Transforming News from St. Matthew’s Maryland Community Ministry

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For over 45 years, St. Matthew’s Maryland Community Ministry (StMMCM) has been serving the people of West End Winnipeg as a joint ministry of the Anglican and United Churches. Programs have varied over the years, but there has always been a strong presence in the neighbourhood where guests found generous hospitality, food, community, loving care, and a sense of belonging. The Ministry has always been housed on the lower level of St. Matthew’s Anglican Church, now part of WestEnd Commons, at 365 McGee Street. The Anglican presence in the Ministry has been strong, first through the parish of St. Matthew’s and, more recently, through the Anglican Consortium in Support of StMMCM. Parishes in the Consortium include St. Mary’s Charleswood, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Matthew’s, St. Paul’s, and St. Peter’s. But transformational changes are afoot!

After a significant discernment process, the Board of StMMCM has decided to move under the auspices of 1JustCity effective July 1, 2018. This move will free up staff and volunteer resources to focus on programs and services. The Board is confident this transition will support the long term sustainability of the ministry and the people we serve. StMMCM is represented on the Board of 1JustCity with both Anglican and United Church voices. This direction is being undertaken by the StMMCM Board from a position of stability and confidence in the future. It is a proactive initiative that is intended to strengthen the leadership base and to help raise the profile of all the inner city ministries in Winnipeg.

In the words of Josh Ward, our Community Minister:

Transformation is coming at St. Matthew’s Maryland Community Ministry, and that seems appropriate as transformation is what we do best! Take our Sharing Circle. Every Tuesday morning, a diverse group of people meet in the Drop-in to smudge, pray, and share. People who are lonely come and find a group that listens compassionately; when they leave they are not so lonely anymore. People who have lost loved ones or faced other trauma share their stories; when they leave their steps are a little lighter. We’ve even had people who are dying come for support as they prepare for the end of this life.

Or how about our Community Capacity Builder? This staff person works diligently to transform lives in our community by helping people find opportunities to grow by volunteering with us; accessing training that will support them in rejoining the workforce; or connecting with whatever resources they need to make it through another day. Our Community Capacity Builder works with people who have been told they are worthless and helps them realize how special they are.

These are just two of the many ways we are bringing transformation in our community, and neither of these projects would be happening without the support of 1JustCity, an organization formed out of a partnership between four community ministries in Winnipeg. Originally, 1JustCity’s task was to assist us in fundraising and writing grant applications, and there has been enormous success in that area.