Posts - Communitas Montreal

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Community Building Workshop Open to Communitas Members and Friends

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You are invited to participate in a two-day Community Building Workshop on March 14th and 15th, 2020, from 9 am to 5:30 pm, at 2145 avenue Charlemagne, near Metro Pie1X (some parking is available).

The purpose of the workshop is to become a healthier Communitas team by learning more about each other and celebrating our inclusivity and differences non-judgmentally.

This activity of Community Building is sponsored by Communitas and is free, but contributions are encouraged (to help with the expenses for meals and rent), according to each participant’s means.

Lunches and beverages are supplied and will be enjoyed in community.

The process was designed in the US by Scott Peck in the early 1980s and has been practiced in many countries around the world. Often participants have spoken of the workshop as a Life-Changing Moment.

For enrollment, please see Margaret at Open Door, or contact Monika at 514-244-6147 or by email at coordinator@communitasmontreal.org

Communitas Fundraising Campaign Reaches its Goal

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Communitas wishes everyone a very Happy New Year and a prosperous decade ahead.

We start the year on a positive note having achieved our 2019-2020 fundraising goal of $18,000 on the very last day of 2019!

A huge thank you to all our donors and well-wishers for this wonderful show of support for our community.

A very special thank you to our anonymous donor who matched all donations given In memory of Hugh MacCormack.

 

Communitas Board of Directors

Fall fundraising photo

Restorative Justice Week in Montreal — Nov. 17-25, 2019

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National Restorative Justice Week this year takes place from Sunday, November 17, until Friday, November  22.  Communitas will be taking part in activities along with our sister organizations in the Montreal area.  We strongly encourage you to attend one or many of the planned activities listed below.

Sunday, November 17

11 am: Beginning of RJ week at St. Joseph’s Oratory
Salle Pichette, St. Joseph’s Oratory (Montréal)
11 am: Liturgy in the Crypt
12:30: Lunch
1:30 – 4 pm :
RJ witnessing (CSJR – in French)
Writing and collage workshop on the theme: Cultivating our Collective Gardens
Hosted by the partners of the Montreal Community chaplaincy.
Registration: acmontreal@hotmail.com / 514 978-8881. Suggested contribution of $10 for the meal.

10 am: Art therapy Workshop
Hosted by the Montreal Museum of fine Arts and CSJR
2200 rue Crescent (Montréal)
10 am to 12-30 pm
Registration : csjr@csjr.org / 514 933-3737

Monday, November 18

7 pm: Reflection and discussion evening (in French) on the theme “From Social Transition to Restorative Justice”
Hosted by Centre justice et foi and CSJR
25 rue Jarry Ouest (Montréal)
Looking at examples of rebuilding the social and urban fabric by restorative means. For more information: www.facebook.com/events/792230257897662/
7 pm to  9:30 pm

Tuesday, November 19

6 pm: Presentation on restorative justice as part of the Victimology Certificate Program at the Universite de Montreal. For students only

6-30 pm:  Communitas RJ focus Group meets with members of the Anglican Christ Church Cathedral  (closed meeting)

7 pm: Communitas — Open Door
The discussion this week will be about a restorative approach to a Crime in the Community.
1444 Union (across the street from the Bay building)

Thursday, November 21

7 pm : Soirée Entrée Libre  (in French)
Maison ACM (2745, rue Charlemagne, Montréal)
Soirée conviviale d’échanges sur le thème de la justice réparatrice et de la dignité humaine, en présence de personnes actuellement incarcérées ou l’ayant été, de personnes ayant été victimes, et de bénévoles.

Friday, November 22

6 pm: Festive Closing of RJ week
2715 chemin de Côte Sainte-Catherine (Montréal)
Buffet, followed by an informal evening with music performed by Dominique, John-Ross, Mohammed and Isaac.
Hosted by: Montreal Community Chaplaincy, Conseil des Églises pour la Justice et la Criminologie, Corporation Jean-Paul Morin, Communitas, Relais-Famille, Cercles de soutien et de responsabilité du Québec, Présence Compassion, Maison Orléans, CSJR and Entrée Libre
Registration: acmontreal@hotmail.com / 514 978-8881. Suggested contribution of $10 (for the meal)

Communitas Doubles Your Donation

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Dear Friend of Communitas,

A sincere thank you for your support of Communitas.  Last year’s donations were matched by an anonymous donor in memory of Hugh MacCormack, a longtime member and passionate supporter of Communitas.

This year, we are DOUBLY blessed, as an anonymous donor has again committed to match all donations given in Hugh’s memory, received before December 31, 2019.

Communitas continues to accompany and support men coming out of prison to rejoin society in safe and productive ways.  In 2018-19 we convened 185 Circles of Support and Accountability, fed 559 people at Table Talk and welcomed 1,358 people at Open Door.  Twice a month 6 to 7 volunteers visited the Minimum Security prison in Laval. Also, a new restorative justice focus group attracts 10 to 15 members each month.

The growth in our activities demonstrates our commitment to creating safer communities.
Please take advantage of the special offer this year of your donation being DOUBLED.

Online donations can be made through the Communitas website with the following link:
https://communitasmontreal.org/donate/.  Please label your donation “In memory of Hugh.”

Cheques should be addressed to Mouvement Communitas, with reference to Hugh MacCormack.

We deeply appreciate your care and commitment to our shared life in Communitas. We all receive so much as each gives what he or she can.

Thank you again,

Peter Huish
Chair
Mouvement Communitas
3974 Notre Dame Street West, Suite B
Montreal, QC H4C 1R1

Fall fundraising photo

A letter from Stella

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Our fantastic volunteer Stella recently wrote recently wrote a reflection piece about her experience with us, and we are proud to post a translated version here. You can read the original French version below the English translation.

I came to Open Door unexpectedly and without particular expectations. I found friendly faces and kindly smiles. I was impressed by the relevance of the presentations that I found offered constructive initiatives and a broader world view. I particularly enjoyed the spiritual thoughts at the beginning of each session that inevitably led to meditation and introspection. Furthermore, I will fondly remember these non-judgemental contacts, the cordial discussions, the times of sharing which generate and create a true community: Communitas.

Entering the penitentiary on Thursdays was a way for me to be closer to the reality of the inmates by being in the environment in which they actually evolve. The Bible studies that I was allowed to join in this context were a real lesson of life and humility. These spaces of exchanges are a breeding ground to self-expression. I discovered men and women, volunteers and inmates, with the power to put themselves into words. Each of the testimonies highlights authentic states of being. These times of communion which give importance to interiority, to the family place in our daily life, to the projects that animate us are profoundly liberating. And this space thus created in us is now able to be filled and nourished by the reading and study of the Scriptures. I appreciated the open-mindedness of these Bible studies. Indeed, the values ​​advocated literally exceed the notion of religious affiliation. It is a question here of universality in the relationship to the Divine. Respect as a base, speech is free and listening, active.

During these few months working alongside Communitas, I did not see any prisoners. I saw Men as different, and as similar. Sensitivity, goodness, the art of speech or just silence, sarcastic humor, simplicity of being, soothing tranquility, welcoming sympathy and wisdom are qualities that I have noticed and have been able appreciate. I never wanted to know why they were there because I believe that it is not our experiences that define our true nature. We are much more than that and it is up to us to work to reveal our part of divine. I saw behind these walls only Light and Love. I am happy to see that many of us cultivate our inner world. I am convinced that each of us can contemplate beautiful landscapes. I may be far from the reality of detention but I feel that by looking inwards, it is possible to transcend one’s captivity, to access the liberation of one’s self and the true definition of resilience.

With love and deep gratitude,

Stella

J’ai franchi les portes d’Open Door sans le moindre à priori et sans attentes particulières. J’y ai découvert des visages amicaux et des sourires bienveillants. Je souligne la pertinence des présentations qui offrent un panel d’initiatives constructives et une vision du monde plus élargie. J’ai apprécié ces tours de table et ces pensées spirituelles en ouverture de chaque séance qui poussent inévitablement à la réflexion et à l’introspection. Et je garderai en mémoire ces contacts naturels et sans jugement, ces échanges cordiaux, ces temps de partage qui fédèrent et créent une véritable communauté : Communitas.

Intervenir au pénitencier les jeudis était une façon pour moi d’être au plus près de la réalité des détenus en étant dans un environnement dans lequel ils évoluent réellement. Les études bibliques auxquelles j’ai pu prendre part dans ce contexte ont été une véritable leçon de vie et d’humilité. Ces espaces d’échanges sont un terrain bénéfique à l’expression de soi. J’y ai découvert des hommes et des femmes, bénévoles et détenus, ayant le pouvoir de se mettre en mots. Chacun des témoignages met en lumière d’authentiques états d’être. Ces temps de communion qui accordent de l’importance à l’intériorité, à la place de la famille dans notre quotidien, aux projets qui nous animent sont profondément libérateurs. Et cet espace ainsi créé en nous est désormais apte à être rempli et nourri par la lecture et l’étude des Ecritures. J’ai apprécié, dans ces études bibliques, l’ouverture d’esprit qui y réside. En effet, les valeurs prônées dépassent littéralement la notion d’appartenance religieuse. Il est question ici d’universalité dans le rapport au Divin. Le respect pour base, la parole est libre et l’écoute, active.

De ces quelques mois à œuvrer aux côtés de Communitas, je n’ai pas vu de détenus. J’ai vu des Hommes aussi différents que semblables. Sensibilité, bonté, l’art de la parole et du silence juste, l’humour sarcastique, simplicité d’être, tranquillité apaisante, sympathie accueillante et sagesse sont autant de qualités que j’ai pu souligner. Je n’ai jamais voulu connaître les raisons pour lesquelles ils se trouvaient en ces lieux car j’ai la conviction que ce ne sont pas nos expériences qui définissent notre véritable nature. Nous sommes bien plus que cela et il ne tient qu’à nous de travailler à révéler notre part de divin. Je n’ai vu derrière ces murs, que Lumière et Amour. Et je me fais une joie de constater que nous sommes nombreux à cultiver notre monde intérieur. Je suis d’ailleurs persuadée que chacun de nous pourra y contempler de superbes paysages. Je suis peut-être loin de la réalité de la détention mais j’ai le sentiment qu’en tournant son regard vers l’intérieur, il est tout-à-fait possible de transcender sa captivité, d’accéder à la libération de Soi et à la définition même de la résilience.

Avec Amour et profonde gratitude.

– Stella –

Congratulations to Communitas volunteer Serena Lopes!

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A big congratulations to long time Communitas volunteer Serena Lopes who was recently awarded the Prix Claude-Masson for young volunteers for the region of Montreal. Serena was awarded the prize in part due to her volunteer work with Communitas supporting prisoners and former prisoners on the inside and the outside. Serena’s citation (you can read the full text HERE) also notes the fantastic work she does by providing care for children while their parents appear at Youth Court. We’re proud to have exemplary community-minded volunteers like Serena working with us as we build better lives by helping prisoners and former prisoners meet the challenges of reintegration!

Scholarship deadline extended!

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To allow for the most applications possible we are extending the deadline for the Communitas scholarship until 23:59 Eastern Time on March 10, 2019. An updated application form that reflects the new deadline can be found here: Communitas_Scholarship_Extension

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