So, what does it look like for a local Church to take their community’s mental health seriously? St.Philip’s Anglican Church in Montreal West is a good example. Rev. James Pratt, expressed a desire to offer the Church’s property to their local community for gardening. This would not only demonstrate neighbourly love, but also have a tangible impact on local residents’ mental and physical well-being. The church’s yard offered an ideal space for a vegetable garden and food forest. It was designed by a resident of the neighborhood and built by parishioners, volunteers and neighbors.
While the initial idea was put forward in 2019, the pandemic put a level of urgency into the plan. The church acted rapidly to respond to the needs of their neighbourhood. With the help of Christian Direction staff, the church was able to secure funding and design an outreach plan for two summer employees. Respecting physical distancing, they will be able to offer a children’s garden club and youth gatherings in the garden, ensuring their neighbours have a safe space to heal and grow in the aftermath of a crisis.