Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ever Wonder how a French Explorer Ended up in the Centre of the Union Jack?

I wonder what Samuel de Champlain would say if he saw his statue in the middle of Queen Square, which just so happens to be laid out in the pattern of the Union Jack. Would an experienced explorer such as himself be surprised? Or, would his adventurous journeys cause him to accept this bizarre honour quietly? After all, what kind of exploration would it be if the destination was already determined?

I have been living in the South End of Saint John for one month now. Like any true explorer I’m not sure what my destination is exactly. (Sammy would be proud). My mandate has been to discover what is happening in the Lower South End (The area South of Duke St) in terms of justice issues and anti-poverty initiatives. My aim is to discover what needs are being met now by churches and other groups, and how the Church may participate by either supporting these initiatives or by addressing needs that have yet to be met. God-willing, by the end of 2010 I'll be able to identify the needs of the Lower South End and have a proposed vision and strategy to address this need.

So far, I have met with a number of clergy and other people and groups in the area who are working to make the South End a better place to live. It has been an eye-opening experience and a humbling one as well. In fact, I am hesitant to record my thoughts at this point as I am certain that a few months down the road I will look back at my first blogs and realize how little I knew.

So far, through various discussions, I have identified one main need. That of an emergency shelter. Such a shelter is important not only for when the temperature drops, but also for people who want to be treated at the methadone clinic. As I understand, such persons must have a residence in order to obtain treatment. The question is: how can we meet this need?

My hope is to record my thoughts and reflections weekly. I would highly value any feed back you could offer. One thing that I would like to have established by the Spring is set Prayer-Walk-Routes throughout the Lower South End. My hope is that Christians from all over the city will sign up and pray for the families, individuals, schools, businesses and churches throughout the area.

Well, these are my thoughts so far. Please keep me and all of the residents of the Lower South End in prayer. God bless you all.

Paul Ranson

- Lower South End Area Minister -

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