September 11, 2021 — Open Door celebrated the 20th anniversary of its very first gathering yesterday, September 11, 2001. Two dozen Communitas members gathered informally while practicing social distancing in Montreal’s Old Port. It was great to see old faces in the flesh and meet new ones that had only been visible on Zoom. Individual drinks and bags of chips along with slices of watermelon were handed out and participants took home cobs of corn to cook as Communitas once more had to forgo its annual corn roast due to Covid restrictions. It was a most enjoyable gettogether.
Posts - Communitas Montreal
August ushers in some major changes at Communitas including moving office locations, and the hiring of a new CoSA coordinator to be part of a new dynamic coordination team aimed at serving Communitas members more effectively.
The Communitas office is moving from Notre Dame St. West in St. Henri to the newly refurbished Undercroft at Christ Church Cathedral, located at 635 St. Catherine Street West. Communitas members are familiar with the Undercroft, our backup meeting place for Open Door when Fulford Hall is unavailable. The move is effective August 1st and our new mailing address will be Le Mouvement Communitas, 1444 Union Avenue, Montreal QC, H3A 2B8. The telephone number will remain the same: 514-244-6147.
Brent Walker will join the coordination team as CoSA Operations Coordinator, working with Circles of support and accountability and being in contact with those in prison and those who have left prison. Brent has worked as a prison chaplain, a volunteer in prison ministry and in many faith communities across Canada. He brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge that our members will find engaging.
Monika Barbe-Wenzel will continue in a part-time capacity, being the administrative link between CoSA Canada and Communitas. Jeri Pitzel and Bill Kokesch will continue in their roles as part of the coordination team. Peter Huish will temporarily take on the role of Coordinator, being the link between the coordination team and the Board of Directors.
Two new members were elected to the Board in May: Sabrina Tucci, a chaplain at the Federal Training Centre in Laval, and Gordon Pargelen, a long-time Communitas member. Bill Kokesch resigned from the Board to devote more time to the Coordination Team.
For more information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
In November, 2020, Communitas volunteer Marlyn Silverstone was diagnosed with Lymphoma, a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system, a part of the body’s germ fighting network. Marlyn’s health journey took her from chemotherapy to failing organs and then transition to palliative care.
In this first of two articles, Marlyn shares her thoughts and emotions of this perilous time in her life.
CoSA Canada seeks Associate Director to assist with resource and fund development. For more information, click here!
DEAR MEMBERS OF COMMUNITAS,
Our Annual General Meeting will take place Wednesday, May 26th from 7 pm to 9 pm. Once again, due to measures in place due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the meeting will take place virtually on Zoom. All the pertinent documents for the AGM will be sent out by email in the days prior to the meeting.
One of the requirements for the AGM is to have a quorum of members present. It is very important for you to respond to this email stating your intention to continue as a member. Please indicate your intention by replying to this email.
Membership will also ensure that you are able to vote at the AGM, including the election of members to the Board of Directors.
Any member can be nominated for the board after being supported by five voting members, according to the procedure set out in the linked document. All nominations must be filed by the first Tuesday in May (May 4th). A link to the nomination form is also included.
If you have any questions, please direct these to our Coordinator, Monika Barbe, at your earliest convenience at coordinator@
Your feedback is always welcome.
The Winter 2021 Edition of the Sou’Wester has been published! Read three stories about prisoner re-integration, Open Door at New Year’s, Covid’s impact on our community both inside and out, and much, much more!
Communitas recently took part in a Christmas card campaign for federal inmates at several prisons in Quebec. The campaign was launched by chaplains at the Federal Training Centre and coordinated by Corporation Jean-Paul Morin in Laval. Other partners included Présence Compassion, le Phare de Longueuil, as well as Relais famille. Below is a thank you note from the chaplains.
Today we received all the cards which you sent for the inmates.
We are so touched by the outpouring of your holiday wishes for them. Not only will our inmates receive two cards each (one from the volunteers and one from the members of the organization Relais famille). But because of your generosity, inmates from four other institutions will as well. This was not planned but is a result of the overflow of your generosity. We chose to spread more holiday cheer to as many inmates as we could. So, thank you truly. In these difficult times, just knowing that there are people out there who still care, will do them so much good.
I got to read some of your cards, and I was so moved by how creative some of you were, either artistically, or with the messages — some of which included jokes or little stories, or just simple heartfelt wishes… this will certainly bring a smile to many faces.
Like I said, I got to read a few of your cards… but Chantal Lusignan (Corporation Jean-Paul Morin) read over 1800! And she went around picking up a lot of cards. So, on behalf of all the inmates, chaplains, and volunteers, we thank you for all that you have done for us.
To our dear friends and supporters!
Like all of you, Communitas has faced challenges this year like none we have seen before, testing our ingenuity, and our resolve to find new ways to accompany prisoners through a peaceful and safe social reintegration.
Whatever obstacles awaited prisoners upon release in the past, these have been amplified by the effects of Covid. Now, more than ever, our work must continue. Release eligibility dates continue to arrive, sentences expire, and men emerge from the rigours of prison life searching for dignity, for purpose, for their place in an increasingly complicated world. Where once our programs’ participants met in person to share, to discuss, to learn, to experience fellowship, they now must attend our activities through Zoom and other online means. At such a moment, when their social isolation is particularly acute, we cannot allow the virus to corrode the caring and supportive community we have striven, with your financial help, to offer these men since 1999.
Despite the new barriers, our activities endure. With your continued assistance we shall be able to maintain and adapt our role as a bridge between the larger community, and these individuals in need of models, of concerned guides, of a social anchor. Our signature Open Door platform has continued on Tuesday evenings with virtually no interruption, allowing volunteers, interested members of the public, and ex-prisoners to maintain a meaningful connection, engaging together in a structured examination of topics that are informative and relevant, or sometimes just fun.
Nor have we interrupted our provision of the vital Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA), a program with proven dramatic impact worldwide on recidivism rates. Alongside these activities outside the walls is our crucially important inreach to prisoners looking forward to rejoining free society in the near future. While Covid prevents us from performing in-person visits, we are maintaining contact by sending in letters of support and copies of our Sou’Wester newsletter as reminders that this enforced physical separation has not removed them from our thoughts and prayers.
In fact, rather than retreat in the face of Covid, with your generous support, we plan to expand our assistance, by offering our members digital literacy programs, and by presenting instruction in Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in the near future.
But these, and our core operations, are only made possible by your generous support, and once again, we look to you for financial encouragement. Tax-deductible donations can be made by mailing a cheque to our office at the address below, or by using the ‘Canada Helps’ donation feature on our website at www.communitasmontreal.org/donate.
Those of you who wish to learn more about our mission, and would enjoy an opportunity to hear from volunteers and the men who benefit from our programs, and ask any questions you may have, are welcome to participate in a Zoom Webinar we shall be conducting on December 7. An invitation with the Zoom link will be sent out on December 6.
Once again, thank you for your past support and your commitment in making our little community a safe and welcoming place for people in need.
3974 Notre Dame Street West, Suite B
Montreal, QC H4C 1R1