“We should make every effort to ensure that each of our initiatives is the common work of all those who stand in need of it,” she wrote, “and not [simply part of] some charitable organization, where some perform charitable actions and are accountable for it to their superiors while others receive the charity, make way for those who are next in line, and disappear from view. We must cultivate a communal organization rather than set up a mechanical organization, Our concept of sobornost [conciliarity] commits us to this.
Thus far, the trip to St John the Compassionate Mission in Toronto, Canada, has been a truly edifying experience. From being a part of services in the Chapel, to absorbing a wealth of knowledge from enlightening lectures, to engaging in service (diakonia) at the mission, and finally to just becoming acclimated with a new location, this has really been an awesome and exciting sojourn.
Fr. Deacon Pawel and I stayed up quite after our bedtime last night and talked about many things pertaining to our lives, the mission, the diocese and the church at large. One of the things that stuck out in my mind was something that he had mentioned to me about the chapel services.
Today is April 11, 2013, our second full day at St John the Compassionate Mission in Toronto, Canada. We have been staying at the Lived Theology School (LTS) with a few of the other students who live and study here year round.
Our second day began with breakfast at the Lourmel house and then a walk across the green to tea at the mission. It is hard to overstate the importance of tea to the people who operate the many initiatives of the St. John the Compassionate Mission. "Community" is a central vitalizing aspect of life at the mission, and tea times fosters this community twice a day. When tea is served, everyone stops what they are doing, and we can feel the camaraderie amongst volunteers and staff.
We safely arrived at 8pm in Toronto. We had dinner and settled in at the Lourmel House, the home of the Lived Theology School. Father Deacon Pawel talked a long time about the history of the mission and what they do here.
Talk by Mary Marrocco delivered at the 25th Anniversary Dinner
It was a warm June evening, not unlike today; a Wednesday. 1992. A friend invited me to come to Vespers and dinner with her at a place she loved. She took me over to a backstreet I'd never seen, across (she explained) from a housing complex called the Blake. Our destination was a small strip mall at 53 Blake St. We went through the little parking lot, littered with debris, and through a beat-up blue door. A hand-lettered sign overhead read: St John the Compassionate.
I think we all groaned when we learned that Lent followed so closely on the heels of the Nativity Fast this year. Winter was wearing on us, we were longing for sunlight, and BAM! Here comes the Fast of all fasts.