Embracing the Spirit Grants

Embracing the Spirt Grants

Knox has been the fortunate recipient of two Embracing the Spirit Grants from the United Church of Canada which allowed two innovative Outreach programs to be developed.

  1.  December 2018 – With this Grant, members from Knox were able to collaborate with community partners in order to explore traditional Anishinaabe land-based practices through intergenerational, intercultural family camps and activities. This project was given an Anishinaabe spirit name – Pabaamashi which means “soaring around, looking all around” and an eagle is used as its identifying logo. It was still active with funds remaining in 2023.
  2. October 2019 – This premise behind the application for this Grant was the hope that our congregation and others in the community would consider the question of how Spirituality could create places of belonging and healing to those challenged by drug and alcohol addictions and homelessness in Kenora. This appointed task group named itself “Spirituality Meets Homelessness”. It disbanded in 2020 and gifted the remainder of its Grant to another group – Kenora Moving Forward – to be used to buy food for the meals it was preparing for people who are homeless.


With the opening of the Visionary Service Hub in Spring of 2019, the context for ministry at Knox changed substantially.
Because of the location of the new Hub –  the community became abruptly aware of the severity of the local opioid crisis and of many of the social issues underlying it.
Awareness is opportunity:  it means that community has to acknowledge and become involved in the solutions.
Knox was sharing its limited green space with people who are homeless.  And we at Knox had to ask questions we had not asked before:
  1. what does homelessness really mean?
  2. how to be a healing presence in our community – for the homeless and for our immediate neighbours?
  3. what is the role of churches and spiritual guides in the lives of the homeless?
The very beginning of an idea came from notes from First Presbyterian and First Baptist Churches, wondering how they could support Knox and become involved.
Then Chrissy Swain from Grassy Narrows had a dream – and began coming to sit on the lawn with patrons of the Hub – she brought sacred teachings, cedar and smudge and a place to talk, learn and be loved. It was a beautiful vision.
Now Knox has received a Grant to help to explore how spirituality can impact the people trapped by homelessness, Opioids, and mental health issues. No one is sure what the service Hub will look like as it gradually reopens, but hopefully it will provide opportunity for spiritual nurture and connection. Knox Leadership Team has received this Grant with gratitude and a Focus Group will begin its work on November 7th!



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“May the grace of Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the holy spirit be with you all”
2 Corinthians 13-14