Reverend Brian E. Pearson, Rector of St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, has a passion for people who are on the margins of society.
“One of the great privileges of the work I do is the opportunity to get to know people on the margins, to hear their stories, and by simple attentiveness to reaffirm their humanity as people loved by God,” he says.
“My heart has always been drawn to those who live on the margins – real people with real stories who all too often are stereotyped and in other ways rendered invisible by mainstream society.”
This passion has become a part of his congregation. For many years, St. Stephen’s Anglican Church has been involved with The Mustard Seed. In fact, many church members are active volunteers and some have even worked for The Mustard Seed.
When life-altering situations happen, for people experiencing poverty and homelessness, the pressure is often intensified. Donna, one of our wellness advocates, has seen many guests come to The Mustard Seed and share their heartbreaking circumstances with her. Sometimes their needs go beyond the services we provide – that is where churches like St. Stephen’s step in.
“They are the ones we turn to when we have a situation that requires monetary help that does not fit the criteria of The Mustard Seed’s various programs,” says Donna.
This service is unique in that it is intended to help guests have their travel costs covered. For example, St. Stephen’s generously provided bus tickets for a couple to travel to Vancouver for a work placement. The church also flew a young man home to the Maritimes to see his father before he underwent major surgery. In a similar instance, the church flew another man home to Ontario to see his mother before she passed away. St. Stephen’s has been a source of tremendous help for The Mustard Seed and its guests. Through this new initiative, the church has helped 10 people already.
“I am so grateful to have St. Stephen’s as a partner. This type of support and knowing I have a community partner like this, who is willing to back us up and help guests with important life-changing events, is a huge gift,” says Donna.
We asked Rev. Pearson why the topic of homelessness is particularly close to his heart. His answer: “Homelessness defies all the categories we tend to impose on the poor. Homeless people are smart, resourceful, funny; they love their children and they want to make their way in the world doing meaningful work. And many are in fact employed; some suffer from mental health issues or from addictions; others have had one too many setbacks.”
“But “they” are all “us”—real people with real gifts to offer and who deserve our fullest attention.”
At The Mustard Seed, we help provide the basic needs of shelter, food, clothing and acceptance for men and women experiencing poverty, and work with them to find sustainable housing and employment.