Category Archives: News

News from or about the community of Holy Trinity.

Toronto Homeless Memorial – Tuesday, July 14 noon

BonnieBriggs620

Next week and every second Tuesday year round (August 11, September 8,  October 13, November 10, December 8, 2015) people gather at noon outside the south doors of The Church of the Holy Trinity beside the Eaton Centre to remember all who have died on the streets of Toronto. The memorial is followed by a light lunch for all.

The Toronto Disaster Relief Committee and The Church of the Holy Trinity put together a Homeless Memorial outside the church in 2000. The photo above is of Bonnie Briggs, founder of the current memorial.  Names have been collected since 1985 and on February 12th, 2013 the 700th name was added. Current list is here:

Homeless-Memorial-OFFICIAL-LIST.July 2015

The Mission Statement of the Toronto Homeless Memorial is: “We remember all those homeless people who have lived in the streets of Toronto, and died as a direct result of homelessness.”

Several stories have been written about the memorial and those who are remembered here:

  • Carol Goar remembers Stewart Poirier who was the 700th name added in 2013.
  • John Bonar of Rabble.ca has a collection of audio,  video,  and print stories of the memorial. This is a selection of links, but more exist, if you visit their website; January 2015, October 2014 – videos part 1 and part 2, September 2014 – six names added, September 2010 – five names added,

 

 

 

 

 

You can access the church through the mall, from Dundas or Bay streets.

Lenten Newsletter complete with service schedule

Here is the Holy Trinity Newsletter (Yes, this is a link)
This is something we hope to do on a regular basis, with the next one planned just before Easter. As you experience life at Holy Trinity please take pictures, write stories, etc. to share with all of us. If you do not make it to Holy Trinity in person, but have news or reflections to share you are welcome to do so as well. All submissions should be sent tobbaskin@holytrinitytoronto.org by March 18th.
Thanks for helping us improve communications amongst our community!

Tireless campaigner for housing reform is surprised to turn 60

Michael_Shapcott-7644-446x670Michael Shapcott started his working life as a journalist in a number of places including the North Bay Nugget and the Calgary Herald, but he is best known for his work and writing on housing issues.

His public involvement in housing issues began in the late 1980s when he graduated from law school. He was one of the founding members of the Bread Not Circuses coalition which worked to convince people and politicians that the money being spent on Toronto’s 1996 Olympic bid would be better spent on housing. The organizers felt it hurt the bid, so it was probably pretty successful.

He worked for a number of housing agencies and helped found the National Housing and Homelessness Network, the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee, the Multi-Faith Alliance to End Homelessness and the Toronto Environmental Alliance. His anger at the events which led to the Rupert Hotel fire in 1989 led to founding a coalition which pressed for and got better regulation and enforcement of safety standards in rooming houses.

Until recently he continued his work in housing as the Director of the Affordable Housing and Social Innovation at the Wellesley Institute. His public policy research focused on housing, homelessness, and the relationships between health, poverty and housing.  He is currently seconded to the Prince of Wales to support his work in Canada through The Prince’s Charities.

Like a number of our members, Michael has dabbled in electoral politics, coming in second in the riding of Toronto Centre in the 2004 and 2006 federal elections.

Michael has been very involved in the life of Holy Trinity for many years in many important capacities. He currently serves as a warden helping ensure the viability of the parish as a whole. He has just started studying theology in his limited spare time.

His secret lomshapcott_accordionve though, is the accordion. While recovering from meningitis that left him in a coma for a time, he was hiking through Frontenac Provincial Park with a friend. The lingering deafness of his illness meant he thought he was going a little mad when he heard an accordion playing in the distance. He heard just fine however and the two of them walked to a little cabin from which the sound was emerging.

As they entered, they could see that the small room was filled with accordions of all types and sizes. They stayed and listened for a time and chatted with the player. Michael confessed that he had always loved the accordion. The player gave Michael an accordion after extracting from him a promise that he would never keep it in a case because “an accordion needs to breathe.”

Michael played that accordion for years and has it still. However, his beloved wife Ann Bisch offered an ultimatum on the playing of the ancient and out of tune accordion in the house: “it stops or I go.” Michael loves his wife somewhat more than his accordion and with some joy purchased the second of his three accordions. He has since added a concertina and a number of other ‘wheezy’ instruments to his collection.

Among his many ongoing activities, Michael plays his third accordion about once a month with Holy Trinity’s house band, Fallen Angles. He also plays from time to time with other musical combinations and has been known to preach a sermon or two.

Michael mshapcott_caricaturecelebrated his 60th birthday last June with a surprise party thrown by Ann and his daughter Nicole and with the help of many of us here at Holy Trinity. Jim Houston captured Michael in this caricature which shows his love of bow ties, shorts, colourful socks, housing and accordions all in a single image.

Thanks for all your work with and for Holy Trinity and and for the whole community Michael! Looking forward to a bright future together. There’s just a couple of things we have to do.

Pilgrimage looks at Anglican responses to homelessness

The pilgrimage began early in the morning at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, where churchwarden Michael Shapcott, who has been involved in housing advocacy in Toronto for many years, provided some historical context for the drastic decrease in social housing since the mid-1980s.

Bonnie Briggs, founder of the Toronto Homeless Memorial, then shared some of her own experiences as a homeless person on the streets of Toronto. “I first became homeless in 1987,” she said. “The landlord of the place we were living at sold the house. We were told that the new owner wanted the whole house for himself. Three months later we were on the street.”

Read story at Anglican Journal

Help stop the cruel treatment of refugees

Church of the Holy Trinity has joined 160 organizations across Canada in opposing provisions in the budget bill (Bill C-43) that would open to the door to refugee claimants being denied social assistance.

In an open letter to Minister of Finance Joe Oliver sent today (November 18) the organizations ask for the withdrawal of sections 172 and 173 of the bill, which would allow provinces to deny social assistance based on immigration status.

Refugee claimants, who are among the most vulnerable in our society, could be denied the crucial lifeline that allows them to survive and begin to rebuild their lives in Canada.

This legislative initiative is similar to the denial of healthcare to refugee claimants, which the Federal Court recently ruled was “cruel and unusual”.
Continue reading Help stop the cruel treatment of refugees