we commit ourselves to the promotion of the full humanity of all women everywhere. We know that whatever denies, diminishes, or distorts the full humanity of women is not of God.
Help us to be faithful to your call to love.
Prayer adapted from here