Servant Partners Canada is now accepting applications
for our Community Transformation Certificate Winter 2022 Cohort!
In the upcoming weeks we spotlight our previous participants’ journeys and seed projects created alongside the marginalized in their own communities.
Jeremy is a resident in Saskatoon Westside’s Meadowgreen neighbourhood who has experienced frustration around housing issues in his community. Some of the issues experienced by Meadowgreen’s renters include pest issues, tenant safety issues as well as landlord discrimination against tenants of a certain class and/or racial background. While he has had previous attempts in acting on these issues, he struggled to find community partners to join him in his desire to improve housing conditions for his community.
Advocating for affordable and dignifying housing requires communal action in order for needs to be addressed, but many renters suffer alone in housing injustices. What does it take to gather and advocate for justice together that reflects God’s desire for just and flourishing communities?
Through the CTC’s training components and coaching support, Jeremy learned how to “work alongside a community in a learner's posture that values local-led movements”. This posture made way for a budding partnership with a local Meadowgreen resident and leader in listening to renters’ issues over several months. The results of their listening to a diverse group of renters pointed to an opportunity for Jeremy and his team to start a seed project of facilitating meetings for renters’ rights.
A few weeks later, 15 of Meadowgreen’s renters gathered at the House for All Nations Church and over a nourishing meal prepared by community members, shared their stories, concerns and hopes for better housing. Live interpretation was offered to ensure that monolingual Karen elders could participate and contribute meaningfully. The group’s synergy and ideas led them to land on a next winnable action-step they want to take together: gathering petitions for the landlord to replace broken hardware in suites in response to safety concerns.
Shalom was nurtured in this meeting by providing a space for communal lament over injustice that led to hopeful action. Safety concerns were not only addressed through their action step but also socially as different neighbours met and shared their stories, creating a sense of mutual welcome and social safety in the process. The group plans to continue to meet to advocate for other issues after this one is addressed.
Through the CTC, Jeremy gained a deeper theological understanding of God’s concern for just communities and was empowered to create local, community partnerships and act on justice issues that mattered to him, his community and to God. He also reflects that “all healthy community transformation needs to be mutual, so I’m looking forward to seeing how I will be shaped by my community.”