May Anniversary Offering

Our May Anniversary offering this year will be used to support the cost of hiring a Summer Intern. For the past number of years, Redeemer and other faith-based churches and not-for-profit organizations across Canada have applied with the Federal Government to receive funding through the Canada Summer Jobs Program. Because of the changes our government has made to the application, we cannot attest to their values. They have denied us funding. Working with EFC, the 4 C’s and our own association of the AGC regarding this matter, we have responded back to the government explaining what we can agree to and what we cannot agree with but to no avail. In light of this, the Elders/Board of Directors has made a resolution that we, as a church, support the expense of this hire up to $8000.00.

We are pleased to announce that Louisa McLeod is the successful candidate for the Summer Internship Program. Giving to the May Anniversary offering is a privilege and an opportunity to invest in the spiritual and ministry growth of Louisa.

If you would like more information about the changes made to the 2018 Canada Summer Jobs Program to help better understand this issue, please visit:

http://www.evangelicalfellowship.ca/Communications/Articles/February-2018/Why-the-summer-jobs-attestation-is-unacceptable.

You can give your May Anniversary Offering anytime up until May 27 (Anniversary Sunday) either in the Anniversary offering envelope provided in the chair pocket or through your regular offering envelopes. Please mark ‘Summer Intern’ on it so we can keep track of the funds raised to supplement our budget for this unplanned expense.

Thank you for your prayerful support for our ministry here at Redeemer and Pastor Paul’s summer intern, Louisa McLeod. Your financial generosity will make a difference in her life and the children and youth she will be impacting this summer.

Pastor Paul Smylski, Pastor of Family Ministries, and
Allan Stephenson, Treasurer
on behalf of the Elders/Board of Directors
 

Anniversary offer address, delivered May 20, 2018 By Ashley Gnys, chairman of the Board

Throughout the month of May, we are collecting our anniversary offering.

When the budget was formulated last year, we did not expect to have to make this invitation as we projected a $10,000 offering and then prorated it over the entire church calendar which added about $200 a week to our needs.  And if you have been reading our weekly bulletin, our church family has been faithfully meeting that target. However, what we did not envisage, was as extraordinary $8,000 need that would arise as a result of the Student Summer Jobs Program, an initiative of the Federal Government.

See our Treasurer’s insert in this week’s bulletin penned by Al Stephenson.

The current program has sparked a huge controversy over whether the government is violating religious freedom by requiring all applicants, such as our church and other faith based communities to sign an “attestation” that includes respect for reproductive rights — in other words, access to abortions.  The government is refusing to back down in the face of a growing outcry from religious groups, and a court challenge has already been launched by an anti-abortion group.

The attestation requires applicants to declare that both the job and organization’s “core mandate” respect reproductive rights, as well as other “values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

The attestation in full says: “Both the job and the organization’s core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights. These include reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.”

The government says it will not process any application that does not include the attestation. 1,559 organizations were rejected for funding over the attestation, 1 of which was from Redeemer Bible Church, out of a total of 42,708 applications received. Applicants who refused to tick the attestation box were rejected, as well as any applicants who significantly modified the attestation.

There is also an Applicant Guide that further spells out the rationale behind the attestation. “The government recognizes that women’s rights are human rights,” the guide says. “This includes sexual and reproductive rights — and the right to access safe and legal abortions. These rights are at the core of the Government of Canada’s foreign and domestic policies.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his minister in charge of this portfolio, have insisted the attestation does not affect religious groups because of the key phrase “core mandate.” They say a church’s core mandate is not focused on anti-abortion activism, so churches should have no problem signing it.

Faith-based communities have protested that their core mandate includes their beliefs and values about abortion, so they couldn’t sign such an attestation.  They say that their religious beliefs are not separate from their core mandate, while other groups who don’t have a stance on abortion or even support it, feel it’s still wrong to be forced to take a side by signing the attestation. Still others are also opposing the attestation on the principle that it violates the Charter’s right to religious freedom.The Toronto Right to Life Association filed a Federal Court challenge on Jan. 4, 2018. It argues that the attestation violates the Charter’s right to freedom of expression and freedom of conscience and religion and also the right to be treated equally under the law.

As we anticipate a court ruling we can speculate that it is possible a court would uphold the attestation as legal because the government has the goal of protecting women’s health, and doesn’t want funds going to groups who actively work to oppose abortion access. Alternatively, it could rule that the attestation is overly broad and thus illegal, as it requires groups to attest to their beliefs about abortion even for summer jobs that have nothing to do with abortion. These are only two of the possible outcomes.

Although no group is entitled to receive a discretionary government grant, and while we would be wise to not become dependent on government grants, we believe the Government is still required to adhere to the Charter of Rights in how it administers programs and funding opportunities to all.