The changing face of our local and global communities requires creative responses from faith groups and other organizations tasked with caring with and for those who are marginalized in our cities and neighbourhoods.
As a deacon in the Church, Nancy Ford’s principal calling is to remind us that our cathedral doors open outward into the world – that our principal mission is not to “get people in,” but to get the gospel medicine out, and to take our part in God’s mission to mend the world. As such, the principal arena of Nancy’s ministry is outside the cathedral doors. Her Sunday duties are but a fraction of the three days per week she gives to us, and only make sense to the extent that they are emblematic of her weekday ministry of servanthood and advocacy.
As the Cathedral’s “deacon to the city,” Nancy serves both as the face of the Church in the world – especially in places of deep pain, injustice or marginalization – and as the voice of those on the margins to the Church. A deacon is to “interpret the needs, concerns and hopes of the world to the Church,” and thus to encourage all the baptized to engage in “diaconal” ministry in their own circumstances.
Nancy’s particular focus is poverty, homelessness, substance use and addiction. She has built productive relationships with organizations such the Downtown Service Providers, the Umbrella Society, Moms Stop the Harm, and TAPS (the Together Against Poverty Society.) She has also instituted a weekly “recovery eucharist” here at the cathedral, based on the Twelve Steps, and encouraged the establishment of a recovery yoga group. Many of our front-line volunteers have been trained in trauma informed practice, and the use of naloxone. In addition to her own work, which is often “under the radar,” Nancy’s relationships with other service providers have seeded fruitful collaboration, and increasing trust in the Church. Nancy is also the director of deacons for the diocese of British Columbia.
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