November 17, 2017
In a letter from Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada National Bishop Susan C. Johnson and Anglican Church of Canada Primate Fred Hiltz, the leaders lift up National Housing Day and call on members of the two churches, to reflect on our calling, as Christians, to care for our neighbours and to offer prayers for affordable housing for all.
The text of the letter follows. A pdf version can be downloaded here.
November 22 marks National Housing Day in Canada, an opportunity for Canadians to reflect on the need for safe, adequate, and affordable housing, and to learn about the social, economic, and health impacts of homelessness in our communities. National Housing Day is also an occasion for members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the Anglican Church of Canada to reflect on our calling, as Christians, to care for our neighbours and to offer prayers for affordable housing for all.
More than 235,000 Canadians experience periods of homelessness every year, with as many 35,000 people finding themselves homeless on any given night. Thousands of others live in precarious housing, struggling month after month to pay rent or remaining in unsafe or inadequate housing because of a lack of appropriate options.
Homelessness and a lack of affordable housing affects every community in this country, from large urban centres to remote northern communities, and is experienced by diverse populations including young people, seniors, families, veterans, and more. Indigenous people are disproportionately represented among homeless populations in Canada, and many Indigenous communities continue to experience acute housing crises such as overcrowding, lack of sanitation, and poor condition of existing housing stock. Many Indigenous people in urban contexts also continue to experience discrimination in access to housing.
Canada remains a wealthy country, with the capability to eliminate homelessness in our communities and to ensure access to safe, adequate, and affordable housing for all. Meeting this challenge requires collaboration between all levels of government, faith communities, the private sector, and civil society organizations. The upcoming release of a national housing strategy by the federal government will be an important step in insuring this collaboration. We encourage you to lift up National Housing Day in your communities, to advocate for improved access to housing for those in need, and to pray for the action necessary to address this need. Toward this end, we commend to you the following prayer:
You give us land and neighbours and all our relations to provide for all our needs.
We give you thanks.
You give us land and neighbours and all our relations that we might demonstrate your love through kindness, care and service.
Inspire our hearts and minds that we may discern where and how we can make a difference.
You give us land and neighbours and all our relations that we might live in justice and peace.
We ask for courage and wisdom to transform unjust structures of society and to work for reconciliation.
Inspire our actions, that we may promote equitable and innovative approaches to the challenges that we share.
We remember before you the homeless, the under housed and refugees.
We pray for safe, affordable and adequate housing for all.
You give us land and neighbours and all our relations to teach us to rely on you.
Bless us with faith and hope.
In Jesus name we pray, amen.
Fred Hiltz, Primate, Anglican Church of Canada
Susan C. Johnson, National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada