The faith community of St. Augustine’s, Marpole and priest-in-charge Andrew Halladay are demonstrating their commitment to their neighbourhood through some intentional hospitality.
In December of 2013, Marpole Place Neighbourhood House (located at 1305 West 70th Avenue, just a few blocks from St. Augustine’s at 8680 Hudson Street), was forced to shut down due to a devastating flood caused by burst plumbing pipes in the aging converted fire station.
The repairs are expected to take at least six months. St. Augustine’s stepped forward and offered to be a venue for some of the Marpole Place programs, including the Thursday night dinner, the Friday night breakfast, drop-in computer time and various other program activities.
St. Augustine’s also made some office space available for executive director, Cindy McMillan so the administration of Marpole Place could continue.
On the very rainy evening of April 3rd, diners attending the Thursday night meal were treated to delicious butternut squash soup, roasted loin of pork, potatoes, dressing, asparagus and banana upside-down cake. The cook and event supervisor, April Pringle, was supported by more than a half dozen volunteers who served, bussed tables and washed dishes.
April, who has a full-time job in addition to her work with Marpole Place, had not heard any news about when their building would once again be ready to welcome folks who participate in Marpole Place programs.
In addition to hosting Marpole Place Neighbourhood House, on the first Wednesday of the month from September to June, St. Augustine’s hosts a sit-down community meal for 50 – 80 people, prepared by the Eburne Society with the assistance of a number of community volunteers
The Vancouver Food Bank also uses St. Augustine’s Parish Centre to distribute food every Thursday morning except for the Thursday following the distribution of government support cheques.
Randy Murray is communications officer for the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster. He points out that there is “similar neighbourhood work being done at St. Faith’s under the title Kerrisdale/Marpole Community Pastoral Resource Centre. . . . Also St. Alban, Richmond is in partnership with a variety of agencies making the church buildings available for meals, cold weather shelters and recently a shower in the drop-in centre.”