A new Angus Reid Institute poll confirms what Amie Peacock knows firsthand.
She launched Beyond the Conversation five years ago so she and her team could befriend and encourage isolated and lonely people living in the midst of crowded Metro Vancouver.
“The major driver for me,” she told me October 14, “is the empathy I have to alleviate the pain of people who are experiencing social isolation.”
The October 14 Angus Reid report – ‘Isolation, Loneliness and COVID-19: Pandemic leads to sharp increase in mental health challenges, social woes’ – states:
The unprecedented drop in community activity, from volunteering, to attending live concerts, to visiting local community centres and hubs, has taken its toll on Canadians. The percentage of those saying they have a good social life has dropped from more than half in 2019 (55 percent) to just one-in-three (33 percent) this year.
This study, as with its predecessor in May of last year, sorts Canadians along two key dimensions: social isolation (or the number and frequency of interpersonal connections a person has) and loneliness (or their relative satisfaction with the quality of those connections), to recreate our Index on Loneliness and Social Isolation (ISLI).
This year, the percentage of Canadians who can be categorized as The Desolate, those who suffer from both loneliness and social isolation, has increased from 23 percent of the population to 33 percent. Further, the percentage suffering from neither has dropped by nearly half, from 22 percent to 12 percent.
Go here for the full study.
Peacock said it’s not just those on their own who suffer, but all of us:
The community as a whole is robbed of what those in isolation can offer; each of us has unique gifts and experiences to share.
Beyond the Conversation has several major focuses, including:
- Virtual Meetings: From Monday to Saturday online gathering meet around topics such as ‘Coping and Connecting with Art,’ ‘Conversational Mandarin’ and Mafia Game Session.’
- Open Talk Cafe “brings people together and facilitates an honest conversation built on trust.”
- Walk and Talk to End Social Isolation: “The walkathon portion will be from October 19 – 23. Participants can choose one day out of the week to walk. Our recommended walking distance is 5 – 10 km. On October 24, we will have an online celebration from 1 – 2:30 pm. Incredible speakers [including UBC President Santa Ono] have been invited to share stories of their experience with social isolation.”
Peacock said the pandemic has not slowed them down. In fact, “We adapted to technology the same week as the lockdown,” and added that Google Suite has helped them tremendously, offering $10,000 worth of marketing per month.
Most of Beyond the Conversation’s work is with the community, but it did get its start in the church, as Frank Stirk wrote on Church for Vancouver in the spring of 2018.
Particularly helpful were their home church (Cityview), Metro Vancouver Alliance (which involves many churches as well as labour and education groups), and a presentation at Missions Fest.
While she and her husband Rob are still part of Cityview, they spent much of the past year visiting more than 35 churches. She says her worldview has broadened because of those visits: “God has had to take us out of our comfort zone.”
Peacock does hope her faith with affect those she works with in the broader community:
My calling is to show the love of God. My prayer is that our Christ testimony is shown in the way we live our lives. Daily my prayer is that they will see Jesus in me.
This year’s walk won’t be en masse, but it will have a greater geographical reach. She said there have been requests to participate from Toronto and Montreal, and that “because of COVID we have even been able to reach out to people in Hong Kong, Mexico, Poland and elsewhere.”
Randy Barnetson remembered
Randy Barnetson spent much of his life working in the Downtown Eastside, but he made many friends around Metro Vancouver.
David Bornman, who pastors West Coast Christian Fellowship and leads the Vancouver East Ministerial Association (VEMA) posted this on Facebook October 10:
The faithful pastor of Street Church welcomed me to Vancouver in 1998 and continued to be an example of gentle wisdom and loving kindness. He was a member of the Vancouver East Ministerial and a sincere friend to us all. Randy passed away in his sleep last night.
Below from his son Aaron:
January 3 1956 – October 9, 2020. My Dad was the Father of Six Sons and 12 Grandchildren. He was a Family Leader and role model. My Father was a Christian Minister since he was 19 years old. He served God and the people of the dtes everyday for the last 25 years at Street Church.
>He blessed the lives not only of our family but of tens of thousands of others through his Ministry at his churches in Cache Creek, Port Hardy, Victoria, Vancouver and through countless trips to indigenous peoples all over the world. We are thankful for the last few extra years we got to spend with him. Every day is a gift.
Christina Dawson, a graduate of First Nations Bible College, which operates out of Street Church, will take over as pastor of the church, which is on Hastings Street, just west of Main.
Tenth’s Book Donation Fund
During Tenth Church’s October 4 online service, senior pastor Ken Shigematsu announced a second round of giving from Tenth’s Book Donation Fund.
He said (at 10:03 of the video):
As some of you know, 100 percent of all the royalties from my book writing goes to a fund that supports missions that work with vulnerable children.
With my first book [God in My Everything, 2013], thanks to book proceeds, speaking honoraria and generous gifts from people in this community, we were able to give away $300,000 to two of our mission partners in Cambodia: World Vision and their work with vulnerable children there, and Alongsiders, a mission that comes alongside children who would otherwise walk alone.
Our gift to Alongsiders enabled them to put up some of the first buildings on what would become the first Christian camp in the history of Cambodia. So thank you.
With the publication of Survival Guide for the Soul , we are getting set to give a $100,000 gift.
Here is how this year’s gift to World Vision will be broken down, from an announcement on the Tenth site:
Funds will be directed to:
Afghanistan: providing some of the most impoverished families in the Herat Province with food, soap, and basic instructions and necessities to help keep them safe from COVID-19.
Honduras: supporting a project that raises up young entrepreneurs to enter the labour market and generate a sustainable income for themselves and their families.
The Democratic Republic of Congo: empower community leaders to protect and advocate on behalf of children in violent fragile contexts.
If you would like to support the work, go to tenth.ca/give and use the code Book Fund Donations.
October 15, 2020The Global Leadership Summit – October 15, 2020 - October 16, 2020 at 8:30 am - 3:30 pm
The Church, the State & the Pandemic – October 15, 2020 at 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Somerville Lecture: Artist James He Qi – October 15, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
October 16, 2020Canadian Foodgrains Bank Virtual Concert: Quonset Brothers | Kristel Peters & Korey Peters | Steve Bell – October 16, 2020 at 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Change Conference 2020: Free Online Canadian Youth Conference – October 16, 2020 at 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
The Unchained Gospel Heart for Asia Youth Celebration – October 16, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
October 17, 2020The Unchained Gospel: Heart for Asia Conference – October 17, 2020 at 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Chew on This! e-rally – October 17, 2020 at 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Progressive Book Launch – Aaron White: Recovering – October 17, 2020 at 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
October 19, 2020Dr. Christopher Wright: The Great Story and the Great Commission – October 19, 2020 - October 21, 2020 at 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
October 20, 2020Salvation Army Webinar: Join the Conversation – October 20, 2020 at 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
October 21, 2020Together at Midday: Toni Kim – October 21, 2020 at 12:00 pm - 12:45 pm
Chaplains Connect – October 21, 2020 at 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
October 22, 2020Book Launch with Dr. Matthew J. Thomas – October 22, 2020 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Dialogue on Aging: The Fountain of Health – Practical Tools for Positive Mental Health – October 22, 2020 at 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Suitcase Stories – October 22, 2020 - October 25, 2020 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
October 23, 2020Operation World Online Family Conference 2020 – October 23, 2020 - October 25, 2020 at All Day
TWU Spartans Sports Leadership Superconference – October 23, 2020 at 8:45 am - 4:00 pm
ARPA Canada Fall Tour 2020: Defending Our Christian Legacy of Liberty – October 23, 2020 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
October 24, 2020National Walk and Talk to End Social Isolation – October 24, 2020 at All Day
ARPA Canada Fall Tour 2020: Defending Our Christian Legacy of Liberty – October 24, 2020 at 9:30 am - 11:00 am
M2/W2 Association: Portraits of Change Online Fundraiser – October 24, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
October 26, 2020Violence in the Bible: A Conversation with Dr. Matthew Lynch – October 26, 2020 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Mao vs. God: State Control of Churches in China under Xi – October 26, 2020 at 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
October 27, 2020InterSession 2020: Finding the Future of Church Planting in Canada – October 27, 2020 - October 28, 2020 at 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Icons: Praying with Our Eyes – October 27, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Journey Discipleship Course – October 27, 2020 - March 2, 2021 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Community Cafe: How to Have Good Conversations in Community – October 27, 2020 at 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
October 28, 2020Explore Alpha, with Jason Ballard – October 28, 2020 at 10:00 am - 11:00 am
October 29, 2020Earthkeepers: Prayer Night for Bold Climate Action – October 29, 2020 at 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
REVEAL webinars (Thursday evenings) – October 29, 2020 - November 5, 2020 at 5:00 pm - 6:15 pm
October 30, 2020musica intima: the spirit's dwelling – October 30, 2020 at All Day
November 1, 2020International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church – November 1, 2020 at All Day
November 2, 2020Human Sexuality and Christian Ethics Discussion Series (Mondays) – November 2, 2020 - November 23, 2020 at 10:00 am - 11:00 am
KAIROS Canada Fall Online Forum: For the Love of Creation (Monday evenings) – November 2, 2020 - November 30, 2020 at 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
November 4, 2020Together at Midday: Matthew Lynch – November 4, 2020 at 12:00 pm - 12:30 pm
Boundaries at the Table: A Discussion on Food Programs, COVID and Boundaries – November 4, 2020 at 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Boundaries at the Table: A Discussion on Food Programs, COVID and Boundaries – November 4, 2020 at 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
SENT Conference 2020 (Wednesday evenings) – November 4, 2020 - November 25, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
November 5, 2020A Taste of Dignity: JustWork’s 14th Annual Fundraiser – November 5, 2020 at 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Jordan Klassen: Tell Me What to Do – November 5, 2020 - November 7, 2020 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
November 16, 2020ELO Forum Online – November 16, 2020 at 8:30 am - 12:30 pm
November 18, 2020Dialogue on Aging: Sleep Health for a COVID-19 World – November 18, 2020 at 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
John Owen: Protecting Democracy from the Outside – November 18, 2020 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
November 24, 2020LifeCanada presents 'The Culture Call (monthly, Tuesday evenings) – November 24, 2020 - December 15, 2020 at 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
November 28, 2020Iron Sharpens Iron Conference – November 28, 2020 at 8:30 am - 3:45 pm
The Church and Affordable Housing, by CityGate Leadership Forum – November 28, 2020 at 10:00 am - 12:45 pm