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We’re a decade into this journey of renewing the city through neighbourhood community. Our desire is to see Windsor be a good place to grow up and a good place to grow old, and we pursue collaboration with anyone who shares that vision.

We’re a parish organization rooted in downtown Windsor. Our city has all of the ingredients needed for the city’s young and old to live vibrant healthy lives; we just need to work together to get there. 

For ten years the DWCC has listened to the dreams and insights of neighbours. We’ve collaborated with agencies, organizations, and government to start community gardens, community round tables, the Little Things Matter Program, community art projects, healthy kids cooking classes, Spruce Up Bruce, summer movie nights in the parks, drop-in sports, gardening, and kids art.

Our past partnerships have included working with the DWBIA to keep the Downtown Windsor Farmers’ Market right in the heart of our city, where we helped grow it to be a resident-led initiative that serves the whole city. We’ve worked with the United Way and the Ontario Trillium Foundation for our neighbourhood engagement strategies and our barrier free sports, grants that ran until March of 2020. All of these efforts have helped to renew our city by creating neighbourhood community. 

DWCC is in the middle of a new learning curve. When we launched ten years ago it was to explore the impact the Church can have by living in walking distance of one another, being present in our homes and in our neighbourhoods.  We realizing there is a movement of relationships from strangers to familiarity to acquaintance to friendship. And threaded through this journey we are spiritual companions, walking closely together to experience God’s presence and direction.  

As we reflect on these events we realize that the current situation with COVID19 means that to love our neighbour involves maintaining physical distance. Isolation and distancing are hard words to say and hear and do. In this season, they are an act of love. They go against the flow of what we have preached and practiced – bringing neighbours together into community – values which are now ingrained in our ethos.
 
So, now we are figuring out how to stay connected in unusual ways. Both old fashioned ways and new tech. We couple together phone calls and letters with things like Zoom and Facebook watch party’s. The relationships we have developed in our downtown neighbourhoods are ones we lean into as we seek to be people that embody hospitality and care amidst this pandemic. We still inhabit our neighbourhoods, praying for the wellbeing of those around us. 
 
While many of the activities we support and cultivate are on hold, here are a few things we’re focused on:
Community Gardens, Daily Scripture Reading on Zoom, Sunday Gatherings on Zoom, the Glengarry Community Pantry, Finding Freedom online on Friday evenings, and living into the kind of community we want to be, one marked by its faithful presence in the neighbourhood, its hopeful imagination for the city, its engagement through hospitality and advocacy, and its interdependence as we learn more and more how much we need each other. 

Sport and fitness bring people together. Sport crosses cultural barriers, language barriers, and has a way of bringing people of all walks of life together. As we seek to cultivate and encourage neighbourhood community, barrier free sport is something we esteem. Some of the barriers we overcome are financial (our programs are free), equipment (we provide all of the equipment needed to play), skill and ability (our programs are meant for people of all levels of skill and ability), and accessibility (we think through the logistical barriers that keep people from accessing sport). 

Currently there are no sport or fitness opportunities as we follow the leading of the province and city in their COVID19 response plans.

In 2014 we planted a garden in the social housing complex at Glengarry and University. It started out as  a bit of exploratory and creative engagement with those already working there. In 2015 the Community Housing Corporation (CHC) offered us a one bedroom apartment for us to house a live-in peer support worker. 

Hughie Carpenter was our guy. His personal experiences in poverty and addictions would provide him the tools, the rapport, and the empathy needed to create a community of belonging in the Glengarry and University area. Through partnerships with Community University Partnership (CUP) and CHC, a drop-in centre and peer support office was given to us to use. Since then, the drop-in centre has become known as the Lighthouse, a safe place for residents to come, get connected, and find community. 

The community garden in Glengarry has grown and it now includes a partnership with Ready-Set-Go so that kids can learn how to garden. 

To reach the Lighthouse, call 1-616-929-6103 or email peersupport@dwcc.ca.
To reach Hughie text or call 226-246-1714. 

We partner with neighbours of parks and communities to facilitate and support community gardens. We help gardeners in Bruce Park, Mitchell Park, Wigle Park, and in the Glengarry community to come together to garden. 

Community gardens provide a lot of great things to our neighbourhoods in the core. They provide a meeting place for residents to get to know each other. They provide space for a local sustainable food source. They add to the quality of life for those who frequent the parks and for those who garden. And they provide more life-giving activity that brings safety and security to our parks. 

“Gardens, scholars say, are the first sign of commitment to a community. When people plant corn they are saying, let’s stay here. And by their connection to the land, they are connected to one another.” -Anne Raver.

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