To our dear friends and supporters!
Communitas has undergone several significant changes in 2021, including moving office to the Undercroft of Christ Church Cathedral, and hiring a new part-time Coordinator, Brent Walker, for our crucial Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) operations.
Our signature Open Door program has continued virtually on Zoom and we have been very pleased with the weekly attendance of 25-30 persons. We have started testing a hybrid Open Door (Zoom plus in-person attendance at Fulford Hall) and are hopeful that we can soon have more in-person participation.
In other good news, our volunteers have finally been allowed to resume penitentiary visits to participate in chaplaincy activities. The palpable joy of both inmates and volunteers at that first visit after an absence of 18+ months was beautiful to see.
Other prison visits are taking place now that the Correctional Service (CSC) is relaxing Covid lock-down regulations. We are reconnecting with men who want the support of a Circle when they are released, and we are offering one-on-one pastoral accompaniment to the men during their incarceration.
It is hoped that our volunteer drivers will soon be escorting incarcerated men on Temporary Absences once again to our Tuesday evening Open Door meetings.
While we continue to offer our services to the community, the national CoSA Canada five-year federal funding package comes to an end next March, and with it, the bulk (80%) of our funding. Coincidently, because of changes in the Federal government’s priorities, our funding from Montreal Community Chaplaincy (ACM) also ended this year after 21 years of support, leaving us wholly dependent on donations received from our members, supporters and the general public.
As we start our annual fundraising drive, Communitas welcomes your donations for our activities and appeals for your support of our efforts to reduce Covid’s aggravation of the already endemic isolation the incarcerated suffer during their enforced distancing from family, friends, and the community.
Donors are invited to contribute to Communitas through the Canada Helps button on our website www.communitasmontreal.org. Cheques are also welcome and can be mailed to the new Communitas office address which appears on our letterhead.
We also encourage you to become a monthly contributor to our Organization. This will assist with our long-term planning, especially given the upcoming changes in our funding base at the end of this Fiscal Year.
We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all members, supporters and well-wishers for your financial and moral support, without which, our work could not succeed.
Michele Rattray-Huish, President
Mouvement Communitas Inc.
1444 Union Avenue, Montreal QC, H3A 2B8 Tel: +1 514 244 6147 www.communitasmontreal.org