As seen in Good Work News, Issue 109, June 2012 - click here for the full issue
By Joe Mancini
We all recognize when peach, pear and apple trees beautifully flower and produce fruit. That is when the fruits are the most important part of the tree. Our Tree of Life reflects on the fruits of the spirit, they are just as beautiful; the fruits of belonging, patience, goodness, caring, respect, joy, acceptance, gratitude, kindness, trust and compassion.
In our 30th year, the 25th Mayors’ Dinner became an opportunity to celebrate the Fruits of the Spirit. The Dinner was attended by over 950 people and as a celebration it integrated art, dance, poetry, laughter, music and conviviality. For The Working Centre, the core of the evening was the recognition of building relationships with the Mayors of Kitchener and Waterloo, with all 25 past and present Guests of Honour, and a growing list of patrons and friends who have generously supported our work over these years. These relationships developed and nurtured over 30 years are the essence of community work and inclusion.
It is easy for community groups to get caught up in paper work, audited statements, and government bureaucracies that have become deaf to community. On the other hand, the works of the spirit are truly what we should aim to cultivate. We see that spirit alive and fruitful each day when people work together to produce the daily meal at St. John’s Kitchen, offer showers and laundry and the services of a medical clinic. Kitchener’s largest furniture and housewares recycling centre – Worth A Second Look is fueled by a dedicated community of workers. The bustling work on Queen Street South offers a resource centre, a growing community of workers that make possible an affordable cafe, catering and a learning kitchen, along with transitional housing, computer training and much more. Some of the exciting work of community building at 37 Market Lane is described on the back page.
During the month of our 30th anniversary, the Hacienda Sarria Market Garden is offering us yet another example of integrated community. This was symbolized when Fr. Toby Collins C.R. offered his considerable landscaping and organizational skills to build an extensive and unifying 6000 square foot brick pathway. This community inspired project quickly defined the market gardening space even while Fr. Toby was leading the volunteers and Job Cafe workers. Together they completed the project in a week of dedicated labour that often went 14 hours a day. This is another example of the fruits of the spirit creating beauty and community all at once.