More than money.....
Poverty is about more than simply living in low income, particularly for
children whose current and future well-being and capabilities can be formed by
a life lacking monetary and/or non-monetary resources. Poverty is also about what is available in the child's home, community, and school which influence
and support not only the child's physical development, but also their academic, social, emotional, and psychological brain development.
All our attitudes and beliefs about life are based on everyday experiences and
The Challenge to Respond
"I believe that this matter deserves our very best attention."
The Rt. Rev. Dr. John Chapman
Bishop of Ottawa
Bishop John Chapman first raised the issue of regional child poverty as a specific
priority for the Diocese during his annual charge to Diocesan Synod in October
2009. Inspired by research produced on the subject by a dedicated group of retired
clergy and laity, Bishop Chapman used a portion of his annual charge to argue that
"child poverty in our community has reached critical proportions," and it "must
be addressed by our Diocese [as] the nurture and care for our children is clearly
demanded of us by Jesus." The Bishop concluded his remarks on the subject by
calling on the Diocesan Community Ministries Development Committee (CMDC)
to take up the challenge of alleviating child poverty in the Diocese. His hope was
that the Committee would be in a position to put forward a formal recommendation
for a comprehensive Diocesan response to local child poverty.
In January of 2011, a group convened to imagine a CMDC response to the Bishop's
charge. Included were original members of a group that petitioned Bishop John,
members of CMDC, and other interested people from around the Diocese. From
that consultation, CMDC established a task force in the spring of 2011 to formally
respond to the Bishop's call to action.
Since then the Diocese has not been silent in response to Bishop John's charge. The
Diocesan Capital Campaign, GIFT: Growing in Faith Together, allocated $300,000
of its anticipated proceeds to the development of The Bishop's Child Poverty
Initiative, which became the Diocese's overarching response to child poverty in our
territory. While only a small portion of the campaign's $12 million goal, the funds
give the Diocese the flexibility to fund a number of projects aimed at improving the
wellbeing of poor children living in our region over the next few years.