November 19, 2020
On National Housing Day, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada National Bishop Susan Johnson, Anglican Church of Canada Primate Linda Nichols and Anglican Church of Canada National Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald encourage prayer and advocacy to ensure all have access to safe, affordable housing.
A pdf version of their letter can be found here.
Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are
members of my family, you did it to me. - Matthew 25:40 (NRSV)
As we mark National Housing Day this year, many of us have been spending more time than is usual in our homes. Living spaces have become offices, classrooms, and places of refuge from the anxiety and uncertainty of the pandemic we are all living through. In the midst of this, tens of thousands of Canadians continue not to have access to safe, affordable housing and this pandemic has exposed the very real impacts of this reality on our communities across this country. Emergency shelters are filled beyond capacity, waitlists for affordable housing continue to grow, many Indigenous communities continue to experience an acute housing crisis, and people experiencing homelessness and unstable housing are more likely to be impacted by COVID-19.
Our churches continue to pray and work for an equitable housing situation in Canada. The current National Youth Project encourages young Lutherans and Anglicans to learn more about the housing crisis and take steps toward action (www.claygathering.ca/nyp/). Congregations and parishes have developed housing initiatives on church properties, while others provide important services and supports to those experiencing homelessness and lack of access to affordable housing. Church leaders have continued to advocate with all levels of government for long-term, sustainable solutions to this crisis.
Both of our churches endorse the Recovery for All campaign along with dozens of faith communities and civil society organizations. This campaign calls on the Government of Canada to end homelessness by investing in people and infrastructure to ensure that there is a recovery for all from this pandemic. We encourage you to visit the campaign website and let your elected representatives know that ending homelessness is both possible and necessary.
Building a society in which everyone has access to safe, supportive, and affordable housing requires us to continue working together in many different ways. Our faith as Christians calls us to care for all of God’s people, and so today let us particularly hold up those experiencing homelessness and lack of access to affordable housing, through our advocacy and through our prayers. We offer this prayer today to help centre our commitment together to end homelessness:
God of all,
We remember all those who are experiencing homelessness or who are unable to find affordable housing. Grant that each person will have a place to belong, and that all of us will be renewed in our relationships to water, land, home and each other. Sustain us with patience, persistence and commitment for doing our part in showing love for your world. Amen.
The Most Rev. Linda Nichols
Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada
The Rev. Susan C. Johnson
National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
The Most Rev. Mark MacDonald
National Indigenous Anglican Archbishop, the Anglican Church of Canada