Serving people in need and working for peace and justice are core aspects of OMC. We believe that being Christians means we are called to participate in God’s reconciling work. This has implications for our families, our professional work, our congregational life and our political engagement. As a congregation we have put specific effort into several avenues of service.
Refugee Assistance Program
Since 1979 OMC has sponsored just about 180 refugees. These people have fled violence around the globe and we have tried to help them find safety and a new start here in Canada. We’re motivated by Jesus’ example of caring for the vulnerable and by the fact that some of us come from families who also arrived in Canada as refugees. Volunteers from our congregation and beyond have helped these refugees settle, and in some cases we’ve become lasting friends. This part of our church’s ministry is led by our Refugee Assistance Program (RAP) Committee.
One of the developments from our work with refugees is an organization called OMRA Shelter Alternatives Corporation. This small non-profit works with OMC and other groups to help provide safe, clean, affordable housing for refugees settling in Ottawa. Priority is given to women-at-risk.
Ten Thousand Villages
Ten Thousand Villages works with international artisans from developing countries who would otherwise be unemployed or underemployed. It is a non-profit organization that sells the handicrafts of these artisans in an effort to provide them with a living wage. Ten Thousand Villages also tells the stories of these individuals to promote the ideals of fair-trade and to help consumers think more carefully about the implications of their purchases.
OMC has been working with Ten Thousand Villages, formerly Self Help Crafts, since the 1960s. Each November we host and staff weekend sales here in our church building. We welcome volunteers and shoppers from across the city.
Mennonite Central Committee
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is a worldwide ministry of Anabaptist churches. It shares God’s love and compassion by responding to basic human needs. MCC works to promote peace and justice in the name of Jesus. The organization envisions communities worldwide in right relationship with God, one another and creation. Several members of or congregation have volunteered with MCC, both within Canada and internationally. OMC proudly supports the work of this worldwide organization.
The office of MCC here in Ottawa is a conduit of information and a bridge for relationships between the federal government and MCC’s diverse constituency. The Ottawa Office engages the federal government on issues of peace, justice, and human dignity. It is motivated by the Christian conviction that we should all love our neighbours and works with a number of coalitions trying to bring an Anabaptist perspective to political engagement.