What is the purpose of compassion at The Meeting House?
To honor God by proclaiming the irreligious message of Jesus and fostering loving communities of fully committed Christ followers.
Where did the site compassion focus idea come from?In 2010, we committed to focus ourselves at each site in order to move beyond simple service to developing deeper relationships with those living in the margins. We primarily accomplish this through our Home Churches serving in their local communities. People at each site mobilize themselves to volunteer and get involved in their local community. There are primary areas of marginalization that we are called to serve locally and the Sites that are focused on these areas:
- Families at risk (Brampton, East Hamilton, Kitchener, Oakville, Parry Sound)
- First Nations
- Newcomers to Canada (Uptown Toronto, Waterloo, West Hamilton)
- People living with a disability
- People who are Homeless (Ottawa, Downtown Toronto)
- Seniors at Risk (Burlington)
I don't see any sites that are focused on First Nations or people living with a disability.
While we anticipate that future Sites will focus on these two groups, The Meeting House is committed to educating ourselves on these issues.
Sounds interesting but how did you come up with that approach?
The idea evolved from poverty data research, an aspiration to leverage The Meeting House as a movement, a need to be relationally focused and discussions with Southridge Church in St. Catharines, Ontario.
Wait, I’m already actively involved with those society has marginalized, will I have to align with the site compassion focus?
The site compassion focus serves to provide direction for people who are either not active in local compassion or are not relationally involved with the marginalized. The site compassion focus serves as a starting point for mobilizing our community. If people are already involved in serving in a different area or have a passion other than their site compassion focus then we encourage them to be involved even more than they are now!
What are some benefits to the site compassion focus approach?
It’s a way to rally large groups around a particular issue, develops credibility and expertise, changed lives through relationships, and a way to gain a deeper understanding of poverty issues and those society has marginalized. When serving the marginalized, focusing on a few primary areas allows us to optimize resources, communicate more clear and consistently, create community, and accomplish more.
What if there isn’t a way to get involved with my site compassion focus group?
This should prove to be the exception and not the rule. Chances are there will always be ways to plug in. The overall goal of the approach is getting people in The Meeting House community serving as the hands and feet of Jesus.
What are some practical things that I can do?
Depending on where you are at in your faith journey, we’ve identified 4 ways to start getting active in local (or global compassion)!
Dig in and discover what you (and your Home Church) are passionate about. Talk about it!
Learn what skills and gifts you (and your Home Church) have to give. Do an skills inventory.
Become aware of what local agencies are doing to serve the marginalized in your community.
Read books, articles and online resources, particularly about your Site Compassion Focus.
Get informed about the needs and how best to respond. Ask someone who knows more than you.
Find out how you (and your Home Church) can serve and support local agencies.
Serve as a volunteer where needs are greatest.
Seek to build new friendships. Take the time to get to know someone.
Give generously and consistently (time, finances).
Advocate for the needs of others (petitions).
Local Learning Team – a chance to go out with a group and learn more about the marginalized in your community as well as some local agencies that are making a difference.
Discover Christ working in and through us by asking questions and hearing each other’s stories.
Notice how you are being challenged and blessed from new friendships.
Cultivate habits of a more compassionate lifestyles.
Who can I talk to about getting more involved?
Home Church – talk to your Home Church Elder or Home Church Compassion Leader.
Site – talk to your site Compassion Coordinator, Lead Pastor or Associate Pastor.