Chalmers people work hard to improve the lives of others. Many people are active in community and global initiatives, often in conjunction with other churches and faiths. We also come together to serve and enhance the lives of those around us. At times fundraisers are held to benefit communities suffering from disaster, such as the hurricane in Haiti, or to fund special programs, such as the First Nations Nutrition Project.
Joint Truth and Reconciliation Action Group
In 2016, Chalmers, Faith, and Sydenham St. United Churches and St. Mark’s Lutheran Church formed a Joint Truth and Reconciliation Action Group that seeks:
- To educate ourselves and others on the legacy of colonialist policies and practice on Canada’s first peoples, including hosting events;
- To listen, learn and share new knowledge about the priorities, opportunities and options for reconciliation of Canada’s many peoples;
- To participate in events and other activities on behalf of the group;
- To work with others to advance these goals;
- To share information on events being held within the broader community on indigenous culture and history, public policy and related themes.
The Group reports to the outreach and social justice committees within each congregation.
Lay representatives from Chalmers, Faith, and Sydenham Street United Churches and others who share an interest in and commitment to advancing reconciliation with Canada’s first peoples and changing the future are invited to participate. Meetings are normally held monthly. If you are interested in being a part of this movement towards reconciliation, please contact any of the current members: Bill Egnatoff, Bruce Elliott, or Rosemary MaLachlan.
Library and Resources
A collection of books gathered by the group is available for loan at Sydenham Street United Church. A list of the current collection of titles is available as a downloadable PDF. The group also maintains an informal list of resources contributed by participants. To borrow resources or contribute items to this list or any other suggestions please contact JTRAG. If you would like to know more about the goals and activities of the JTRAG, please check out the JTRAG site on the Sydenham St. website.
Chalmers Outreach Committee
Chalmers Outreach Committee also works to help support other local charities and the Queen’s University Kenya Health Outreach Project.
Mission and Service Fund
The work of the United Church of Canada across the country and around the world is funded by the Mission and Service (M&S) Fund which raised $26.3 million in 2015. Chalmers gave $50,312 to M&S. These funds provide for hospital and university chaplains, prepare and educate church leaders, provide inner city and rural mission support in Canada and funding to our partner churches and organizations around the world.
Chalmers Benevolent Fund
Thanks to generous donors, 100% of over $62,000 in funds has been directed towards supporting those people who come to Church House, on Tuesday mornings. Among those, are people who are marginalized and in need, or in crisis and they live right here in our community. Over 1,000 people have visited for assistance. This has translated into over 5,000 interactions with people during the past eight years. Discouragingly, the need continues to increase. Many people who come are on ODSP – Ontario Disability Support Program and cannot make ends meet. A single person could receive up to $1,128 monthly, of which $479 is designated for housing. The average rent for a one-bedroom in Kingston however, is $942. Those on OW – Ontario Works receive $706, forcing many to stay in shelters, since rental of a bachelor unit averages $694.*1
Assistance from the Chalmers Benevolent Program takes the form of providing $10 grocery gift card(s) to Metro or Food Basics and/or $1 meal ticket(s) to Martha’s Table.
When people come in for help, a conversation takes place to establish if there are other needs that the volunteer team can help with. Surprisingly people often hear about information and resources available to them in Kingston for the first time. We share what options there are, where people can go or what they can do, to receive further help. They are also provided with a “Where to Turn for Assistance in Kingston and Area” brochure and a list of free daily meals.
Chalmers recently carried out a survey with about 100 participants and discovered a need for laundry soap. As a result, a request has been sent to a local department store to see if they would be willing to make an in-kind donation of detergent. In the meantime, a parishioner has been kind enough to bring in small baggies of powdered soap for distribution. Also in response to the survey, the Women of Chalmers are donating cases of toilet paper on a regular basis to the Benevolent Program. On the survey wish list, many people suggested the need for additional grocery cards, Giant Tiger gift cards (for underwear etc.), bus passes, assistance with dental care, and opportunities to work and give back.
We are proud of our team of compassionate volunteers and you, our donors and supporters, who make Chalmers “The Good Neighbour Church”.
We can only hope that over time, our society will find more ways of helping low-income individuals and families attain adequate housing, food, and health and dental care.